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Interpreting Labwork Values

A serum chemistry and complete blood count performed on a cat's blood sample is very similar to that which is done for people. Below is a very abbreviated summary that shows some of the common reasons why specific values can be abnormally low or high. Interpretation of clinical pathology results is very complex and the group of values must be analyzed together and taking into consideration the magnitude of the deviation from the normal range, to arrive at a diagnosis or serve as the basis for additional tests. Often, values can lie outside the normal reference range and still be OK or appear normal and actually represent a concern.

Specific Lab Values If Too High, Could Be... If Too Low, Could Be...
GlucoseDiabetes, stressSevere infection, malnutrition
Urea Nitrogen (BUN)Dehydration, kidney disease, ulcerMalnutrition
CreatinineDehydration, kidney diseasePoor muscle mass
Total proteinDehydrationBlood loss, diarrhea
AlbuminDehydrationBlood loss, liver disease
Total bilirubinLiver disease, red blood cell destruction(not relevant)
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)Liver disease, normal for kitten(not relevant)
ALT (Alanine aminotransferase)Liver disease, other systemic disease(not relevant)
AST (Aspartate aminotransferase) Liver disease(not relevant)
CholesterolRecent meal, actual problem uncommonMalnutrition
CalciumCancer, endocrine, fungal, kidneyEndocrine, kidney, low albumin
PhosphorusKidney, endocrine diseaseMalnutrition, endocrine
SodiumDehydrationVomiting/diarrhea, kidney disease
PotassiumEndocrine, urinary blockageVomiting/diarrhea, kidney disease
ChlorideDehydrationVomiting/diarrhea, kidney disease
Albumin/Globulin Ratio ImmunodeficiencyChronic inflammatory disease
BUN/Creatinine RatioUlcer, muscle wasting Malnutrition
GlobulinChronic inflammatory diseaseImmunodeficiency
LipaseIntestinal or kidney disease(not relevant)
AmylaseIntestinal or kidney disease (not relevant)
TriglyceridesIntestinal diseaseMalnutrition
CPK (Creatine protein kinase)Muscle traumaMalnutrition
GGTP (Gamma glutamyl transferase)Liver disease(not relevant)
MagnesiumKidney disease, dehydrationMalnutrition, intestinal disease
HemoglobinDehydration, normal(athletic)Anemia
HematocritDehydration, normal (athletic)Anemia
WBC (White blood cells)Inflammation, infection, cancerNormal,immunodeficiency
RBC (Red blood cells)Dehydration, normal (athletic)Anemia
MCV (Mean corpuscular volume)Response to low red cell countIron deficiency
MCH (Mean corpuscular hemoglobin)(hemolysis or lab error) Anemia
MCHC (Mean corp. hemo. conc.)(hemolysis or lab error)Anemia
Platelet CountIntestinal, immune disease, cancerAutoimmune disease
Platelet Estimate(this is manually checked because lab equipment can't give an accurate count for cats)
NeutrophilsInflammation, stress, infectionNormal, immunodeficiency
BandsSevere infection(not relevant)
Lymphocytes Viral infection, cancerNormal, immunodeficiency
MonocytesChronic infection/inflammationNormal, immunodeficiency
EosinophilsParasitic disease, allergy Normal, immunodeficiency
Basophils Heartworm diseaseNormal
T4 (thyroid hormone) Hyperthyroidism Systemic chronic illness

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