Penobscot Veterinary Services

411 Davis Road, Bangor, Maine 04401

Phone: (207) 947-6783

Fax: (207) 942-5184


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Understanding Your Pet's Labwork

Kidney

BUN (blood urea nitrogen)— increases may be seen with decreased kidney function, dehydration, heart disease, shock or urinary obstruction as well as following a high protein diet; decreases may be seen with overhydration

 

CREA (creatinine)—increases may be seen with decreased kidney function and other conditions as noted with BUN, but is not affected by a recent high protein diet; decreases may be seen with overhydration

 

PHOS (phosphorus)—elevations are seen with decreased kidney loss through conditions like kidney disease, increased intake through the gastrointestinal tract and increased release from injured tissues; increases in growing puppies and kittens can be normal; decreases may be seen with increased loss or decreased intake

 

Ca+ (calcium)—increases may be seen as a result of a variety of diseases including kidney disease, certain cancer types, certain toxicities and parathyroid disease; decreases may be seen with certain parathyroid diseases and with low albumin

Liver

ALT (alanine aminotransferase)—increases are a sensitive indicator of liver cell damage

 

ALKP (alkaline phosphatase)—increases may indicate a liver abnormality (cholestasis), Cushing’s disease, active bone growth in young pets, active bone remodeling after bone injury; may be induced by multiple drugs and nonspecific conditions

 

GGT (gamma glutamyl transferase)—increases may indicate a certain type of liver abnormality (cholestasis)

 

ALB (albumin)—increases may indicate dehydration; decreases may be seen with decreased liver function, blood loss, gastrointestinal disease or kidney disease

 

TBIL (total bilirubin)— increases may be seen with liver disease (cholestasis and insufficiency) and certain types of anemia

 

Bile acids—increases in this blood component may be an indication of decreased liver function, abnormalities in blood flow to the liver or possible bile duct obstruction

 

Pancreas

AMYL (amylase)—increases may be seen with pancreatitis, kidney disease, gastrointestinal disease or certain drug treatments; degree of change and other laboratory data may help identify pancreatitis specifically

 

LIPA (lipase)—increases may be seen with pancreatitis, kidney disease, gastrointestinal disease and certain drug treatments; degree of change and other laboratory data may help identify pancreatitis specifically

 

Protein Profile

TP (total protein)— increases may indicate dehydration or an inflammatory condition; decreases may be seen in decreased liver function, blood loss, gastrointestinal loss and kidney loss

 

ALB (albumin)— increases may indicate dehydration; decreases may be seen with decreased liver function, blood loss, gastrointestinal disease and kidney disease

 

GLOB (globulin)—increases may be seen with inflammation and potential chronic infection; decreases may be seen with blood loss, gastrointestinal loss and immune deficiencies

 

Electrolytes

Na+ (sodium)—increases may indicate dehydration; decreases may be seen with loss during diarrhea and vomiting or with Addison’s and kidney disease

 

K+ (potassium)—increases may indicate kidney disease due to decreased excretion, with Addison’s disease, dehydration and kidney obstruction; decreases may be seen with loss during diarrhea or vomiting

 

Cl- (chloride)—increases may indicate dehydration; decreases may be seen with loss during diarrhea or vomiting

 

Other Chemistries

GLU (glucose)—increases may indicate diabetes mellitus; decreases may be due to liver disease, pancreatic disease and other conditions and could lead to collapse, seizure or coma

 

AST (aspartate aminotransferase)— increases are associated with liver or muscle damage

 

CK (creatine kinase)—increases are associated with muscle damage

 

CHOL (cholesterol)— increases may be seen with a variety of metabolic disturbances including diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, pancreatitis and some types of kidney disease; decreases may be seen with liver insufficiency and intestinal disease

 

TRIG (triglycerides)— increases may be seen in a variety of conditions including non-fasted samples, in miniature schnauzers, and in patient’s with pancreatitis, diabetes, Cushing’s disease or hypothyroidism

Cortisol—increases may be seen with Cushing’s disease (measured in different protocols including ACTH stimulation and Dexamethasone suppression tests); decreases may be seen with Addison’s disease

 

T4 (thyroxine)—increases may indicate hyperthyroidism (primarily cats); decreases may indicate hypothyroidism (primarily dogs)

 

LACTATE—increases indicate either local or general decreased blood perfusion and can potentially serve as a prognostic indicator for the critical patient

 

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

This is a common test performed on pets to provide objective information about the general health status of an animal. The objective data obtained from a CBC can be helpful in monitoring ill patients undergoing therapy; therefore, serial CBC requests are common.

