A blood test is used to assess your cat’s internal body systems. It is a snapshot in time of how your cat is functioning. The most common blood tests performed at our clinic are a complete blood count (CBC) or chemistry. A CBC is looking at red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to look for infections or anemia, for example. A blood chemistry assesses organ function and looks for electrolyte imbalances that can make your cat sick.
Why are blood tests important for my cat’s health?
Blood tests are an important diagnostic tool for a variety of reasons. They can aid in determining a cause for your cat’s illness, to be sued to monitor your cat’s response to a medication or therapy or to assess organ function to see if it is safe for your cat to go under general anesthesia. Blood work is also a great tool for health monitoring. It can be used to catch a disease early before it becomes a problem.
How long does it take to get blood test results?
At our hospital, we have an in-house laboratory, so we are able to get blood tests results back in minutes. There are, however, some tests that we cannot run at the clinic and we need to send the blood to an outside laboratory. Those test results are usually returned to use within a day or two.
How should I prepare my cat for their blood tests?
If you are bringing your cat in for a blood test it is a good idea for them to come fates (no food for at least four hours). Sometimes, our patients need to be sedated if they become stressed during blood collection. Some of the sedatives we use can make your cat vomit if they have a full stomach. If you are unsure about whether your cat needs blood work or to be sedated before an appointment, please call the clinic before your appointment.
How often should blood tests be done?
For the average cat, blood tests should be done once a year, when they come in for their annual wellness exam. This is especially important once your cat is over 8-years-old because this is when your cat is at an increased risk for diseases like chronic kidney disease or hyperthyroidism. Some cats may need blood work more often, depending on their health status.
Does your clinic perform urinalysis and biopsy?
Our clinic performs both urinalysis and biopsies. A urinalysis is important for identifying diseases that affect the urinary tract, such as an infection or systemic disease such as diabetes. We can run a urinalysis in-house. A biopsy is a small piece taken from either a mass or organ to look at the tissue at a microscopic level. A veterinarian may take a biopsy if they want to know if a mass was cancerous or not. Biopsies are taken at our clinic are usually a surgical procedure but sent to a veterinary pathologist for diagnosis.