Understanding Test Results
Your pet thanks you for prioritizing their health. They may not be able to actually say it, but, we know they’re thinking it!
So, now that you’ve got the results from your pet’s tests, what does it all mean?
Below you’ll find some definitions and explanations that you may have seen in your cat or dog’s lab report.
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
A CBC for dogs or cats is a routine test is used for both general wellness checks and throughout the treatment of your pet’s illness. By analyzing a small blood sample, we can gather information about the different components of the blood (red blood cells (RBCs), hemoglobin (HGB), reticulocytes, white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets) and can indicate the presence of diseases, including:
The CBC is used to screen for:
- Anemia (low red blood cell levels)
- Bleeding problems
- Inability to fight infection
- Hydration status
- And more
Red Blood Cells (RBCs): Red blood cells are the most numerous and longest-living of the different types of blood cells. They typically make up almost half of the blood’s volume. RBCs contain a special protein called hemoglobin that binds to the oxygen in the lungs and enables the RBCs to transport oxygen as it travels through the rest of the body.
White Blood Cells: White blood cells are primarily responsible for fighting infections. There are five different types of while blood cells and each one performs specific functions to keep the body healthy.
Platelets: Platelets play a critical role in preventing bleeding.
Reticulocytes: These are immature RBCs increased during times of increased red cell production, such as blood loss or immune-mediated anemia.
HCT (Hematocrit): This measures the percentage of red blood cells to detect anemia or dehydration.
GRANS and L/M (Granulocytes and Lymphocytes/Monocytes): Types of white blood cells.
EOS (Eosinophils): A type of while blood cell that, if elevated, may indicate allergies or parasites.
Biochemistry Blood Panel
This blood test for dogs or cats measures the levels of chemicals and enzymes in your dog’s or cat’s body and can reveal a lot about the health and function of various organs, especially of the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. It also shows your pet’s blood sugar levels, the quantities of important electrolytes in the blood, and is used to screen:
- Kidneys for early renal disease/failure, infection, stones, cancer, and abnormalities.
- Liver for disease, Cushing’s disease, cancer, dehydration, obstruction of bile ducts, and abnormalities.
- Pancreas for Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), diabetes mellitus, cancer, and abnormalities.
- Glucose fluctuations may indicate a variety of metabolic diseases and various organ abnormalities.
- Electrolytes are critical to body function; an imbalance in levels can indicate
Urinalysis and Endocrine Testing
These tests provide a better understanding of kidney, liver, and thyroid function, as well as the general well-being of your pet.
- ALB (albumin) helps evaluate hydration, hemorrhage, and intestinal/liver/kidney health.
- ALKP or ALP (alkaline phosphatase) elevations may indicate liver damage, Cushing’s disease, and active bone growth in young pets.
- ALT (alanine aminotransferase) is an indicator of liver damage.
- AMYL (amylase) elevations show pancreatitis or kidney disease.
- AST (aspartate aminotransferase) increases may indicate liver, heart, or skeletal muscle damage.
- BUN (blood urea nitrogen) reflects kidney function. Increased levels are caused by kidney, liver, and heart disease, urethral obstruction, shock, and dehydration.
- Ca (calcium) deviations can indicate a variety of disease like hyperparathyroidism, liver disease, Cushing’s disease, and diabetes mellitus.
- Cl (chloride) is an electrolyte lost with vomiting and Addison’s disease and can indicate dehydration.
- Cortisol is a hormone that is measured in tests for Cushing’s and Addison’s disease.
- CREA (creatine) helps distinguish between kidney and non-kidney causes of elevated BUN.
- GGT (gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase) is an enzyme that, when elevated, indicates liver disease or corticosteroid excess.
- GLOB (globulin) is a blood protein that often increases with chronic inflammation and certain disease states.
- GLU (glucose) is a blood sugar and may indicate diabetes mellitus or stress, if elevated. Low levels can cause collapse, seizures, or a coma.
- K (potassium) is an electrolyte lost with vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive urination and may indicate kidney failure, dehydration, and other issues.
- LIP (lipase) is an enzyme that may indicate pancreatitis when elevated.
- Na (sodium) may be lost via vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney/Addison’s diseases and can indicate hydration status.
- PHOS (phosphorous) elevations are often associated with kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and bleeding disorders.
- TBIL (total bilirubin) elevations may indicate liver or hemolytic disease. This test helps identify bile duct problems and certain types of anemia.
- TP (total protein) indicates information about the liver, kidneys, infectious diseases, and hydration status.
- T4 (thyroxine) is a thyroid hormone. Decreased levels may signal hypothyroidism in dogs, while high levels indicate hyperthyroidism in cats.