De-livering blood test results

By Connie Orcutt • Published: April 1st, 2014
Category: Animal Airwaves

When veterinarians collect blood samples from our furry friends, they’re looking for hidden health information.

Blood samples contain substances like proteins and enzymes that can hint at certain conditions in the liver. For example, alkaline phosphatase (foss-fah-tace), or ALP, is released from the lining of liver cells under stress. Alanine aminotransferase (al-a-neen amino-trans-fur-ace), or ALT, is produced inside liver cells and is only found in the blood stream when damaged liver cells burst. Both can be caused by liver disease or liver damage. Bilirubin (bill-a-rubin), released when red blood cells die, is normally cleared by the liver. So, elevated bilirubin levels may signal rapid red blood cell destruction or liver failure.

These clues, along with exam findings and a pet’s history, can help veterinarians zero in on a diagnosis.