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I am not a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist.  If you have questions about your dog's blood work, please contact your veterinarian.

Sharing My Dogs' Blood Work Results (2018)

Why I Request Blood Work on My Dogs

For the first few years feeding a raw food diet, I was hesitant to get bloodwork done because (1) it can be expensive, (2) I wasn't convinced that it would be reviewed correctly for raw fed dogs, and (3) we had a bad experience with one vet drawing blood from Rodrigo and Sydney.

The more I learned about my dogs' health, the more I came to accept that blood work is a necessity because this is probably the best way to get a heads up of any possible health issues with my dogs. Today, we take our dogs to an amazing veterinarian clinic and the team does a great job drawing blood from our dogs.

How Much Does it Cost to Get Blood Work Done for a Dog?

Asking around the pet lover community, it appears that blood work costs between $200-$300 per dog. For my dogs, it's $200, which is a hefty price ticket when testing four dogs. To make easier on my wallet, I take each dog in separately.  Rodrigo and Sydney go in during the winter months; Scout and Zoey go in during the spring months.

Can Blood Tests Detect Cancer in Dogs?

When I found a lump on Sydney last fall, I was afraid that cancer had found us. Blood work was part of the veterinarian visit. She also had a physical exam, x-rays to look for tumors in her chest (none were found), and we discussed her diet and recent activity. In some cases, the blood panel can come back completely normal – so don't let this be the only thing that you give weight too with your dogs' health.

Should a Dog Fast Before Blood Work?

I've been told to fast our dogs if it's possible, but it's not a true fast. What my veterinarian suggests is to schedule the wellness appointment 6 hours or more after our dogs eat. I schedule appointments between noon and 3 pm. Fasting our dogs helps clear the blood from lipemia (fat) that shows up in the blood after eating. Lipemia can taint the results of the blood work, making it challenging to get an accurate read.

How Long Does it Take to Get Blood Work Results?

I usually hear back from our veterinarian (or the vet tech) within 24 hours of the wellness appointment. I always ask them to send me a copy via email; although they have all of the information, I like to compare the results year over year.

What I Ask For When I Want Blood Work

When you're new to blood work, you may wonder “what do I say to the vet?”  Instead of asking for blood work or a blood panel – simply explain that you'd like to have blood work taken and given your dog's age, ask what your veterinarian would recommend.  Let them take care of the rest.  

I handle it this way because we have two senior dogs and their veterinarian ran a senior panel and, because we suspected that Sydney had hypothyroidism, a blood test was taken (T4) to test her thyroid health too.

2018-19 Blood Work Results

This is the second post that I've written about blood work, I wanted to write a new one because I now have the results of all of the dogs and thought it would be interested to show the similarities and differences between all four of our dogs.

A few things you should know about these dogs:

  • All of our dogs are a mixed breed.
  • Two dogs are male and two are female.
  • All four dogs live in Washington State.
  • All of our dogs are fed the same diet (raw dog food).
  • Each of the dogs was fasted prior to the blood work.
  • Sydney had blood work done 2x in 2018 due to a cancer scare; the below results are from her most recent blood work.
  • Rodrigo's results are from January 2019 blood work.
  • The explanation/definition of each test was taken from TheDrakeCenter.com

I'm Not a Veterinarian

I am not a veterinarian or a nutritionist.  If you have questions about your dog's blood work DO NOT ask in a comment below; please contact your veterinarian or seek a second opinion from another veterinarian.  This list is not exhaustive; there are more tests that may be done on blood work.  If you see “–” this means that a test wasn't performed.

Chemistry / SuperChem for Dogs

Total protein: This test indicates hydration status and provides additional information about the liver, kidneys and infectious diseases.  Range: 5.0-7.4

  • Rodrigo 5.8
  • Sydney 6.8
  • Scout 7.4
  • Zoey 7.1

Albumin (ALB): This is a serum protein that helps evaluate hydration, hemorrhage and intestinal, liver and kidney disease.  Range: 2.7-4.4

  • Rodrigo 3.4
  • Sydney 3.6
  • Scout 4.0
  • Zoey 4.5*

*although this is outside of the range, our veterinarian wasn't concerned.

Globulin (GLOB): This is a blood protein that often increases with chronic inflammation and certain disease states.  Range: 1.6-3.6

  • Rodrigo 2.4
  • Sydney 3.2
  • Scout 3.4
  • Zoey 2.6

A/G Ratio: This ratio number is the amount of albumin protein (the most common protein in a dog’s circulation) in your dog ‘s blood divided by the number of globulin proteins in your dog’s blood.  Source: 2ndChance.InfoRange: 0.8-2.0

  • Rodrigo 1.4
  • Sydney 1.1
  • Scout 1.2
  • Zoey 1.7

Aspartate aminotransferase (AST): Increases in this test may indicate liver, heart or skeletal muscle damage. Range: 15-66

  • Rodrigo 34
  • Sydney -33
  • Scout 12*
  • Zoey 21

*although this is outside of the range, our veterinarian wasn't concerned.

