Des Moines Veterinary Clinic Discusses Pre-Anesthetic Blood Testing

The Top 4 Reason To Test Your Pet Before Anesthesia
by Ingersoll Animal Hospital

When you place your pet in the trust of the staff at Ingersoll Animal Hospital, you can rely on us to provide your pet with the best possible care. You expect us to provide you with advice to allow you to make the best decisions for your pet.

Why Is Testing Necessary?

As in human medicine, the anesthetics available for your pet are very safe. As a result, the anesthetic risk is minimized in the healthy pet. It is our job to ensure that your pet can properly process and eliminate the anesthetics he/she is given. We perform pre-anesthetic testing to confirm that your pet’s organs are functioning properly and to help reveal any hidden health conditions that could put your pet at risk both during and after the anesthetic procedure.

The Top 4 Reason To Test Your Pet Before Anesthesia

1.) You deserve peace of mind. Testing can significantly reduce medical risk and ensure your pet’s health and safety.
2.) Pets can’t tell us when they don’t feel well. A healthy-appearing pet may be hiding symptoms of a disease or ailment. For example, a pet can lose up to 75% of kidney function before showing any visible signs of illness. Testing helps up evaluate your pet’s health up front, so we can avoid problems related to anesthesia.
3.) Testing can reduce risk and consequences. If pre=anesthetic results are within normal ranges, we can proceed with confidence, knowing that anesthetic risk is minimized. On the other hand, if results are not within normal ranges, we can alter the anesthetic procedure, or take other precautions to safeguard your pet’s health and reduce the risk of potential complications.
4.) Testing can help protect your pet’s future health. These tests provide baseline levels for your pet and become part of his/her medical record for future reference.

Although performing pre-anesthetic testing cannot guarantee the absence of complications, it can significantly minimize the risk.

Some Tests That May Be Performed

Hematology

Hematocrit (PCV or HVT) – Provides information on the amount of red blood cells present. A low hematocrit indicated anemia.
Complete Blood Count
(CBC) – A more complete panel of test providing information on red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. The total white blood cell count and individual cell counts can indicate leukemia, stress, inflammation, or an inability to fight infection. Low platelets can indicate a bleeding problem.

Electrolytes

Sodium, Potassium, Chloride (Na, K, Cl) – The balance of these electrolytes is vital to your pet’s health. Abnormal levels can be life-threatening. Electrolytes tests are important in evaluating vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and cardiac symptoms.

Blood Chemistry

Albumin (ALB) – A protein that is produced by the liver. Reduced levels of this can point to chronic liver, kidney or intestinal disease.
Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) – An enzyme that becomes elevated with liver disease or injury.
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALKP) – An enzyme present in multiple tissues, including liver and bone. Elevated levels can indicate liver disease, Cushing’s disease or steroid therapy.
Amylase (AMYL) – An enzyme produced by the pancreas. The pancreas secretes amylase to aid in digestion. Elevated levels can indicate pancreatic disease.
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) – Is produced by the live and excreted by the kidneys. Abnormally high levels can indicate kidney disease or dehydration and low levels can be associated with liver disease.
Calcium (Ca) – Increased levels can be seen with diseases of the parathyroid gland and kidneys, or an indicator of certain types of tumors.
Cholesterol (CHOL) – Elevated levels of cholesterol are seen in variety of disorders including hypothyroidism, liver, and kidney disease.
Creatinine (CREAT) – Creatinine is a by-product of muscle metabolism and is excreted by the kidneys. Elevated levels can indicate kidney disease urinary tract obstruction or dehydration.
Glucose (GLU) – High levels can indicate diabetes. In cats, high levels can also indicate stress, which can merely be a result of the trip to the hospital. Low levels can indicate liver disease, infection or certain tumors.
Phosporus (PHOS) – Elevated prosphorus can be an indicator of kidney disease.
Total Bilirubin (TBIL) – Bilirubin is a breakdown product of hemoglobin as well as a component of bile. Blood bilirubin levels are useful in indicating liver disease and possibly help characterize anemia.
Total Protein (TP) – The level of total protein can detect a variety of conditions, including dehydration and diseases of liver, kidney or intestine.

Other Tests That May Be Recommended

Thyroid (T4/FT4) – Thyroid disease can occur in both dogs and cats, and can have a serious impact on the health of your pet.
Urinalysis – The urine contains by-products from many organs, such as kidneys, liver and pancreas. Abnormal level of these by-products can indicate diabetes, liver or urinary tract disease.

adapted from @ 2003 IDEXX Laboratories, Inc