standard-title Guide to Basic Blood Tests

Guide to Basic Blood Tests



In most cases when your pet comes to the hospital blood tests will be needed to help us determine the best treatment plan. These basic blood tests are also included in our pre-anesthetic blood profiles.


Pre-anesthetic testing can reveal hidden health conditions that could put your pet at risk. Results help us determine whether or not your pet’s organs can properly metabolize the anesthesia we will be giving.


Alkaline Phosphatase (ALKP) – ALKP is an enzyme present in multiple tissues, including liver and bone. Elevated levels can indicate liver disease, Cushing’s syndrome or steroid therapy.

Total Protein (TP) – The level of TP can indicate a variety of conditions, including dehydration, inflammation and diseases of the liver, kidney or intestine.

Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) – ALT is an enzyme that becomes elevated with liver cell injury.

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) – BUN is produced by the liver and excreted by the kidneys. Abnormally high levels can indicate kidney disease or dehydration, and low levels can be associated with liver disease.

Creatinine (CREA) – Creatinine is a byproduct of muscle metabolism and is excreted by the kidneys. Elevated levels can indicate kidney disease, urinary tract obstruction or dehydration.

Phosphorus (PHOS) – Elevated phosphorus can be an indicator of kidney disease.

Blood Glucose (GLU) – High levels can indicate diabetes.  In cats, high levels can also indicate stress, which can be a result of a trip to the veterinary hospital. Low levels can indicate liver disease, infection or certain tumors.

Total Bilirubin (TBIL) – Bilirubin is a breakdown product of hemoglobin, as well as a component of bile. Blood bilirubin levels are useful in indicating liver disease and may help identify certain types of anemia.

Albumin (ALB) – Albumin is a protein that is produced by the liver.  Reduced levels of this protein can point to chronic liver, kidney, inflammatory or intestinal disease.

Amylase (AMYL) – Amylase is an enzyme produced by the pancreas.  The pancreas secretes amylase to aid in digestion.  Elevated levels in the blood can indicate pancreatic disease.


Complete Blood Count (CBC) – A CBC provides detailed information about red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.  The total white blood cell count, along with individual leukocyte counts, can help identify underlying stress, inflammation, an inability to fight infection and potentially, leukemia.  Low platelet numbers can indicate a potential bleeding problem.  We might advise that any surgery scheduled be delayed if anemia, inflammation or especially a low platelet count is present because these conditions could cause serious surgical complications.


Sodium, Potassium, Chloride (Na+, K+, Cl ) – The balance of these electrolytes is vital.  Abnormal levels can be life threatening.  Electrolyte tests are important when evaluating vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and cardiac (heart) symptoms.

This is simply a guide to the blood tests we perform on a regular basis. If you have questions or concerns about your pet’s blood work  let your veterinarian know.  Remember as a partner in patient care, Central Hospital shares all of your pet’s test results with your family veterinarian.


4 Devine Street 
North Haven, CT 06473
P: (203) 865-0878

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