Is Blood Work Before a Dog Anesthesia Necessary?

by Naomi Millburn
Blood tests can detect infection.

Blood tests can detect infection.

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If your dog is scheduled for any medical procedure that involves general anesthesia, his veterinarian might request pre-anesthestic blood work. In many cases, veterinary hospitals require blood testing, which can often provide invaluable insight into a canine's overall health standing. The tests are sometimes mandatory for all canines, and sometimes mandatory only for those over a certain age -- say 7 years.

Purpose

Blood work prior to anesthesia serves a variety of purposes. It can indicate whether or not a dog's organs -- like the kidneys and liver -- are working smoothly and properly, for instance. Importantly, it can also illuminate the presence of medical ailments that could make anesthesia potentially harmful to your pet. Dogs, as with many other animals, are usually innately adept at concealing sickness as a mode of staying alive in the wild. Because of this, canines frequently seem fine, even though they're actually suffering in silence. Blood work helps reveal clues that you might not be able to pick up on just by looking at your pet.

Elderly Dogs

Although blood work is commonplace in canines of all ages, including the youngsters, they're often considered to be especially vital in elderly individuals. Organ issues, simply put, are much more prevalent as dogs age. If blood work shows zero indications of any problem, anesthesia can generally move forward as scheduled. If the results display any signs of a problem, however, more examination may be necessary to determine the exact issue, or a change in the specific kind of anesthesia may be in order. A veterinarian can decide exactly which forms of blood work are necessary for an individual pooch by considering several factors, including the upcoming medical process, the dog's overall health condition, his age and his breed.

Testing

Blood testing examines a lot of values in the blood that give clues to the conditions causing them. Such tests frequently analyze the amounts of albumin and platelets within the blood, for example. They also often add up the total numbers of red blood cells. If a dog's results show that his numbers of red blood cells are low, he could have anemia. Anemia is often associated with problems with anesthesia, so knowledge of the condition is critical.

Considerations

Veterinarians can't promise that blood work will pick up on all ailments in 100 percent of cases. However, conducting blood work is undoubtedly helpful for checking for illnesses that aren't always easy to identify through standard physical examinations. Many veterinarians suggest other types of testing for checking for health problems, such as electrocardiograms and radiography. Speak to your veterinarian and find out how blood work might be a smart, safe idea for your furry buddy. Make sure that your veterinarian is always fully aware of any health conditions your pet might have, too. Dogs with various medical conditions, such as heart disease, are often prone to complications with anesthesia.

Photo Credits

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About the Author

Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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