When Your Veterinarian says “Blood Work”…

What do they mean? Blood work is a pretty broad phrase and most of us do spend months of their adult lives studying its intricacies. Blood work allows your pet’s vet to get a snapshot of your pet’s blood cells, electrolytes, organ function and more. This week, I wanted to give you the run-down of this important tool.

Part one is what we call the Complete Blood Count or CBC. The CBC gives an in-depth look at the red blood cells that carry oxygen, platelets that are crucial to clotting ability and white blood cells that are the “soldier” of the immune system. The CBC can also help break down the types of white blood cells into more detailed categories and show the size and density of certain red cells and platelets. Most CBCs are done by machine now, but your veterinarian may also make a slide with a thin layer of blood and stain it to look at the nature of cells and confirm the CBC by microscope.

Part two is usually a panel (series of different snapshots) put together to fit your pet’s needs. These panels usually include a core set of measurements that look at kidney function, liver condition, blood glucose and the important blood protein levels that help your pet maintain circulation and more. In addition to these core measurements, additional liver tests and electrolyte values for potassium, chloride, calcium, phosphorous and more may be part of your pet’s panel. Your veterinarian may also recommend looking at thyroid measurements, cortisol levels, and other blood values.

Blood work is one great tool for your veterinarian to keep an eye on or get a look at your pet’s internal function and overall health.

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