We know that getting a blood test for your pet can be upsetting. To put your mind at ease, our veterinarians in Stanwood are available to explain dog blood tests.

Why is Blood Work Important for Dogs?

Regular blood tests are an essential part of preventive care for pets. They can help detect the earliest signs of illness before any outward symptoms appear. This allows your vet to promptly identify, diagnose, and treat the illness. When diseases are detected early, prevention and treatment can be administered earlier, which improves the chances of a full recovery. 

During routine exams, healthy pets need blood tests to obtain normal baseline values to compare to later. As pets age, blood tests can help detect changes in their health status. 

If your dog is displaying symptoms, diagnostic blood tests are essential in helping your vet determine the cause of the symptoms.

What Do Blood Tests for Dogs Reveal?

Veterinarians often perform two common tests on dogs: a complete blood count (CBC) and a complete blood chemistry panel, which includes electrolytes and urinalysis. These tests determine whether your pet's internal systems are functioning properly. 

The CBC can help identify the presence of anemia, inflammation, or infection, as well as immune system response and blood clotting ability. Meanwhile, the chemistry panel and electrolytes can evaluate the health of your pet's liver, kidneys, and pancreas. 

These tests can also detect complex issues within a dog's internal systems, including potential problems with the endocrine system. Blood tests for dogs can determine whether internal or environmental stimuli are causing hormonal-chemical responses.

When Does My Dog Need a Blood Test?

Countless circumstances can lead to your vet recommending that your dog have blood work done, such as:

  • Your pet's first vet visit (to establish baseline data and for pre-anesthetic testing before a spaying or neutering procedure)
  • Semi-annual routine exams as preventive care
  • During senior exams look for age-related conditions in the earliest stages
  • As pre-surgical testing to identify your dog's risk of complications during surgery
  • Before starting a new medication
  • If your dog is showing odd behaviors
  • To help assess your pet's condition during an emergency visit

How Long Does Blood Work Take at a Vet?

Thanks to our in-house lab, our vets can perform a variety of tests and get results quickly. The tests themselves are relatively quick and can take minutes. Some tests may take somewhat longer. Your vet can provide an accurate timeframe.

How Much are Blood Tests for Dogs?

The cost of blood tests for your canine companion will vary depending on several factors, such as the number and complexity of the tests. The team at our Northwest Veterinary Clinic of Stanwoodl can provide you with a cost estimate.

What Do My Dog's Blood Test Results Mean?

At Northwest Veterinary Clinic of Stanwood, we will always take the time to explain your dog’s blood tests and their results, as treatment and management of health issues are a team effort between our veterinary team and loving pet owners.

Your dog's bloodwork typically includes a complete blood count (CBC) or blood chemistry (serum test). The CBC is important for dogs with pale gums or who are experiencing vomiting, fever, weakness, or loss of appetite. Blood tests for dogs with diarrhea also fall into this category.

A CBC can also detect bleeding disorders or other abnormalities that may not be identified otherwise.

A CBC reveals detailed information, including:

  • Hematocrit (HCT): This test measures the percentage of red blood cells to detect hydration or anemia.
  • Hemoglobin and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (Hb and MCHC) are pigments in red blood cells that carry oxygen.
  • White blood cell count (WBC): We measure the body’s immune cells with this test. Certain diseases or infections can cause WBC to increase or decrease.
  • Granulocytes and lymphocytes/monocytes (GRANS and L/M): These are specific types of white blood cells.
  • Eosinophils (EOS): These are a specific type of white blood cells that can indicate health conditions due to allergies or parasites.
  • Platelet count: (PLT): This test measures cells that form blood clots.
  • Reticulocytes (RETICS): High levels of immature red blood cells can point to regenerative anemia.
  • Fibrinogen (FIBR): This test reveals important information about blood clotting. High levels can indicate a dog is 30 to 40 days pregnant.

What Blood Chemistries Reveal (Blood Serum Test):

Blood chemistries, also known as blood serum tests, can provide valuable information regarding a dog's organ function (liver, kidney, pancreas), hormone levels, electrolyte status, and more. These tests can be used to evaluate the health of older dogs, conduct general health assessments prior to anesthesia, or monitor dogs receiving long-term medications.

In addition, blood chemistries help diagnose and evaluate diseases such as Addison's, diabetes, kidney diseases, or other health issues. They are also useful in assessing the health of senior dogs and in cases where dogs exhibit symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or toxin exposure.

Does My Dog Need Blood Tests & Lab Work?

Our veterinary team at Northwest Veterinary Clinic of Stanwood recommends conducting blood tests and lab work as a proactive measure during an annual routine exam for your dog, regardless of whether they appear healthy or not.

This is because detecting health issues early on can help us treat your dog more effectively. We always prioritize your pet's health, and our team will explain any necessary tests and the reason behind them.

We take a preventive approach to your dog's veterinary care, ensuring they receive the best possible treatment.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Does your pet require advanced diagnostic care or treatment? Please get in touch with our Stanwood veterinarians to book an appointment.