Veterinary Hematology

Blood tests are done on animals for a variety of reasons. Screening tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC), may be done on clinically normal animals when they are acquired to avoid a financial and/or emotional commitment to a diseased animal, to examine geriatric patients for subclinical disease, or to identify a condition that might make an animal an anesthetic or surgical risk. Screening tests are often done when an ill animal is first examined, especially if systemic signs of illness are present and a specific diagnosis is not apparent from the history and physical examination.

Decisions to request hematology tests in animals are largely based on the cost of the test versus the potential benefit of the result to the animal. A CBC is routinely done to establish a database for patient evaluation, while other hematology tests may be done in an attempt to evaluate a specific problem.

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