When would you recommend lab work for my cat?

I would recommend doing lab work or blood work on your cat yearly as well as anytime that they're sick.

Dr. Joanne Goodman
Evendale-Blue Ash Pet Hospital

What is baseline blood work?

Baseline blood work is one of the most important things we can do for our cats. We used to recommend blood work only on animals when they were over the age of seven because they were considered seniors but research has shown that starting blood work at the age of one can help uncover underlying problems in about two out of ten cats. This allows us to intervene early to prevent the onset of a disease process.

Does blood work actually provide a diagnosis for my cat?

Blood work can provide a diagnosis for some things, but it doesn't necessarily provide a diagnosis for other things. For example, an animal can have elevated white blood cells but they're acting completely healthy and we're not sure where the elevation is coming from. However, many times it does provide us a pathway that will help us lead to finding a diagnosis for what is going on with your cat.

Will the blood test detect cat cancer?

Some cancers yes, some cancers no. Certain cancers will have markers in blood work that let us know that your fur baby may have a lymphoma or an elevated calcium level. However, there are a lot of blood works that are normal in an older animal or a younger cat that it's normal but yet we still have weight loss and we might not have an answer and there still might be cancer there.

How effective are the lab tests that we run in cats?

The lab work is very effective, especially in monitoring their trends every year. For example, a thyroid test can help us detect the development of hyperthyroidism in your cat, even if the values are still in the normal range, allowing us to intervene and get the proper treatment.

What type of lab tests do veterinarians actually use?

It depends on the situation. For a young healthy cat coming in for an annual preventive exam, we run a panel that includes a CBC (complete blood count), a short chemistry screen, and a leukemia FIV heartburn test. For a sick animal, we run a more comprehensive panel that includes everything mentioned before plus maybe a pancreatitis test or a urinalysis. For a senior patient, we run a senior screen that includes everything we look at in a young cat plus a thyroid test, a urine test, and the leukemia FIV heartworm test.

What should I do if I have questions about cat lab work or I decide that I want to run lab work on my cat?

If you have questions about it, call us. My staff is great at helping you understand what we're recommending, what we're running. If you want to run lab work or blood work on your cat, just let us know when you come in for your annual panel or your annual preventative care.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (513) 563-0410, or you can email us at info@ebapethospital.com. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Cat Lab Work - FAQs

Dr. Joanne Goodman
Evendale-Blue Ash Pet Hospital

How is blood drawn from a cat?

There are several ways to draw blood from a cat. We can draw it from the jugular vein, located in the neck, or a back leg vein, where the cat lays on their side and we draw it from the inside of the back leg. The method used depends on the cat, as we aim to decrease any stress the cat might be feeling. We understand that one of the major concerns with bringing a cat into the veterinary office is causing stress or discomfort to the cat, which we strive to avoid.

Drawing blood from a cat is similar to humans having blood drawn. Reactions vary, with some individuals not bothered by the process while others may find it distressing. If we have a cat that is extremely stressed or nervous, we will not push them. Instead, we will discuss the situation with you and may suggest bringing the cat back in on a mild sedative to help alleviate the stress.

What are some reasons why a kitten, a presumably healthy adult cat or a senior cat might need some lab work?

Kittens may need lab work if they are sick and should have a blood test called a leukemia FIV test performed at the time of adoption and then 60 days later. Young cats should have blood work run anytime they are sick, and we recommend annual preventative lab work. Senior cats should have blood work run at least annually, and depending on their health status, we may recommend semi-annual exams that might include blood work. Any time that your pet is sick, depending on the case, we may recommend blood work.

Will my cat need follow-up lab work?

Often, we uncover underlying problems in our pets, especially as they age. If we diagnose a condition, such as early kidney disease, we will recommend bringing the cat back after a certain timeframe to check the values again. This is also applicable if we see an elevated liver enzyme, which might be transient and can return to normal after a couple of weeks. If we uncover something, we will follow a diagnostic pathway with you and work with you as a partner to do what's best for your pet.

If my cat needs some lab work or I have more questions, what should I do?

Definitely call our staff at (513) 563-0410. They can answer any of your questions about lab work. We also have techniques to keep your cat safe and comfortable during the blood drawing process, such as using Feliway spray, which is a pheromone that helps decrease stress. We use this in all of our exam rooms and sometimes wrapping the cat in a sprayed towel can make them feel more secure, making it easier to get lab work done.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (513) 563-0410, or you can email us at info@ebapethospital.com. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram