During certain veterinary visits, we may recommend bloodwork to better understand the health of the patient. By analyzing a blood sample, our team learns about the complete blood count (CBC) and the number of platelets in the blood. If the red or white blood cell count is low, we can diagnose illnesses and infections. Knowing the number of platelets is necessary as they are the clotting proteins that stop bleeding. Even if your canine or feline companion is healthy, it is still necessary to have this information in their file for future comparison.
When is bloodwork recommended?
- The most common reason for bloodwork is to diagnose illness. If your cat or dog is vomiting, has unexplained weight loss, diarrhea, fatigue etc. your veterinarian will recommend a blood test. We can use bloodwork to diagnose kidney disease, tick-borne diseases, bone marrow disease, dehydration, anemia, viral infections (Parvovirus, Panleukopenia), parasites, blood cancers and poisoning (certain foods or Tylenol).
- Preanesthetic testing. When a patient is scheduled to have a procedure done that requires anesthesia, we perform a blood test. Before all surgeries and dental procedures, our veterinarian will recommend bloodwork to determine if the patient is a good candidate for surgery. Based on the results, we can determine how much anesthesia is safe to use.
- To establish the patient’s baseline health. During routine visits, bloodwork may be recommended to learn more about your feline or canine’s normal health. Knowing what their normal blood chemistry is can help us identify any changes as they get older.
Is bloodwork painful for my cat or dog?
Not at all. The entire process goes by so quickly and our team works so carefully to ensure your cat or dog is comfortable. Withdrawing blood from your loyal companion will feel like a small pinch when the needle is inserted.
What do I need to know before a bloodwork appointment?
The most important precaution is to ensure your canine or feline pal fasts before their appointment. We recommend that food be withheld by midnight before the visit. Fasting ensures that we get the best blood sample, although occasionally the veterinarian may perform impromptu blood tests. Prior to the appointment, we will discuss other preparations that are specific to your cat or dog if they are on certain medications.