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How many of you get blood drawn for routine test?

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  • How many of you get blood drawn for routine test?

    Other than Coggins. What do you look at? Markers for IR, vitamin/ mineral deficiencies? How useful do you think it is to go by blood tests?

  • #2
    I do. Every 3-5 years, unless something sooner makes me want to, just to keep an eye on how things are. If something changes, outside of what is considered normal for an aging horse, I want to know sooner, rather than later when it might be a real problem.

    Since a number of items can be outside of normal ranges for any given horse, it really helps to have a young-horse baseline to know what you're comparing to, should you need to draw blood to try to see what's causing a particular problem.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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    • #3
      I have.

      It's a good idea to get some "baseline" tests run when you first get a horse if you didn't have any bloodwork done at the PPE so you have something to compare bloodwork with if your horse actually presents with a health problem later.

      I would do an electrolyte panel and a CBC. If you have had the horse a while and it's having some problems, if it looks metabolic, I would also look at the thyroid level, glucose and insulin (to determine insulin resistance) and possibly test for Cushing's.... I think most tests check kidney function and some other stuff--best to ask your vet what he recommends.

      As far as testing for mineral levels in the blood (like calcium) I think I read somewhere that it is notoriously misleading, so I've never done it. I think the Vitamin E/Selenium test is worthwhile though....
      "None of us can move forward if half of us are being held back." ~Anonymous~

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      • #4
        Absolutely.

        I get a basic blood panel done every 3 years or so, just to see that things are staying the same, or changing. It's good to have a baseline, as mentioned. Because just because something is "within normal limits" doesn't mean it's normal for your horse.

        For example, my horses's temp runs high. All the time. It's always 102. 102 to some horses is a fever. 102 to her is perfectly normal. But it's good to know that ahead of time.

        What I always do is monitor a new one for 3 months. temp, resp, heart rate, and basic blood panel...just to be sure you have a good baseline. Then you always have something to compare to.
        Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.

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        • #5
          Yep, I do too.

          Gus gets his T4 checked biannually - at the very least (very elevated T4 levels back in Spring 2007). I also run an CBC/Panel (organ functions, etc.) once a year, sometimes every two years. It's a great baseline. Will be doing an ACTH this January to rule out Cushings... possible to the insulin/glucose test too as he's got some symptoms.

          With Gringo, I've not done anything yet... should have done the bloodwork at the PPE, but didn't (pulled the blood to do so though).

          I would like to do bloodwork on both guys (plus my dog and two cats) at least every couple years, but money's a bit tight, so I only do what's necessary at the present time.
          Last edited by appychik; Nov. 10, 2008, 10:42 PM.
          Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
          See G2's blog
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          • #6
            I don't do routine bloodwork--not a believer in "just looking" unless I have a specific question I want answered, I don't usually do tests of any sort.



            Originally posted by appychik View Post
            Yep, I do too.

            Gus gets his T4 checked biannually - at the very least (very elevated T4 levels back in Spring 2007). I also run an CBC/Panel (organ functions, etc). once a year, sometimes every two years. It's a great baseline. Will be doing an ACTH this January to rule out Cushings... possible to the insulin/glucose test too as he's got some symptoms.

            With Gringo, I've not done anything yet... should have done the bloodwork at the PPE, but didn't (pulled the blood to do so though).

            I would like to do bloodwork on both guys (plus my dog and two cats) at least every couple years, but money's a bit tight, so I only do what's necessary at the present time.
            Click here before you buy.

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            • #7
              I check his lyme titer every 6 months, since we live in a 'hotbed' area for lyme, and he's been positive for it in the past. I also check a cbc/chem screen @ every 2 years just to keep an eye on things. Since he's kinda a slug by nature, it's hard to tell if something's going on with him, or if he's just not feeling like working....
              Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it ~ Goethe

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              • #8
                Never have, never had what I felt was a good reason to.
                Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.

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                • #9
                  Honest question for those of you who don't:

                  If you do run into a problem that causes you to draw blood to take a look, if you see a couple of things that are iffy, how do you know they are a potential problem or not?

                  And DW, I'm very curious that you don't. As a Dr, I would think you would be pro routine physicals for poeple? No hidden meaning here, just looking to understand
                  ______________________________
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                  • #10
                    And DW, I'm very curious that you don't. As a Dr, I would think you would be pro routine physicals for poeple?
                    Routine physicals, sure, but the real benefit to patients (no matter the species) is TARGETED screening, not just having a doctor look in your ears and your throat, bang on your kneecaps and listen to your lungs once a year. A woman over 40 needs mammograms, a girl of 16 does not, etc. A horse at risk for IR, etc. may benefit from labs, sure, but a healthy horse with no problems? VERY unlikely that random blood draws will be truly useful.

