How do blood tests work in dogs? Which tests are most important at the checkup?

 How do blood tests work in dogs? Which tests are most important at the checkup?

Tracy Wilkins

Taking the dog to the vet is a care that cannot be neglected. The frequency will depend on the life stage of the animal: a puppy needs monthly consultations for growth assessment and vaccination; for an adult and healthy dog, annual consultations are sufficient; if we are talking about an elderly dog, however, the animal needs to undergo a check-up every year.The blood test for puppies is the main evaluation that the veterinarian will take into account to check the health status of the animal - other tests may be requested depending on the case.

The dog's blood test is the main way to ensure an early diagnosis and even prevent the onset of some diseases, which contributes to the longevity of the animal. Do you want to better understand the importance of this type of check-up? We unravel some common doubts!

What are dog blood tests for anyway?

As with humans, dog tests can be used for a variety of purposes, but they are often requested before a medical or surgical procedure and during a check-up. In these cases, dog blood tests help to assess the animal's condition, detect possible diseases or disorders and even ensure the safety of the animal.Infectious and inflammatory conditions, changes in platelets, anaemia or the presence of parasites can also be detected by these dog tests. In addition, they are the most effective way of assessing the dog's body's acceptance of certain medications.

The CBC is one of the most complete blood tests in dogs

If you have a puppy and usually go for an annual check-up with the vet, you may have heard about the CBC, right? Responsible for diagnosing several diseases, it is the most requested dog test in the offices. But with so much information, understanding the results of the CBC is not always an easy task. To help you, we explain the main information provided in this CBC.puppy examination.

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  • Hematocrit (HCT): responsible for measuring the percentage of red blood cells to detect anemia and hydration;
  • Hemoglobin and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (Hb and MCHC): are the oxygen-carrying pigments of red blood cells;
  • White blood cell count (WBC): is used to calculate the immune cells in the animal's body. In this case, increases or decreases in WBC can indicate diseases such as canine leukemia;
  • Granulocytes and lymphocytes/monocytes (GRANS and L/M): are specific types of white blood cells that serve to protect the dog against pathogens and foreign organisms. Therefore, low levels of these can indicate a weakened immune system;
  • Eosinophils (EOS): are a specific type of white blood cell that indicate allergic or parasitic conditions;
  • Platelet count (PLT): measures the cells that form blood clots. If low platelets are detected in dogs, it may be a sign of a blood system related disease such as thrombocytopenia - which is a decrease in clot-forming cells;
  • Reticulocytes (Rethic): are the immature red blood cells in the animal's body. High levels, for example, can be a sign of regenerative anemia;
  • Fibrinogen (FIBR): FIBR provides important information about blood clotting. In cases of high levels in a bitch, it can be a clear sign of pregnancy.

Some types of dog blood test also look at the general functioning of the body

In addition to the blood count, the veterinarian may usually order a biochemical blood test at the check-up to analyze some functions of the animal's body. Some examples are:

  • Urea and Serum Creatinine: changes in these rates are usually associated with kidney problems;

  • ALT and alkaline phosphatase: function as markers of possible liver disease, in which case the concentrations of substances linked to liver function, such as albumin, are assessed;
  • Glucose : this biochemistry serves to measure the level of glucose in the animal's blood, facilitating early diagnosis of diabetes.
  • This laboratory test can also check the levels of substances that influence the dog's health, such as iron, potassium, sodium, calcium, among others. The veterinarian will know exactly which rates are important, taking into account the dog's health history and age.

    Other dog tests indicated at the check-up

    Although dog blood tests are essential, they are not the only ones needed to protect your friend's health. This is because there are a number of procedures that must be done annually to ascertain every aspect of the animal's body. In this case, it is common for the veterinarian to perform anamnesis, physical and cardiological examinations in conjunction with blood tests. Toto have an accurate assessment of your friend's condition, learn more about dog tests:

    • Anamnesis: this type of dog examination serves to investigate possible variations in the animal's behavior, eating habits, hydration and heat frequency;

    • Physical examinations: the purpose of these types of dog examinations is to check the animal's skin for spots, sores and hair loss. In addition, it can also serve to identify the presence of fleas and ticks on the animal;

    • Cardiology tests: echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, blood pressure measurement and x-ray are some examples of these types of tests for dogs. In these cases, they are usually requested during the veterinary check-up only when there is a need.

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    • Ultrasounds: in some cases, the veterinarian may order an ultrasound, especially when there is a suspicion of infection, presence of foreign bodies, urinary or kidney stones, cysts or tumors. The examination is also important to monitor the pregnancy of females.
    • Urine test: also used to assess a dog's kidney function, this test looks at everything from urine density and pH to signs of systemic disease.

    Tracy Wilkins

    Jeremy Cruz is a passionate animal lover and dedicated pet parent. With a background in veterinary medicine, Jeremy has spent years working alongside veterinarians, gaining invaluable knowledge and experience in caring for dogs and cats. His genuine love for animals and commitment to their well-being led him to create the blog Everything you need to know about dogs and cats, where he shares expert advice from veterinarians, owners, and respected experts in the field, including Tracy Wilkins. By combining his expertise in veterinary medicine with insights from other respected professionals, Jeremy aims to provide a comprehensive resource for pet owners, helping them understand and address their beloved pets' needs. Whether it's training tips, health advice, or simply spreading awareness about animal welfare, Jeremy's blog has become a go-to source for pet enthusiasts seeking reliable and compassionate information. Through his writing, Jeremy hopes to inspire others to become more responsible pet owners and create a world where all animals receive the love, care, and respect they deserve.