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Understanding Blood Tests For Dogs – Dog Lab Tests

Blood Tests For Dogs

Blood tests for dogs, commonly known as lab tests, offer valuable insights into your dog’s overall well-being. These tests involve analyzing a blood sample to uncover crucial information that might not be apparent during a routine physical examination. This comprehensive guide from Tnah highlights the significance of canine blood tests, exploring various aspects and understanding when they are most beneficial.

Why are blood tests necessary for dogs?

Blood tests hold immense importance when it comes to the well-being of dogs. As a part of preventive care, these tests provide valuable insights into the earliest signs of illness, even before any outward symptoms manifest. By detecting, identifying, diagnosing, or even treating diseases and illnesses, blood tests can prove to be a lifesaving tool.

Early detection of diseases enables prompt administration of prevention and treatment measures, significantly improving the chances of a positive outcome. Furthermore, healthy pets undergo blood tests during routine exams to establish average baseline values for future comparisons, especially as your pet ages.

In cases where dogs exhibit symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, unexplained weight loss, and other concerning signs, blood tests play a crucial role in assisting veterinarians in determining the underlying cause of these symptoms. This valuable information aids in providing the most appropriate and effective care for your beloved canine companion.

Blood Tests For Dog reasons

When Do Veterinarians Recommend Blood Tests For Dogs?

Dog blood work is typically recommended in several situations:

First Veterinary Visit:

Puppies may undergo blood tests to rule out congenital diseases, establish baseline information, and perform pre-anesthetic testing before spaying or neutering.

Semi-Annual Wellness Exams:

Veterinarians may suggest blood tests during comprehensive physical examinations to identify conditions that may not be readily apparent through external observatiin.

Vague Symptoms:

Blood tests are suitable for dogs displaying subtle discomfort or abnormalities without obvious indications of illness, disease, or injury.

Pre-Surgical Assessment:

Before surgery, blood tests help assess the efficiency of the liver and kidneys, enabling veterinarians to determine the safest anesthesia dosage. These tests also help assess the surgical risk level for infirmed, elderly, or injured patients.

Before Starting New Medication:

Blood tests are advisable, particularly for medications that the liver or kidneys may metabolize.

Senior Wellness Exams:

For mature, senior, and geriatric dogs, blood tests are recommended as part of periodic wellness exams. These tests often lead to early detection and treatment of issues, allowing senior dogs to regain vitality and well-being.

Common Types of Lab Work for Dogs

The Drake Center for Veterinary Care boasts an in-house dog laboratory capable of efficiently processing various types of blood work and cultures. Some of the most common lab work for dogs includes:

  1. Urinalysis: Evaluating your dog’s urine can reveal hydration status, infections, kidney or bladder diseases, diabetes, and other health conditions.
  2. Fecal Exam: Annual stool sample testing can help identify intestinal parasites, fungi, and protozoa and detect any blood or mucus.
  3. Complete Blood Count (CBC): Analyzing your dog’s blood provides valuable information about red and white cell count, immunity status, and hemoglobin levels, which are essential for detecting anemia and other blood-related conditions.
  4. Blood Clotting Times: This test helps assess your dog’s blood clotting capabilities.
  5. Blood Chemistries: These tests evaluate organ function, electrolyte status, hormone levels, and more, offering valuable insights into your dog’s overall health before anesthesia and during extended medication usage.
  6. Cytology: Collecting skin, ears, or lumps samples can help identify infections or cancerous cells.

    blood test for dogs

Understanding Your Dog’s Blood Test Results

At Tnah, we prioritize transparency and communication when explaining your dog’s blood test results. We firmly believe that addressing health issues requires a partnership between our veterinary team and caring pet owners.

Your dog’s bloodwork typically includes a complete blood count (CBC) or blood chemistry (serum test). The CBC is particularly significant for dogs displaying symptoms like pale gums, vomiting, fever, weakness, or loss of appetite. Additionally, blood tests for dogs with diarrhea also fall within this category.

The CBC reveals crucial information, encompassing:

  1. Hematocrit (HCT): This test assesses the percentage of red blood cells, providing insights into hydration levels and the possibility of anemia.
  2. Hemoglobin and Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration (Hb and MCHC): These pigments in red blood cells play a vital role in carrying oxygen.
  3. White Blood Cell Count (WBC): 
  4. Measuring the body’s immune cells, this test helps identify changes indicating certain diseases or infections.
  5. Granulocytes and Lymphocytes/Monocytes (GRANS and L/M): Specific white blood cell types that offer further information about your dog’s immune health.
  6. Eosinophils (EOS): These specialized white blood cells can indicate health conditions related to allergies or parasite infestations.
  7. Platelet Count (PLT): This test ensures proper coagulation and is essential for blood clot formation.
  8. Reticulocytes (RETICS): Elevated levels of immature red blood cells may suggest regenerative anemia.

By understanding your dog’s blood test results, we can work together to provide the best possible care for your beloved canine companion. Open communication ensures that your dog’s health remains our top priority.


Sum Up

To determine the most suitable dog blood tests for your furry companion, it is recommended to schedule a consultation with your veterinarian. Understanding the results of canine blood tests is essential, and your veterinarian will be there to explain and interpret the findings fully. With a proactive and informed approach, you and your veterinarian can work together, ensuring the best possible care for your beloved canine companion.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why would a dog need a blood test?

Blood tests and samples are crucial in gathering valuable information that cannot be deduced solely through a physical examination. When faced with a sick pet, a blood sample becomes indispensable in uncovering the underlying reasons for the ailment. Similarly, obtaining a sample for pets experiencing skin issues helps ascertain if their hormone levels contribute to the problem. These diagnostic procedures prove indispensable in providing comprehensive insights into your pet’s health and facilitating effective treatment plans.

  1. What does a full-blood test show for dogs?

The standard tests often include a complete blood count (CBC) and a comprehensive blood chemistry panel incorporating electrolytes and urinalysis. The CBC is used to identify the presence of anemia, inflammation, or infection. Furthermore, it provides insights into the immune system response and blood clotting ability.

  1. How do I prepare my dog for a blood test?

Follow these four steps to get your pet ready for the blood test appointment:

  1. Check with your vet for any specific instructions.
  2. Have your pet undergo a gentle fast before the appointment.
  3. Ensure your pet stays hydrated.
  4. Keep your pet calm and rested to make the process stress-free.


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