                    So I'm all for (with horses) a yearly exam to check eyes, lungs, heart, teeth, reproductive organs (if appropriate) and to look at things that really tend to affect their health. Routine bloodwork? If a horse is healthy and well, I can't think of anything I'd do differently by drawing routine labs and finding them normal. I also can't really think of anything I'd do differently if I drew routine labs and found them abnormal, to be honest. I have a hard time (remember, I'm not a vet) thinking of any "routine lab" that would completely floor me in terms of being a nasty surprise. My horses are healthy, sound, well, shiny, etc.--what on earth would I be looking for, exactly?

                    We're taught from day one to "not treat the numbers" (except when it comes to cholesterol) so how does having numbers help, exactly, if there are no symptoms or signs of disease?

                    Of course if a horse is NQR, doing poorly, or has known problems that's a totally different story. One would want to keep track as deemed appropriate.

                    In the past 8 years I've had labs drawn on my horses twice: one when my pregnant Shetland was NQR after I bought her and the vet suggested progesterone levels to make sure the baby was OK--couldn't palpate a 10.2h pony very easily. The other was when Gwen tied up at an event and we followed her Cr/AST/CPKs down to normal. Other than that, I can't think of a time when having lab results would've changed my horse management in any way. Again, though, I am lucky to have healthy horses with no huge issues.

                    Ah, the other one was the EPM spinal for Gwen, obviously. But empirical treatment was the other option and obviously would've been an OK choice, too.

                    This is just my view on things, there's nothing wrong with "looking". However, it's pretty much axiomatic that a normal test "today" is no guarantee of a normal test "tomorrow", hence my lack of faith in looking randomly every now and then and hoping to uncover something.
                    Click here before you buy.

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                    • #11
                      This is a very timely post for me. I have my mare that I rescued and she is doing pretty good. But she is not beaming with health if you know what I mean. I really want to have her thyroid checked not just because she is not up to weight (b/c she actually is really getting there) but how she is gaining the weight. Anyway, I think it might be helpful for a horse that was starved with a foal by her side to make sure she doesn't have anything else going on. But I must say after 20 years of horse ownership it will be the first time and I don't plan to do it regularly unless something shows up.
                      “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”
                      ? Rumi






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                      • #12
                        DW, I see your point of view

                        Here's where I differ. My TB gelding's BUN was normally high (I think, it's been a while). I/my vet knew that from routine blood draws. At one point I was concerned about his lethargy, so she pulled blood, checked his urine, etc, to see if there were any kidney issues. If we'd never had a blood check until then, and saw high BUN, we might have gone down an unnecessary path of treating something that wasn't there. That's where I come from

                        I find great value in having my blood drawn for my yearly physical. Hubby too. He has seen direct patterns that correlate to how he's been eating, and his cholesterol levels. Sure, he knew it from books, but figured "it won't happen to me." Well, he learned that's not so, and now he's more careful about what he eats. He didn't have any problems, his levels weren't high, but they were rising, which meant his diet had to change a bit.
                        ______________________________
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                        • #13
                          Again, cholesterol levels are the one exception to my philosophy of "only look if you need to". IMO, everyone should know what their cholesterol level is. It's something that can be impacted in a hugely meaningful way with treatment, paying dividends down the road. This is distinctly different than "just checking" stuff like kidney function, liver function, etc. when there's no indication of a problem.

                          Yes, knowing there's a baseline abnormality might be helpful, but again--these kinds of things vary SO much that I'm not sure how checking any parameter every few years could possibly be useful.
                          Click here before you buy.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for your thoughts
                            ______________________________
                            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have friends who get their horses blood tested a couple of times per year. They find this very helpful in the care of their horses.

                              I asked my vet about blood testing and was told most times if there is something wrong that will show up in a blood test, it will show up in the health of the horse's coat, hooves etc., before it will show up in the bloodwork. He also advised that blood test results will read differently depending on the time of day the blood was drawn, how soon after the horse has eaten and his diet makes it difficult to get a true baseline.

                              Is there something in particular that you're looking for in a normal CBC that will give you a definate baseline? Perhaps I wasn't asking my vet the right questions.

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