Pre-Anaesthetic Bloods

Before your pet has an anaesthetic your veterinary surgeon may discuss with you pre-anaesthetic blood tests, amongst many other important considerations. All of the information provided to you is vital to ensure you are made aware of all of the risks and benefits to your pet associated with anaesthesia and surgery.

What is the point of pre-anaesthetic blood tests?
Pre-anaesthetic blood tests are a very helpful diagnostic tool in assessing any potential anaesthetic or surgical risks to your pet. It is an aid in which the vet can detect any abnormalities in organ function that a full clinical examination cannot. It is also a way of monitoring certain aspects of your pet’s health and will help in the future when looking at changes over time should your pet become ill.

What happens before my pet has an anaesthetic?
Before an anaesthetic your vet perform a full clinical examination

  • Your veterinary surgeon will fully examine your pet as they would do in the consultation room
  • Particular focus will be made in assessing the heart and lungs
  • Any abnormalities detected during the general examination may lead your veterinary surgeon to advise additional tests
  • In the majority of cases where your pet is healthy and requires anaesthesia for a non-urgent procedure, nothing will be found during the clinical examination
  • Pre-anaesthetic blood testing is performed on the same morning your pet is admitted

Blood testing before your pet is admitted for their anaesthetic will allow for any further testing required to be performed and prevent any delay on the day itself. In most cases, blood testing is best performed with your pet fasting for 12hours to give the most accurate results.

What does pre-anaesthetic blood testing look for?
Illness or certain diseases not detectable on routine examination of your pet
Organ function of the kidney and liver are the most routinely analysed at using blood tests, these give a better indication about how your pet will breakdown and eliminate any anaesthetic and drugs required for their surgery

How is the blood test done?
Blood will be collected from a blood vessel (usually the front leg). The sampling is performed in exactly the same way as a blood sample would be taken from yourself at a hospital. The blood test is run in the clinic and results are available within 15 minutes.

Recommendations on blood tests before anaesthesia

  • All dogs over 8 years old are highly recommended to have blood testing prior to an anaesthetic. Although there are no similar studies in cats, blood testing should be considered when they over 8-10 years old
  • Purebreed cats (even certain crossbreeds of specific breeds) should have kidney function checked before any anesthetic as most conditions are congenital or genetic
  • Some breeds of dogs should be tested for haematology, liver and kidney function
  • If your pet is unwell and presents as an emergency to your veterinary surgeon, blood testing is recommended
  • If your veterinary surgeon detects an abnormality on their examination of your pet, blood testing is recommended
  • If you have any concerns regarding your pet’s health then you should discuss the benefits of pre-anaesthetic blood testing with your veterinary surgeon

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