What are pet blood tests?
Animal blood is a mixture of cells, fluid, proteins and other biochemicals: the levels of these vary between patients. In a pet blood test, we look at what makes up their blood at that particular point in time. These specific results allow vets to use this information to learn more about a dog or cat’s health.
When a pet is unwell, often but not always, there will be changes in their blood. For example, if a dog or cat has an infection, the level of cells involved in fighting the infection will commonly change. For example, if the kidneys are not working efficiently, the compounds that the kidneys may normally get rid of may be of a higher level in the pet’s blood.
What makes up blood in dogs and cats can change very quickly. How the animal blood is changing may also be of interest to the vet to help them understand more about the disease. For this reason, vets will sometimes recommend taking several blood samples in a short space of time to monitor how it modifies.
When a vet will decide to perform a blood test on your pet
There are many occasions when a vet will decide to perform a pet blood test. Their purpose is to obtain information that cannot be captured by just examining the pet. For example, a sick pet may need a blood sample to help understand why they are unwell or a pet with skin problems may need a sample taken to check if their hormone levels are contributing to the skin problem.
Pet blood tests are also often used after a diagnosis has been made to check how effective treatment is and whether the medication is the correct dose for the dog or cat. We sometimes also recommend performing a blood test prior to any major procedures such as surgery to ensure that it is safe to proceed with the surgery.
How is a pet’s blood sample taken?
In order to get a blood sample, we need to shave a small patch of fur from your pet’s leg or neck. We take a small sample of blood by inserting a needle into the dog or cat’s vein in a similar way to when people have blood samples. Most dogs and cats tolerate this very well and it can be done without any sedation.
How is the pet’s blood sample analysed?
Our Animal Trust clinics have the ability to perform a wide range of pet blood tests using the latest industry standard analysers which allows us to get really fast results, often within an hour of taking blood. Other tests need to be sent to an external laboratory. The results will usually take between one to 14 days to come back.
How much does a pet blood test cost?
There are hundreds of different tests that can be done to help dogs and cats and the cost depends on which test is being performed. A vet or nurse will advise you on the price at the time the sample is taken. However, our most commonly performed test which looks at blood cells, blood biochemistry and blood salts costs £60.