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Cat Blood Test Results, Explained

Blood tests for cats are a valuable tool in most veterinary clinics. Our Jackson vets explain why blood tests for cats are important and what each test result might mean.

Blood Tests For Cats

You may not be sure what your veterinarian is looking for when they suggest blood work for your cat. Not knowing the reasons behind their cat's medical procedure and the implications of the results can be a source of great anxiety for even the most seasoned pet owners.

The veterinarian can learn valuable information by conducting common blood tests on cats.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

A CBC measures and examines a cat's blood cells. It gives the veterinarian a wealth of information. Some of these include:

  • Red blood cell (RBC) counts, proportions, and health - RBCs carry oxygen, iron, and other nutrients around the body.
  • White blood cell (WBC) counts, proportions, and health - WBCs help fight inflammation, infection, cancer cells, and parasitic intruders.
  • Platelet counts and health - Platelets control blood clotting.

A CBC can tell a veterinarian if a cat is anemic, dehydrated, fighting off inflammation or an infection, and whether your cat has internal bleeding.

BUN & Creatinine

Routinely measured as part of larger blood panels are BUN and creatinine, two blood chemistries. Dehydration, kidney dysfunction, or a liver problem could be indicated by a high BUN level.

Kidney function has a stronger correlation with creatinine levels. When the cat's kidneys struggle to eliminate creatinine from the body, it suggests the possibility of kidney disease.

Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) & Bilirubin

Routine blood panels often include blood chemistries like ALT and bilirubin. Mostly, they indicate liver health, and if they are unusually high, it usually suggests liver dysfunction.


Testing glucose levels is a common way to determine if a cat has diabetes mellitus. If the cat does have diabetes, the glucose level will be significantly elevated. A veterinarian can gain valuable insights into a cat's overall health by analyzing low blood sugar levels.

    Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) & Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

    We routinely test kittens and regularly test adult cats for FeLV and FIV. Life-threatening viruses pose a serious risk to your cat's health and cannot be cured once they are infected. Therefore, it is crucial to closely monitor your cat's condition in relation to these viruses.

      Thyroxine (T4)

      As cats age, it is common to monitor their T4 levels. Hyperthyroidism, a common condition in cats, may be indicated by a high T4 level. Cats with high thyroid levels may experience a range of symptoms including increased appetite, weight loss, consumption of non-food items or a desire for more human food, and increased vomiting.


      A veterinarian can gain valuable insights into a cat's health, such as hydration levels and organ function, particularly the kidneys, by analyzing electrolyte levels, which encompass potassium, sodium, and chloride. Cats may experience a range of symptoms due to electrolyte imbalances, such as heart arrhythmias and muscle weakness.

      Why Your Vet Might Suggest Blood Work

      There a many reasons your vet might suggest bloodwork for your cat. Here are the most common reasons:

      It's your cat's first exam - We recommend blood work at the time of your cat's first exam because it helps us establish baseline health, check for any congenital abnormalities or potential concerns, and help us form an individual wellness plan for your cat.

      During semi-annual and annual wellness exams - Cat blood tests are usually recommended for all life stages from kittens to geriatric cats as part of their routine wellness checkups. These are extremely beneficial in our mature patients, as we often see cats' health and happiness return to normal when blood tests catch illness early. Cat bloodwork, along with other bodily fluids like urine, can help identify conditions the examination portion of a physical cannot.

      If a cat seems sick - Cat blood tests are suitable for cats that are not displaying any overt signs of illness, disease, or injury, but are acting abnormally.

      Before surgery - Cat blood work is used to determine the general health of the liver, kidneys, and other organs, which helps a veterinarian select the safest form of anesthesia. Bloodwork can also help determine the surgical risk level in all cats, especially elderly or injured patients.

      What Can Be Learned From Your Cats Blood Test

      The results of feline blood tests are essential to helping veterinarians diagnose and treat medical conditions both within the blood itself, as well as in organs such as the kidney and liver. During a blood test for cats, various chemicals in the bloodstream are analyzed. Some examples are:

      • Cat blood tests can indicate a deficiency in albumin levels, which indicates a possible liver issue because albumin is produced in the liver, or intestinal or kidney issues as albumin can be lost if these are diseased.
      • Blood tests for cats can detect abnormal hormonal-chemical responses to environmental and internal stimuli, which indicates a potential issue with the patient's endocrine system.

      After establishing a link, we can easily order any necessary feline bloodwork or procedures to diagnose and treat the condition. Feline blood tests play a crucial role in a veterinarian's toolbox. They help detect, identify, diagnose, treat, and prevent illness or disease in cats.

      Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

      If your cat is displaying abnormal behavior, a blood test may be in order. Don't hesitate to contact our Jackson vets to schedule an appointment today.

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      Northside Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Jackson companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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