Pre-Anaesthetic Blood Tests

What is a pre-anaesthetic blood test?

A pre-anaesthetic blood test is a quick way for us to check your pet’s major body organs before they have an operation. If the blood test shows any abnormalities, we can adjust your pet’s anaesthetic and treatment plan accordingly. Sometimes we may recommend more detailed investigations before your pet has their operation.

We usually advise all patients over 10 years old have this blood test but it’s very useful for pets of any age.

What does the blood test check?

We assess your pet’s general health by measuring organ-specific chemicals in their serum (a part of the blood)-this is called serum biochemistry. We specifically check for any early-warning signs of liver and kidney problems as well as diabetes mellitus (a blood-sugar imbalance) and anaemia (low levels of red blood cells).

Sometimes we run an additional blood test called a haematology panel. This test allows us to check your pet’s blood cells in detail for conditions including rare types of anaemia, infections and clotting disorders.

What might we do differently?

At Focus Referrals, we always tailor your pet’s general anaesthetic plan to their individual needs. The pre-anaesthetic blood test gives us more specific information about what else we can do e.g. choosing particular medications or changing the amount of intravenous fluids (a drip straight into their vein) that we give them.

If your pet has more significant changes on their blood test, we might postpone their operation until we know exactly what’s causing the abnormalities.

How do we take your pet’s blood?

After we admit your pet into the surgery, we give them a full health check and weigh them. We then clip a small area of your pet’s fur on either their neck or leg. This allows us to clean their skin properly and see their vein more clearly. Most animals tolerate a blood test very well but sometimes we apply local anaesthetic cream to numb their skin. Our team gently hold your pet and use a small needle and syringe to take blood from their vein (it only takes a few seconds).

Usually you’ll only see a tiny pinprick mark on your pet’s skin after their blood test- occasionally the surrounding area can bruise (this is normal and resolves within a few days).

Arranging a blood test

During your consultation, we’ll discuss which blood tests we’d like your pet to have. We’ll either take samples beforehand (if we’d like the blood analysed by an external laboratory) or on the day of your pet’s operation.

Please call our team if you’d like to discuss pre-anaesthetic blood tests further.