How to Read Your Dog's Blood Work Results

My dogs are going for their annual teeth cleaning surgery this week and prior to surgery the vet does a blood work exam to clear them on if they can be put under with anesthesia. I'm sure that vets use different names for these tests but I am going to be listing everything as it is on my invoice and exam.

On both my dogs the vet drew blood for a Superchemistry and CBC/Differential. These were two separate charges and two separate sections on the blood exam itself which I will get into a little later.

I will be going in order of explaining each item as it appears on my dogs blood exam. As far as ranges are concerned I take that they range differently depending on the breed and the size of the dog. I will be using the ranges listed on my exam as the "Adult Reference Range" from ANTECH diagnostics.

Blood tests are not only used before teeth cleaning procedures, blood exams certify good health and indicate if your pup is healthy and free of disease or infection. Blood exams also indicate the number and type of blood cells present in their blood. These tests can help identify many problems in your pup such as anemia, leukemia, function/malfunction of many organs including the live and the thyroid. Above all these tests are a good way to see if your pup is having an abnormality.

Let's begin!

Unit of Measure

Total Protein (TP) - Increases indicate dehydration or blood cancer, bone marrow cancer; decreases indicate malnutrition, poor digestion, liver or kidney disease, bleeding or burns.

5.0 - 7.4
Albumin (ALB) - Produced by the liver, reduced levels of this protein can point to chronic liver or kidney disease, or parasitic infections such as hookworm. High levels indicate dehydration and loss of protein.

2.7 - 4.4
Globulins (GLOB) - Decreased levels indicate problems with antibodies, immunodeficiency viruses or risk of infectious disease. Increased levels may indicate stress, dehydration or blood cancer, allergies, liver disease, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes.

1.6 - 3.6
Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) - An enzyme that becomes elevated with liver disease.

12 - 118
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALKP) - An enzyme produced by the biliary tract (liver). High levels indicate bone disease, liver disease or bile flow blockage.

5 - 131
Total Billirubin (TBIL) - A component of bile, bilirubin is secreted by the liver into the intestinal tract. *High levels can lead to jaundice and indicate destruction in the liver and bile duct.

0.1 – 0.3
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) - BUN is produced by the liver and excreted by the kidneys. Decreased levels are seen with low protein diets, liver insufficiency, and the use of anabolic steroid drug. Increased levels indicate any condition that reduces the kidney's ability to filter body fluids in the body or interferes with protein breakdown.

6 - 25

Creatinine (CREA) - Creatinine is a by-product of muscle metabolism and is excreted by the kidneys. Elevated levels can indicate kidney disease or urinary obstruction, muscle disease, arthritis, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes. An increased BUN and normal creatinine suggest an early or mild problem. An increased creatinine and increased BUN with elevated phosphorus indicate a long standing kidney disease.

0.5 – 1.6
Phosphorus (PHOS) - Affected by diet, parathormone and kidney. Decreased levels shows overactive parathyroid gland and malignancies, malnutrition and malabsorption. Increases with under active parathyroid gland and kidney failure.

2.5 - 6.0
Glucose (GLU) - High levels can help diagnose diabetes and can indicate stress, excess of the hormone progesterone, an overactive adrenal gland. Low levels can indicate liver disease, tumors or abnormal growth on pancreas, an under active adrenal gland.

70 - 138
Calcium (CA) - Blood calcium levels are influenced by diet, hormone levels and blood protein levels. *Decreased levels indicate acute damage to the pancreas or under-active parathyroid. Muscle twitches may occur in decreased level. Increased levels can be an indicator of certain types of tumors, parathyroid or kidney disease.

8.9 - 11.4
Sodium - Abnormal levels can be life threatening. Electrolyte tests are important in evaluating vomiting, diarrhea and cardiac symptoms.
mEq/L or mmol/L

139 – 154
Potassium - Abnormal levels can be life threatening. Electrolyte tests are important in evaluating vomiting, diarrhea and cardiac symptoms.
mEq/L or mmol/L

3.6 – 5.5
Chloride - Abnormal levels can be life threatening. Electrolyte tests are important in evaluating vomiting, diarrhea and cardiac symptoms.
mEq/L or mmol/L

102 – 120
Cholesterol (CHOL) - Decreased levels are found in an overactive thyroid gland, intestinal malabsorption. Elevated levels of cholesterol are seen in a variety of disorders including hypothyroidism and diseases of the liver, kidneys, cardiovascular, diabetes, and stress.

