Pet Health Screenings & Tests

Pet Health Screening (blood work testing)

Pet Health screening (Blood-Work or Serum-Chemistries) must be interpreted with a thorough understanding of your pet’s physiology and how abnormalities may affect other serum chemistry results. The following is a very basic (and brief) explanation of what individual serum chemistry increases or decreases may mean and what body system (i.e. kidney, liver etc) may be affected. National Pet Vax Pet Health Screening includes the following parameters:


  • BUN, Blood Urea Nitrogen – increases may be seen with decreased kidney function, dehydration, heart disease, shock or urinary obstruction as well as following a high protein diet; decreases may be seen with overhydration
  • Creatinine – increases may be seen with decreased kidney function and other conditions as noted with BUN, but is not affected by a recent high protein diet; decreases may be seen with overhydration


  • ALT / SGPT, Alanine transaminase / Serum Glutamic Pyruvate Transaminase — increases are a sensitive indication of liver cell damage
  • Alk Phos, Alkaline phosphatase – increases may indicate a liver abnormality (cholestasis), Cushing’s disease, active bone growth and nonspecific conditions

Protein Profile

  • TP, Total Protein – increases may indicate dehydration or an inflammatory condition; decreases may be seen in decreased liver function, blood loss gastrointestinal loss or kidney loss
  • Albumin – increases may indicate dehydration; decreases may be seen with decreased liver function, blood loss, gastrointestinal disease and kidney disease

Miscellaneous Chemistries


Increases may be seen with diabetes mellitus; decreases may be due tio liver disease, pancreatic disease and other common conditions and could lead to collapse, seizure or coma


Red Blood Cell (RBC) Parameters

blood droplet
  • RBC, Red Blood Cell Count — HCT (hematocrit) and HGB (hemoglobin)—increases in these parameters may support dehydration or a disease of increased production of RBCs; decreases indicate anemia and decreased oxygen-carrying capability of the blood
  • MCV, Mean Cell Volume—increases indicate the presence of larger than normal cells, which may be related to young cells during response to an anemia; decreases indicate the presence of smaller than normal cells, which may be associated with chronic blood loss/iron deficiency
  • MCH, Mean Cell Hemoglobin & MCHC, Mean Cell Hemoglobin Concentration —increases suggest the presence of hemolysis or an interference in hemoglobin measurement; decreases suggest decreased hemoglobin concentration, which can be seen during response to anemia and chronic blood loss/iron deficiency
  • RDW, Red Cell Distribution Width—increases in this objective measure of variability of RBC size indicates increased variability in size that can aid the veterinarian in identifying the cause of an RBC problem
  • RETIC, Reticulocytes —increases indicate growing numbers of immature RBCs, indicating a response to a peripheral demand for RBCs; decreases indicate few or no immature RBCs, indicating the body is unable to respond to a demand for RBCs (nonregenerative anemia)

White Blood Cell (WBC) Parameters

  • WBC, White Blood Cells —increases may be due to inflammation, stress, excitement and leukemia; decreases may be due to overwhelming inflammation and bone marrow failure
  •  Leukocyte Differential —Various patterns of change in numbers of NEU (neutrophils), LYM (lymphocytes), MONO (monocytes), EOS (eosinophils), and BASO (basophils) may be seen with different types of inflammation, stress, excitement and leukemia
    • NEU —inflammatory cell associated with infectious and noninfectious disease processes
    • LYM —immune cell highly responsive to “stress” and potentially increased during chronic infection
    • MONO —inflammatory cell associated with repair of tissue injury
    • EOS —inflammatory cell associated with parasitic disease, hypersensitivity and allergy
    • BASO —inflammatory cell associated with parasitic disease, hypersensitivity and allergy

Platelet (PLT) Parameters

  • PLT, Platelet & PCT, Platelet Crit —increases in these parameters of overall platelet mass are potentially associated with hypercoagulable state; decreases may be seen with decreased production (bone marrow failure), increased consumption (coagulation, inflammation, etc.) and destruction in the blood (infectious, immune-mediated, etc.)
  • MPV, Mean Platelet Volume —increases indicate presence of larger than normal platelets commonly associated with response to need for platelets (not significant in the cat)
  • PDW, Platelet Distribution Width —increases in this objective measure of variability of platelet size indicates increased variability in size which may be an indicator of response to a need for platelets (not significant in the cat); decreases may be seen with immune-mediated thrombocytopenia

Fecal (Stool) Examination

An estimated 3–6 million people are infected each year with roundworms. Ascarid (roundworm) infection is one of the leading causes of unilateral blindness in children and adults. For more information read this excellent article about Intestinal parasites in pets and humans.

Approximately 10.8% of the fecal examinations completed by ANTECH Diagnostic Laboratories during 2013 in the Tampa-St Petersburg-Clearwater area were positive for at least one of the following parasites. Each fecal (stool) examination is screened for the following parasites:

  • Coccidia
  • Hookworm
  • Giardia
  • Protozoa
  • Lungworm
  • Whipworm
  • Tapeworm
  • Roundworm

The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) recommends the following for parasite control:

  • Year-round treatment with broad-spectrum heartworm anthelmintics (heartworm preventative)
  • Appropriate fecal (stool) exams performed:
    • 2–4 times/year for puppies and kittens
    • 1–2 times/year for adult pets
  • Environmental control—contamination prevention and clean up

Annual Heartworm Testing

Heartworm testing is in integral part of any effective heartworm prevention program. National Pet Vax requires a current (within the last 12-months) heartworm test to dispense prescription heartworm preventative products. Other than annual testing pets should receive a heartworm test as follows:

  • When a pet is 6 months of age, or older, and is not currently on a heartworm preventative
    • Test before placing on heartworm preventative
    • Test 6 months* later
  • When pet has been off of heartworm preventative for longer than 3-months
    • Test before placing back on heartworm preventative
    • Test 6 months* later
  • When heartworm preventative name brands are changed **
    • Test when products are changed
    • Test 6 months* later
* From the time a heartworm microfilariae is deposited in your pet’s blood stream until an adult heartworm infestation is detectable takes approximately 6-months
** The “Heartworm Preventative Guarantee” that most heartworm preventative manufacturers offer may be invalidated if a heartworm test is not performed when their medication is started and then 6 months later.