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Discussion Starter #1
I've been reading through a number of posts, realizing that I've been lucky enough to be mostly ignorant of bloodwork and most diseases. However, my 12 yo dog will have a wellness blood panel this December, just for prevention. Normally, I trust my Vet, but it'd be nice to have a minimum baseline of knowledge to start with, so that I can go exploring on the Web for more detail, if needed.

So if it is not too ridiculous, my request is a Sticky with a list of the most common blood tests, the acronyms, what they monitor, and a few additional tests/panels/levels for follow-up. In addition, the common 5 - 20 (?) diseases, and the common blood tests for them.

And, if I haven't overstayed my welcome, the top 5 -10 parasites, symptoms, and cures.

I've got a start that I cut and pasted in. Feel free to delete and re-start or add in. Not sure who is knowledgeable and who has the time, but if we get a lot of good info, then, I'm happy to consolidate, edit, and re-post to create as a Sticky. Thanks!

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PCV (monitors whether anemic or dehydrated),
a BUN (monitors liver and kidney function),
Creatinine (monitors kidney function),
ALT (monitors liver function),
elevated liver enzymes (ALKP and ALT)
Alkaline phosphates (monitors liver and the biliary system),
Total protein (monitors the immune system and hydration status), glucose and
the electrolytes (sodium, potassium and chloride).
CBC, GHP, lytes and cPL
T-4 (thyroid hormone) Blood panel ?
cholesterol and triglycerides levels
Do all parasites show up in bloodwork or stool checks

Common blood chemistry abnormalities would be

pancreatitis are diagnosed with a test called a cPL
exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI)
Cushing - Thyroid panel (T-4)
Euthyroid Sick Syndrome


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Discussion Starter #3
Sassafras very kindly provided some blood test information resources. I’ve summarized some of the common blood tests, but I did NOT summarize anything about hypothyroidism. This might be a useful STICKY.

Some basic explanations of common test results
http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=2393

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=1630

Hypothyroidism (discussion of testing near the bottom)
http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=461


Lab Values

A CBC can tell your veterinarian if your pet has an unusual number of erythrocytes (anemia, polycythemia), leukocytes (leukopenia, leukocytosis), or platelets (thrombocytopenia).

A chemistry panel (blood chem, chemistry screen), tests kidney function, liver function, electrolyte levels, etc. Blood chemistries are run on the fluid in the blood sample. (The CBC is the examination of the cells in the blood sample.)

The chemistry panel usually includes the following tests: alkaline phosphatase (SAP, ALP), alanine transaminase (alanine aminotransferase, ALT), bilirubin total (T Bili), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, creatine kinase (CK, CPK), sodium, potassium, glucose, total protein, albumin, etc. Alkaline phosphatase, alanine transaminase, bilirubin, and albumin give your veterinarian information about the pet's liver function. Blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and creatine kinase tell your veterinarian how well your pet's kidneys are functioning.

Complete Blood Count (CBC) - measures the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. High white count can indicate infection. Platelets relate to clotting

Albumin is protein created in the liver. Abnormally low ranges are seen with diseased livers, gastrointestinal disease, etc. Low levels are seen in poor diets, diarrhea, fever, infection, liver disease, inadequate iron intake, third-degree burns and edemas, and hypocalcemia. High levels are rarely seen and are primarily due to dehydration.

Alkaline Phosphatase forms in body tissue. Increased levels in dogs typically indicate liver or bone disease, preganancy, dental problems, or that the dog is taking prednisone. Growing animals also normally have higher levels of this enzyme. Elevated levels can be used as a tumor marker, particularly with tumors that have metastasized to the liver. Low levels of alkaline phosphatase may not be clinically significant.

Alanine transaminase (ALT) is an enzyme produced in the liver, and values found in the bloodstream increase with a diseased or damaged liver. Increased levels are also seen in liver damage, kidney infection, chemical pollutants, or heart attack.

Amylase and Lipase enzymes - Pancreatitis or cancer of the liver can raise the value of both of these enzymes.

Bile acids are produced in the liver and help break down fat.

