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Understanding Blood Tests for Cats

Understanding Blood Tests for Cats

Has your veterinarian recommended blood tests for your cat? Today, our Santa Barbara vets discuss what you should know about diagnostic blood testing for cats.

What We Can Learn From a Cat's Bloodwork

When it comes to maintaining your cat's health, bringing them in for regular checkups with our Santa Barbara vets is essential. Your veterinarian may recommend lab tests during these routine visits. Perhaps you're curious about what they can tell you about your cat's health, and why they're needed. 

At San Roque Pet Hospital, we take a prevention-focused approach to your feline friend's healthcare. During a routine exam, we'll thoroughly examine your pet's body from nose to tail. This includes internal checks for blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm, and blood pressure, in addition to any other tests that may be required, such as blood tests and urine screenings. 

A typical blood test will include a complete blood count (CBC) and blood chemistry profile (read more about these below). Your veterinarian may also recommend testing for feline AIDS, feline leukemia, and thyroid hormone levels. 

Once your pet's blood and urine samples are taken, they are analyzed in our in-house veterinary diagnostic laboratory. Your veterinarian will explain the results to you and recommend a treatment plan for your cat's condition if required. 

Complete Blood Count

This test measures your cat's white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Any potential threats the immune system may encounter will trigger a unique reaction in each specific type of white blood cell. 

The vet will use a CBC to verify not only the total number of white blood cells, but also how many of each individual type of white blood cell is in your cat's blood sample. 

Red blood cells (RBCs) transport oxygen to the many tissues throughout the body. A CBC counts how many RBCs are in your cat's blood, and measures how well oxygen is being transported to tissues based on hemoglobin levels (the protein that carries the oxygen) in the blood. 

Platelets play an integral role in blood clotting. If there are not enough platelets, it can lead to inadequate clotting, resulting in excessive or abnormal bleeding in your cat. A CBC test can check the platelet count in your cat's blood. 

Blood Chemistry Profile 

This test checks the various compounds found in your cat's bloodstream and reveals how well your cat's kidneys are functioning. It identifies any renal system abnormalities and detects obstructions or dehydration in your cat's body. 

The liver is another organ that's vital to your cat's health. If there are elevated values of chemicals that could indicate liver disease or abnormalities in other organs, they will be revealed here.

This test can also indicate abnormal levels of electrolytes. Such levels may be linked to conditions like gastrointestinal disease, seizures, and other illnesses.

Blood protein levels are also critical to your cat's health, as some have a role in the function of the immune system, while others aid in clotting. A blood chemistry profile will tell your vet about total protein levels, globulin levels, and albumin levels.

Thyroid Hormone Measurements

Thyroid hormones can be measured to determine whether your cat has hyperthyroidism. This common disease usually impacts middle-aged and senior cats and can result in elevated thyroid hormone levels in their bloodstream.

Feline AIDS and Feline Leukemia Testing

If your cat has not been tested before, if she is at a high risk of exposure, or if she is sick, your vet may also test her for feline leukemia and feline AIDS. This test can also be given if your cat has been exposed to another cat carrying either of these viruses. It's important to note that although retroviruses cause both viruses, they are distinct from one another.

Depending on the results your vet receives from these basic blood tests, they may recommend more specialized testing.

Urine Test

To perform a urine test during your cat's regular checkup, you'll need to provide a sample of your pet's urine. While this may not be the most enjoyable task, the results of the test are crucial in detecting serious disorders such as urinary tract infections, bladder stones, incontinence, kidney disease, Cushing's disease, diabetes, and liver disease. Prioritizing this test is important as it can save your cat's life.

These tests may reveal results that allow your vet to detect conditions early. As a result, your pet may be able to live a happier, healthier, and longer life if these conditions can be diagnosed and treated before they develop into larger issues. Your vet can also provide advice on general health and nutrition, in addition to taking steps to prevent illnesses and diseases.

Our Vet Diagnostic Lab & Pet Pharmacy in Santa Barbara

Our vets and team at San Roque Pet Hospital understand how important seamless, timely veterinary care is to maintaining and improving your cat's health.

We're able to perform lab tests (including blood tests) and have them analyzed at our in-house veterinary diagnostic lab. This helps us quickly and accurately diagnose your pet's symptoms and prescribe an effective custom treatment plan designed to keep your pet as healthy as possible. 

And, no need to make another stop to pick up your pet's medication — our vet pharmacy offers numerous prescription medications and diets, providing quick access to any medications your pet may need. 

If you are looking for a one-stop shop animal hospital, vet diagnostic lab, and pet pharmacy in or near Santa Barbara, we would be happy to welcome you and your pet. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets.

Do you have questions about diagnostic tests, or your cat's health? Contact our Santa Barbara vets. We can address your inquiries and concerns.

Welcoming Cats & Dogs to Our Animal Hospital 

San Roque Pet Hospital welcomes cats, dogs, and their people to our clinic! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Santa Barbara companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's appointment.

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