Analysis of a sample of blood can give us amazingly important information about the health status of your pet.
At Pittwater Animal Hospital we strongly recommend a screening blood test for each of your dogs and cats. The first blood test is best done at desexing.
Pre anaesthetic blood test
This test tells us many things
- Red Blood Cell Indices. Percentage, size and colour of the red blood cells tell us about general blood production, blood loss and cell health. A rise in red blood cells may indicated dehydration. A fall in red blood cells may indicate an underlying problem which should be examined more closely before any procedure.
- White Blood Cell Indices. Shows rises and falls in the 4 different classes for white blood cells. Changes may indicate infection, parasite burden, bone marrow function and even some cancers. These levels are assessed before proceeding with a procedure.
- Platelet Count. Some animals will have a hidden problem of very low platelets. These are very important components that help stop bleeding. If the platelet count is concerningly low, surgery may need to be delayed.
- PAB measures the kidney factors urea and creatinine. Kidney disease is a hidden problem which will quietly get worse without anyone knowing. A normal result in these factors gives us confidence your pet will have adequate kidney function for any procedure. Surgery may proceed with raised factors but a decision for extended fluid treatment will be made.
- PAB measures the liver factors ALP and ALKP. These factors will rise with any stress on the liver. Monitoring these factors throughout life gives us a window into the health of the liver. They can also be markers for other diseases.
- PAB measures blood glucose levels. This can detect diabetes mellitus or hypogylcaemia which are both dangerous conditions.
- PAB measures blood protein levels. Protein levels may be raised with inflammation or low with chronic disease such as liver disease.
Every blood results your pet has is saved on the Pittwater Animal Hospital data base, and we can chart changes over time. This is why it is so important to get a healthy level blood test when your pet is well. It is best first done at desexing then again at any subsequent anaesthetics.
2: Full Profile
The next level up in blood testing is the full blood count, biochemistry electrolytes and T4.
At PAH we utilise these blood tests at our regular medication reviews and for any animal that is unwell. A larger sample is taken than for the pre anaesthetic blood test (PAB), and the samples are sent to the IDEXX laboratory. Results will be sent to our data base within 1 working day.
The full profile will include
- Red Blood Cell Indices. Percentage, size and colour of the red blood cells tell us about general blood production, blood loss and cell health.
- White Blood Cell Indices. Shows rises and falls in the 4 different classes for white blood cells. Changes may indicate infection, parasite burden, bone marrow function and even some cancers.
- Platelet Count. Some animals will have a hidden problem of very low platelets. These are very important components that help stop bleeding.
- Full biochemistry panel. Records a variety of kidney and liver factors, markers for pancreatic disease and different protein levels. Single factor changes can indicate an area to monitor, and charting over time can give us trends on your pet’s organ health.
- Electrolyte level. The body functions best in a narrow range of electrolytes. Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Phosphate and Calcium are all measured and any changes will indicate a problem in the bodies equilibrium.
- Thyroid Level. The thyroid is the accelerator pedal of the body. A low thyroid level may cause sluggishness, hair loss and skin problems. High thyroid levels are common in cats as they age and cause anxiety, rapid heart rate, increased appetite and high blood pressure.
3: Full in-house CBC, Biochemistry and Electrolytes
At Pittwater Animal Hospital we can do a full CBC, biochemistry panel and electrolyte measurement and get the results within 30 minutes.
We use this test in unwell animals where we need answers as soon as possible.
This test is also used on older animals before surgery when an expanded biochemistry panel is going to give us valuable information before and anaesthetic.
Every blood test is telling something important about your pet. We love finding normal results on a blood test but even a normal result charted against previous results can be important. Ask about a blood test at your next visit. We strongly recommend you agree to a pre anaesthetic screen (PAB) any time your pet comes in for a procedure.