Q: I have a 9-year-old poodle in need of dental prophylaxis. My vet says that a blood panel must precede the dental cleaning. Is that really necessary?--R.L. A: It is very difficult to do any dental work on most animals without using some form of sedation. As with people, if an anesthetic is to be administered, it is advisable to assess the physical and metabolic function of the patient beforehand. Because anesthetics are excreted or inactivated by the liver and / or kidneys, it is best to determine, before any procedure requiring anesthesia, that the patient doesn't have any problems that could jeopardize its health.