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Understanding Blood Tests for Cats

Understanding Blood Tests for Cats

In this post, our Monterey Park vets explain the different lab tests we perform on cats and what you can learn from them about your cat's health. 

What kind of info can we learn in a cat bloodwork?

Your cat's health is important to you, and regular check-ups are crucial to ensure they stay healthy. But have you ever wondered what your veterinarian learns from lab tests during these routine visits?

At Monterey Park, we prioritize prevention and thoroughly examine your pet's health from nose to tail. This includes internal checks for blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm, and blood pressure, as well as any necessary tests like blood and urine screenings.

Our in-house laboratory allows us to diagnose symptoms and begin treatment promptly and quickly. A typical blood test will include a complete blood count (CBC) and blood chemistry profile, and your veterinarian may also recommend testing for feline AIDS, feline leukemia, and thyroid hormone levels.

Each of these tests provide valuable insights into your cat's health.

Complete Blood Count

This test measures your cat's red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells. Each specific type of white blood cell has a unique reaction to any potential threats that the immune system may encounter.

With a CBC, the vet will analyze not only the total number of white blood cells, but also how many of each individual type of white blood cell are in your cat's blood sample.

Red blood cells (RBCs) move oxygen to the body's many tissues. A CBC counts how many RBCs are in your cat's blood and measures how well they transport oxygen based on hemoglobin levels (the protein which carries the oxygen) in the blood.

Platelets play a crucial role in blood clotting. If there is a shortage of platelets, it can lead to inadequate clotting, resulting in abnormal or excessive bleeding in your cat. A CBC test can determine the platelet count in your cat's blood.

Blood Chemistry Profile

The blood chemistry profile is a test that checks the various compounds found in your cat's bloodstream. It provides information about the functioning of your cat's kidneys, identifies any abnormalities in the renal systems, and detects dehydration or obstructions in your kitty's body.

The liver is another organ that's vital to your cat's health. If there are elevated values of chemicals that could indicate liver disease or abnormalities in other organs, they will be revealed here.

This test can also indicate abnormal levels of electrolytes. Such levels may be linked to conditions like gastrointestinal disease, seizures, and other illnesses.

Blood protein levels are also critical to your cat's health, as some have a role in the function of the immune system, while others aid in clotting. A blood chemistry profile will tell your vet about total protein levels, globulin levels and albumin levels.

Thyroid Hormone Measurements

Thyroid hormones can be measured to determine whether your cat has hyperthyroidism. This common disease usually impacts middle-aged and senior cats and can result in elevated thyroid hormone levels in their bloodstream.

Feline AIDS and Feline Leukemia Testing

If your cat has not been tested before, if she is at a high risk of exposure, or if she is sick, your vet may also test her for feline leukemia and feline AIDS. This test can also be given if your cat has been exposed to another cat carrying either of these viruses. It's important to note that although retroviruses cause both viruses, they are distinct from one another.

Depending on the results your vet receives from these basic blood tests, they may recommend more specialized testing.

Urine Test

To perform a urine test during your cat's regular checkup, you'll need to provide a sample of your pet's urine. While this may not be the most enjoyable task, the results of the test are crucial in detecting serious disorders such as urinary tract infections, bladder stones, incontinence, kidney disease, cushing's syndrome, diabetes, and liver disease. Prioritizing this test is important as it can save your cat's life.

These tests may reveal results that allow your vet to detect conditions early. As a result, your pet may be able to live a happier, healthier, and longer life if these conditions can be diagnosed and treated before they develop into larger issues. Your vet can also provide advice on general health and nutrition, in addition to taking steps to prevent illnesses and diseases.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets.

Is it time for your cat's annual dental checkup? Our Monterey Park vets can give your pet a thorough physical exam to ensure they're healthy inside and out. Contact us today.

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Veterinary Healthcare Center is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Monterey Park companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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