The average cost of a complete blood count for dogs, including laboratory costs, is around 50 euros.
On this page, you can find out which blood values are determined in the complete blood count, and what the difference is between the small and the complete blood count.
You will also find information and tips on when and how a blood test can be helpful if your vet suggests a full blood count.
How can a blood count help?
Diagnostic laboratory tests, such as complete blood counts, can help confirm or rule out your dog’s test results at the vet’s. They also supplement the diagnosis, as many cannot be made without a blood test.
A complete blood count helps to check your dog’s suitability for anesthesia, uncover internal problems, or to recognize the general condition. In addition, the early detection of various diseases is possible.
Especially if your pet is older, the values from the laboratory are important to prevent diseases or to be able to treat them in time.
How is a blood count taken?
Incidentally, a blood count has nothing to do with the fact that the blood is photographed. Rather, the blood count is a laboratory measurement. As a result, veterinarians recognize the individual components of the blood.
The concentration of electrolytes and blood cells is measured
First, your vet will take a few milliliters of blood. To do this, he pricks a vein with a cannula and draws the blood into several special tubes. You probably know the sting yourself from drawing blood as a short prick.
These blood-filled tubes are labeled, bagged, and sent to a specialty laboratory. In the laboratory, the blood is examined with special machines that measure all the necessary blood values.
The result is sent back to the vet as a table with a short report. Therefore, it usually takes a few days before your veterinarian can discuss the results of the blood test with you.
Large veterinary clinics with operating theaters often have small measuring devices that can be used to quickly determine a small blood count with electrolytes and oxygen saturation.
What is the difference between a small and a large blood count?
Compared to the full blood count, the small blood count only examines the erythrocytes, leukocytes, and thrombocytes, i.e. the red and white blood cells and platelets.
The hematocrit value, which is the total proportion of erythrocytes, leukocytes, and thrombocytes, is also determined. In addition, the hemoglobin, i.e. the blood pigment, and the volume and hemoglobin content of the blood are determined.
What is examined in a complete blood count?
The complete blood count assesses the size and type of white blood cells that are given out in the test.
The blood is examined for the following values:
- rod-nuclear granulocytes, i.e. maturing pus cells,
- segmented granulocytes, i.e. whether mature pus cells are present,
- eosinophilic granulocytes and basophilic granulocytes, which are allergy cells,
- Lymphocytes, which are specific cells of the immune system
- monocytes, which are an assessment of white blood cells,
- thrombocytes, blood platelets
- Hemoglobin, blood pigment, important for oxygen transport
- Hematocrit, the approximate percentage of cell volume
- and macrophages, which play a special role in immune defense.
For which diseases is a blood count useful?
If your dog suffers from an illness with unexplained symptoms or the diagnosis is unclear, it makes sense to do a full blood count.
It’s a good idea to have a full blood count done when your dog is healthy so your vet can make a direct comparison. You can have this done, for example, as part of a vaccination.
With older dogs from around six years of age and with chronically ill four-legged friends, it is advisable to have a full blood count made regularly to be able to rule out or detect Mediterranean diseases such as Ehrlichiosis, Leishmaniasis, and the like.
The geriatric profile also provides information about liver and kidney values.
Laboratory and vet costs
For the blood draw and the subsequent examination in the laboratory, you should calculate costs of around 50 euros.
Talk to your veterinarian about the intervals at which the blood test should be carried out because depending on the individual condition it can be carried out annually, every six months, or quarterly.
Can nutritional deficiencies be read from the blood count?
Of course, existing nutritional deficiencies can also be determined using the blood count.
If the blood count shows increased calcium values, this can be an indication of diseases of the parathyroid gland, the kidneys, or various types of tumors.
Which blood values are important for dogs?
A lack of sodium, potassium, and chloride balance can quickly become life-threatening. These three electrolyte values are important for assessing heart problems, diarrhea, and vomiting.
If increased phosphorus levels are found in the blood, this can also be a sign of various kidney diseases.
In addition, the total protein value says something about various diseases, such as diseases of the kidneys, the liver, or the gastrointestinal tract. Possible dehydration can also be determined in this way.
Elevated cholesterol levels provide information about many diseases, for example, genetic diseases of the kidneys and liver and hypothyroidism.
If your dog has a nutritional deficiency, your veterinarian will advise you on suitable feeds.
Why shouldn’t I interpret the result on my own?
This question of why we dog owners with an amateur understanding of the values should not interpret the blood count on our own is easily explained.
As long as you have not enjoyed a thorough education as a veterinarian, we lack the professional competence to be able to adequately assess the results of the laboratory examination.
This can have fatal consequences for your dog if you misinterpret the result. In addition, you only panic unnecessarily if you research possible diseases on your own.
If your dog has an illness that you overlook due to a lack of experience, and untreated illness could, in the worst case, lead to the death of your pet.
It is therefore important that you discuss the results of the complete and complete blood counts with your veterinarian and follow her treatment recommendations.
A full blood count, while costing some money, can help your vet a lot further with the diagnosis.
If the cost of 50 euros doesn’t frighten you too much, you can have the blood count taken regularly once a year. Then you have comparative values for times when your dog is doing great.
Frequently Asked Questions
How expensive is a full blood count?
A small blood count costs 4.20 euros, and a large blood count 5.38 euros. However, costs of up to 95 euros can arise for the laboratory test, depending on which and how many other values are tested.
How long does a full blood count in a dog take?
Blood tests are quick to do for dogs and cats, and the results are usually available within a day.
How long does a dog have to be fasting before taking blood?
Dogs and cats should be fasting for 10-12 hours at the time of the blood test, i.e. they should have had no food and no physical exertion for that long.
Where is blood drawn from a dog?
The vein is dammed up just before the puncture with a tourniquet or by hand in the area of the back of the knee. Depending on the size of the dog, the thigh is held with one or both hands, and pressure is applied to the V. Saphena, which runs in the hollow of the knee.
How much does a dog Mediterranean test cost?
Have a Mediterranean test carried out by the vet 6 – 8 weeks after the adoption (costs approx. EUR 80.00)?
Which blood test for the dog?
Inflammation parameters: SAA (cat), CRP (dog). These laboratory values indicate whether there is an inflammation in your pet’s body. The course of your values is often used to check the response to a therapy (antibiosis).
How long can a dog live with leishmaniasis?
Therapy – How long can a dog live with leishmaniasis? If leishmaniasis is not treated, the dog has a maximum life expectancy of two to three years. Many animals die before then from kidney failure. The dog has the pathogens in its body for a lifetime, which is why leishmaniasis cannot be cured.
How do I protect my dog from leishmaniasis?
You can protect your dog from leishmaniasis by preventing the danger of an undisturbed mosquito bite. The sand fly is primarily nocturnal and is attracted to light. In addition, she needs some time of undisturbed blood-sucking to transmit the pathogens to the dog.