Pre Operative Blood Testing

Routine blood testing typically includes a complete blood count (CBC) and a serum biochemistry profile; these tests provide a wealth of important information about a pet’s health status.

Complete Blood Count

 This simple test analyses the cellular components of blood. These include red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues, white blood cells, which fight infection and respond to inflammation, and platelets, which help the blood to clot. The CBC provides details about the number, size, and shape of the various cells types, as well as any abnormalities that may be present. If there are deficiencies in the red cells, white cells or platelets, or if there are abnormal cells present, then anesthesia and surgery should be delayed, if possible, until the underlying problem is corrected.

 Serum Biochemistry Profile

This is a series of tests performed on serum, which is the liquid component of blood. These tests provide information about how well the various organs of the body are working. Each test provides details about a specific organ or metabolic disease. For example, there are tests to assess the function of the liver, kidney and pancreas, and tests to identify the presence of diabetes, etc. (See handout Serum Biochemistry).

Major abnormalities, especially involving the liver or kidney, or evidence of serious metabolic disease would justify delaying anesthesia and surgery until the underlying problem was corrected.

How is the Blood Test Performed?

A small sample of blood is collected from your pet and placed in a special tube that prevents the blood from clotting. At the lab the sample is run through an automated analyzer that counts the cells in the blood and takes various measurements. In addition, a drop of blood is spread thinly on a glass slide (called a blood smear), stained with special dyes, and examined under the microscope to evaluate the appearance of individual cells.

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