While making a hair color change or painting a room seem reasonable to do yourself, when it comes to your pet’s health, it’s best to leave that to the professionals. Do-it-yourself (DIY) or "at-home" tests for Heartworm, Ehrlichia, Lyme disease, Feline Leukemia and other diseases have recently begun to infiltrate the online market. And while it may seem like an easy and inexpensive way to test your pets, these products may actually wind up causing your pet – and wallet – more harm than good. Messing up an at-home test is not merely creating the risk of a beauty blunder, but actually putting your animal’s safety, and even trust, in jeopardy.
In fact, one user review stated that after cutting her dog’s nail to get a blood sample for the test, it took her three months before her dog would let her touch its feet again. Another comment expressed a similar sentiment, stating that her dog "now hated [her] and is hiding under the bed." Further, she could not stop her dog’s toenail bleeding and now has spots all over her bedspread. Yet another review, written by a self-proclaimed ex-groomer, discusses how to cut the nail precisely enough as to avoid the vein. But what if you’re not a groomer? And what if you can’t stop the bleeding? In trying to avoid a trip to the veterinarian, you have actually created another reason for a visit. And what if the test is positive and you need treatment? Cue… the second trip.
Admittedly, there may be conveniences and cost benefits to using at-home tests if everything goes accordingly to plan. There are a few positive reviews (most notably on the product websites themselves) from people who had luck with collecting blood samples from their pets. However, it's when things don't go as directed on the back of the box, that you should be worried. To avoid the added stress for both you and your pet, leave the medical tests to your veterinarian – after all, that’s what they’re trained to do.