Understanding Blood Work

Cat blood tests can indicate a deficiency in vitamins and minerals, as well as possible infection, abnormal hormonal-chemical responses to environmental and internal stimuli causing changes or conflicts, which indicates a potential issue with the felines endocrine system. All tests are important because they give us information. Any information is useful information!!!

Types of Feline Bloodwork

Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus: This is a common test for kittens and cats, especially those with unknown origins. These viruses are interspecies contagious and can be life-threatening.

Complete Blood Count (CBC): This is used to analyze cats bloodwork to assess features of the blood, including red and white cell count, immunity status, and the measure of hemoglobin, which is the actual substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen. This will also examine hydration status, anemia, infection, blood clotting ability and immune system response. A CBC is essential for cats that have symptoms like fever, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, pale gums or loss of appetite. A CBC can also detect bleeding disorders or other unseen abnormalities as part of a pre-surgery risk assessment.

Blood Serum Chemistry: This is used to analyze cat bloodwork to evaluate organ function, electrolyte status, hormone levels and more. These tests are important in evaluating the health of all cats especially as they get older, cats with signs of vomiting, diarrhea or toxin exposure, as well as cats receiving long-term medications and general health before anesthesia.

Total Thyroid Level: This is used to analyze cat bloodwork for hyperthyroidism, a disease that will have significant effects in a cat's body if not treated. AAFP - Feline Hyperthyroidism

Additionally, in-house laboratory can process and analyze:

Urinalysis - Stool Samples - Cytology Clotting Parameters - Blood Gases - Blood Typing - Endocrinopathies

Understanding Your Cat's Bloodwork

Albumin (ALB): This is a serum protein that helps evaluate hydration, hemorrhage and intestinal, liver and kidney disease.

Alkaline phosphatase (ALKP): Elevations in this test may indicate liver damage, Cushing’s disease or active bone growth in a young cat. This test is especially significant in cats.

Alanine aminotransferase (ALT): This test may determine active liver damage, but does not indicate the cause.

Amylase (AMYL): Elevations in this test indicate pancreatitis or kidney disease.

Aspartate aminotransferase (AST): Increases in this test may indicate liver, heart or skeletal muscle damage.

Blood urea nitrogen (BUN): This test determines kidney function. An increased level is called azotemia and can be caused by kidney, liver and heart disease as well as urethral obstruction, shock or dehydration.

Calcium (Ca): Changes in the normal level of this test can indicate a variety of diseases. Tumors, hyperparathyroidism, kidney disease, and low albumin are just a few of the conditions that alter serum calcium.

Cholesterol (CHOL): This test is used to supplement diagnosis of hypothyroidism, liver disease, Cushing’s disease and diabetes mellitus.

Chloride (Cl): Chloride is an electrolyte that is typically lost with symptoms like vomiting or illnesses such as Addison’s disease. Elevations often indicate dehydration.

Cortisol (CORT): 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).

Creatinine (CREA): This test reveals kidney function and helps distinguish between kidney and non-kidney causes of elevated BUN.

Gamma Glutamyl transferase (GGT): This is an enzyme that indicates liver disease or corticosteroid excess.

Globulin (GLOB): This is a blood protein that often increases with chronic inflammation and certain disease states.

Glucose (GLU): Glucose is a blood sugar. Elevated levels may indicate diabetes mellitus. Low levels can cause collapse, seizures or coma.

Potassium (K): This is an electrolyte typically lost with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or excessive urination. Increased levels may indicate kidney failure, Addison’s disease, dehydration or urethral obstruction. High levels can lead to cardiac arrest.

Lipase (LIP): Lipase is an enzyme that may indicate pancreatitis.

Sodium (Na): Sodium is an electrolyte often lost with signs vomiting, diarrhea, kidney disease and Addison’s disease. This test helps indicate hydration status.

Phosphorus (PHOS): Elevations in this test are often associated with kidney disease, hyperthyroidism and bleeding disorders.

Total bilirubin (TBIL): Elevations in this test may indicate liver or hemolytic disease. This test helps identify bile duct problems and certain types of anemia.

Total protein: This test indicates hydration status and provides additional information about the liver, kidneys and infectious diseases.

Thyroxine (T4): Thyroxine is a thyroid hormone. High levels indicate hyperthyroidism in cats.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

WHITE BLOOD COUNT measures the body’s immune cells. Increases or decreases indicate certain diseases or infections.

RED BLOOD COUNT is the number of red blood cells per unit volume of blood. Increases or decreases can indicate dehydration or anemia.

HEMOGLOBIN is the oxygen carrying pigment of red blood cells. Increases or decreases in this number must be interpreted with other blood values.

HEMATOCRIT is probably the most important value of the red blood cells. This value measures the percentage of red blood cells in the blood to detect anemia, dehydration, and can help indicate some disease processes.

MCV (Mean cell volume) is the average red blood cell size. This value can help indicate some disease processes, but must be interpreted with other data.

MCH (Mean cell hemoglobin) is the average amount of hemoglobin per red blood cell. This value can help indicate some disease processes, but must be interpreted with other data.

MCHC (Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration) is another value for interpreting hemoglobin concentrations in cells.

RDW (Red blood cell distribution width) elevations can indicate that there is an increased variety in red blood cell sizes. This value should be interpreted along with other red blood cell values.

PLATELET COUNT measures cells that are used in blood clotting.

NEUTROPHILS are a type of white blood cells of the immune system. An elevation or decrease in absolute or total neutrophil counts can indicate a variety of processes including stress, inflammation, infection, or other disease processes.

LYMPHOCYTES are another type of white blood cells of the immune system. An elevation or decrease in absolute or total lymphocyte counts can indicate a variety of processes including stress, inflammation, infection, or other disease processes.

MONOCYTES are a less common type of white blood cells of the immune system that can indicate stress or chronic inflammation.

EOSINOPHILS are a type of white blood cells of the immune system. An elevation in absolute or total eosinophils can indicate allergy disorders, parasitism,and some skin and intestinal disorders.

BASOPHILS are a less common type of white blood cells of the immune system. Elevations in these can indicate allergy disorders, parasitism, and neoplastic states.

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