Is it necessary to take a blood test on my dog to check her liver and kidney before supplying another bottle of anti-inflammatory medication?

Original Question: "The vet wants to take a blood test to check her kidney and liver conditions before they supply another bottle of anti-inflammatory medication. Is this necessary? It isn’t a chronic condition just an injury that needs short-term aid. She has only been on this medication for 2 weeks now." - Stephanie

Is it necessary to take a blood test on my dog to check her liver and kidney before supplying another bottle of anti-inflammatory medication? Nov 9, 2017

Hi Stephanie,

This is a common scenario that I don’t get asked about often enough and I really like questions like this.

What we’re discussing here is the cost of collecting information and it’s value. I suppose you could also be concerned about the discomfort associated with collecting blood but that is a minor issue compared to the value of the information obtained from it.

So here’s the thing. Your veterinarian is doing a really great job and wants to be certain that this drug is not harming your dog. It’s a great protocol and I commend him or her for it. Unfortunately, many clients can interpret this as ‘overkill’ or excessive billing and sometimes question whether it’s truly necessary because what they’re often seeing that they’re pet is completely fine on the medication.

So it comes down to risk and the medication. Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatories, or NSAID’s, have an incredible list of side effects. You can look this up yourself on the Internet. In fact, there are some really scary side effects that can happen but they are really uncommon. For example, they can cause kidney damage in some patients and to the point that it can be fatal over the course of weeks, yet I’ve given this category of drugs to 100’s, if not 1000’s, of dogs without consequence. The issue is that you’ll never quite know how your individual dog will respond to a drug and your veterinarian is recommending a plan that is truly optimal and protects your pet well. What you’re seeing is a healthy dog and an expensive bill. I’m not saying you wouldn’t pay for it but what I believe you want is a discussion about the value of these tests that they’re recommending so you can decide whether you agree with that level of monitoring.

In the end, you don’t have to agree or follow the recommendation. I would encourage you to talk to your veterinarian and share your feelings about what you are comfortable with and not comfortable with, whether it comes down to cost or not. Maybe your veterinarian can find information on the risk of potential side effects occurring and you can judge for yourself whether you would like to follow the recommendation or not.

Thanks for your question. I really appreciate it and good luck.

Dr. Clayton Greenway

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