Understanding Your Pet’s Bloodwork

Blood TestsComplete Blood Count (CBC) is the most common blood test performed on pets and people. It gives information on hydration status, anemia, infection, the blood’s clotting ability, and ability of the immune system to respond. This test is often run on pets with fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, pale gums, or loss of appetite.

HCT (Hematocrit) measures the percentage of red blood cells to detect anemia and dehydration.

HGB and MCHC (Hemoglobin and Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration) are oxygen-carrying pigments of red blood cells.

WBC (White Blood Cell Count) measures the cells that fight off infection. Increases or decreases can indicate certain infections or disease processes.

Grans and L/M (Granulocytes and lymphocytes / monocytes) are specific types of white blood cells.

EOS (Eosinophils) are a specific type of white blood cell that may indicate allergic or parasitic conditions.

PLT (Platelets) measures cells that form blood clots.

Blood Chemistries:

These common blood serum tests evaluate organ function, electrolyte status, hormone levels, and more. These are important in evaluating pets for a large variety of conditions and are useful in verifying health before any anesthetic procedures.

ALB (Albumin) is a serum protein that helps evaluate hydration, hemorrhage, and intestinal, liver, and kidney disease.

ALKP (Alkaline Phosphatase) elevations may indicate liver damage, Cushing’s disease, cancer and active bone growth in young pets. This test is important in cats.

ALT (Alanine Aminothansferase) is a sensitive indicator of active liver damage but does not indicate the cause.

AMYL (Amylase) elevations can indicate pancreatitis or kidney disease.

BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen) indicates kidney function. An increased blood level is called azotemia and can be caused by kidney, liver, and heart disease, urethral obstruction, shock, and dehydration.

Ca (Calcium) deviations can indicate a variety of diseases. Tumors, hyperparathyroidism, kidney disease, and low albumin are just a few of the conditions that can alter serum calcium.

CHOL (Cholesterol) is used to supplement diagnosis of hypothyroidism, liver disease, Cushing’s disease, and diabetes mellitus.

CREA (Creatinine) reveals kidney function. This test helps distinguish between kidney and non-kidney causes of elevated BUN.

GLU (Glucose) is blood sugar. Elevated levels can be due to stress or diabetes mellitus. Low levels can cause collapse, seizures, or coma.

PHOS (Phosphorus) elevations are often associated with kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and bleeding disorders.

TBIL (Total Bilirubin) elevations may indicate liver disease or anemia.

TP (Total Protein) indicates hydration status and provides additional information about the liver, kidneys, and infectious diseases.

GLOB (Globulins) is a blood protein that often increases with chronic inflammation and certain diseases.

Na (Sodium) is an electrolyte lost with vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney and Addison’s disease. It also helps indicate hydration status.

K (Potassium) is an electrolyte lost with vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive urination. Increased levels may indicate kidney failure, Addison’s disease, dehydration, and urethral obstruction. High levels can lead to cardiac arrest. Lowered levels can lead to excessive lethargy and lack of muscle control.

Cl (Chloride) is an electrolyte often lost with vomiting and Addison’s disease. Elevations often indicate dehydration.

T4 (Thyroxine) is a thyroid hormone. Decreased levels often signal hypothyroidism in dogs, while high levels indicate hyperthyroidism in cats.

Cortisol is a hormone that is measured when testing for certain disease conditions.