92 - 324
Amylase (AMYL) - The pancreas produces and secrets amylase to aid in digestion. Elevated blood levels can indicate pancreatic and/or kidney disease.

290 - 1125
White Blood Count (WBC) - These cells help fight infection and respond when an area of the body becomes inflamed. Elevated white blood cell counts indicate infection, inflammation and some forms of cancer or leukemia. Low white blood cells counts can indicate viral infections, bone marrow abnormalities or overwhelming infections and sepsis (blood poisoning). In this situation, the white blood cells are concentrated in the area of infection and are not circulating in the blood, resulting in a low count.
Cells x 103 /cubic mm of blood = /µL

4.0 - 15.5
Red Blood Count (RBC) - These cells are responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body. Oxygen is used as fuel for the body and is very important. High red blood cell numbers usually indicate dehydration but can also indicate uncommon diseases that cause an excess production of red blood cells from the bone marrow. Low red blood cell counts are referred to as anemia and can be a result of blood loss, active bleeding, bone marrow disease or excessive red blood cell breakdown that is seen in some immune diseases and toxin ingestion.
In million cells/mcL Or cmm

4.8 - 9.3
Hemoglobin (HGB) - This molecule is responsible for binding and releasing oxygen onto the red blood cells. Without hemoglobin, oxygen cannot be transported. High levels of hemoglobin usually indicate high red blood cell counts and dehydration. Low levels indicate anemia, bleeding or iron deficiency.

12.1 - 20.3
Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV) - This is the average size of the red blood cells. A high MCV usually indicated certain vitamin deficiencies. A low MCV indicated iron deficiency.
femto-liters (fL or µm3)

58 - 79
Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH)- This is the average weight of hemoglobin in each red blood cell and is different than hemoglobin circulating in the blood. A high MCH indicates poorly oxygenated blood. A low MCH indicates iron deficiency.

19 - 28
Mean Corpuscular Hgb Concentration (MCHC) - This is the average percentage of hemoglobin in each red blood cell. A high MCHC indicates that there is too much hemoglobin in the red blood cell, indicating a high iron level since an important component of hemoglobin is iron. Iron excess is just as damaging to the body as iron deficiency. A low MCHC indicates anemia.

30 - 38
Platelet Count (PLT) - The platelets are responsible for sealing any leaks in the blood vessels. When platelet counts are low, spontaneous bleeding can occur. High platelet counts usually indicate a disorder of the bone marrow or an overwhelming response to an immune blood disease. Low platelet counts indicate bleeding or excessive destruction of platelets caused by parasites or immune diseases.
Total#x109/L or x103/µL
170 - 400
Segmental Neutrophils (SEGS) - These are the primary white blood cells responsible for fighting infections. High levels of neutrophils indicate infection. Low levels can indicate sepsis. The neutrophils are concentrated in the area of infection or are rapidly being used, leaving less circulating in the blood.
Total# x109/L or x103/µL

2060 - 10600
Lymphocytes (LYMPHS) - cancers such as lymphosarcoma. Low levels can indicate viral infections affecting the bone marrow or sepsis.These white blood cells are also responsible for fighting infection and also develop antibodies to protect the body against future attacks. High levels of lymphocytes can indicate infection, viral disease or certain
Total# x x109/L or x103/µL

690 - 4500
Monocytes (MONO) - This white blood cell helps the neutrophils fight infections. High monocyte counts indicate infection. It is unlikely that there will be no monocytes and a differential with zero monocytes does not indicate any specific ailment.
Total# x109/L or x103/µL

0 - 840
Eosinophils (EOS) - allergy or parasite causing illness. Low levels are not possible since zero eosinophils are possible in normal blood samples.This white blood cell is primarily involved in fighting allergies or parasites. High eosinophil counts indicate an
Total# x109/L or x103/µL

0 - 1200
Basophils (BASO) - heartworm. High levels indicate possible parasitism. Low levels are not possible since zero basophils are possible in normal blood samples.This white blood cell is not very common but can be seen in certain parasitic infection, primarily

0 - 150
I am not a health care professional nor am I trained in veterinary science. Therefore this post should be used for informational purposes ONLY. Any questions and concerns should obviously be discussed with your DVM.  


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