What Blood Tests in Dogs with Digestive Problems can Reveal
After a physical examination, veterinarians may suggest conducting some blood tests to get some hints as to possible causes of digestive problems. Blood tests may also be done before prescribing any medications or before anesthesia to check if the dog's internal organs are in good shape. Blood tests do no normally require anesthesia, the dog is held while blood is drawn.
Complete blood count (CBC) red blood count (RBC) and packed cell volume (PCV) can determine some important factors. Since blood thickens when there's not enough hydration, increased values indicate dehydration. On the other hand, decreased values indicate possible blood loss from the GI system, anemia or Addison's disease.
White blood count (WBC) increased levels of white blood cells can indicate the presence of inflammation or infection, while decreased levels may indicate a viral infection or salmonellosis.
A blood chemistry panel provides many hints. Decreased values of sodium and C1 esterase inhibitor (C1-INH) a protein found in the fluid part of the body, may indicate a pyloric obstruction that prevents the stomach from emptying or Addison's disease. Decreased potassium (K) is also suggestive of an outlet obstruction of the stomach, severe vomiting and not eating. Increased potassium is indicative of Addison's and elevated blood urea nitrogen(BUN) and serum creatinine.
Increased carbon monoxide (CO2) levels may indicate pyloric obstruction, while decreased levels signify acidosis.
The blood urea nitrogen test (BUN) provides information on how well the dog's liver and kidneys are working. In a dog with digestive problems, increased values suggest gastrointestinal bleeding and elevated levels of serum creatinine. Decreased levels are indicative of liver insufficiency and not eating.
Increased levels of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) are indicative of liver disease or pancreatitis.
Increased protein indicates dehydration and inflammation. Decreased levels instead indicate protein-losing enteropathy, blood loss, chronic liver disease, ascites. glomerular disease.
Increased values of triglycerides are suggestive of pancreatitis.
Increased cholesterol levels are indicative of diabetes and pancreatitis and decreased levels may suggest protein-losing enteropathy, portosystemic shunt.
Increased amylase/lipase suggest pancreatitis,elevated blood urea nitrogen(BUN) and serum creatinine and obstruction of the duodenum, cancer.
Increased calcium (CA) levels may suggest dehydration, cancer and increased levels of albumin in the blood. Decreased levels are suggestive of protein-losing enthoropathy, exposure to ethylene gycol, Addison's disease, pancreatitis.
Increased levels of glucose suggest diabetes, decreased levels may indicate cancer or a severe, advanced infection.
Increased levels of trypsin-like-immunoreactivity TLI may indicate pancreatitis, kidney failure, infiltrative bowel disease and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). In dogs, if the value is below 2.5 µg/L it's diagnostic for EPI. Increased levels of PLI are indicative of pancreatitis.
Decreased levels of thyroxine (T4 ) indicate hypothyroidism which is linked to gastric hypomotility.