Bloodwork information

Understanding your pet’s bloodwork

Blood tests help us determine causes of illness accurately, safely, and quickly and let us monitor the progress of medical treatments.  Blood tests also help us to detect unseen abnormalities. The most common blood test, a Complete Blood Count (CBC) gives information on hydration status, anemia, infection, the blood’s clotting ability, and the immune system’s ability to respond.  This test is essential for pets with fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, pale gums, or loss of appetite.

Other common tests evaluate organ function, electrolyte status, hormone levels, and more. They are important in evaluating the health of older pets, pets with vomiting and diarrhea or toxin exposure, pets receiving long-term medications and preanesthetic patients.

Information on specific tests

•If your dog is coming in for Thyroid monitoring your appointment should be scheduled between 4 and 6 hours after your pet has taken their medication unless otherwise instructed by your veterinarian. If your cat is coming in for thyroid monitoring you may schedule their appointment at anytime.

• If your pet is coming in for phenobarbital level monitoring, Complete Blood Count (CBC), vital organ screening or heartworm & lyme testing you can schedule your appointment at any time.

Low Dose Dex Suppression Testing (LDDS) is done to confirm that your pet has Cushing’s Disease.  This test will also help us to determine if their Cushings disease is caused by either an abnormal pituitary or an adrenal gland tumor. This information is helpful in determining the correct course of action that should be taken to treat your pet.  The test takes 8 hours to complete because it requires a series of 3 blood samples to be taken.  We recommend that your pet stay at the hospital with us for the day unless other arrangements are made. The initial blood sample is taken and then we give an intravenous injection of steroids.  The second blood sample is taken 4 hours following the steroid injection.  The third and final blood sample is drawn 8 hours after the injection.  How your pet reacts to the steroid injection over this period of time tells us how we should approach the treatment of your pet.

ACTH stim testing is done after Low Dose Dex (LDDS) testing has been performed.  This test confirms that we are not over correcting your pets Cushing disease. It is best for your pet to be as calm as possible to achieve accurate results and testing would require that your pet remain at the clinic for one hour.  The initial blood draw should be done 4 to 6 hours after they receive their medication.  At that time we will give an intramuscular injection to stimulate the adrenal glands.  Another blood sample will be taken 1 hour after the injection.  Typically ACTH stim testing is done 10-14 days after a patient has started their treatment for Cushings disease and again at 30 and 90 days after treatment was started.