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Understanding Your Pet’s Bloodwork


“CBC, chem seven, stat!”  This may sound familiar If you watch such popular television dramas such as ER, Chicago Hope, and Emergency Vets.  But do you know what the terms mean?  Blood tests help doctors determine causes of Illness accurately, safely, and quickly and let us monitor the progress of medical treatments.  To help you understand your pet’s test results, this guide explains common tests.  A checkmark in any box indicates a significant abnormal finding on your pet’s blood work.  If you have questions, ask any staff member.  We want you to understand our recommendations and be a partner in your pet’s care.

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. This test is essential for pets with fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, pale gums, or loss of appetite. If your pet needs surgery, 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) are the oxygen-carrying pigments of red blood cells.
  • WBC (white blood cell count) measures the body’s immune cells. Increases or decreases indicate certain diseases or infections.
  • GRANS and L/M (granulocytes and lymphocytes/monocytes) are specific types of white blood cells.
  • EOS (eosinophils) are a specific type of white blood cells that may Indicate allergic or parasitic conditions.
  • PLT (platelet count) measures cells that form blood clots.
  • RETICS (reticulocytes) are immature red blood cells. High levels indicate regenerative anemia.
  • FIBR (fibrinogen) Is an important clotting factor. High levels may indicate a dog is 30 to 40 days pregnant.


Blood Chemistries

These common blood serum tests evaluate organ function, electrolyte status, hormone levels, and more. They are important in evaluating older pets, pets with vomiting and diarrhea or toxin exposure, pets receiving long-term medications, and health before anesthesia.