Lab Blood Work Tests for Cats

Cats require blood work tests when they need to diagnosed for different diseases. Blood tests are widely used in veterinary medicine. The results are measured against normal values, which are typically present in healthy pets; these values differ across species. The lab test results may be influenced by certain drugs, so always inform your vet about the medication of your pet prior to blood tests. Prior to certain blood tests, your cat should fast.

Complete Blood Count

The complete blood count is a blood test that is very frequently employed to inform the vet about the amount of different types of cells in the blood flow of the cat.

The red blood cell count as well as the white blood cell count and the hemoglobin are important values to determine the condition of the cat. Red blood cells transport the oxygen to the vital organs, while white cells help fighting infections.

A low red blood cell count can indicate anemia, while a high amount of white blood cells can indicate an infection or a viral disease. 

Platelets help the blood to clot. If the platelet count is low the cat may have a destroyed bone marrow or an autoimmune disease.

Hematocrit or packed cell volume (PCV) may also measure the red blood cell count.

Commonly Performed Blood Tests

There are numerous tests that can be performed on a cat to determine his health condition. Some tests will show how a particular organ functions, while other tests will give a general overview.

The following tests are most commonly performed in felines:

  • Albumin results will inform the vet about the liver function; if the albumin is decreased, the liver is damaged
  • Increased values of alkaline phosphatase may indicate a liver problem, a bone disease or a hormonal imbalance
  • Amylase is a test that can indicate if the pancreas is healthy; if the values are high, the cat may have pancreatitis or a tumor in the pancreas region
  • Calcium levels are important to establish the bone and overall health of the cat; an elevated level of calcium may point to cancer, kidney failure or poisoning; low calcium is rare in cats
  • Increased cholesterol levels are rare in cats and indicate hypothyroidism, diabetes or kidney disease
  • Increased levels of creatinine point to a kidney disease or muscle damage
  • Glucose tests will measure the blood sugar; high glucose levels indicate diabetes while decreased glucose levels can point to sepsis or pancreatic cancer
  • Phosphorus and potassium levels increased in the blood flow can point to kidney disease or kidney failure; anorexic cats may also have a low blood potassium
  • Dehydration will cause increased levels of sodium
  • Total protein is a test that should be performed if the vet suspects an abnormal immune system; if this is the case, the total protein levels will be elevated

In addition to blood work tests, the vet may also require a urine sample and possibly some x-rays or a biopsy  to get a full profile of the cat’s condition and a clear diagnosis.