Why would my dog need bloodwork?
There are many reasons why a dog might need to have bloodwork done. One reason we might perform these tests would be if your pet is not feeling quite him or herself. Bloodwork can shed more information about what is going on internally, which will help your doctor diagnose and treat your pet’s illness. Another situation in which we would recommend bloodwork would be before your animal undergoes a surgical procedure as bloodwork will help us determine if there is anything going on that would put them at risk while under the anesthesia. Also, if your animal is on long term medications that have the potential to cause side effects, bloodwork will be done periodically to monitor for any changes internally. As well as when your animal gets older, occasional bloodwork should be ran to determine that they are not developing any changes that could affect their overall health.
What are the different blood tests we run?
There are many blood tests that can be run depending on the information needed. Here are some of the most common tests performed at our clinic.
This test gives us values that provide information on the animals liver, kidney & pancreas function. It also will give us a measurement on the animal’s sodium, potassium, & chloride levels as well as values for the calcium, glucose & total protein.
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
This blood test primarily looks at the blood on a cellular level to give us information about what is going on inside the animal. It will count the number red blood cells, & note how they are shaped. It will also the white blood cells & tell us how many of each kind are present in the animal’s blood. Finally, the CBC will count the amount of platelets in your pet’s bloodstream to help us determine the animals clotting ability.
Thyroid Level (T4)
This test will tell us if the thyroid gland is producing, too much, too little or an appropriate amount of the thyroid hormones.
This test will scan for traces of heartworm disease as well as tick-borne diseases, including borrelia burgdorferi, ehrlichia canis, & anasplasma phagocytophilum.
Where are these test run?
Most often we will send these tests out to a laboratory to be run as that will provide us with the most thorough information, and the results will be available to us the following day. We do however, have the ability to run the chemistry and the CBC tests in our clinic in instances where we need to see the results immediately. Some examples of these circumstances would be pre-surgical blood work or a sick animal that needs immediate diagnosis and treatment. We also have the ability to run heartworm checks in our clinic, and we would use this if we had an animal that was going to receive a pro-heart (heartworm preventative) injection on that same day.
Other Diagnostics Tests
This test requires a small sample of the animals stool, and we send it out to the lab to test for internal parasites. This is done by scanning a portion of the stool under a microscope to look for any eggs that are shed through the stool by the adult worms. It is important to periodically perform this procedure because internal parasites can cause a number of health problems including but not limited to, weight loss, diarrhea, and anemia. Some parasites also have the potential to be zoonotic
We will perform this test if your pet is having frequent urinations, bloody urine, or having trouble passing urine. This procedure will provide us information on the specific gravity of the urine, tell us the ph level, and test for the presence of bilirubin, glucose, nitrite, ketones, urobilinogen, and protein. We will also examine a portion of the urine under the microscope to check for the presence of white blood cells, red blood cells, casts, crystals, bacteria, and any other abnormalities. Running this test will tell us if your pet has a urinary tract infection, and will help us determine if an x-ray is needed to check for the presence of stones.