We know pets can’t talk and often show no signs when something is wrong. So how do you know? You look! We use Early Detection Profiles starting at 3 years of age, and Comprehensive Lab Profiles for senior pets to examine the “insides”. Regular physical examinations and lab work can help identify problems in the early stages, when they are more successfully and more economically managed.
Comprehensive Lab Profiles are an extensive series of tests that are always recommended for senior pets, but can be done on younger adult pets as well if circumstances warrant. They include a Complete Blood Count (CBC), a Comprehensive Chemistry Panel, Thyroid Screen, Urinalysis and the Intestinal Parasite Exam. For dogs it includes the Heartworm Exam. Here are some of the components found in the CBC and Chemistry Panels:
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
This is the most common blood test performed on pets and people. A CBC gives information on hydration status, anemia, infection, the blood’s clotting ability and the ability of the immune system to respond. A CBC can detect bleeding disorders or other unseen abnormalities.
- HCT (hematocrit) measures the percentage of red blood cells to detect anemia and dehydration.
- Hb and MCHC (hemoglobin and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration) measures the oxygen-carrying proteins of red blood cells.
- RBC (red blood cell count) measure the number of active red blood cells.
- WBC (white blood cell count) measures the body’s immune cells. Increases or decreases indicate certain diseases or infections.
- Neutrophils are a specific type of white blood cell that may indicate inflammation or infection.
- Lymphocytes are a specific type of white blood cell that can increase in leukemia.
- Eosinophils are a specific type of white blood cell that may indicate allergic or parasitic conditions.
- Platelet Count measures cells that form blood clots.
- Reticulocytes are immature red blood cells. High levels indicate regenerative anemia.
- Total Protein indicates hydration status and provides additional information about the liver, kidneys and infectious diseases.
- Globulin is a blood protein that often increases with chronic inflammation and certain disease states.
- Glucose is blood sugar. Elevated levels may indicate Diabetes Mellitus. Low levels can cause collapse, seizures or coma.
- Creatinine reveals kidney function. This test helps distinguish between kidney and non-kidney causes of elevated BUN.
- BUN (blood urea nitrogen) indicates kidney function. An increased blood level is called azotemia and can be caused by kidney, liver and heart diseases, urethral obstruction, shock and dehydration.
- BUN/CREA Ratio If the BUN rises disproportional to the creatinine, this could indicate GI bleeding, dehydration or dietary changes.
- Albumin is a serum protein that helps evaluate hydration, hemorrhage and intestinal, liver and kidney disease.
- ALP (alkaline phosphate) elevations may indicate liver damage, Cushings disease (caused by too much cortisol being produced for the adrenal gland), and active bone growth in young pets.
- ALT (alanine aminotransferase) is a sensitive indicator of active liver damage but doesn’t indicate the cause.
- K (Potassium) is an electrolyte lost with vomiting, diarrhea or excessive urination. Increased levels may indicate kidney failure, Addisons disease, dehydration or urethral obstruction. High levels can lead to cardiac arrest.
- T4 (thyroxine) is a thyroid hormone. This test determines thyroid activity. Hyperthyroidism symptoms may be vague early but will progress to increased appetite and weight loss, increased metabolism and heart rate. This disease can be treated effectively if caught early.