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A Pet Owner's Guide to Laboratory Testing

"Many technologies that help humans live longer, healthier lives are available to your pet. By performing a few basic tests your veterinarian is able to gather a wealth of information concerning the well-being of your pet.

There are four basic wellness tests your veterinarian will use to diagnose the health of your pet:

As the name implies, thyroid tests evaluate the function of the thyroid gland. Too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) is common in dogs whereas too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) is common in older cats. Because there is no single thyroid test that can diagnose all thyroid diseases in animals, several different thyroid tests are used to assure proper results (T4, T3, Free T4, etc.).



Understanding Common Blood Tests

by  Lee Pickett, V.M.D.


"When your veterinarian recommends blood tests for your dog, do you feel uncertain, not sure what the tests are for or what the terminology means? If so, this article is for you. After you read it, you'll have a working knowledge of the more common blood tests and what they can show. ..."

Please click on the title to read this informative article at the Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue Web Site.  There's additional educational articles here.


 Why Have Your Animal's Blood Tested through HEMOPET ?

The main reason for sending Dr. Jean Dodds / HEMOPET  the blood samples instead of having the testing done locally, is that HEMOPET is the only group routinely offering expert clinical interpretive diagnostic comments that take into account the age, sex, and breed type of the animal.  This often means an expected normal reference range for an individual pet that differs from the test lab's generic broad reference range. Practitioners usually are unaware of these differences, which have been established by published research and Dr. Dodds' many years (41 years this year- 2005) of clinical and research experience.

                Note, Regarding Thyroid testing:

The COMPLETE Thyroid Panel is needed for an ACCURATE diagnosis and assessment of Thyroid Function.  Dr. Dodds' Thyroid Panel # D8T provides the values for: T3, T4, free T3, free T4, T3 Autoantibodies and T4 Autoantibodies.  As of 4/04 the fee for that testing is $57.50, which includes Dr. Dodds' expert interpretation.

If you'd like to have the COMPLETE Thyroid Panel AND the other Blood Chemistry values, the Profile 7200 includes the CBC, Differential, Superchem, AND the Complete Thyroid Panel, D8T as specified above.  The fee as of 4/04 for this extensive testing which also includes Dr. Dodds' interpretation is $79.50

A littler reminder, Dr. Dodds' testing through her non-profit HEMOPET is less expensive and there will be an additional fee of about $10 for your local vet to pull the blood, plus the postage (I send it myself).  See additional information about how I do this and more articles about the very important Thyroid Gland.


Additional Articles regarding Blood Tests:


Links for Diagnostic Directory

Washington State University  College of Veterinary Medicine




Reading Laboratory Reports

Pawprints and Purrs, Inc. Cat Health Care


Blood Work

by Kathy Dvorak  "Why do we do blood work? Simply stated, because our dog cannot describe symptoms to let us know what might be wrong. Diagnosing an illness in a dog, as in humans, can be difficult and often requires many laboratory tests including blood work. Blood work is also important to establish a "baseline" for health care (i.e. comparison of our dog when (s)he is well versus when a situation arises). And last, but certainly not least, it is used to monitor dog's that are on anti-convulsant drugs. ..."


Blood Tests... Blood Chemistry Values

"Normal Values for blood chemistry elements for dogs and cats are displayed in the table below.  Keep in mind that each blood chemistry machine and every veterinary diagnostic lab has their own set of normal values calculated for their particular instrumentation.  The values shown here may be different from normal ranges your veterinarian refers to when making judgments about patients' reported blood chemistry values."


Understanding Blood Work: The Complete Blood Count (CBC)

by Dawn Ruben, DVM


Understanding Blood Work: The Biochemical Profile

by Dawn Ruben, DVM


Diets Do Matter:

"  ...  dogs fed raw meats (natural carnivores) have higher red blood cell and blood urea nitrogen levels than dogs fed cereal-based food (obligate omnivores). Thus, the normal reference values for dogs fed raw food diets should probably be revised."


The diagnostic tests all older dogs need

"The older your dog gets, the more important it becomes for him to have regular vet visits. While certain conditions like reduced hearing and vision or joint stiffness are all part of growing older, there are other problems that can only be discovered through diagnostic tests. Having these tests done a couple of times a year can help prevent or minimize conditions that would otherwise progress very quickly. ...  "


Blood Work: CBC and Chemistry Panel

Becky Lundgren, DVM


Interpretation of Lab Test Profiles

by Ed Uthman, MD


What to do when blood work is normal in a sick dog.


Heartworm Disease

Helpful info from Dr. Ken Diestler


What you should know about heartworm disease

AVMA brochure - 2004


Tests for Liver Disease in Dogs

Vet Info


Diagnosing Liver Disease in Dogs: What do the Tests Really Mean?

Jill Maddison Australia

World Small Animal Veterinary Assoc. Conference (WSAVA 2001)


Tests for Valley Fever

Valley Fever Center for Excellence


Cushing's Disease or Hyperadrenocorticism

" .. The diagnosis of Cushing's can be done with several blood tests. Cushing's disease is probably more accurately referred to as hyperadrenocorticism -- the production of too much adrenal hormone, in particular corticosteroids. It can be naturally occurring or due to over administration of corticosteroids such as prednisone (iatrogenic Cushings). The latter is easy to cure - just cut out the corticosteroid administration slowly to allow the body to return to normal function. The former is more difficult. ..."



Copyright 1995 Helen L. McKinnon All Rights Reserved

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