Testing your cat’s blood can provide us with so much information when your cat is sick. We can assess the health of the major organs, like the kidneys and liver for example, and also check for some types of cancer. There are blood tests to check for more and more conditions all the time. It is also important to do blood testing for healthy cats to help identify disease sooner and prevent any issues that may arise when using certain medications like anesthetics or long-term drugs. If your cat’s blood work is completely normal, that is great news! We have ruled out a large number of health problems and established a normal baseline for the future.
How long does it take to get blood test results?
Some tests can be performed in the clinic, for example, if your cat is sick and we need answers right away. We often send routine blood tests to a laboratory which provides most of our results the next day. A few specialized tests take a bit longer for results. However, the doctor will explain when you can expect results.
How should I prepare my cat for their blood tests?
If you know that your cat is having blood taken at their appointment, you cannot feed him/her for 12 hours before the appointment. We can still do the majority of tests on blood from an animal that has eaten, however, occasionally there are some tests that require fasting. The main way to prepare your cat is trying to make the whole experience as positive as possible. If your cat is used to their carrier or comfortable in the car ride here, it can make for a much smoother visit once they arrive. Feel free to ask us for some tips and tricks that can be done to help your cat feel less anxious about their visit.
How often should blood tests be done?
This depends on the age and health status of your cat and whether they are on any long-term medication or have a surgical procedure requiring anesthesia coming up. Ideally, blood work would be done before your cat’s spay or neuter procedure at around 6 months of age. This ensures that we have normal organ function prior to surgery and establishes a normal baseline for the future. If a medical issue arises, especially any major changes in weight, appetite or water consumption, blood testing would be recommended at that time. Once your cat becomes a senior, blood testing can be beneficial on a regular basis, once to twice a year.
Does your clinic perform urinalysis and biopsy?
Examining your cat’s urine can provide us with a lot of information. Urinary tract problems are very common in cats and can result in your cat urinating in inappropriate places. A urine sample will let us know if your cat has any inflammation or crystals in the kidneys, bladder or urethra as well as how the kidneys are functioning. It can also provide some information on the liver and whether or not your cat could be diabetic. We do most urine sample evaluations in the clinic while you wait, however, occasionally there are additional tests that we send out to the laboratory. Biopsies are often required to get more information about a condition or to help with diagnosis. Almost anything can be biopsied. However, some things are easier to biopsy than others. Many biopsies we can do here at the clinic, however, sometimes we send the collected tissue or cells away for analysis at the lab. Other times, obtaining the biopsy is something that needs to be done under the care of a specialist. Our veterinarians will discuss your pets’ condition with you and what options are available for getting the information we need.