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Early Disease Detection Testing: Simple Tests - So Many Results

Pets can’t say how they’re feeling—it’s usually how they look or act that tells you something is wrong. You play a key role in helping your pet combat illness and stay as healthy as possible and Inman Park Animal Hospital is your partner in your pet's health.

Annual (and bi-annual as the pet ages) exams and blood tests are the best ways to ensure that your pet lives a long, healthy and happy life.Diabetes, kidney, heart and liver disease may not show symptoms at onset. Identifying possible diseases and complications early allows us a better chance to develop a treatment plan for your pet.

Inman Park's Early Disease Detection Testing can provide information about your pet’s liver, kidneys and pancreas, blood sugar levels, white blood cell count, red blood cell count and platelet count and can identify infection, inflammation and anemia.
Why do we recommend annual preventative care blood tests on healthy pets?

  • Over 1 in 3 cats and 1 in 10 dogs will get kidney disease
  • Over 50% of cats over age 15 are afflicted with kidney disease
  • Liver disease is 5th leading cause of death in dogs
  • 1 in 200 dogs will get diabetes
  • Overweight cats have higher chance of developing diabetes

Every pet is unique - so annual testing allows us to determine what a normal baseline result is for your pet. Trending these results over time allows us to diagnose problems early as we can notice changes in your pet earlier. More advanced disease is associated with more complications and it can make treatment harder and more expensive. Depending on your pet’s age, we offer different blood & lab test packages to allow us to best help you help your pet live a longer, healthier, happier life.

Atlanta pet owners -  Can pets have allergies?  YES! 

Does your pet itch all the time? Noticed a foul smell on their skin or in ears, balding spots or discoloration of skin? Does your dog obsessively scratch certain areas or lick their paws?

Itchy pets is common – most often in dogs. Constant itching or recurring itching can cause hair loss or skin damage and may be a sign of skin disease or allergies. It can be annoying, even keeping you up at night! If itching is not addressed at onset,  it can be harder to treat and control and battle the skin issue.

Types of Pet Allergies and Pet Skin Diseases:

  • Flea allergy
  • Food allergy
  • Contact allergy or contact dermatitis
  • Atopic dermatitis

To diagnose the type of pet allergy, our veterinarians must examine your pet to determine the skin issue and develop a treatment possible plan(s) for allergies.


Just a couple bites from fleas can cause skin sensitivity and itchy skin with the back legs and rear end affected most often in dogs. Fleas (and feces and dirt) that contain your pet’s blood are not always visible. Inman Park Animal Hospital recommends year-round flea prevention and possibly medicated flea baths to limit fleas and stop your pet's itch.

Pet Food Allergy 

To diagnose if your pet has food allergies, they will be fed a specific diet food with one protein and one carbohydrate for 8-10 weeks. No other foods (or treats) are allowed. If symptoms disappear, your pet likely has food allergies. We may have to refer your pet to a veterinary dermatologist.
Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis in pets is not common but occurs when skin overreacts to molecules in the environment such as chemicals, wool, rubber, nickel, dyes and chemicals.

Atopic Dermatitis

More common is atopic dermatitis which is a chronic inflammatory skin disease brought on by allergens in your pet's environment such as grass, mold, pollen or cigarette smoke.Talk to your veterinarian about skin and blood tests for dermatitis.  We may have to refer your pet to a veterinary dermatologist. In a skin test, a small level of allergens is injected under your pet’s skin to test for reactions. In a blood test, your pet’s blood will be analyzed for which allergens specific to your pet’s environment could be causing the reaction.

Pet Allergy & Itch Treatment

Once your pet allergens have been identified, we can develop a program to try to eliminate the allergy and treat the skin.

Common treatments for pet allergies and itch relief:

  • Antihistamines
  • Anti-itch shampoo and conditioners
  • Anti-fungal shampoo
  • Cyclosporine therapy
  • Essential fatty acids (such as Omega 3)
  • Hypoallergenic diets
  • Immunotherapy
  • Oral steroids in low doses to treat sporadic outbreaks
  • Prescriptions such as Apoquel
  • Topical steroid sprays

DITCH THE ITCH! Let Inman Park Animal Hospital help provide relief to you and your itchy pets!

Want to take a quick 6-question quiz to learn more about your dog’s itching AND help military, police and service dogs?Each time the quiz is taken, Zoetis will make a donation to K-9 Courage™ Program.  K-9 Courage provides healthcare assistance to retired military and active police dogs as well as active service dogs that assist veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. Once admitted into the program, each dog receives a $300 credit every year for the rest of its life to help cover veterinary expenses like wellness and emergency visits, vaccines, prescription medications, food and treats.Take the Itch Instinct Quiz 

Protect your pets from heartworms!

What are heartworms? Heartworms are a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets, particularly in Atlanta with the prevalence of mosquitoes. Foot-long worms live in the heart, lungs & blood vessels of infected pets, causing lung disease, heart failure, organ damage and can be fatal if untreated.

How does my pet get heartworms?  Heartworms living in an infected dog, cat or wildlife produce baby worms that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites an infected animal, it picks up these worms and when it bites another animal, the worms enter through the bite wound. Heartworms can grow and live for 5 – 7 years in dogs and 3 years in cats.

How prevalent is heartworm disease?  Heartworm disease is a year-round problem. In the Atlanta area, 1 in 96 dogs tested positive for heartworms. 

What can I do to protect my pet? Heartworm disease is preventable! Dogs should be tested annually and before starting prevention. Prevention is the safest and most cost-effective option, but treatment is available for dogs (although costly & lengthy). Cats should be tested before starting prevention and re-tested as the veterinarian deems appropriate. There is NO treatment in cats, so prevention is critical and the only means of protection.

Inman Park Animal Hospital has safe, effective products available that cater to you and your pet's lifestyle and budget. They must be administered year-round to protect your pet:

  • Sentinel is given monthly to dogs to prevent heartworms and treat fleas, roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms & whipworms. 
  • Revolution is applied topically monthly to cats to protect against heartworms plus kills fleas & treats roundworm and hookworm infections and ear mites. 

What is the Best Flea & Tick Prevention?

Even though a year-round problem, spring means an increase in fleas & ticks, which is bad news for you & your pets. 

Despite their tiny size, fleas and ticks cause misery for your pet. They stimulate allergies, cause infections & transmit disease, not only to your pet but to you and your family.If you see fleas, there are also eggs and larvae in your carpets and bedding.  Ticks can carry fatal disease like Lyme. Did you know that all flea and tick preventatives are not created equally? Your choice could go a long way in how well your pet is prevented from parasitic infestations. There are a few questions to discuss with your veterinarian in determining the best flea and tick prevention for your pet.

•    Is your pet outside often? Do they leave your property? Do you take your pet to remote areas for exercise or like in the woods, etc?
•    Does your pet have a lot of contact with other pets, like at a dog park, or do you have multiple pets in the home?
•    Can you easily remember to regularly give your pet the preventative monthly?
•    Do you have a budget in mind?

Inman Park Animal Hospital carries the best flea and tick prevention to cater to different lifestyles and budgets that are safe & effective for your pets:  

  • Nexgard is a monthly chew given to dogs to kill adult fleas before they lay eggs and kill ticks.   
  • Revolution is applied topically each month to cats and kills adult fleas; prevents flea eggs from hatching, treats and controls roundworm and hookworm infections and ear mites and protects against heartworm disease for 4 weeks.  
  • Vectra is applied topically each month to dogs or cats to repel and kill fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, biting and sand flies, lice and mites for 4 weeks.