Sample collection is generally fast and easy. We often get blood samples from the large jugular vein in the neck. Although it sounds a little scary, it is very safe and is the fastest place to get a fairly large sample if we need to check several different things. Alternate sites of blood collection include the front or back legs on dogs or cats, tail veins on reptiles, and the ear vein on rabbits.
Sometimes blood work is also recommended at the yearly exam for animals that seem perfectly healthy. Geriatric patients are generally dogs over 6 years of age for larger breeds and 8 years of age for small breeds and cats. With these older patients we often recommend baseline blood work as up to 40% of geriatric patients may have abnormal blood work despite not showing any outward signs of disease. This allows us to make an earlier diagnosis and start treatment before the condition is as severe. Even if blood work is perfectly normal we have gained valuable information in knowing the pet's "normal values" so that if he or she does become sick we can monitor any changes or trends.
If you have any questions about blood work or other procedures we recommend, please ask as your pet's health is always our top priority!