Bilirubin is created in the liver from old red blood cells. Values can be elevated in pets with liver or gallbladder disease, or red blood cell issues. Elevated in liver disease, hemolytic anemia, low levels of exposure to the sun, and toxic effects to some drugs. Decreased levels are seen in people with an inefficient liver, excessive fat digestion, and possibly a diet low in nitrogen bearing foods.

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) - A low BUN can indicate liver disease, and an increased BUN can indicate severe kidney disease or dehydration. Increases can be caused by excessive protein intake, kidney damage, certain drugs, low fluid intake, intestinal bleeding, exercise, or heart failure. Decreased levels may be due to a poor diet, malabsorption, liver damage, or low nitrogen intake.

Calcium - high blood calcium is associated with cancer, as well as kidney failure, bone disease, or poisoning from rodent bait. Low blood calcium can occur just before giving birth or even during nursing (eclampsia), problems with the parathyroid gland, or poisoning from antifreeze

Cholesterol - Diabetes, hypothyroidism, Cushing’s, or kidney disease can elevate cholesterol levels. It doesn't contribute to heart disease in dogs and cats.

Creatinine is produced in the muscles and leaves the body in the urine. Elevated values indicate kidney disease or dehydration. Low levels are sometimes seen in kidney damage, protein starvation, liver disease, or pregnancy. Elevated levels are sometimes seen in kidney disease due to the kidneys job of excreting creatinine, muscle degeneration, and some drugs involved in impairment of kidney function.

Creatinine Kinase comes from damaged muscle. High values indicate problems with muscle, possibly including the heart.

Glucose - Diabetes is a typical cause of elevated glucose, which is blood sugar. Elevated in diabetes, liver disease, obesity, and pancreatitis due to steroid medications, or during stress. Dogs with Cushing’s disease may also have elevated levels. If the glucose has been high for a while, it can be found both in the blood and urine. Low glucose levels may indicate a body-wide bacterial infection (sepsis) or pancreatic cancer; seizures are sometimes seen with low glucose. Low levels may be indicative of liver disease, overproduction of insulin, or hypothyroidism.

Packed cell volume (PCV) - the hematocrit

Phosphorus may be high in pets that have chronic, serious kidney disease.

Potassium - Acute kidney failure can increase levels in the bloodstream.

Sodium - Low sodium levels are commonly seen in Addison’s disease. Dehydration can cause slightly elevated levels of sodium.

Total Protein is a value that includes albumin plus larger proteins (globulins). Increased levels are seen in lupus, liver disease, chronic infections, leukemia, etc. Total protein can be increased from dehydration or activity of the immune system; like albumin, values can decrease due to liver disease. Decreased levels may be due to poor nutrition, liver disease, malabsorption, diarrhea, or severe burns.
 

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Hanksimon, that is an excellent list and description. Thank you! Would it be possible to add normal range values?
 

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Unfortunately, normal ranges can vary by the lab doing the tests depending on what units and techniques they use. So that's something that has to come with your pet's actual blood work.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I don't have any knowledge about this stuff, except what sassafras sent, but I think one of the papers also said that each breed can have different numbers also ??? I believe there should be some type of common baseline... but I've never worried about it, so I'm positive... that I don't know :)

However, I am also positive that you can get more info from your Vet, and if you build a simple matrix of spreadsheet (cut and paste into Word or Excel), then the Vet or one of his Vet Techs might be able to fill it in off the top of their head for free while you wait... or over night. If they have email access, then might work it through that. It shouldn't be a big issue, but it's a great education.
 

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I'm sorry, I wasn't very clear. Each lab, when they report your individual pet's results, will usually also include what their normal ranges are right on the report. So your vet should get a list that looks something like:

Value A 25 (0-50) units
Value B 68 (60-120) units
Value C 500 (250-600) units
Value D 0.5 (0.2-1.5) units
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...
...
...and so on. That lab's normal ranges are typically reported right alongside your own pet's individual results so you can see at a glance whether they are normal or not. Also, they may automatically flag high or low values with some kind of marker to make it easier for them to stand out.
 
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