Types of Feline Blood Work
We analyze cat bloodwork to assess features of the blood, including red and white cell count, immunity status, and the measure of hemoglobin, which is the actual substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen. We also examine hydration status, anemia, infection, blood clotting ability, and immune system response. A CBC can also detect bleeding disorders or other unseen abnormalities as part of a pre-surgery risk assessment.
We analyze cat bloodwork to evaluate organ function, electrolyte status, hormone levels, and more. These tests are important to evaluating the health of older cats, cats with signs of vomiting, diarrhea, or toxin exposure, as well as cats receiving long-term medications and general health before anesthesia.
We analyze cat bloodwork for hyperthyroidism, as well as the reverse condition, euthyroidism, or a low thyroid function that can indicate disease in a cat's body.
- Feline Leukemia-Feline Immunodeficiency Virus: This is a common test for kittens and cats, especially those coming from unknown origins. These viruses are interspecies contagious and life-threatening, so we recommend feline bloodwork to test for both if you adopt, find, or take in a new kitten or cat
- Complete Blood Count (CBC): We analyze cat bloodwork to assess features of the blood, including red and white cell count, immunity status, and the measure of hemoglobin, which is the actual substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen. We also examine hydration status, anemia, infection, blood clotting ability, and immune system response. A CBC is essential for cats that have symptoms like fever, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, pale gums, or loss of appetite. A CBC can also detect bleeding disorders or other unseen abnormalities as part of a pre-surgery risk assessment
- Blood Serum Chemistry: We analyze cat bloodwork to evaluate organ function, electrolyte status, hormone levels and more. These tests are important to evaluating the health of older cats, cats with signs of vomiting, diarrhea or toxin exposure, as well as cats receiving long-term medications and general health before anesthesia
- Total Thyroid Level: We analyze cat bloodwork for hyperthyroidism, as well as the reverse condition, euthyroidism, or a low thyroid function that can indicate disease in a cat’s body
What Can Be Learned From Feline Blood Tests
The results of feline blood tests are essential to helping veterinarians diagnose and treat medical conditions both within the blood itself, as well as in organs such as kidney and liver. During a blood test for cats, various chemicals in the bloodstream are analyzed, such as:
- Cat blood tests can indicate a deficiency in albumin levels, which indicates a possible liver issue because albumin is produced in the liver
- Blood tests for cats can detect abnormal hormonal-chemical responses to environmental and internal stimuli, which indicates a potential issue with the patient's endocrine system
Once we establish a correlation, we can order any subsequent feline blood work procedures necessary to arresting and treating the condition. In this way, feline blood tests serve as very valuable tools in a veterinarian's toolkit for helping to detect, identify, diagnose and ultimately treat illness or disease.
Understanding Your Cat's Bloodwork
After we process and analyze a cat bloodwork sample, the next step is to help our patient's human caretaker fully understand any abnormal results. Your cat's blood work allows our veterinarians to evaluate the following:
- Albumin (ALB): This is a serum protein that helps evaluate hydration, hemorrhage and intestinal, liver and kidney disease.
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALKP): Elevations in this test may indicate liver damage, Cushing’s disease or active bone growth in a young cat. This test is especially significant in cats.
- Alanine aminotransferase (ALT): This test may determine active liver damage, but does not indicate the cause.
- Amylase (AMYL): Elevations in this test indicate pancreatitis or kidney disease.
- Aspartate aminotransferase (AST): Increases in this test may indicate liver, heart or skeletal muscle damage.
- Blood urea nitrogen (BUN): This test determines kidney function. An increased level is called azotemia and can be caused by kidney, liver and heart disease as well as urethral obstruction, shock or dehydration.
- Calcium (Ca): Changes in the normal level of this test can indicate a variety of diseases. Tumors, hyperparathyroidism, kidney disease, and low albumin are just a few of the conditions that alter serum calcium.
- Cholesterol (CHOL): This test is used to supplement the diagnosis of hypothyroidism, liver disease, Cushing’s disease, and diabetes mellitus.
- Chloride (Cl): Chloride is an electrolyte that is typically lost with symptoms like vomiting or illnesses such as Addison’s disease. Elevations often indicate dehydration.
- Coristol (CORT): Cortisol is a hormone that is measured in tests for Cushing’s disease (the low-dose dexamethasone suppression test) and Addison’s disease (ACTH stimulation test).
- Creatinine (CREA): This test reveals kidney function and helps distinguish between kidney and non-kidney causes of elevated BUN.
- Gamma Glutamy transferase (GGT): This is an enzyme that indicates liver disease or corticosteroid excess.
- Globulin (GLOB): This is a blood protein that often increases with chronic inflammation and certain disease states.
- Glucose (GLU): Glucose is blood sugar. Elevated levels may indicate diabetes mellitus. Low levels can cause collapse, seizures or coma.
- Potassium (K): This is an electrolyte typically lost with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or excessive urination. Increased levels may indicate kidney failure, Addison’s disease, dehydration or urethral obstruction. High levels can lead to cardiac arrest.
- Lipase (LIP): Lipase is an enzyme that may indicate pancreatitis.
- Sodium (Na): Sodium is an electrolyte often lost with signs vomiting, diarrhea, kidney disease, and Addison’s disease. This test helps indicate hydration status.
- Phosphorus (PHOS): Elevations in this test are often associated with kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and bleeding disorders.
- Total bilirubin (TBIL): Elevations in this test may indicate liver or hemolytic disease. This test helps identify bile duct problems and certain types of anemia.
- Total protein: This test indicates hydration status and provides additional information about the liver, kidneys and infectious diseases.
- Thyroxine (T4): Thyroxine is a thyroid hormone. High levels indicate hyperthyroidism in cats.
The Role Of Cat Bloodwork In Diagnosis Of Disease
Cat bloodwork is an essential component in the diagnosis of disease. Just like any diagnostic tool, blood tests for cats are more effective when used as part of a diagnostic plan which may include other tests. For example, elevated BUN and creatinine levels can indicate a kidney problem. However, they can also indicate mild dehydration in the period leading up to the bloodwork. This is why ordering additional testing is necessary to obtain an accurate diagnosis.