Understanding YOUR DOG’S BLOOD TEST helps you understand the condition of your dog and the treatment plan if needed.
Drake Center for Veterinary Care stressed that “arresting and treating whatever a blood test indicates takes an informed and concerted team effort.”
There are two kinds of blood tests: a Complete Blood Count (CBC) and/or a Blood Chemistry (serum) test.
The Drake Center said the CBC shows :
*the dog's hydration status,
* if the dog is anemic
*if the dog has an infection,
*the blood clotting ability, and,
*the immune system response.
A CBC is done if the dog has the following symptoms:
*pale gums, or
*loss of appetite.
The Drake Center added that a CBC detects bleeding disorders or unseen abnormalities which the vet needs to know prior to a surgery.
The Drake Center explained the CBC provides detailed information including:
§ Hematocrit (HCT): This measures the percentage of red blood cells to detect anemia and hydration.
§ Hemoglobin and mean corpulscular hemoglobin concentration (Hb and MCHC) or the oxygen-carrying pigments of red blood cells.
§ White blood cell count (WBC): This measures the body's immune cells. An increase or decrease indicate certain diseases or infections.
§ Granulocytes and lymphocytes/monocytes (GRANS and L/M) or specific types of white blood cells.
§ Eosinophils (EOS) or a specific type of white blood cells that may indicate allergic or parasitic conditions.
§ Platelet count (PLT): This measures cells that form blood clots.
§ Reticulocytes (RETICS) or the immature red blood cells. High levels show regenerative anemia.
§ Fibrinogen (FIBR): This test provides vital information on blood clotting. High levels usually mean a dog is 30 to 40 days pregnant.
On the other hand, a Blood Chemistry, or blood serum test, is done to evaluate a dog's organ function, electrolyte status, and hormone levels, among others.
This test is done to:
*evaluate the health of older dogs;
* when a dog vomits, has diarrhea, has been exposed to toxins;
*to monitor a dog who is on a long-term medication; and
*to know the general health condition of a dog before giving anesthesia prior to sugery.
The blood chemistry, Drake Center said, provides vital information such as:
*Albumin (ALB): This serum protein helps evaluate hydration, hemorrhage and intestinal, liver and kidney disease.
§ Alkaline phosphatase (ALKP): An increase may indicate liver damage, Cushing's disease or active bone growth in a young dog.
§ Alanine aminotansferase (ALT): This can determine active liver damage, but does not show the cause.
§ Amylase (AMYL): An increase indicates pancreatitis or kidney disease.
§ Aspartate aminotransferase (AST): An elevation may indicate liver, heart or skeletal muscle damage.
§ Blood urea nitrogen (BUN): This determines kidney function. An increase is called azotemia and can be caused by kidney, liver and heart disease as well as urethral obstruction, shock or dehydration.
§ Calcium (Ca): An increase or decrease can indicate different diseases like tumors, hyperparathyroidism, kidney disease, and low albumin. These are a few of the conditions that alter serum calcium.
§ Cholesterol (CHOL): The result supplements diagnosis of hypothyroidism, liver disease, Cushing's disease and diabetes mellitus.
§ Chloride (Cl): This is an electrolyte that is usually lost when a dog is vomiting or has illnesses such as Addison's disease. An increase often indicates dehydration.
§ Coristol (CORT) is a hormone that is measured in tests for Cushing's disease (the low-dose dexamethasone suppression test) and Addison's disease (ACTH stimulation test).
§ Creatinine (CREA) shows the kidney function and helps distinguish between kidney and non-kidney causes of elevated BUN.
§ Gamma Glutamy transferase (GGT is an enzyme that indicates liver disease or corticosteroid excess.
§ Globulin (GLOB) is a blood protein that often increases with chronic inflammation and certain disease states.
§ Glucose (GLU) is a blood sugar. An increase may indicate diabetes mellitus. A low level can cause collapse, seizure, or coma.
§ Potassium (K) is an electrolyte usually lost with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or excessive urination. An increase may indicate kidney failure, Addison's disease, dehydration or urethral obstruction. It can also lead to cardiac arrest.
§ Lipase (LIP is an enzyme that may indicate pancreatitis.
§ Sodium (Na) is an electrolyte usually lost due to vomiting, diarrhea, kidney disease and Addison's disease. The level shows the hydration status.
§ Phosphorus (PHOS): An increase may indicate a kidney disease, hyperthyroidism and bleeding disorders.
§ Total bilirubin (TBIL): An increase may indicate liver or hemolytic disease. This helps identify bile duct problems and certain types of anemia.
§ Total protein: This indicates hydration status and provides additional information on the liver, kidneys and infectious diseases.
§ Thyroxine (T4) is a thyroid hormone. A decrease often signal hypothyroidism in dogs.
Your vet will know which blood test is needed or if both tests will be done.
Please always ask your vet to explain the results to you. The result indicates if a value is high or low and the correlation of the said values.
From there, you can discuss with your vet the best treatment plan for your dog. Your vet will ask if you can give medicine in tablet or liquid form. Some dogs keep a tablet hidden inside their mouth and will spit them when you are not looking. If your dog does this, please ask your vet for an alternative medicine which you can put in a syringe to give to your dog, or you can put the medicine (powdered or liquid) in a small amount of food first if the medicine can be given with the food. There are meds that must be given after a meal. Again, please ask your vet.
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