Our vets at Gilbert are here to help simplify and ease any concerns you may have about blood tests for your pet dog.
Why is Blood Work Important for Dogs?
Blood tests for your pet dog are an important part of preventive care and can detect early signs of illness before any symptoms appear.
This allows for earlier treatment and better health outcomes.
Blood tests are also performed during routine exams for healthy pets and when your pet is displaying symptoms to help diagnose the cause
What Do Blood Tests for Dogs Reveal?
A common blood test for pets is the Complete Blood Count (CBC) and Complete Blood Chemistry Panel including electrolytes and urinalysis.
The CBC reveals information on anemia, inflammation, infection, immune system response, and blood clotting ability.
The chemistry panel and electrolytes check the liver, kidneys, and pancreas function.
Blood tests can also uncover complex issues within a dog's internal systems, such as hormonal-chemical imbalances caused by internal or environmental factors, potentially signaling issues with the endocrine system.
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 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 lab, our vets can perform various tests and get results quickly. The tests themselves are relatively quick and can take minutes. Some tests may take somewhat longer. Your vet can provide an accurate timeframe.
What Do My Dog's Blood Test Results Mean?
At Crossroads Veterinary Hospital, 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): This test can identify the percentage of red blood cells to detect hydration or anemia.
- Hemoglobin and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (Hb and MCHC) are pigments of red blood cells that carry oxygen.
- White blood cell count (WBC): This test measures 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 chemistries (blood serum tests) give us insight into a dog’s organ function (liver, kidneys, and pancreas), hormone levels, electrolyte status, and more.
The test can be used to assess the health of older dogs, do general health assessments before anesthesia, or monitor dogs receiving long-term medications.
These tests also help us evaluate senior dogs’ health and those with symptoms of diseases (such as Addison’s, diabetes, kidney diseases, or others), diarrhea, vomiting, or toxin exposure.
Does My Dog Need Blood Tests & Lab Work?
At Crossroads Veterinary Hospital our vets recommend blood tests are conducted and lab work done as a proactive measure during an annual routine exam, even if your dog seems perfectly healthy. This is because the sooner we catch health issues, the more effectively we can treat your dog.
Our veterinary team will always advocate for your pet’s health, explain any necessary and why tests, and take a preventive approach to your dog’s veterinary care.
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.