Alanine aminotansferase (ALT): This test may determine active liver damage, but does not indicate the cause.  Range: 12-118

  • Rodrigo 28
  • Sydney 19
  • Scout 22
  • Zoey 21

Alkaline phosphatase (ALKP): Elevations in this test may indicate liver damage, Cushing's disease or active bone growth in a young dog.  Range: 5-131

  • Rodrigo 16
  • Sydney 14
  • Scout 18
  • Zoey 50

Gamma Glutamy transferase (GGT): This is an enzyme that indicates liver disease or corticosteroid excess.  Range: 1-12

  • Rodrigo 1
  • Sydney —
  • Scout —
  • Zoey —

Total bilirubin (TBIL): Elevations in this test may indicate liver or hemolytic disease. This test helps identify bile duct problems and certain types of anemia.  Range: 0.1-0.3

  • Rodrigo 0.1
  • Sydney 0.1
  • Scout 0.1
  • Zoey 0.2

Blood urea nitrogen (BUN): This test determines kidney function. An increased level is called azotemia and can be caused by kidney, liver and heart disease as well as urethral obstruction, shock or dehydration.  Range: 6-31

  • Rodrigo 25
  • Sydney 18
  • Scout 20
  • Zoey 10

Creatinine (CREA): This test reveals kidney function and helps distinguish between kidney and non-kidney causes of an elevated BUN.  Range: 0.5-1.6

  • Rodrigo 0.5
  • Sydney 0.9
  • Scout 1.2
  • Zoey 0.7

BUN/Creatinine Ratio: This test provides your veterinarian ideas as to why a dog’s blood urea nitrogen level, or BUN, might be high.  Dehydration, when the test was taken, may result in a high ratio, however, that isn’t the only cause.  A low ratio may be seen in a dog that isn’t eating, that is malnourished, is in advanced liver disease, or in late pregnancy.  Source: 2ndChance.InfoRange: 4-27

  • Rodrigo 50
  • Sydney 20
  • Scout 17
  • Zoey 14

Why BUN/Creatinine Ratio May Be High

I'm adding a little more context for numbers that fall outside of the range to inspire questions when you speak with your vet. 

  • Age-related loss of kidney function (glomerulosclerosis) is the most common cause of a high BUN in pets.
  • Sudden or ongoing kidney infections can definitely cause long-term injury to those organs. 
  • Pets that are dehydrated (due to vomiting, diarrhea, heat prostration, lack of water, fever, diabetes etc.) can have high BUN values as well.
  • Source: 2ndChance.Info

Phosphorus (PHOS): Elevations in this test are often associated with kidney disease, hyperthyroidism , and bleeding disorders.  Range: 2.5-6.0

  • Rodrigo 3.4
  • Sydney 4.2
  • Scout 3.3
  • Zoey 2.9

Glucose (GLU): Glucose is a blood sugar. Elevated levels may indicate diabetes mellitus. Low levels can cause collapse, seizures or coma.  Range: 70-138

  • Rodrigo 101
  • Sydney 86
  • Scout 81
  • Zoey 80

Calcium (Ca): Changes in the normal level of this test can indicate a variety of diseases. Tumors, hyperparathyroidism, kidney disease, and low albumin are just a few of the conditions that alter serum calcium.  Range: 8.9-11.4

  • Rodrigo 10.0
  • Sydney 10.0
  • Scout 10.6
  • Zoey 10.2

Sodium (Na): Sodium is an electrolyte often lost with signs of vomiting, diarrhea, kidney disease and Addison's disease. This test helps indicate hydration status.  Range: 139-154

  • Rodrigo 149
  • Sydney 149
  • Scout 148
  • Zoey 149

Potassium (K): This is an electrolyte typically lost with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or excessive urination. Increased levels may indicate kidney failure, Addison's disease, dehydration or urethral obstruction. High levels can lead to cardiac arrest.  Range: 3.6-5.5

  • Rodrigo 4.4
  • Sydney 4.7
  • Scout 4.6
  • Zoey 4.0

Chloride (Cl): Chloride is an electrolyte that is typically lost with symptoms like vomiting or illnesses such as Addison's disease. Elevations often indicate dehydration.  Range: 102-120

  • Rodrigo 119
  • Sydney 114
  • Scout 114
  • Zoey 115

Cholesterol (CHOL): This test is used to supplement diagnosis of hypothyroidism, liver disease, Cushing's disease and diabetes mellitus.  Range: 92-324

  • Rodrigo 246
  • Sydney 331*
  • Scout 278
  • Zoey 225

Why the Cholesterol May be High

I'm adding a little more context for numbers that fall outside of the range to inspire questions when you speak with your vet.

