What are baseline diagnostic images and why are they important for my cat? - The Waggin' Train Veterinary Clinic

That's actually kind of an interesting question. And it's something that I've toyed with and I don't routinely do because it's, if I'm being blunt, it's a hard sell. Like it's hard to convince somebody, "Let me do X-rays on your cat. They're completely normal, but let me do X-rays on your cat as a baseline." To answer your question, what’s the benefit? If we do X-rays on a one-year-old cat who has no clinical signs or problems of anything at all. That X-ray should and usually will be normal. That's great. What does that provide me? That's the baseline that we're talking about.

Fast forward 10 years. And then now that same cat comes in and now he's sick or now they’re behaving differently, and for whatever reason, we have to shoot X-rays again. Well, I can always go back and pull their films from when that cat was one year old, and compare to now at 11 years old and I will typically see differences. The baseline gives you the normal for that said animal that you can use for the rest of its life to compare back against. Is it always going to come into play? Maybe not, but that's the point of a baseline is to know what normal is.

The same thing applies to blood work. Why don't we do wellness blood work? To know “A”, that the animal is well and also if it is, to know what's normal for that animal. We do this so, if at some point down the road, they become ill with any kind of condition, you have something to compare to. And it's comparing apples to apples. It's not just some cat, it's that cat from X amount of time ago. And that's the benefit of baseline radiographs and baseline blood work.

I said at the beginning, it was a hard sell because it's hard to convince people to do that and to spend a hundred, $200, whatever it is, for X-rays when they don't have a problem, but that would be the benefit of it.