Leelanau Veterinary Care

Understanding your Pet’s Blood Work Results

Blood tests help a doctor determine the causes of illness accurately, safely and quickly and help to monitor the progress of medical treatments and conditions. The following guide explains common test results to help you better understand your pet’s health and the care recommendations.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

A CBC gives the information on hydration status, anemia, infection, the blood’s clotting ability, and the ability of the immune system to respond. This test is essential for pets that are not feeling well with symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, pale gums, loss of appetite, or just not feeling well in general. If your pet needs surgery, a CBC can help to detect bleeding disorders and other unseen abnormalities.

HCT/PCV (hematocrit/packed cell volume) measures the percentage of your pet’s red blood cells. This test helps to detect anemia, bleeding episodes, and dehydration. Normal in a cat is above 28 and in dogs above 35.

 HGB and MCHC (hemoglobin and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration) are the oxygen carrying pigments of red blood cells.

RETICS (reticulocytes) are immature or new red blood cells. High levels indicate regenerative anemia or signs of recent bleeding.

 WBD (white blood cell count) measures the body’s immune and infection fighting cells. Increases or decreases indicate certain diseases such as cancer/leukemia or infections.

 NEU, LYM, MONO (neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes) are specific types of white blood cells which fight infection. If these are elevated it can indicate an infection or cancer.

 EOS (eosinophils) are a specific type of white blood cells the if elevated may indicate allergic or parasitic conditions.

PLT (platelet count) measures the cells that help form blood clots and control bleeding.

Blood Chemistry

These are common blood serum tests that evaluate organ function, electrolyte status, hormone levels, and more. These tests are important in evaluating older pets, pets that are ill, pets receiving long-term medications, and pets undergoing sedation or anesthesia. The tests are also very important as a regular screening evaluation of your pet’s health status.

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, and active bone growth in young pets. This test is significant in cats especially. A slight elevation may be normal in some pets, especially older pets.

ALT (alanine aminotransferase) is a sensitive indicator of active liver damage but doesn’t indicate the cause. A slight elevation may be normal in some pets, especially older pets.

 AMYL (amylase) elevations show 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 alter serum calcium.

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

 CREA (creatinine) indicates kidney function. This test helps distinguish between kidney and non-kidney causes of elevated BUN. An indicator of kidney function.

 GLOB (globulin) is a blood protein that often increases with chronic inflammation and certain disease states.

GLU (glucose) is a blood sugar. Elevated levels may indicate diabetes mellitus. Low levels can cause collapse, seizures, or coma. When a pet is nervous, the blood glucose can be normally elevated. In dogs blood glucose should be under 180 and in cats under 250.

 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. Excessively high levels can lead to cardiac arrest.

 AML (amylase) is an enzyme that may indicate infection or inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) in dogs.

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

 PHOS (phosphorus) elevations are often associated with kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and bleeding disorders. An elevation in this value also may indicate active bone growth in young dogs.

TBIL (total bilirubin) elevations may indicate liver or blood hemolytic disease. This test helps identify bile duct problems and certain types of anemia.

 TP (total protein) can indicate your pet’s hydration status and provides additional information about the liver, kidneys, and infectious diseases.

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