Understanding Your Pet’s Blood Test Results


Blood tests can help us to (i) identify problems not easily determined on clinical examination, (ii) determine causes of some illnesses, (iii) rule problems out, (iv) monitor the progress of certain conditions and (v) evaluate the progress of medical treatments. This guide explains common tests in order to help you better understand your pet’s blood test results.

Haematology/Complete Blood Count (CBC)

This is a common blood test performed on pets and people. It gives information on hydration status, anaemia, infection, the blood’s clotting ability and the ability of the immune system to respond. This test is especially helpful for pets with fevers, vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, pale gums or loss of appetite. If your pet needs surgery, a CBC can detect bleeding disorders or other unseen abnormalities.

  • HCT (haematocrit) measures the percentage of red blood cells to detect anaemia and dehydration.

  • Hb and MCHC (haemoglobin and mean corpuscular haemoglobin 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 lymohocytes/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 may indicate regenerative anaemia.

Blood Chemistries

These blood serum tests evaluate organ function and electrolyte status. They are important in evaluating older pets, health before anaesthesia, pets with vomiting and diarrhoea or poison exposure and pets receiving long-term medication.

  • ALB (albumin) is a serum protein that helps evaluate hydration, haemorrhage and intestinal, liver and kidney disease.

  • ALKP (alkaline phosphatase) elevations may indicate liver damage, Cushing’s disease and active bone growth in young animals. This test is especially significant in cats.

  • ALT (alanine aminotransferase) is a sensitive indicator of active liver damage but does not indicate the cause.

  • AMYL and L/M (alanine aminotransferase) is a sensitive indicator of active liver damage but does not indicate the cause.

  • UREA (eosinophils) (alanine aminotransferase) is a sensitive indicator of active liver damage but does not indicate the cause.

  • CREA (creatinine) reveals kidney function. This helps to distinguish between kidney and non-kidney causes of elevated UREA.

  • CA (calcium) deviations can indicate a variety of diseases. Tumours, hyper para thyroidism, kidney disease and low albumin are just a few of the conditions that can alter a serum calcium.

  • CHOL (cholesterol) is used to supplement diagnosis of hypo thyroidism, liver disease, Cushing’s disease and diabetes mellitus.

  • GLOB (globulin) is a blood protein that often increases with chronic inflammation and certain disease states.

  • GLU (glucose) is a blood sugar. High levels may indicate diabetes mellitus. Low levels can cause collapse, seizures and coma.

  • TP (total protein) indicates hydration status and provides additional information about liver, kidney and infectious diseases.

  • K (potassium) is an electrolyte lost in vomiting, diarrhoea or excessive urination. Increased levels may indicate kidney failure, Addison’s disease, dehydration and urethral obstruction. High levels can lead to cardiac arrest.

  • Na (sodium) is an electrolyte lost in vomiting, diarrhoea and kidney and Addison’s disease. This test helps indicate hydration status.

  • Cl (chloride) is an electrolyte often lost in vomiting and Addison’s disease. Elevations often indicate dehydration.

  • P (phosphorus) is a mineral that helps to diagnose kidney disease and disorders of calcium balance.