“High circulating cholesterol levels in our pets rarely cause heart and blood vessel disease. Both dogs and cats are carnivores that seem to have adapted well to a diet high in saturated animal fat – a rich source of cholesterol. However, a cholesterol concentration (> 750 mg/dL) can be associated with a risk of atherosclerosis – even in dogs and cats (most of those pets will be dogs and most will turn out to have hypothyroidism).” ~ 2ndChance.info

Triglycerides:  The level of triglyceride and cholesterol in your dog's blood tend to increase and decrease together. When one or both are high, your dog is said to have hyperlipemia. That situation is normal after a meal (lipemia). But when it persists throughout the day, problems such as nerve and vision difficulties, seizures, pancreatitis and fatty skin patches (xanthomas) can develop.  Source: 2ndChance.Info.  Range: 29-291

  • Rodrigo 38
  • Sydney —
  • Scout —
  • Zoey —

Creatine Phosphokinase (CPK): Elevations in this test indicate a sign of recent muscle damage somewhere in the body.  Range: 59-895

  • Rodrigo 115
  • Sydney 166
  • Scout 198
  • Zoey 153

Complete Blood Count for Dogs

White blood cell count (WBC): This test measures the body's immune cells. Increases or decreases in the WBC indicate certain diseases or infections. Range: 4.0-15.5

  • Rodrigo 10.5
  • Sydney 12.8
  • Scout 7.5
  • Zoey 9.6

Neutrophils (NEU):  This test measures the number of neutrophils in a dog's system; their job is to protect your dog against bacteria; the travel through the bloodstream to the site of the infection where the bind to eat bacteria and other unwanted agents they encounter.  Source: 2ndChance.InfoRange: 2060-10600

  • Rodrigo 8190
  • Sydney  10496
  • Scout 4950
  • Zoey 7776

Why Neutrophils May Be High

I'm adding a little more context for numbers that fall outside of the range to inspire questions when you speak with your vet.

  • Infections.
  • Inflammation from wounds and surgery.  
  • Sudden stress that stimulates your pet’s adrenal glands.
  • Autoimmune and allergic reactions.  
  • Corticosteroid medication.
  • On rare occasion, a pet's continuing high neutrophil numbers are due to a tumor of the stem cells that produce them in the bone marrow (myelogenous leukemia). 
  • Source: 2ndChance.Info

Granulocytes and lymphocytes/monocytes (GRANS and L/M): These are specific types of white blood cells.  LYM Range: 690-4500 | MON Range: 0-840

  • Rodrigo 1155 | 630
  • Sydney 768 | 1024
  • Scout 1875 | 300
  • Zoey 1056 | 384

Why Monocytes May Be High

I'm adding a little more context for numbers that fall outside of the range to inspire questions when you speak with your vet.

  • Chronic infectious and non-infectious diseases that produce inflammation.
  • Stress or a trip to the veterinary office (in dogs).
  • Corticosteroid administration (in dogs) can also cause monocyte numbers to rise briefly.
  • On very rare occasions, leukemia of the monocyte cell line (monocytic leukemia) can elevate blood monocyte numbers can account for high monocyte numbers.” 
  • Source: 2ndChance.Info

Sydney's numbers may be higher because she spent the day at the vet; something she hasn't done since her spay surgery when she was a puppy.

Eosinophils (EOS): These are a specific type of white blood cells that may indicate allergic or parasitic conditions.  Range: 0-1200

  • Rodrigo 525
  • Sydney 512
  • Scout 375
  • Zoey 384

Basophils (BAS): These are a specific type of white blood cells and an overabundance is rare; when a dog's basophil numbers are above normal, it is often in conjunction with an increased number of eosinophils (see above), which are associated with allergies.  Source: 2ndChance.InfoRange: 0-150

  • Rodrigo 0
  • Sydney 0
  • Scout 0
  • Zoey 0

Red blood cell count (RBC):  This test measures the total number of red blood cells per volume of blood and is used to detect anaemias, a condition where a dog has fewer red blood cells than normal, and other disorders of red blood cells.  Range: 4.8-9.3

  • Rodrigo 6.9
  • Sydney 7.8
  • Scout 7.5
  • Zoey 8.3

Hemoglobin and mean corpulscular hemoglobin concentration (Hb and MCHC): These are the oxygen-carrying pigments of red blood cells.  There are 7 types of anaemia and this test helps to narrow down the type. HGB Range: 12.1-20.3 | MCHC Range: 30-38

  • Rodrigo 16.5 | 35
  • Sydney 17.7 | 33
  • Scout 18.4 | 34
  • Zoey 20.5 | 34

Hematocrit (HCT): This test measures the percentage of red blood cells to detect anemia and hydration.  Range: 36-60

  • Rodrigo 48
  • Sydney 54
  • Scout 54
  • Zoey 60

Why Hematocrit May Be High

  • Dehydration.
  • Diarrhea and vomiting are the most common causes of dehydration in dogs and cats – particularly immature ones – but a lack of interest in drinking, diuretic medications such as furosemide can cause dehydration as well
  • Source: .2ndChance.Info

Platelet Count: This test measures the cells that help to form blood clots.  Range: 170-400

  • Rodrigo 227
  • Sydney 250
  • Scout 241
  • Zoey 200

Thyroid Test | Total T4

I thought Sydney had hypothyroidism, however, she tested in the high level on the Total T4.  While this test is usually not sufficient to determine hypothyroidism, when a dog tests high, no further tests are usually needed. 

Thyroxine (T4): Thyroxine is a thyroid hormone. Decreased levels often signal hypothyroidism in dogs.  Range: 0.8-4.0

  • Rodrigo 1.0
  • Sydney 3.4
  • Scout 2.9
  • Zoey 1.5

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