Blood tests are crucial tools in veterinary clinics, including Marina del Rey. Our veterinarians in Marina del Rey highlight the significance of these tests for cats and provide insights into their importance and the potential implications of test results.
Blood Test For Cats
When your vet recommends blood tests for your cat, you might not fully understand their purpose. Even experienced pet owners can feel worried about not knowing why their cat needs medical tests and what the results indicate. Here are a few typical blood tests for cats and what they reveal to the vet.
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
A Complete Blood Count (CBC) assesses a cat's blood cells, offering valuable insights to the vet. This information includes:
- Red blood cell (RBC) counts, proportions, and health - RBCs carry oxygen, iron, and other nutrients around the body.
- White blood cell (WBC) counts, proportions, and health - WBCs help fight inflammation, infection, cancer cells, and parasitic intruders.
- Platelet counts and health - Platelets control blood clotting.
A CBC can tell a veterinarian if a cat is anemic, dehydrated, fighting off inflammation or an infection, and whether your cat has internal bleeding.
BUN & Creatinine
BUN and creatinine are two types of blood tests commonly done as part of comprehensive blood exams. If BUN is high, it could suggest issues like dehydration, kidney troubles, or liver conditions.
Creatinine levels are closely tied to kidney health. Elevated levels could indicate the cat's kidneys are struggling to remove creatinine, possibly pointing to the early stages of kidney disease.
Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) & Bilirubin
Common blood tests like ALT and bilirubin levels are often included in regular check-ups. These tests mainly show how well your liver is functioning. If the results are unusually high, it might mean there's a problem with your liver.
Glucose, or blood sugar, is usually tested to see if a cat has diabetes mellitus, in which case the glucose level will be quite high. Low blood sugar levels can also give a veterinarian important information about a cat's overall health.
Feline Leukemia Virus (FELV) & Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
FELV and FIV are routinely tested in kittens and at regular intervals throughout adulthood. These viruses are life-threatening and cannot be cured once your cat is infected, so it's critical to monitor your cat's status in relation to them.
As cats grow older, their T4 levels are usually checked. A high T4 level could suggest the beginning of hyperthyroidism, a common issue in cats. Elevated thyroid levels might lead to various symptoms like greater hunger, weight loss, eating inappropriate things or desiring more human food, and more frequent vomiting.
By examining electrolyte levels like potassium, sodium, and chloride, veterinarians can learn important information about a cat's health, such as hydration and kidney function. Imbalances in these electrolytes can lead to symptoms like heart irregularities and muscle weakness in cats.
Why Your Vet Might Suggest Blood Work
Your veterinarian might recommend bloodwork for your cat due to several common reasons. Here's a list of the most frequent ones:
It's your cat's first exam - We recommend blood work at the time of your cat's first exam because it helps us establish baseline health, check for any congenital abnormalities or potential concerns, and help us form an individual wellness plan for your cat.
During semi-annual and annual wellness exams - Cat blood tests are usually recommended for all life stages, from kittens to geriatric cats, as part of their routine wellness check-ups. These are extremely beneficial in our mature patients, as we often see cats' health and happiness return to normal when blood tests catch illness early. Cat bloodwork, along with other bodily fluids like urine, can help identify conditions the examination portion of a physical cannot.
If a cat seems sick - Cat blood tests are suitable for cats that are not displaying any overt signs of illness, disease, or injury but are acting abnormally.
Before surgery - Cat blood work is used to determine the general health of the liver, kidneys, and other organs, which helps a veterinarian select the safest form of anesthesia. Bloodwork can also help determine the surgical risk level in all cats, especially elderly or injured patients.
What Can Be Learned From Your Cats Blood Test
Feline blood tests are crucial for veterinarians to identify and treat health issues in cats. These tests examine both the blood and organs like the kidney and liver. They involve analyzing different chemicals present in the bloodstream, such as:
- Cat blood tests can indicate a deficiency in albumin levels, which indicates a possible liver issue because albumin is produced in the liver or intestinal or kidney issues, as albumin can be lost if these are diseased.
- Blood tests for cats can detect abnormal hormonal-chemical responses to environmental and internal stimuli, which indicates a potential issue with the patient's endocrine system.
Once we connect, we can perform necessary tests and treatments for feline health. Feline blood tests are vital tools for vets to identify, diagnose, and prevent illness.
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.