Understanding your pet’s blood work
|Blood tests help us determine your pet’s health status and causes of illness accurately, safely, and quickly and let us monitor the progress of medical treatments. A checkmark in any box indicates a significant abnormal finding on your pet’s blood work. If you have questions, ask any staff member. We want you to understand our recommendations and be a partner in your pet’s care.
Complete blood count (CBC)
The most common test, a CBC gives information on hydration status, anemia, infection, the blood’s clotting ability, and the immune system’s ability to respond.
> HCT (hematocrit) measures the percentage of red blood cells to detect anemia and dehydration.
> Hb and MCHC (hemoglobin and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration) measure hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying pigment of red blood cells (corpuscles).
> GRANS and L/M (granulocytes and lymphocytes/ monocytes) are speciﬁc types of white blood cells
> WBC (white blood cell) count classiﬁes and measures the body’s immune cells. Increases or decreases indicate certain diseases or infections.
> EOS (eosinophils) are a speciﬁc type of white blood cells that, if elevated, may indicate allergic or parasitic conditions.
> PLT (platelet count) measures cells that help stop bleeding by forming blood clots.
> RETICS (reticulocytes) are immature red blood cells. high or low levels help classify anemias.
Serum chemistry proﬁle
These common tests evaluate organ function, electrolyte status, hormone levels, and more.
> ALB (albumin) is a serum protein that helps evaluate hydration, hemorrhage, and intestinal, liver, and kidney health.
> ALKP or ALP (alkaline phosphatase) elevations may indicate liver damage, Cushing’s disease, and active bone growth in young pets.
> ALT (alanine aminotransferase) is a sensitive indicator of active liver damage but doesn’t indicate the cause.
> AMYL (amylase) elevations show pancreatitis or kidney disease.
> AST (aspartate aminotransferase) increases may indicate liver, heart, or skeletal muscle damage.
> BUN (blood urea nitrogen) reﬂects kidney function. An increased blood level is called azotemia and can be caused by kidney, liver, and heart disease, urethral obstruction, shock, and dehydration.
> Ca (calcium) deviations can indicate a variety of diseases. Tumors, hyperparathyroidism, kidney disease, and low albumin are just a few of the conditions that alter serum calcium.
> CHOL (cholesterol) is used to supplement diagnosis of hypothyroidism, liver disease, Cushing’s disease, and diabetes mellitus.
> Cl (chloride) is an electrolyte often lost with vomiting and Addison’s disease. Elevations often indicate dehydration.
> 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).
> CREA (creatinine) reﬂects kidney function. This test helps distinguish between kidney and nonkidney causes of elevated BUN.
> GGT (gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase) is an enzyme that, when elevated, indicates liver disease or corticosteroid excess.
> GLOB (globulin) is a blood protein that often increases with chronic inﬂammation and certain disease states.
> GLU (glucose) is blood sugar. Elevated levels may indicate diabetes mellitus or stress. Low levels can cause collapse, seizures, or coma.
> K (potassium) is an electrolyte lost with vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive urination. Increased levels may indicate kidney failure, Addison’s disease, dehydration, and urethral obstruction. High levels can lead to cardiac arrest and death.
> LIP (lipase) is an enzyme that may indicate pancreatitis when elevated.
> Na (sodium) is an electrolyte lost with vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney or Addison’s diseases. This test also helps indicate hydration status.
> PHOS (phosphorous) elevations are often associated with kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and bleeding disorders.
> TBIL (total bilirubin) elevations may indicate liver or hemolytic disease. This test helps identify bile duct problems and certain types of anemia.
> TP (total protein) indicates hydration status and provides information about the liver, kidneys, and infectious diseases.
> T4 (thyroxine) is a thyroid hormone. Decreased levels often signal hypothyroidism in dogs, while high levels indicate hyperthyroidism in cats.