Monday, June 11, 2012

Cora and Shadow Get A Blood Test

Heh, the title of this post, now that I look at it, makes me think of the titles of the Berenstein Bears books I used to like as a kid (this being before the annoyingly fundamentalist offspring of the original authors took over the series, but I digress).

Ahem. Getting back to the all-important realm of cats, I am posting this both because I find medical-statistical values extremely interesting, and because (while I am NOT a vet and this should in NO way construe the proffering of medical advice) I figure I can't be the only one inclined to be searching around for comparison blood-test values for raw-fed cats. Which Cora and Shadow and Brodie have been for the better part of 2 years now. 

So since Cora and Shadow went to the vet this past Saturday (Nikki and Brodie will go in for their shots and checkups next; it's just easier for Matt and I to wrangle two cats at a time as opposed to all four!) and the vet was kind enough to email me their blood test results, I thought I'd go ahead and post the data here (copied and pasted from the PDFs I received; I wasn't able to get the little "low-normal-high" bar things to render but you can tell well enough from the values what was what. Results appear below; note that reference ranges are in parentheses ( ).

Pet Name: Shadow
Species: Feline
Breed: Domestic Short Hair 
Age: 2Y
Sex: CM

Wellness Chemistries

Total Protein: 7.6 (5.2-8.8 g/dL)
Albumin: 4.2 (2.5-3.9 g/dL)
Globulin: 3.4 (2.3-5.3 g/dL)
A/G Ratio: 1.2 (0.35-1.5)
ALT (SGPT): 39 (10-100 IU/L)
Alk Phosphatase: 14 (6-102 IU/L)
BUN: 29 (14-36 mg/dL)
Creatinine: 2.5 (0.6-2.4 mg/dL)
BUN/Creatinine Ratio: 12 (4-33)
Glucose: 112 (64-170 mg/dL)
Potassium: 3.9 (3.4-5.6 mEq/L)


WBC: 8.4 (3.5-16.0 103/μL)

RBC: 9.5 (5.92-9.93 106/μL)
HGB: 14.8 (9.3-15.9 g/dL)
HCT: 49 (29-48 %)
MCV: 51 (37-61 fL)
MCH: 15.6 (11-21 pg)
MCHC: 31 (30-38 g/dL)
Platelet Count: 214 (200-500 103/μL)
Platelet Est: Adequate

               Differential         Absolute
Neutrophils:   4368          52%    2500-8500 /μL
Lymphocytes:   3192          38%    1200-8000 /μL
Monocytes:     168           2%     0-600 /μL
Eosinophils:   672           8%     0-1000 /μL
Basophils:     0             0%     0-150 /μL

Heartworm Antibody: Negative
Ova & Parasite: None Seen
Giardia (ELISA): Negative

Pet Name: Coraline
Species: Feline
Breed: Domestic Short Hair 
Age: 2Y
Sex: SF

Wellness Chemistries

Total Protein: 7.2 (5.2-8.8 g/dL)
Albumin: 3.9 (2.5-3.9 g/dL)
Globulin: 3.3 (2.3-5.3 g/dL)
A/G Ratio: 1.2 (0.35-1.5)
ALT (SGPT): 35 (10-100 IU/L)
Alk Phosphatase: 11 (6-102 IU/L)
BUN: 30 (14-36 mg/dL)
Creatinine: 2.4 (0.6-2.4 mg/dL)
BUN/Creatinine Ratio: 13 (4-33)
Glucose: 111 (64-170 mg/dL)
Potassium: 4.5 (3.4-5.6 mEq/L)


WBC: 9.0 (3.5-16.0 103/μL)
RBC: 9.2 (5.92-9.93 106/μL)
HGB: 14.8 (9.3-15.9 g/dL)
HCT: 49 (29-48%)
MCV: 53 (37-61 fL)
MCH: 16.2 (11-21 pg)
MCHC: 30 (30-38 g/dL)
Platelet Count 127 (200-500 103/μL)
Platelet Est: Adequate

            Differential      Absolute 
Neutrophils: 4230         47% 2500-8500 /μL
Lymphocytes: 3870         43% 1200-8000 /μL
Monocytes:   180           2% 0-600 /μL
Eosinophils: 720           8% 0-1000 /μL
Basophils:   0             0% 0-150 /μL

Heartworm Antibody: Negative
Ova & Parasite: None Seen
Giardia (ELISA): Negative

------------------------------------------------------------------------, overall, everything looked great! Both kitties were within reference ranges for almost everything, and the only values where they were "on the edge" were things that, due to their diet, would be expected to appear slightly high (creatinine, albumin). Protein-related values on a raw diet can be higher because raw-fed cats aren't generally consuming as many (if any) carbohydrates. Thus, it's important to factor in what's on a cat's regular menu when looking at his or her blood results, as the reference ranges have basically all been obtained from cats on a steady diet of commercial cat food, as that's what most people feed these days.

HCT (hematocrit) was also borderliney, but the vet said this probably wasn't a concern other than possibly indicating mild dehydration, which I wouldn't be surprised to see given it's been warm lately and my guys aren't big drinkers. They're accustomed to getting the vast majority of fluids IN their food, and since cats often don't feel thirst strongly, my guess is that they've not increased their liquid intake in light of the weather, meaning I should supplement their meat with some extra water during the summer months especially. 

[Which I tried doing tonight and it was a total success...apparently if the water is meat-flavored they lap it right up (I know, amazing!).]

Oh and regarding Cora's platelets: initially I was confused as to why the number was on the low side, and why the vet had no concerns at all about this. But apparently the important part of the platelet value is actually the little comment that says "Platelet est:  Adequate". Because they get the initial value using a machine, only the machine can't necessarily get the most accurate number, because platelets clump together and the machine is just taking an average from a limited volume of sample. So what the test lab people do then is smear some of the blood on a slide and then determine based on how that looks whether the platelet count is okay. And it was apparently fine for both cats. 

Finally, I was also of course happy to see there was no evidence of parasites in their poop (they did a fecal analysis too). Shadow had tapeworms as a kitten and I could barely look at sesame seeds for months afterward (believe me, if you've ever dealt with tapeworms, you'll understand why!). 


  1. Interesting that they don't do blood lipids to see if there is any evidence of cardiovascular risk.

  2. CPP: I really don't know how they choose what values to test, but my guess is that they could test for lipids if I asked them to. There's probably a standard set of stuff they figure is the most likely to result in "early warnings" of feline health issues and that's what they've done for Cora and Shadow here.

    I'll have to see if they check lipids when I take Nikki in...she's going to be 11 this year so she gets the "senior wellness" checkup, which is more comprehensive, but I don't know what specific additional things it includes. She doesn't eat raw (too picky and set in her ways), but still, I'd be curious. I like data and the more of it they can feasibly get out of a single blood sample, the better.

    All that said, there's at least no overt signs of heart trouble with any of the cats here thus far. And I do give them a regularn taurine supplement (pure powder form, mixed into their meat gravy) as while raw meat does contain taurine, it can be degraded by thawing/freezing and whatnot and I don't want to take any chances there.

  3. I have 2 cats, and one of them is named Shadow too :) They also just went in to get some blood tests, and I was also happy their results came back fine, especially since the one cat has been having some health issues (that looked to be fixed now, with a diet change).

    However getting blood from the one cat was...interesting. That cat seriously doesn't like the vets, so the only choice was to have that one knocked out...which ended with the cat ripping the needle of the syringe while getting the injection. Don't think I'm having that cat tested for anything else, anytime soon.


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