What does it mean when a veterinarian says she needs to run some blood work on your pet? Blood work - presurgical or otherwise - is usually a combination of a complete blood count (CBC) and a blood chemical analysis. Blood work is a basic evaluation tool. Pets, particularly senior ones, should have a CBC at every annual examination. In addition, blood work allows a veterinarian to monitor the progression of a pet's disease and may detect certain diseases early. Early detection and treatment of diseases can have a dramatic effect on health and longevity of your pet.
When the blood sample is drawn from your pet, both the cells and the fluid they "travel" in are examined.
The cell part of the blood is examined in the CBC. The CBC determines the number of erythrocytes (red blood cells), the number and type of leukocytes (white blood cells), the number of platelets (thrombocytes), the hemoglobin level, and the hematocrit (packed cell volume, PCV). Erythrocytes carry oxygen throughout the body. Leukocytes fight infection and are part of the immune system. There are five different types of white blood cells: neutrophils, lymphocytes, basophils, eosinophils, and monocytes. Platelets are clotting proteins and indicate how fast your pet's blood can clot; slow clotting can be a serious problem. A CBC can tell your veterinarian if your pet has an unusual number of erythrocytes (anemia, polycythemia), leukocytes (leukopenia, leukocytosis), or platelets (thrombocytopenia).
A chemistry panel (blood chem, chemistry screen), tests kidney function, liver function, electrolyte levels, etc. Blood chemistries are run on the fluid in the blood sample. (The CBC is the examination of the cells in the blood sample.)
The chemistry panel usually includes the following tests: alkaline phosphatase (ALP), alanine transaminase (alanine aminotransferase, ALT), bilirubin total (T Bili), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, creatine kinase (CK, CPK), sodium, potassium, glucose, total protein, albumin. Alkaline phosphatase, alanine transaminase, bilirubin, and albumin give your veterinarian information about the pet's liver function. Blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and creatine kinase tell your veterinarian how well your pet's kidneys are functioning.
We recommend yearly bloodwork on all cats and dogs. At 7 years of age the bloodwork will also include a urinalysis and thyroid level.
If you have further questions please contact us at (810) 653-3988.