Diagnostics for Hematology
This page will discuss the tests commonly run for diagnosing and monitoring hematologic diseases.
- Complete Blood Count (CBC)
- A CBC checks whole blood and looks at RBC's, WBC's, and platelets. It provides a overall look at the blood to make sure nothing is too high, or two low. This is run off of whole blood in a lavender top tube (LTT). See an example here.
- Packed Cell Volume (PCV)
- A PCV checks the percentage of RBC's in whole blood. This lets us know about anemia or polycythemia. This is run off of whole blood, either fresh, or from a whole blood sample.
- Total protein (TP)
- A TP is typically run at the same time as the PCV and is from the serum or plasma left over after reading the PCV tube.
- A cytology exam looks at a blood smear under a microscope. This looks at morphology (what the cells look like, shape, color, and anything else about them), monitors for parasites and bacteria, and can give a manual cell count.
- Blood chemistries reveal the function of major organs like the kidneys, liver, and pancreas.
Additional tests: specific for certain diseases
The tests listed below are not recommended for every patient. Your veterinarian will recommend the tests depending on what is occurring in your pet . Each test gives a specific piece of information that they can use to create the overall picture of what is going on with your pet to help treat them.
- Prothrombin (PT) and Partial Thromboplastin Time (PTT)
- PT & PTT test clotting times. If the clotting time is elevated and these levels are elevated they indicate a clotting factor problem.
- Buccal mucosal bleeding time (BMBT)
- A BMBT test also checks clotting time. This is commonly done for von Willebrand's disease, or other clotting issues.
- A D-Dimer is a protein released into the blood after a clot is broken down. A high number present in the blood indicates the presence of a clot, typically a pulmonary thromboembolism or other clot.
- Viscoelastic coagulation (VC) test or thromboelastigram (TEG)
- This test monitors clot formation and dissolution and gives very specific information about clotting. This can check for hypercoagulation and hypocoagulation.
- Bone Marrow Biopsy and Cytology
- A bone marrow biopsy and cytology provides vital information about the tissues (bone marrow) that create blood cells. The biopsy looks at the structure of the bone marrow and can identify if there is disease present causing abnormal cell production. The cytology looks at the young blood cells within the marrow and can show infections, cancer, or other abnormal cells.
- The procedure for getting a bone marrow core biopsy does require at minimum heavy sedation, or anesthesia.