How and Why a Blood Panel Could Assist Save Your Senior Cat’s Life

How and Why a Blood Panel Could Assist Save Your Senior Cat’s Life

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I hadn’t paid a lot consideration to the annual bloodwork my vet orders for my older cats—till the knowledge from a senior blood panel helped save my cat Zoe from exploratory surgical procedure.

A number of months in the past Zoe stopped consuming and have become disoriented. We rushed her to the emergency hospital the place they ran intensive blood checks. She perked up a bit after receiving subcutaneous fluids, however the checks confirmed that the numbers for her liver, gall bladder, and pancreatic capabilities had been all dramatically out of line.

The hospital began antibiotics and the subsequent day ran one other spherical of blood checks. Numbers remained excessive. Zoe nonetheless refused to eat. Two days into this ordeal, the emergency vet known as and advised me with a sigh that it was possible that Zoe was affected by severe well being points that had been constructing for fairly a while. Zoe was, in spite of everything, a 17-year-old cat. The subsequent step can be exploratory stomach surgical procedure and a number of costly biopsies of key organs.

“Wait!” I stated. “They only did a senior blood panel three months in the past. And all Zoe’s numbers had been excellent!”

I discovered the outcomes of Zoe’s current checks and skim them to the emergency vet. He agreed that three months in the past she’d been a wholesome cat. Because of this, he determined to deal with her sickness with antibiotics, steroids, and drugs for the assist of liver capabilities. It wasn’t a certain factor, however to everybody’s delight, Zoe recovered and is as soon as once more a wholesome cat—and again to completely regular numbers.

cat wearing colorful Birdsbesafe collar

Senior cat Zoe wanting lovely in her Birdbesafe collar. Photograph by Karen G. Anderson

What’s a Senior Blood Panel?

You’ll hear blood checks for cats known as “blood work,” “a blood panel,” “a blood rely,” or “a chemistry panel.” They’re all a part of the identical factor. In case your veterinarian desires to do a normal evaluation of your cat’s general well being (widespread in case you are adopting a brand new cat, or your cat is entering old age) your vet could take blood for a number of checks. That group of checks is known as a “panel.”

A panel, usually executed similtaneously routine urinalysis, is more likely to embrace these checks (as listed within the Journal of Feline Medication and Surgical procedure‘s 2021 AAFP Senior Care Guidelines):

  • Complete blood count (CBC): These measure purple blood cells, white blood cells, differential rely, and platelets.
  • Serum biochemistry panel (chemistry panel): These checks measure whole protein, albumin, globulin, alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, glucose, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and calcium.Blood rely and blood serum checks inform your vet how effectively your cat’s kidneys, liver, and thyroid gland are working. As an example, outcomes from the blood glucose check will reveal in case your cat is diabetic or pre-diabetic, whereas the white blood cell rely can sign an infection or some varieties of most cancers. Pink blood cell counts present details about anemia, and in addition uncommon varieties of protein.

This article within the Catnip publication from Tufts College’s Cummings College of Veterinary Medication goes into element about every of those checks.

Does Your Cat Want a Blood Panel?

Elizabeth Rozanski, DVM, and affiliate professor of emergency and significant care within the division of medical sciences at Tufts, says blood work is a good suggestion for cats coming into center age. “When a cat reaches center age—seven or eight years previous—it’s a good suggestion to have a baseline check executed. After that, it relies upon to an extent on how the cat is feeling,” she told Tufts’ Catnip newsletter.

After the preliminary check, a second check may in all probability wait till the cat is 10 or 11 years previous, Rozanski says. However take into account that in case your cat is having surgical procedure or dental remedy that requires anesthesia, most vets would require a blood panel to ensure the cat is wholesome sufficient to deal with anesthesia.

On the minimal, a blood panel to your senior cat offers your veterinarian essential primary details about your cat’s well being as they enter previous age the place they’re more likely to encounter well being issues. If two years later, your cat’s kidney values are inching up, your vet can see that your cat has moved from regular to high-normal and may start taking steps to sluggish the development of kidney illness.

Generally a blood panel will reveal well being issues that have to be addressed instantly and your veterinarian will seemingly prescribe drugs or a change of food plan. In different circumstances, irregular outcomes from a blood panel could lead your vet to suggest a second stage of testing to get extra detailed details about a selected well being subject, corresponding to thyroid illness.

Blood panels for senior cats can price as a lot as $200 for the suite of primary checks (typically much less if they’re bundled with different providers). Pricing varies quite a bit depending on the region the place you reside and the proximity of veterinary testing laboratories. (In accordance with the ASPCA and PetPlan, some pet health insurance plans cowl pet bloodwork, however normally solely when associated to an accident or sickness—not typically for preventative care.)

The underside line is that you need to discuss along with your veterinarian about when your older cat must have a full panel of blood checks.

For me, having Zoe’s outcome blood outcomes helpful as a part of her routine senior care made all of the distinction throughout her well being disaster.

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