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Laboratory

We have leading-edge in house laboratory diagnostic equipment that greatly aids in our diagnosis and treatment of disease. We have the latest Abaxis Chemistry Analyzer (VetScan and i-Stat) and Hematology Analyzer (HM5) that give us results in minutes, instead of hours or days. We perform many common laboratory tests in-house but also have the ability to send out samples for specific tests to a variety of comprehensive laboratories.

At Best Friends Animal Hospital, we routinely perform blood work as an evaluation of your pet’s overall internal health. The purpose of the guide below is to help you understand some of the common tests we perform.

Blood Chemistry Panels – This battery of tests is run from one blood sample, and gives your veterinarian information about organ function, electrolyte status, endocrine levels, and more. They are important values to consider in any pet before anesthesia, as well as pets with medical conditions or pets on medications. The two chemistry panels we offer are the Annual Health Screen Profile and the Comprehensive Blood Profile.

Annual Health Screen Profile– also called Pre-Anesthetic Profile, Rimadyl/Deramaxx/Metacam Bloodwork, Liver/Kidney Bloodwork

  • ALP (alkaline phosphotase) – elevations may indicate liver injury, bone disease, Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease, thyroid disease, pregnancy, and active bone growth in young animals.
  • ALT (alanine aminotransferase) – a sensitive indicator of acute liver damage or disease but does not indicate the cause. ALT may also be elevated with muscle injury.
  • BUN (blood urea nitrogen) – increased levels can indicate dehydration, kidney insufficiency, certain drugs, or intestinal bleeding. Low levels may be due to chronic liver malfunction or gastrointestinal malnutrition/malabsorption.
  • CRE (creatinine) – is a more sensitive indicator of kidney function than BUN. Elevated levels usually indicate kidney insufficiency. Low levels generally indicate severe muscle loss.
  • GLU (glucose) – a measurement of blood sugar level. Elevated levels may indicate stress, diabetes, or can be secondary to some medications. Low levels may be caused by excessive insulin, infection, cancer, or poor nutrition. Low levels may result in collapse, seizure, or coma.
  • TP (total protein) – a measure of the circulating blood proteins (combination of albumin and globulin). Increased levels may be due to cancer, dehydration, or chronic inflammation. Decreased levels may be due to malabsorption/malnutrition, kidney or liver disease, diarrhea, burns, or bleeding.

Comprehensive Blood Profile – (includes all of the tests listed above plus those listed below)

  • ALB (albumin) – a very important circulating serum protein. High levels usually indicate dehydration. Low levels can indicate bleeding or intestinal, liver, or kidney disease.
  • AMY (amylase) – an enzyme produced to help digest food. Significant elevations can indicate disease of the pancreas, intestines, or kidney.
  • CA (calcium) – deviations can indicate a variety of diseases. Cancer, parathyroid disease, kidney disease, or low albumin can all cause an alteration in serum calcium levels.
  • GLOB (globulin) – a circulating serum protein that may be elevated due to infection, inflammation, or cancer.
  • K (potassium) – a circulating electrolyte that can be lost with vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive urination. Increased levels may indicate kidney failure, Addison’s disease, dehydration, or urethral obstruction. High levels can lead to death.
  • NA (sodium) – a circulating electrolyte that is lost with vomiting, diarrhea, Addison’s disease, and kidney disease. Increases can be due to dehydration or fluid loss.
  • PHOS (phosphorus) – elevations can be associated with kidney disease.
  • TBILI (total bilirubin) – elevations can be associated with liver disease or red blood cell hemolysis. This test helps identify bile duct problems and certain types of anemia.

Complete Blood Count – This blood test gives us information about the circulating blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets). Erythrocytes or red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Leukocytes or white blood cells fight infection and are part of the immune system. Platelets are important parts of the clotting system.

  • HCT (hematocrit) – measures the percentage of blood which is comprised of red blood cells. It can indicate hydration status and allow us to identify anemia.
  • HGB & MCHC (hemoglobin and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration) – oxygen carrying pigments of red blood cells. They can help us classify anemias.
  • WBC (white blood cell count) – measures the amount of immune fighting cells. Increases or decreases can indicate disease or infection.
  • LYM, MON, NEU (lymphocytes, monocytes, neutrophils) – specific types of white blood cells.
  • EOS (eosinophils) – type of white blood cell which can be elevated with parasitic infections, allergic conditions, or Addison’s disease.
  • PLT (platelets) – proteins which play a very important role in the clotting process.

These blood tests are often performed in our sick pets, however there are many benefits of wellness testing. Regular wellness testing allows us to establish healthy baseline values customized for each pet. It also allows us to identify unseen disease at an early stage, often before clinical signs are evident. Performing bloodwork before any surgical or dental procedure allows us to tailor the anesthesia protocol for the pet and helps decrease risk involved with the procedure. We also perform bloodwork before starting certain medications and while on chronic medications to identify unwanted or unsafe side effects.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at 406-255-0500 or bfahpets@hotmail.com.