So you've taken your Border Collie to the vet for surgery. And because you love your dog so very much, you've chosen a good vet."Would you like your dog to have a blood test done before we take him in to surgery?" your vet asks. He recommends it and offers to show you the results if you are interested in seeing them. Well of course you're interested in seeing them! But perhaps you're not quite sure what you'll do with the information.
Your Border Collie isn't always able to tell you what is wrong nor is he able to describe the symptoms. By doing a blood test, your vet is able to evaluate the status of your dog's major organs. The function of the liver and kidneys is especially important because these two organs process and rid the body of medications used during anaesthesia.
Blood is composed of different types of cells, each having a specific job to perform. Testing the blood lets the vet know the status of each type before surgery. And depending on the results of the blood test, your vet may need to adjust the dose or the type of anaesthetic used. He may even advise delaying surgery until your dog is healthier.
But what are they testing and what do all those abbreviations stand for?
ALBUMIN (ALB) 25 - 35 g/l
Albumin is produced by the liver. Reduced levels of this protein can point to chronic liver of kidney disease. It could also be indicative of parasitic infections such as hookworm.
ALANINE AMINOTRANSFERASE (ALT) <100 IU/L
This is an enzyme that becomes elevated when liver disease is present.
AMYLASE (AMYL) <3000 IU/L
The panceas produces and secretes amylase to aid in digestion. Elevated blood levels can indicate pancreatic and/or kidney disease.
BLOOD UREA NITROGEN (BUN) 10 - 25 mg/dl
This is produced by the liver and excreted by the kidneys. Testing for it helps to detect liver and kidney abnormalities.
CALCIUM (CA2) 8 - 12 mg/dl
Increased calcium levels can indicate the presence of certain types of tumors, parathyroid and diseases of the liver of kidney.
CHOLESTEROL (CHOL) 120 - 255 mg/dl
Elevated levels of cholesterol are seen in a variety of disorders including hypothyroidism and diseases of the liver or kidney.
CREATININE (CREA) 1 - 2.2 mg/dl
Creatinine is a by-product of muscle metabolism and is excreted by the kidneys. Elevated levels can indicate kidney disease or urinary obstruction.
BLOOD GLUCOSE (GLU) 60 -120 mg/dl
High levels can help diagnose diabetes and can also indicate stress. Low levels can indicate liver disease.
PHOSPHORUS (PHOS) 2.2 - 5.6 mg/dl
High phosphorus levels can indicate the presense of a kidney disease.
TOTAL BILIRUBIN (TBIL) <0.6 mg/dl
A component of bile, bilirubin is secreted by the liver into the intestinal tract. Blood bilirubin levels are useful in diagnosing problems in the bile ducts.>
TOTAL PROTEIN (TP) 5.5 - 7.8 g/dl
The level of TP can suggest a variety of conditions including dehydration and diseases fo the liver, kidney or gastrointestinal tract.
ELECTROLYTES (SODIUM, POTASSIUM, CHLORIDE) 3.6 - 5.8 mmol/l, 3.6 - 5.8, 105 - 115
The balance of these chemicals is vital to your dog's health. Abnormal levels can be life threatening. Electrolyte tests are important in evaluating vomiting, diarrhea and cardiac symptoms.
HEMATOCRIT (HCT) or PACKED CELL VOLUME (PCV) 37 - 55
This provides information on the amount of red blood cells that are present in the blood. This test is used to diagnose anemia.>
COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT (CBC) 6,000 - 15,000
This is a more complete panel of tests. The CBC provides detailed information on reb blood cell count, white blood cell count and platelets. These tests can indicate the presence of inflammation, stress or an inability to fight infection. Low platelets can indicate a potentially serious problem such as bleeding during or after surgery.
Looking at the cells through a microscope can provide information on the type of anemia or inflammation as well as other abnormalities.
Standards for "Normal levels" vary from lab to lab. You should only compare your results to the normals of the lab where they were run.