The Value Of Blood Work Before Pet Surgery

Along with anesthesia and sutures, blood work is an important part of pet surgery. As a critical diagnostic tool that helps guide the care an animal is given, blood tests give veterinarians insights into how well an animal’s organs and immune system are functioning.


While blood work, in many cases, is an added expense for an owner as their pet prepares for surgery, it’s a worthy one that could uncover previously undetected abnormalities. At Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit, we believe that pet ownership should not be a financial burden, which is why we’re committed to offering affordable pet surgeries, care and pre-surgery blood work. 


Why is blood work necessary? 


Most times an animal goes under anesthesia, a veterinarian will require blood work. In short, it is the best way for a veterinarian to know if an animal is a good candidate for anesthesia. If the blood work reveals abnormalities, those results could then be used to inform an adjusted treatment plan. 


In essence, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 


What does blood work measure?


The exact type of blood panel each veterinarian calls for may differ from practice to practice, but in general most orders issued prior to surgery call for a CBC and serum biochemistry. Results from both of these tests allow the veterinarian to assess an animal’s internal health.


A CBC, or complete blood count, measures levels of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Readings at certain levels could indicate the presence of anemia or blood clotting disorders, which would be valuable information to have ahead of surgery. 


Serum biochemistry measures organ function by assessing chemical levels in the blood. Veterinarians can determine the health of an animal’s liver function and kidney function with this test, as well as measure glucose levels, electrolytes and serum proteins. Low proteins, dehydration and low levels of other minerals could be cause for concern or indicate the potential for recovery complications or a prolonged recovery period. 


What if a pet is perfectly healthy?


Blood work isn’t only valuable for pets that are experiencing health problems. Sometimes, pets can appear perfectly healthy while experiencing some abnormalities internally that aren’t reflected with visible symptoms. It’s possible, for example, for an animal to be anemic without an owner realizing it. The same goes for other ailments, such as diabetes. 


Preoperative blood work for pets helps veterinarians assess the entire landscape, to gain a better understanding of what is known and what isn’t. And, if blood work reveals an illness or deficiency, a more informed treatment plan can be administered — which may include delaying a planned surgical procedure until the animal is healthier. 


Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit is a trusted veterinary team serving the Phoenix, Peoria and Tucson metro areas, with accessible locations in each market, offering highly specialized surgery, quality spay and neuter procedures, and accessible  dental care for pets. Contact us to learn more about our specialized services or to schedule an appointment.   

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