Blood tests are essential in evaluating the health status of cats. They provide crucial information that may not be apparent during a physical exam. If you have a feline companion, it will help to understand the types of feline blood work available. You should know why and when it is best to perform feline blood tests and what you can learn from them.
Feline blood tests can identify underlying medical conditions. They help veterinary professionals diagnose and treat your cat effectively. Blood tests are necessary to set a healthy baseline. They help vets check for potential health concerns.
Routine blood tests can help identify conditions not revealed during a physical examination. They can help identify issues before they become major health problems. Additionally, they can provide valuable information about a cat's general health. They help vets select the safest form of anesthesia during surgeries.
Veterinarians use several types of blood work to diagnose and treat feline conditions. These include:
Complete blood count
Total thyroid level
After analyzing your cat's blood, your vet will help you understand abnormal results. Feline blood tests can reveal a lot of information about a cat's health status, including the following:
Albumin - suggests hydration, hemorrhage, intestinal, liver, and kidney disease
Amylase - suggests pancreatitis or kidney disease
Cortisol - measured in tests for Cushing's disease and Addison's disease
Glucose - elevated levels can suggest diabetes mellitus. Low levels can result in collapse, seizures, or coma, which can be life-threatening for cats
Alkaline phosphatase - suggests liver damage, Cushing's disease, or active bone growth
Alanine aminotransferase - determines active liver damage but does not state the cause
Total bilirubin - elevated levels can help identify bile duct problems and anemia
Chloride - Elevated levels often suggest dehydration, which can be severe for cats
Aspartate aminotransferase - may suggest liver, heart, or skeletal muscle damage
Total protein - elevated levels may suggest an ongoing health problem requiring treatment
Globulin - elevated levels may suggest an ongoing health problem that needs attention
Gamma-glutamyl transferase - elevated levels of GGT may suggest a liver problem
Thyroxine - high levels can suggest hyperthyroidism in cats
Creatinine - elevated levels can suggest a kidney problem. They can also suggest mild dehydration in the period leading up to the blood test
Blood urea nitrogen - suggests an issue with kidney function
Calcium - abnormal levels can suggest various feline diseases
Lipase - may suggest pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas
Potassium - elevated levels suggest dehydration, Addison's disease, kidney failure, or urethral obstruction
Cholesterol - supplements the diagnosis of hypothyroidism, liver disease, and more
Sodium - may suggest hydration status, which is essential for cats' overall health
Phosphorus - elevated levels can suggest an ongoing health problem that needs attention
Notably, feline blood tests are more effective when used as part of a diagnostic plan. More testing may be necessary to get an accurate diagnosis. Elevated levels of specific blood parameters can suggest many health problems. Veterinarians use their clinical expertise and diagnostic tests to make a definitive diagnosis. This helps them provide the best possible care.
For more pet care tips, visit La Jolla Veterinary Hospital at our office in La Jolla, California. Call (858) 454-6155 to book an appointment today.