Pet Blood Tests | Vetwest Animal Hospitals

complete blood count (cbc)

This is the most common blood test done on pets and people. A cbc provides information on hydration status, anemia, infection, blood clotting ability, and the responsiveness of the immune system. this test is essential for pets with fever, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, pale gums, or loss of appetite. If your pet needs surgery, a complete blood count can detect some bleeding disorders or other unseen abnormalities.


red blood cell count measures the total number of red blood cells per volume of blood. It is used to detect anemia and other disorders of the red blood cells. mcv (mean cell volume) measures the volume of individual red blood cells.

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  • hemoglobin is the pigment in red blood cells that carries oxygen. mchc and mch (mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration and mean corpuscular hemoglobin) are measures of hemoglobin and are used to differentiate some anemias.
  • pcv (packed cell volume or hematocrit) measures the percentage of red blood cells to detect anemia and dehydration.


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white blood cell count (white blood cell count) measures the body’s immune cells. increases or decreases may indicate certain diseases, infections, or inflammation.

  • neutrophils, lymphocytes and monocytes are specific types of white blood cells. alterations of these can indicate infection, stress, cancer, hormonal imbalances and other conditions.
  • eosinophils are a specific type of white blood cells that can indicate allergic or parasitic conditions.


platelet count measures the cells that help form blood clots.

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reticulocytes are immature red blood cells. high levels indicate the rebuilding of the number of red blood cells.

blood chemistry

These common blood serum tests assess organ function, electrolyte status, hormone levels, and more. are important for evaluating older pets, pets with vomiting, diarrhea, or exposure to toxins, pets receiving long-term medications, and their health prior to anesthesia.

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  • na (sodium) is an electrolyte that is lost with vomiting, diarrhea, kidney disease, and addison’s disease. this test helps indicate hydration status.
  • k (potassium) is an electrolyte that is lost through vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive urination. elevated levels may indicate kidney failure, addison’s disease, dehydration, or urethral obstruction. high levels can cause a heart attack.
  • Cl (chloride) is an electrolyte that is often lost with vomiting and addison’s disease. elevations often indicate dehydration.
  • bicarb is an indication of acid/base balance and can change with vomiting and other conditions.
  • bun (blood urea nitrogen) indicates kidney function. an elevated level in the blood is called azotemia and can be caused by kidney, liver, heart disease, urethral obstruction, shock, and dehydration.
  • crea(creatinine) reveals kidney function . This test helps distinguish between renal and non-renal causes of elevated Bul
  • Ca (calcium) deviations that can indicate a variety of diseases. tumors, hyperparathyroidism, kidney disease, and low albumin are just some of the conditions that alter serum calcium.
  • elevations in phos (phosphorus) are often associated with kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and bleeding . disorders.
  • Elevated amyl (amylase) may indicate pancreatitis or kidney disease.
  • lip (lipase) is an enzyme that may indicate pancreatitis.
  • tp (total protein) indicates hydration status and provides additional information on liver, kidney, and infectious diseases.
  • alb (albumin) is a serum protein that helps assess hydration, bleeding, intestinal, liver and kidney disease.
  • glob (globulin) is a blood protein that is often increased with chronic inflammation and certain disease states, including some cancers.
  • tbil (total bilirubin) elevations may indicate liver or hemolytic disease. this test helps identify bile duct problems and certain types of anemia.
  • elevations in alkp (alkaline phosphatase) may indicate liver damage, cushing’s disease, or active bone growth in young pets. this test is especially significant in cats.
  • alt (alanine aminotransferase) is a sensitive indicator of active liver damage but does not indicate the cause.
  • ggt (gamma glutamyl transferase) is an enzyme that indicates liver disease or excess corticosteroids.
  • last rise (aspartate aminotransferase) may indicate liver, heart or skeletal muscle damage.
  • ck (creatine kinase) is an enzyme that indicates muscle damage.
  • ldh (lactic rehydrogenase) is an enzyme that can be elevated in muscle, heart, and liver disease.
  • chol (cholesterol) is used to aid in the diagnosis of hypothyroidism, liver disease, Cushing’s disease, and diabetes mellitus.
  • glu (glucose) is a sugar in the blood. elevated levels may indicate diabetes mellitus. low levels can cause collapse, seizures, or coma.
  • cortisol 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)
  • t4 (thyroxine) is a thyroid hormone. low levels often indicate hypothyroidism in dogs, while high levels may indicate hyperthyroidism in cats.
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