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Understanding Blood Tests for Dogs

Our Cumming vets empathize with the frustration and stress that often comes with taking your furry friend for a blood test. But rest assured, our veterinary team is here to put your mind at ease by providing clear and informative explanations about the blood testing process for dogs.

Why is Blood Work Important for Dogs?

Early detection is key in the prevention and treatment of illnesses in pets. Regular blood tests during routine exams provide a baseline for your pet's health and help your veterinarian identify any potential issues before they worsen.

In the event that your furry friend is displaying symptoms, diagnostic blood tests are crucial in assisting your vet in making an accurate diagnosis and providing the appropriate treatment.

What Do Blood Tests for Dogs Reveal?

A comprehensive blood analysis, including the Complete Blood Count (CBC) and Complete Blood Chemistry Panel, electrolytes, and urinalysis, is a staple in veterinary care. The CBC sheds light on the presence of anemia, inflammation, or infection, and also provides insight into the functioning of the immune system and blood clotting ability. 

The Chemistry Panel and electrolytes give a clear picture of your pet's internal organs, such as the liver, kidneys, and pancreas, and whether they are functioning optimally.

This vital lab work goes beyond surface-level observations, and can uncover complex issues within a dog's internal systems. For instance, blood tests can reveal if internal or external factors are affecting hormonal-chemical responses, potentially indicating a problem in the endocrine system, and allowing your veterinarian to provide the necessary care.

When Does My Dog Need a Blood Test?

Countless circumstances can lead to your vet recommending that your dog have blood work done, such as:

  • Your pet's first vet visit (to establish baseline data and for pre-anesthetic testing before a spaying or neutering procedure)
  • Semi-annual routine exams as preventive care
  • During senior exams to look for age-related conditions in the earliest stages
  • As pre-surgical testing to identify your dog's risk of complications during surgery
  • Before starting a new medication
  • If your dog is showing odd behaviors
  • To help assess your pet's condition during an emergency visit

How Long Does Blood Work Take at a Vet?

Thanks to our in-house laboratory, our veterinarians can conduct a wide range of tests and receive prompt results. The majority of these tests are completed in a matter of minutes, while some may take a little longer. Rest assured, your vet will provide you with a precise estimated duration for each test.

What Do My Dog's Blood Test Results Mean?

At Crestview Animal Hospital & Emergency, we will always take the time to explain your dog's blood tests and their results, as treatment and management of health issues are a team effort between our veterinary team and loving pet owners.

Your dog's bloodwork typically includes a complete blood count (CBC) or blood chemistry (serum test). The CBC will be important for dogs with pale gums or experiencing vomiting, fever, weakness, or loss of appetite. Blood tests for dogs with diarrhea also fall into this category.

A CBC can also detect bleeding disorders or other abnormalities that may not be identified otherwise.

A CBC reveals detailed information, including:

  • Hematocrit (HCT): With this test, we can identify the percentage of red blood cells to detect hydration or anemia.
  • Hemoglobin and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (Hb and MCHC): These are pigments of red blood cells that carry oxygen.
  • White blood cell count (WBC): With this test, we measure the body's immune cells. Certain diseases or infections can cause WBC to increase or decrease.
  • Granulocytes and lymphocytes/monocytes (GRANS and L/M): These are specific types of white blood cells.
  • Eosinophils (EOS): These are a specific type of white blood cells that can indicate health conditions due to allergies or parasites.
  • Platelet count: (PLT): This test measures cells that form blood clots.
  • Reticulocytes (RETICS): High levels of immature red blood cells can point to regenerative anemia.
  • Fibrinogen (FIBR): This test reveals important information about blood clotting. High levels can indicate a dog is 30 to 40 days pregnant.

What Blood Chemistries Reveal (Blood Serum Test)

Blood serum tests, also known as blood chemistries, provide valuable information about a dog's overall health. By examining the levels of hormones, electrolytes, and markers of organ function, these tests give us a glimpse into the functioning of the liver, kidneys, pancreas, and more.

They are particularly useful in evaluating the health of senior dogs, monitoring dogs on long-term medications, and conducting pre-anesthesia health assessments. Additionally, blood serum tests can be instrumental in diagnosing symptoms related to diseases such as Addison's, diabetes, kidney disease, and more, as well as symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and toxin exposure.

Does My Dog Need Blood Tests & Lab Work?

At Crestview Animal Hospital & Emergency, we believe in proactively approaching your dog's health. That's why our veterinarians recommend conducting blood tests and lab work during an annual routine exam, even if your furry friend appears to be in top form.

By catching any potential health issues early on, we can provide prompt and effective treatment for your beloved pet.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you in need of specialized diagnostics for your furry companion? Our Cumming veterinarians are available to schedule a consultation. Simply reach out to us to book an appointment.

New Patients Welcome

Crestview Animal Hospital & Emergency is always welcoming new patients! Our Cumming vets provide veterinary services designed to promote good health and longevity. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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