Today, we’ll talk a little bit about blood work. What is blood work? That’s the question. When it’s mentioned about doing blood work, it’s not just as simple as testing the blood, because testing the blood, we can do that for many different reasons. But when you hear the term blood work, which is used in a general term, it doesn’t give specifics as to what’s been done. What we hear sometimes is where a client may say, I had blood work done at my regular vet a week ago, why do I need to do blood work again?
But the question is what is blood work? But also you must remember that the chemistry of the body is changing every second. Although the pet may have had blood work a week ago, a lot could have changed since then. In fact, in hospitalized pets, sometimes we check different values in the blood every few hours because things will change rapidly. Sometimes in fact we check things by the minute depending on what we are checking.
Now in terms of general practice, usually your blood work it’s done to evaluate certain things, like the organ function, and to take a look at different types of cells, either red blood cells or white blood cells, or different types of white blood cells as this may give an indication as to what may be going on. For example, there are certain types of a white blood cell called neutrophils. Neutrophils are like the soldiers of the body. They’re the main army that fights against infection. They’ll also get elevated for other reasons such as inflammation, and as I mentioned before infection, and then sometimes with excitement, epinephrine may cause him to be a little bit elevated. Sometimes the steroids would cause them to also be elevated. If steroids was given by say the owner, or by a veterinarian, then these neutrophil numbers may be elevated in these cases. That’s why history is also important when we take a look at the blood.
There is another section to the most blood examination, the blood chemistry, where we look at things like glucose, we look at some of the liver enzymes such as the ALP and the ALT, also look at things such as GGT, which is one of those enzymes that can be found in the pancreas, also we find that in the bile duct. We also look at things like the urea in the blood, we look at the [inaudible 00:03:21] in the blood. We look at other things.
With our blood analyzer here, we do analyze more things than your average practice would, because it gives us more information, more information that may help with making a diagnosis, and or may help with putting the appropriate treatment together.
Bear in mind all blood work, when you hear blood work, it doesn’t mean the same thing. It’s just a general terminology that I don’t particularly like, one I think many of you purists and internists may agree with me that is too broad a term they use to connotate anything more than we’re getting blood for evaluation. That for me, that’s what that means, we are taking blood for evaluation.
Now the question is, what are we evaluating? That’s the big question because different analyzers, some of which will check for maybe five to 10 things. Some will check for 17 things, some will check for 25, depends on the analyzer that we use in regular practice. But just bear that in mind, that because the blood work was done doesn’t mean that a lot of things that you may think was checked, in fact was not checked. Keep that in mind. You could ask your veterinarian what’s included, what will be tested for, because you have literally thousands of things that we could analyze by checking the blood.
I just wanted to make a quick note on that, and let me briefly tell you about some of the most common things that we see in blood work, the red blood cell we evaluate for things like anemia, we evaluate for baby red blood cells, we evaluate hemoglobin, that kind of stuff that would give us clues to disease processes. Also we look at something we call the leukogram, which is just a look at some of the common white blood cells, the neutrophils, as I’ve mentioned earlier, that’s infections, inflammations, you will see them going high, and of course with some other reasons.
The acidophils are their most beautiful cells, I must tell you. The most beautiful cell in the body, and they’re filled with granules, and those will see elevations mostly with internal parasites, external parasites as in fleas, sometimes that case is all for allergies, we will see them being elevated, and rarely in some cases of a cancer such as a mast cell cancer, we may see them also being elevated.
We also look at lymphocytes, these are the cells that are very, very important, they play a vital role in the immune system and sometimes we will see them going high with infections. They have to create antibodies that have to fight things that comes to invade the body.
Then you have basophils, sometimes it parasites, or with some cancer you’ll see them going elevated, but they’re very rare and we rarely see them on the microscope.
That’s the CBC” complete blood count. That section of evaluation of blood that’s what we call checking the blood cells, that is referred to as a CBC; complete blood count.
Then we move over to the chemistry portion, this is where we evaluate some things that may give us indications as to the health of the organ, the kidneys, the liver, sometimes we can get some indications about the pancreas depending on what analyzer you use, most may not have the analyzers that can do this, but here, in a routine check off the blood that’s also included where we have some values that may give an indication of issues through the pancreas. It depends on the analyzer that your veterinarian is using. But that’s the basic gist of the basic blood work is to evaluate mostly some of his cells, and also evaluate some enzymes and some electrolytes that may give us a clue to what disease process maybe going on, or to where the disease process may be affected. That’s just basic information and routine check of the blood that we do here. Thanks for watching.