Helping Ginger with Preventative Medicine

Helping Ginger with Preventative Medicine

By Dr. Ed Mapes
Stonebridge Animal Hospital

Ginger is a typical nine-year old, happy Golden Retriever whose main concern in life is being friends. She has a smile on her face and wags her tail excitedly – even when she’s in the veterinarian’s office for vaccinations and a yearly exam. We finished up the physical examination and obtained a stool sample while being swiped in the face with that tail.

Besides a slightly dull hair coat and carrying a few extra pounds, Ginger appeared to be in perfect health. Since we were about to draw blood for the heartworm test, we suggested running an economical health maintenance profile just to be sure that conditions on the inside were as healthy as she appeared to be on the outside.

We ran the blood work at the in-house laboratory, and a few minutes later had some startling results: Ginger’s tests demonstrated early renal disease along with low levels of thyroid hormone.

Both irregularities contribute to the dry-appearing hair coat, but that was the only external sign that anything could be wrong; you’d never know that she had problems by watching her cavort around the hospital.

We started Ginger on thyroid hormone replacement therapy for her hypothyroidism. Ginger’s diet was changed to a prescription food designed to protect the kidneys. She’s now taking multivitamin supplements, and we’re monitoring her water intake carefully.

We’ll monitor Ginger’s weight, thirst, urination and appetite over the next month, and plan to re-evaluate the abnormal renal blood parameters and do a urinalysis to be sure we’re getting the desired results.

This is a perfect example of good preventative medicine. Information is power in this game of medicine, and our job is to suggest things to pet owners that can help their pets. Not discussing this simple blood testing for Ginger would have been an opportunity to help her wasted.

For a few extra dollars we were able to detect two problems in this great dog that, given a few month’s time, would almost certainly have progressed to serious renal disease that would have been difficult or even impossible to treat.

We were able to help Ginger and her people, even though you’d never know she needed help. Sometimes the best medicine is done by preventing disease or stopping it in its tracks; it sure helped Ginger this time.

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