Either because our pet has reached adulthood or it is necessary to perform a routine check-up, it may be necessary to perform a blood test, in order to corroborate or rule out any health problems.
Through blood samples, red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets can be analyzed, which are considered the solid part of the blood, as well as the liquid part, from which information about electrolytes, proteins, minerals and glucose is extracted .
Now, it can often be a bit confusing to understand the relevance or impact of the information that a canine blood test can offer us; Therefore, today we are going to help you understand what this laboratory test means, one of the most common ones practiced in veterinary clinics.
¿What should we find in a canine blood test?
One of the key points in a blood test is that it offers a set of referential values on certain substances and biochemical behaviors of the body. Thus, based on each reference value, the impact of what is obtained in each case is interpreted.
Let’s see what these values are:
One of the first sections of the blood test is the blood count. It is here that the behavior of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets is analyzed.
The red blood cells show us how oxygen transport is found in the animal’s blood, since this is its main function. When the values are below normal, it may suggest the existence of canine anemia.
In some cases, if the value of the red blood cells is well below the minimum amount for survival, the blood test gives us an alert about the need for immediate actions, because the life of the animal is in danger.
Also in the blood count, the coagulation behavior of the animal can be analyzed, a key value so that the dog can enter surgical interventions or even understand the incidence of some congenital diseases.
In addition, through the value of platelet count, the presence of internal hemorrhages can be known, while a high value suggests the imminent risk of thrombus formation in the dog.
In the blood count, it is also necessary to give relevance to the values of white blood cells, being the most used when analyzing a blood sample. Within this group, there are three values to consider: neutrophils, eosinophils and lymphocytes.
In the case of neutrophils, they are indicative of bacterial infectious processes, being the first to attack, while when it is a virus, the value is usually below the indicative.
Increasing eosinophils indicate allergies or the presence of a parasite. On the other hand, lymphocytes can indicate viral diseases when they are at low levels; In some cases, it may even be an indicator of leukemia.
In the next section of the blood test, we find the count of different substances that belong to the biochemistry of the dog and allows us to know its current state, as well as the functioning of its organs.
Among these chemical values are proteins, where albumin and immunoglobulin values are analyzed. In high values they usually indicate dehydration, while in low values, they are indicative of the need to deepen the studies.
Glucose shows us the value of blood sugar that is circulating. A low value may be the explanation for weakness, seizures and other more complex conditions.
In the case of creatinine, this value is related to renal functioning, which, together with elevated urea, are indicators of renal insufficiency.
Finally, bilirubin, which is a waste product of the liver as a result of the normal destruction of red blood cells, is an ideal value to know the functioning of the liver. A high value may suggest a liver problem or a possible case of anemia.
In some cases, the sodium and potassium values in the blood are added. These are not usually part of the general analytical routine, but are taken into account when there are suspicions of severe renal damage, especially if previous urea and creatinine tests have been altered.
Another value not very frequent, but that can be requested, is cholesterol. In the case of dogs, their relevance is not the same as in humans, since they are not exposed to risk of clogging of cholesterol in the arteries, so it represents only a reference value for suspected thyroid diseases or a improper dietary
¿Why should we do blood tests on our dog?
Taking a blood sample for analysis is the most common veterinary study technique that exists. It is a kind of photograph of the animal’s functioning and the most expeditious way of visualizing what may be afflicting the animal.
The sample is very simple and is usually taken from the front leg of the dog. From the same sample, the usual analytical values can be taken and the review of the special values based on any doctor’s hypothesis can be used.
If the dog undergoes a persistent diagnosis, has a strange symptomatology in the last time or is of advanced age, the blood test is the key point to be able to throw an adequate vision on what may be happening.
And although it is not possible to make an accurate diagnosis only from the analytical one, the reference values give the veterinarian an idea of where he can direct the efforts and in which aspects he should concentrate more carefully.
The blood test in dogs can be the key to get the pet to overcome some type of infection, be diagnosed in time any serious condition or may be prepared to support a surgical intervention; Knowing the reference values helps us better understand the indications of the veterinarian in charge.