Pre-anaesthetic blood testing

15 January 2015 | Posted by

Before your pet has an anaesthetic your veterinary surgeon may discuss with you about pre-anaesthetic blood testing. Blood testing may help to detect something a full examination performed by your veterinary surgeon before your pet’s anaesthetic may not find.

Important questions to ask your veterinary surgeon about pre-anaesthetic blood testing are which pet’s they recommend should have this carried out before anaesthesia, considering things such as their age, presence of any diseases and the procedure they require. You should also discuss with your veterinary surgeon how the results of the blood testing will either change or impact on hoe your pet’s anaesthetic is managed.

Several studies have been performed in dogs to look at the benefits of pre-anaesthetic blood testing. These studies have helped to determine when the results may lead to a change in the management of your pet’s anaesthetic and therefore offer a benefit to your pet’s health. Importantly, even with these published studies the decision as to whether to perform any blood testing should be one you consider carefully with your veterinary surgeon.

The studies performed to date have shown that routine pre-anaesthetic blood testing does not impact on anaesthetic management in a healthy pet, undergoing a planned, routine procedure. It is important to note that when your pet is unwell or requires a particularly difficult or invasive procedure, blood testing prior to an anaesthetic will benefit your pet’s treatment and allow your veterinary surgeon to plan effectively. Only in dogs over the age of 8 years did blood testing detect disease that was not evident on clinical examination. There will always be rare cases though were blood testing may detect something not found on full examination.

Recommendations before anaesthesia:

  • All dogs over 8 years are recommended to have blood testing prior to an anaesthetic. Although there are no similar studies in cats they should also have blood testing performed when over 8-10 years old
  • If your pet is unwell and presents as an emergency to your veterinary surgeon they should have blood testing
  • If your veterinary surgeon detects an abnormality on their examination of your pet blood testing should be performed
  • If you have any concerns regarding your pet’s health then discuss the benefits of pre-anaesthetic blood testing with your veterinary surgeon

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