At Karingal Veterinary Hospital we believe every anaesthetic must be performed in the safest manner possible. For this reason we recommend every dog, cat and many of our exotic patients having a general anaesthetic should have preanaesthetic blood testing prior to the event. This is particularly so for puppies and kittens that having their first general anaesthetic (e.g. at the time of de-sexing) and for senior pets over 8 years of age.
Before every anaesthetic event one of our veterinarians will perform a physical examination on your pet, paying particular attention to the heart and lungs. Unfortunately, there are certain conditions, including disorders of the kidneys and blood, that cannot be detected without blood testing. Preanaesthetic blood testing allows us to check for problems and if necessary modify our anaesthetic regime, or if more serious, delay surgery until your pet’s problem can be treated.
Anaesthesia and Your Pet
There are a number of important reasons to test your pet before anaesthesia. These include:
What is Being Tested?
There are three components to your pet’s blood that is examined when a preanaesthetic test is performed.
Haematology. A complete blood count (commonly referred to as a CBC) provides detailed information about the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. The red blood cells carry oxygen around the body. Anaemia is the condition that occurs with a low red blood cell count and can greatly affect how your dog handles a general anaesthetic. The white blood cell numbers increase in response to infection and inflammation. Platelets are small cells that are vital for blood to clot properly. A low platelet count can have serious consequences if surgery is performed.
Biochemistry. These tests measure the levels of certain chemicals and enzymes in the blood. These include:
iii. Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT). This is an enzyme that becomes elevated with liver cell injury.
Electrolytes. The Sodium, Potassium and Chloride balance is vital to your pet’s health. Abnormal levels can be life threatening. Electrolyte tests are important when evaluating vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration and heart symptoms.
How and When are the Tests Performed?
Most general anaesthetics are planned events and so this normally allows us some time to take blood samples and get the required tests performed. The blood samples are taken and processed through our in-house, state-of-the-art lab units. These machines allows us to get results in as little as 20 minutes if needed.