Pets Are Important Too

The 3 Important Things Wellness Panels Can Tell You About Your Cat

by Aurore Fontai

If you've been to the veterinarian lately, you may have heard about wellness blood panels for pets. Wellness blood panels take a small blood sample and then send it to a laboratory, where it's subjected to a number of tests. These tests can help to determine how healthy your cat is and whether or not they have any serious medical issues that have gone unnoticed. If you're unsure if a wellness panel is right for your cat, keep reading to learn the three most important things wellness panels detect.

Red Blood Cell Count

Your cat's red blood cell count indicates how much blood they have in their body. When a cat is healthy, the kidneys release a chemical signal called erythropoietin to the bone marrow that tells it to produce more red blood cells, and your cat's blood supply never reduces to an unhealthy level. However, there are a myriad of ways your cat could potentially become anemic.

For example, if your cat has a flea or tick infestation, the repeated bites could be draining them of blood. Alternatively, your cat could have a disease that's preventing its bone marrow from producing red blood cells, so there aren't any new cells replacing the old and dying ones.

White Blood Cell Count

Unlike the red blood cells, a white blood cell count doesn't refer to your cat's overall blood supply. Instead, it indicates how healthy your cat's immune system is. A cat with diseases like FIV may have reduced quantities of white blood cells, so it's a good indicator that something is wrong if their white blood cell count is too low.

In addition, white blood cell numbers sometimes surge when your cat is actively fighting an infection. While this means that the immune system is doing exactly what it should, it's a heads-up to your veterinarian that your cat is infected with something and needs medical help.

Kidney Values

Lastly, blood panels can reveal kidney values, like creatinine and BUN. These two values help to show whether or not the kidneys are functioning properly. If they're not, both numbers will become elevated. In most cases, elevated creatinine and BUN levels are the first sign that a cat is developing kidney disease. Unfortunately, kidney disease cannot be cured, but a cat's health can be maintained for a long time if the disease is caught early on.

Wellness blood panels typically only require one blood draw and can diagnose a great deal of problems in your cat's health with very little blood taken. It's a good idea to have your cat get a wellness blood panel as often as your veterinarian thinks it's necessary.

For more information, contact a company like Northwest Animal Hospital.