Pre-Anaesthetic Blood Testing

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Modern anaesthetic drugs used for your pet’s anaesthesia are extremely safe and carry very low risks to a healthy animal. These risks can vary depending on several factors including pre-exising conditions, age, body condition, weight, and breed.

Prior to an anaesthetic procedure, our vets will perform an assessment of your pet’s health which will include a review of their medical history and a physical examination. Animals are not always able to tell us they feel unwell, or we may not be able to detect an underlying disease which may affect the anaesthetic. To obtain a complete physiological picture of your pet’s health status, a blood test is recommended.

At McLaren Vale Veterinary Surgery, to improve the safety of general anaesthesia, a preanaesthetic blood test is always performed on patients over 7 years of age. We also strongly recommend one for all other pets undergoing general anaesthesia. This allows us to:

  • Determine the safety of the medications used. Medications are given before and after a general anaesthetic to reduce anaesthetics needed and improve the comfort of your pet. Blood tests allow us to determine which drugs are safe and appropriate.
  • Identify unseen disease. This will reduce the likelihood of complications and identify any disease which may require future treatment.
  • Enjoy peace of mind. Ensuring you are doing everything possible to produce a positive outcome for your pet’s procedure.
  • Establish healthy baseline values. We can identify normal blood values for your pet and identify changes to this over time.

 

The components assessed in a pre-anaesthetic blood test include:

  • Alkaline Phosphatase: ALP is an enzyme present in the liver and bone. Elevations can indicate liver swelling, decreased bile flow or disorders such as diabetes or Cushing’s Disease.
  • Alanine Aminotransferase: ALT is an assessment of liver cellular disease. Increased levels of this enzyme may be a sign of liver damage or disease.
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen: BUN is made in the liver and removed from the body by the kidneys. Assessing BUN helps us to assess the function of both organs.
  • Creatinine: A by-product of muscle metabolism. This is an important value to monitor kidney function, urinary tract obstruction and dehydration.
  • Glucose: Elevations can indicate problems such as diabetes or stress. Low levels may indicate liver disease, Addison’s disease, pancreatic tumours, or intestinal disease.
  • Total Protein: Low levels may indicate liver, kidney, or intestinal disease.
  • Packed cell volume: Decreased red blood cell levels could be a result of poor blood production, increased blood loss or increased blood breakdown.

Blood testing for heart disease is also recommended for some cats who are to undergo general anaesthesia. Heart disease is a common disease of cats, and it has been shown to affect approximately 15% of healthy cat populations. Cats are able to hide their heart disease well, making detection of heart disease very difficult. For more information on heart disease in cats, and the blood testing we recommend to detect it, click here.

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