View Full Version : Understanding your pet's Blood work

09-01-2011, 10:04 PM
Understanding your pet’s blood work

CBC or Complete Blood Count is the most common test performed on pets and people. It gives information on hydration status, anaemia, infection, the bloods clotting ability and the ability of the immune system to respond. This test is normally run on pets which have fevers, are vomiting, have diarrhoea, weakness, pale gums or loss of appetite.
HCT or Hematocrit measures the percentage of red blood cells to detect anaemia and dehydration.
HGB and MCHC, Haemoglobin and Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin Concentration is oxygen carrying pigments of red blood cells.
WBC or White Blood Cell Count measures the cells that fight off infection. Increases or decreases can indicate certain infections or disease processes.
Grans and L/M, Granulocytes and Lymphocytes/Monocytes are specific types of white blood cells.
EOS or Eosinophils are a specific type of white blood cell that may indicate allergic or parasitic conditions.
PLT or Platelets measure cells which form blood clots.

Blood Chemistry
These tests evaluate organ function, electrolyte status, hormone levels and more.
These are useful for evaluating your pets for a variety of conditions as well as verifying health before any anaesthetic procedures.

ALB or Albumin is a serum protein which helps evaluate hydration, haemorrhage, intestinal, liver and kidney disease.
ALKP or Alkaline Phosphates, elevations may indicate liver damage, Cushing’s disease and active bone growth in young pets. This test is especially significant for cats.
ALT or Alanine Aminothansferase is a sensitive indicator of active liver damage but does not indicate a cause.
AMYL or Amylase, elevations can indicate Pancreatitis or Kidney disease.
Urea (BUN as it’s known in the USA) or Blood Urea Nitrogen, indicates kidney function. An increased blood level is called Azotemia and can be cause by kidney, liver and heart disease, urethral obstruction, shock and dehydration.
Ca or Calcium, deviations can indicate a variety of diseases, tumours, hyperparathyroidism, kidney disease and low Albumin are just a few of the conditions that can alter the serum calcium.
CHOL or Cholesterol is used to supplement the diagnosis or hypothyroidism, liver disease, Cushing’s disease and diabetes mellitus.
Crea or Creatinine reveals kidney function. This test helps distinguish b between kidney and non-kidney causes of elevated Urea.
GLU or Glucose is blood sugar. Elevated levels can be caused by stress or diabetes mellitus. Low levels can cause collapse, seizures and coma.
PHOS or Phosphorous, elevations are often associated with kidney disease, hyperthyroidism and bleeding disorders.
TBIL or Total Biliruben, elevations may indicate liver disease or anaemia.
TP or Total Protein indicates hydration status and provides additional information about the liver, kidneys and infectious diseases.
GLOB or Globulin is a blood protein that often increases with chronic inflammation and infectious diseases.
Na or Sodium is an electrolyte lost with vomiting, diarrhoea, kidney and Addison’s disease. It also helps indicate hydration status.
K or Potassium is an electrolyte lost with vomiting, diarrhoea or excessive urination. Increased levels may indicate kidney disease, Addison’s disease, dehydration and urethral obstruction. High levels can lead to cardiac arrest. Low levels can lead to excessive lethargy and lack of muscle control.
Cl or Chloride is an electrolyte often lost with vomiting and Addison’s disease. Elevations often indicate dehydration.
T4 or Thyroxin is a thyroid hormone. Decreased levels often indicate hypothyroidism in dogs while high levels indicate hyperthyroidism in cats.
Cortisol is a hormone that is measured when testing for certain disease conditions.

09-01-2011, 10:53 PM
Maybe we could have this very informative thread as a sticky for folk to refer back to?

09-01-2011, 11:00 PM
Good thinking Velvet. I know I will never remember what each thing means, but I think I would likely remember that there is a sticky with such info on it, were I to be in need of it...

09-01-2011, 11:57 PM
Another good informative bit of writing - Thank you.

10-01-2011, 12:00 AM
Good thinking Velvet. I know I will never remember what each thing means, but I think I would likely remember that there is a sticky with such info on it, were I to be in need of it...

I second that ........

10-01-2011, 10:22 AM
Thanks for that Elaine ~ very informative, especially for owners that get too stressed/worried at the vets & forget to ask these questions.

When I read it, it sounded like a script from "Casualty" where the doctors reel off all the initials of the tests they want done:lol:

10-01-2011, 11:06 AM
Elaine - this is an EXTREMELY worthwile article, many thanks for this. And yes I think there should be a 'resource' section full of stickies which will enable people to quickly find important information on health, behaviour etc.

10-01-2011, 11:52 AM
Excellent and informative article. It is sometimes very hard to take information in at the vet, especially when you are so worried about a sick pet. Great to be able to clarify what's what here.

07-07-2011, 04:27 PM
Good idea about keeping the article as a sticky, Velvet.

This is an article that will always want to be referenced to.