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Pre-anesthetic blood work is essential in any animal that is undergoing anesthesia. Anesthetic procedures always have associated risks. The more information we have about your pet’s health the better prepared we will be to handle any bumps in the road, if not avoid the bumps altogether. Having bloodwork before anesthesia increases your pet’s odds of having a complication free procedure. When pets are young they can have congenital problems associated with the liver or the kidneys that can alter how their body metabolizes the anesthetic drugs. Often, these underlying issues can exist without any symptoms or signs for many years. This can lead us to believe that your pet is healthy and free of problems. The truth is that we really can’t tell if your pet has an underlying problem without doing this essential bloodwork. More often than not, the bloodwork will come back completely normal which is something we can celebrate about. When we analyze pre-anesthetic blood work at Morningstar Pet Hospital, we are looking at the following values:
-BUN, Creatinine and Phosphorus – related to kidney function. The kidneys play a vital role in excreting wastes from the body.
-ALT, Alkaline Phosphatase, and Bilirubin – related to liver function. The Liver is another key player in excreting wastes from the body. The liver acts as a filter for the body.
-Amylase and Lipase – related to pancreas function. The pancreas is a part of the exocrine system and it is a glandular organ. It plays a key role in digestion and hormonal balance.
-Total Protein and Globulin – related to the immune system and dehydration. It is essential that your pet maintains their hydration to have a smooth surgery and recovery.
-CBC (Complete Blood Count) – this will give us insight into what is going on within your pet’s body on a cellular level. We look for circulating white blood cells to indicate if there is any existing infection or if your pet is immunocompromised. It will also show us if your pet is anemic and that they have adequate platelet numbers. Red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen to your pets body and carrying away waste products like carbon dioxide. Platelets are essential for proper blood clotting and healing after surgery.
In adult and senior animals, issues such as organ dysfunction associated with old age or disease can decrease their ability to break down and excrete the anesthetic drugs. This makes preanesthetic blood work even more essential. It is important to know that many pets can have mild to moderate levels of organ dysfunction or anemia without actually appearing sick. If the blood work does not come back normal it does not necessarily mean that your pet may not have the procedure done as expected; it may mean that your veterinarian may use a different drug that better fits your pet’s individual needs. Sometimes however, blood work will tell us that we are not able to safely perform the procedure at this time. In times like this we will work closely with you and your pet in order to get them healthier.
We recommend doing bloodwork before any surgical procedure or anesthesia as well as a general wellness profile every year. This can give us insight into any disease that may be in the early stages of development. The sooner we can catch signs of organ disease the sooner we can treat it and prevent any further complications. If your pet has already been diagnosed with existing disease then they may require bloodwork more frequently.