Why does my cat need blood work?

By March 15, 2019Blog

Notoriously, cats are known for hiding obvious signs of illness, disease or injury. They do hide illness because it’s instinctual. They know if they show weakness or lethargic behavior they become prey. When bringing in your cat to your veterinarian, a full physical examination is typically done. They may recommend that blood work be done as well. Feline blood work can help identify conditions that a physical examination cannot. Feline blood work is used to determine liver functions, kidney functions, red blood cell count, white blood cell count, anemia level, and blood sugar level. Your veterinarian will also analyze cat blood work for hyperthyroidism, as well as checking for diabetes.  While giving all this information, blood work also helps determine surgical risk.

There are a few times where blood work is most commonly recommended.

  • Very first vet visit
  • During semi-annual wellness exams
  • If your cat is acting abnormal
  • Pre-surgical tests
  • During senior wellness exams
  • If your cat is on medication

When analyzing blood work results, veterinarians are assessing the different values of the blood. Including but not limited to, red and white blood cell count. Your vet will examine hydration status, anemia, infection, blood clotting and your cat’s immune system response. Doing a blood panel is necessary when your cat is running a fever, vomiting, experiencing diarrhea, is weak, has pale gums, has loss of appetite, or anything else unusual. These tests are essential in older cats and cats receiving long term medications. This is how we determine if your cat has liver or kidney disease.

Blood work should be done at least annually for healthy cats, and more frequently for ill cats.  The average cost of blood work is between $120 and $150.

Typically blood is drawn from your cat’s neck, back leg or front leg. It all depends on what is most comfortable for your cat.