The Benefits of Bloodwork for Dogs and Cats

Blood tests add immense value to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of pet disease.

Whether your pet is a senior, or still young in years, routine bloodwork is an important part of your pet’s healthcare.

Blood tests are an easy, safe, and relatively inexpensive way to peer inside your pets and find potential health problems.

Analysis of the numbers and structure of blood cells is important in the diagnosis and monitoring of disease and infection. These tests can help us identify a problem before clinical signs or symptoms appear.

The Benefits of Blood Work for Dogs and Cats

Red Blood Cells

There are 3 common tests carried out using red blood cells:

  • Packed cell volume
  • Hemoglobin concentration
  • Red blood cell count

The results of tests on red blood cells can tell us a lot about the way your pet’s body is functioning, and suggest possible health problems. All three of these tests are interrelated and help us diagnose diseases. A high proportion of red blood cells is common when a pet is dehydrated or has diarrhea. A low packed cell volume may suggest anemia or bleeding.

White Blood Cells

There are 5 main types of white blood cells:


  • Increase in number during inflammation, infection, and short-term stress.


  • Increase during allergic reactions and some tissue injuries. Their number also goes up in response to certain tumors and parasites.


  • An increase in the number of basophils is associated with inflammation.


  • An increase in number can be found during chronic diseases.


  • Large increases in the number of lymphocytes often indicate leukemia, a type of cancer.

Platelets, or thrombocytes:

  • Injuries often prompt a large increase in the number of platelets. Some autoimmune diseases, blood clotting disorders, and bone marrow problems cause a decrease in the number of platelets.

How do Blood Tests help my Pet?

Having these tests performed can help point to a diagnosis, particularly if the animal has signs and a history that could make it difficult to determine the problem.

Blood tests that might be included on your pet's bloodwork:

Based on the results of this group of tests, other tests may be carried out as needed to reach a definite diagnosis.

  • Total Protein: Increases due to dehydration or inflammation; may decrease due to bleeding, malnutrition, or congestive heart failure
  • Albumin: Increases due to dehydration; may decrease due to bleeding, congestive heart failure, or liver failure
  • Globulin: Calculated as the difference between total protein and albumin
  • Urea: Increases due to certain dietary excesses or deficiencies, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, or a ruptured bladder; decreases may be due to liver failure or low levels of dietary protein
  • Creatinine: Increases may be due to kidney disorders, muscle damage, or a ruptured bladder
  • Glucose: Increases may be caused by diabetes or short-term stress; decreases may be found in cases of neurologic disease or malnutrition
  • ALT and ALP: Increases in these enzymes may indicate liver damage, muscle damage, or increased thyroid gland activity

What we can uncover through pet bloodwork:

  • Dehydration
  • Inflammation
  • Infection
  • Bleeding (internal and external)
  • Malnutrition
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Diabetes
  • Lyme Disease
  • and more!

The Benefits of Blood Work for Dogs and Cats

How does Bloodwork Prepare my Pet for Surgery?

Bloodwork performed on cats and dogs before anesthesia and surgery can tell us how to prepare your pet for the procedure, how to help your pet recover and determine if your pet should go through the procedure at all.

We want your pet to be healthy enough not only to go through a medical procedure, but to recover without any complications from hidden conditions that bloodwork can easily reveal beforehand.

Your veterinarian will share with you whatever concerns they have, should bloodwork uncover a condition that could impact the efficacy, timing, and duration of surgery.

We hope that this article has given you an insight into some of the benefits that blood work can provide to your pets!

Interested in blood work for your pet? Request an appointment online or contact us today!


Blog Category: