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Understanding Blood Tests for Dogs

Understanding Blood Tests for Dogs

We recognize that bringing your beloved pet for a blood test can be a distressing experience. To help ease your concerns, our Grants Pass vets are here to help explain blood tests for dogs.

Why is Blood Work Important for Dogs?

As an essential part of preventive care, blood tests provide vital insights into the early signs of illnesses even before any visible symptoms appear. This proactive approach enables your veterinarian to detect, identify, diagnose, and treat potential illnesses promptly, ensuring your pet's optimal health. Additionally, routine blood tests during exams help establish normal baseline values to compare later in your pet's life, promoting healthy aging. 

When it comes to diagnosing a disease, diagnostic blood tests play a crucial role in identifying the underlying cause of your dog's symptoms. By analyzing blood samples, your veterinarian can accurately diagnose your pet's condition, enabling them to administer targeted treatment and improve your dog's quality of life. 

What Do Blood Tests for Dogs Reveal?

When it comes to our furry friends, their health is our top priority. Routine blood tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC) and complete blood chemistry panel, are common diagnostic tools used by veterinarians to assess their overall health.

The CBC is a powerful test that can identify a range of issues, from anemia and inflammation to infection and immune system response. Additionally, it can also provide insight into the dog's blood clotting ability, which is crucial for proper healing.

On the other hand, the chemistry panel and electrolyte tests are vital for assessing the function of the dog's liver, kidneys, and pancreas. These organs play a critical role in maintaining overall health and wellbeing, so it's important to ensure they're working as they should.

Moreover, blood tests for dogs can reveal more complex issues, such as hormonal-chemical imbalances, that may indicate a problem with the endocrine system. This information is invaluable to veterinarians in diagnosing and treating health conditions.

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 lab, our vets can perform a variety of 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 Lincoln Road Veterinary Clinic, we believe that your pet's health and wellbeing are of utmost importance. That's why we offer comprehensive blood tests, such as complete blood count (CBC) and blood chemistry (serum test), to help identify any underlying health issues that may be affecting your furry friend. Our experienced veterinary team will take the time to thoroughly explain your dog's blood tests and their results, as we understand that managing and treating health issues is a collaborative effort between us and the pet owners. 

CBC is an essential test for dogs that have pale gums, are experiencing vomiting, fever, weakness, loss of appetite, or any other unusual symptoms. Similarly, for dogs with diarrhea, blood tests play a vital role in identifying the root cause of the problem. A CBC can also detect bleeding disorders and other abnormalities that may not be apparent during a physical exam. Our goal is to work with you to provide the best possible care for your dog, and we believe that early detection and intervention are critical in managing any health issues.

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): We can glean important information about blood clotting from this test. 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 Lincoln Road Veterinary Clinic, we prioritize your dog's health and wellbeing. That's why our experienced veterinarians recommend conducting blood tests and lab work during your dog's annual routine exam, even if they appear healthy.

This proactive measure enables us to detect any underlying health issues at an early stage, allowing for timely and effective treatment. Our dedicated veterinary team advocates for your pet's health and will explain any necessary tests and their significance to ensure you're informed every step of the way.

Trust us to take a preventive approach to your dog's veterinary care and provide the best possible care for your furry companion.

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.

Does your pet require advanced diagnostic care or treatment? Please get in touch with our Grants Pass veterinarians to book an appointment

Specialty Vets at Lincoln Road Veterinary Clinic

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