One of the most important and helpful diagnostic tools that we have in veterinary medicine is a comprehensive blood panel. These panels can offer us valuable information regarding the overall health and well-being of your pet.
So just what does a comprehensive blood panel cover? Usually, it is divided into three parts, a CBC or complete blood count, a chemistry panel, and electrolytes. Other tests can be added in such as thyroid levels. The CBC gives us information on things such as hydration status, whether or not a pet is anemic, and it also tells us information about white blood cells too which can be important in many cases, such as during infection or inflammation. The chemistry panel covers a lot of body systems, including the liver and kidneys, and can provide valuable insight into how well they are functioning. Electrolytes need to always be balanced, and when they are not, it is important to figure out the cause and correct the imbalance. Of course, this is barely scratching the surface of what a comprehensive blood panel can tell us. However, it is easy to see just how helpful bloodwork can be.
Before we discuss how bloodwork can help your pet when it is sick, it is also important to discuss how bloodwork can help your pet when it is well. When we do bloodwork on a healthy pet, we get the baseline values that are normal for your pet. In a time of sickness, we can see how those normal values might have changed and monitor any trends in an abnormal direction. Another time we may use a blood panel on a healthy pet is before undergoing anesthesia. Since anesthesia is mostly metabolized by the liver and kidneys, checking to make sure that these organs are healthy can be important before administering anesthetic drugs.
When your pet is sick, or just not acting quite right, bloodwork may be suggested by your veterinarian to try and obtain more information as to what is going on. In times of illness, it is important to know hydration status, white and red cell counts, how organ systems are functioning, if there are any electrolyte imbalances, the list goes on. There are even endocrine diseases that can be diagnosed with the help of blood panels. Often, bloodwork will give us answers, or at least point us in the right direction in the diagnosis and treatment of your pet. Other times, bloodwork does not tell us the answer, and we have to look to other diagnostics to help your pet. Even so, the results of the test, whether normal or abnormal, can give us valuable insight into your pets overall health and well-being.
We hope you find this information helpful, and remember that your veterinarian is always there and willing to answer any questions you may have on the health and medical care of your pet.