 

Red Blood Cell (RBC) Parameters

RBC (red blood cell count), HCT (hematocrit) and HGB (hemoglobin)—increases in these parameters may support dehydration or a disease of increased production of RBCs; decreases indicate anemia and decreased oxygen-carrying capability of the blood

 

MCV (mean cell volume)—increases indicate the presence of larger than normal cells, which may be related to young cells during response to an anemia; decreases indicate the presence of smaller than normal cells, which may be associated with chronic blood loss/iron deficiency

 

MCH (mean cell hemoglobin) and MCHC (mean cell hemoglobin concentration)—increases suggest the presence of hemolysis or an interference in hemoglobin measurement; decreases suggest decreased hemoglobin concentration, which can be seen during response to anemia and chronic blood loss/iron deficiency

 

RDW (red cell distribution width)—increases in this objective measure of variability of RBC size indicates increased variability in size that can aid the veterinarian in identifying the cause of an RBC problem

 

RETIC (reticulocytes)—increases indicate growing numbers of immature RBCs, indicating a response to a peripheral demand for RBCs; decreases indicate few or no immature RBCs, indicating the body is unable to respond to a demand for RBCs (nonregenerative anemia)

 

White Blood Cell (WBC) Parameters

WBC (white blood cells)—increases may be due to inflammation, stress, excitement and leukemia; decreases may be due to overwhelming inflammation and bone marrow failure

 

Leukocyte Differential—Various patterns of change in numbers of NEU (neutrophils), LYM (lymphocytes), MONO (monocytes), EOS (eosinophils), and BASO (basophils) may be seen with different types of inflammation, stress, excitement and leukemia


  • NEU—inflammatory cell associated with infectious and noninfectious disease processes

  • LYM—immune cell highly responsive to “stress” and potentially increased during chronic infection

  • MONO—inflammatory cell associated with repair of tissue injury

  • EOS—inflammatory cell associated with parasitic disease, hypersensitivity and allergy

  • BASO—inflammatory cell associated with parasitic disease, hypersensitivity and allergy


 

Platelet (PLT) Parameters

PLT (platelet) and PCT (platelet crit)—increases in these parameters of overall platelet mass are potentially associated with hypercoagulable state; decreases may be seen with decreased production (bone marrow failure), increased consumption (coagulation, inflammation, etc.) and destruction in the blood (infectious, immune-mediated, etc.)

 

MPV (mean platelet volume)—increases indicate presence of larger than normal platelets commonly associated with response to need for platelets (not significant in the cat)

 

PDW (platelet distribution width)—increases in this objective measure of variability of platelet size indicates increased variability in size which may be an indicator of response to a need for platelets (not significant in the cat); decreases may be seen with immune-mediated thrombocytopenia

 

Urinalysis

A urinalysis is performed on a urine sample and provides insight into kidney functions as well as the hydration status of the animal. This valuable test may also be helpful in diagnosing and monitoring various diseases and metabolic disturbances throughout the body.

 

Specific Gravity—determined by the kidney’s ability to concentrate urine in response to the hydration status

 

pH—reflect the acid-base status if the animal is well-hydrated

 

PRO (protein)—small amounts of protein may be normally found in urine, but larger amounts may indicate kidney disease

 

GLU (glucose)—high levels are usually associated with an elevated blood glucose concentration

 

KET (ketones)—elevated levels may indicate an increase in breakdown of lipids within the body

 

UBG (urobilinogen)—abnormally high levels may indicate liver or hemolytic disease

 

BIL (bilirubin)—abnormally high levels may indicate liver or hemolytic disease; in dogs (especially male dogs) bilirubinuria is common even under normal conditions; bilirubinuria in cats is significant

 

RBCs and Hemoglobin—the test may be positive due to hematuria, hemoglobinuria or myoglobinuria; blood in the urine is often a sign of inflammation, infection and/or trauma

 

WBCs—excessive numbers of WBC indicate inflammation somewhere in the urinary tract

 

UPC—(urine protein:creatinine ratio)—an important screening test for early kidney disease and to help monitor treatment of renal disease; increases may indicate significant protein loss through the kidney

 

Other Possible Tests

Canine/Feline Giardia—test for a protozoan parasite that may inhabit the small intestine of dogs, cats, humans and most domesticated animals often causing diarrhea

 

Canine Heartworm—test for deadly parasites that can live in the heart, major blood vessels and the lungs

 

Canine Tick-Borne Diseases—tests for commonly seen and serious diseases transmitted by ticks including Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis

 

Canine Parvovirus—test for one of the most common and severe gastrointestinal diseases in young dogs

 

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia Viruses (FeLV)— tests for two of the major causes of illness and death in cats

 

 

 

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