The Importance of Pre-Anesthetic Bloodwork


It is very important to fully understand the benefits of pre-anesthetic bloodwork. Regardless of the pet’s age, bloodwork is a very important tool to allow the veterinarian to recognize early warning signs of disease.

Bloodwork will help to see how each organ is functioning and can show signs of damage before the pet’s outward behaviour indicates any changes. Our pets can look completely healthy on the outside, but this doesn’t mean they are without health problems. Cats, for example, can be very stoic, and often times will hide signs of pain or illness until they can no longer compensate. In these cases, routine surgeries that normally shouldn’t be a problem for them could cause them just enough stress to tip them over the edge and become very sick.

There is always a risk associated with any anesthetic and surgery, with any pet but, doing bloodwork is one way to help minimize as many of those complications as possible. It will show if the pet has any hidden illnesses if the vet will have to change the drug protocol they were going to use due to irregular bloodwork, or show if the surgery should be postponed for the pets safely. If the pet had a hidden infection, they were trying to fight off, going under anesthetic farther stress our pets immune system, and can cause them to become overrun and very sick.

Checking bloodwork is especially important because the anesthesia is filtered through the liver and kidneys. If they aren’t working to the best of their ability, it very easily could cause the pet to have anesthetic complications or a difficult recovery.

Many people think because they have a puppy or kitten they don’t need to do the bloodwork because they are young and obviously healthy, which is often the case. However, it is very possible that puppies and kittens may have congenital abnormalities, which have not been discovered yet, and could lead to anesthetic complications for them.

At the very least, pre-anesthetic bloodwork will give us a healthy baseline, so when your pet does come in not feeling well at some point, the vet has something to compare to, to see exactly what has changed and by how much.

Feel free to call your local veterinary clinic and speak to a technician about any further questions you may have about the importance of doing bloodwork in your pets!

Written by Erica Stafford, RVT

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