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Pre-anaesthetic blood testing

Read about pre-anaesthetic blood testing

As you may be aware, there are always potential risks involved with an animal having an anaesthetic; here at The Stocks Vets we try to minimise these risks by offering additional procedures and tests such as pre-anaesthetic blood screens.

What is pre-anaesthetic blood testing?

It is an in-house procedure which involves taking a sample of blood from your pet before they have a sedation or anaesthetic. It is a basic screen that we run in our in-house laboratory which means that we can have results back in around 30 minutes.

What does the test show?

The blood test analyses levels of certain enzymes and molecules including; glucose, creatinine, urea, albumin, globulin, ALT, ALP and SDMA.

These results give us information about kidney (urea, creatinine and SDMA) and liver function (ALT and ALP). The kidneys and liver help to eliminate toxins and drugs from the body including waste products and anaesthetic drugs.

Glucose is a basic energy source for the body and abnormalities can indicate diabetes and various other diseases. Albumin and globulin are proteins.

We are pleased to announce our pre-anaesthetic blood tests now include testing of a new kidney enzyme - SDMA (Symmetric DiMethyl Arginine).
SDMA is a reliable indicator of kidney function and can help detect early kidney disease.

If either the liver or kidneys are compromised, there can be an adverse effect on the safety of the anaesthetic and so we will alter the medications, drugs used and procedures accordingly.

Within our pre-anaesthetic blood test panel we will also perform a PCV (Packed Cell Volume) to look at red blood cells. This gives us information on their hydration status and monitors for anaemia.

Should my pet have a pre-anaesthetic blood test?

It is worth considering a blood test in any pet having an anaesthetic. As well as giving us information to refer to at the time of the procedure, having baseline blood results can help in the future as we can monitor for any changes over time and keep an eye on your pet’s general health. We can run these blood tests on any patient but particularly recommend it for more senior pets over the age of 7 as they can be more likely to have underlying health issues.

It is important to understand that a pre-anaesthetic blood test does not guarantee the absence of anaesthetic complication.  It may however reduce the risk of complications as well as identify medical conditions that could require treatment in the future.

How are the bloods taken?

A blood sample is taken from a blood vessel, most commonly from the jugular vein in the neck, but can also be taken from the leg using the cephalic vein.

We will need to clip some hair from the area we will be taking the sample from to assist with accessibility and to maintain sterility of the site.

When can my pet have this test performed?

Ideally this should be done in the week leading up to the anaesthetic; however it is possible to take and run the blood sample on the morning of your pet’s procedure if you have difficulty getting to the surgery.


Preparing the required equipment needed for taking a blood sample

Kimberley one of our registered veterinary nurses restraining a cat for their blood test.

This is our centrifuge spinner that spins down the blood to prepare it to run in the in house machine.

A spun down blood sample ready to be tested in house – we use the serum which is the clearer liquid in the top half of the tube.

A PCV reading (Packed cell volume) to check the levels of red blood cells.

If you require any more information please don’t hesitate to call the surgery and talk to one of our vets or veterinary nurses.