veterinary doctor

Blood test in animals

What is an animal blood test?

Blood tests on animals are used to diagnose many diseases. A blood test also makes it possible to check whether a treatment is working and to assess the course of a disease.

There are the following blood tests in animals:

  • Hematological tests: You also will be Blood count or blood status called. Hematological tests determine the properties of the blood cells, eg the number and volume of red and white blood cells and platelets or the concentration of the red blood pigment hemoglobin. The whole blood of the animal is examined (usually with the anticoagulant heparin added).
  • Hemostasis tests: Hemostasis tests examine the blood clotting. For this, the whole blood of the animal without added anticoagulants is necessary.
  • Clinico-chemical investigations: They record the animal’s metabolic products, hormones and electrolytes, among other things. Clinical-chemical tests are carried out on the animal’s blood plasma (cell-free components of the blood, eg water and proteins) or blood (like plasma, without coagulation factors).

Diseases are not always the cause of blood changes in animals. The composition of the blood is subject to many influencing factors, such as physical exercise, food intake or stress. Some blood values ​​of animals are also changed during pregnancy.


How is a blood test done on animals?

For a blood test on the animal, the veterinarian takes the blood sample from a blocked vein. In small animals, such as dogs, blood is usually taken from a leg vein. The puncture site is shaved and the Vein briefly blocked with a tourniquet. The dog lies on its chest at the front end of the examination table. In horses and other large animals, veterinarians usually take the blood sample from a vein in the neck.

After the blood has been taken, various values ​​can be examined in the blood sample. Of the hematocrit value for example describes the ratio of the volume of the cellular blood components to the total volume of the blood. It mainly depends on the volume of the red blood cells (erythrocytes).

The blood sample is taken with a anticoagulants mixed and centrifuged. This separates the blood components. This blood test can be used, for example, to detect anemia.

From the thoroughbred of the animal lets in blood smear Prepare and evaluate under the microscope. You can see all the cellular components of the blood, i.e. the platelets as well as the red and white blood cells. That red blood count shows the number, size, shape and color of the red blood cells and provides indications of an anemia in the animal.

That white blood count provides information about the white blood cells. Changes in the blood count indicate, for example, bacterial or viral infections (e.g. salmonellosis, distemper) and parasites (e.g. toxoplasma, ticks, fleas) or inflammation in the animal’s body (e.g. pneumonia). However, there are racial differences. Some dog breeds, such as Belgian Shepherds and Greyhounds, have lower levels of certain white blood cells (neutrophils).

If an animal is prone to bleeding profusely or has frequent nosebleeds, coagulation tests (hemostasis tests) carried out. If there is a suspicion of certain poisoning (e.g. with rat poison), severe liver diseases or a restricted formation of coagulation factors, these blood tests on the animal are useful.

Both clinical chemical tests is the examination of the total protein standard. Color reactions make the proteins in the blood sample visible. Possible causes for an insufficient total protein content in the animal’s blood are insufficient feeding, high protein excretion via the intestines or kidneys and heavy bleeding. An increased protein value occurs, among other things, with dehydration (e.g. with diarrhea or vomiting).

In order to check the function of the liver and kidneys of the animal, a clinical chemical blood test can be carried out urea value be measured. If the value is too low, there may be liver disease (e.g. liver inflammation). Elevated urea levels occur when the animal is dehydrated, has liver or kidney disease, or is unable to drain urine properly. Incorrect feeding can also change the urea values.

Largely independent of the animal’s diet creatinine value. It also provides information about the condition of the kidneys. In the case of kidney weakness (renal insufficiency) or dehydration, the animal excretes more creatinine. Low values, on the other hand, occur in animals with little muscle mass. A large number of enzymes provide information about the condition of the liver.

In blood tests on animals, the electrolytes Calcium, magnesium, phosphate, sodium, chloride and potassium checked. This is recommended for symptoms such as weakness, muscle tremors, diarrhea or vomiting.

Application areas:

When is a blood test used on animals?

A blood test in the animal provides information about a variety of diseases. The values ​​are not only changed for blood diseases (such as anemia), but also for most of them organic diseasesfor example in liver diseases such as liver inflammation (hepatitis), pancreas inflammation (pancreatitis) or kidney disease.

Also for diagnosing inflammation in the animal’s body, virus infections and tumors, blood tests in the animal are appropriate.

In the case of some diseases, it makes sense to monitor the course of the disease with a blood test on the animal control treatment. If the blood values ​​improve, for example in the case of liver or kidney diseases, the therapy is effective.

Risks and Complications:

What are the risks of having a blood test on an animal?

It is possible that after a blood test in the animal a bruise (hematoma) remains. This happens, for example, if the puncture site is not pressed long enough and blood flows into the tissue. However, a hematoma usually goes away within a few days.

If the animal is very restless when the blood is drawn, it is possible that it will injure itself. In addition, germs can penetrate the puncture site and inflammation cause. These germs often come from the skin of the animal. It is therefore important to clean the puncture site well beforehand disinfect.

Sensitive animals, like humans, can become infected during blood collection circulatory problems to get. In most cases, however, a blood sample is taken without complications. The examination is routine in veterinary practice.

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