Does My Pet Really Need Blood Tests Before Surgery

The short answer is “yes.”

The minimum standard includes a Complete Blood Count (CBC) and Blood Chemistry Profile, however, other tests may be needed for specific situations. These might include X-rays of the chest, ultrasound of the abdomen, ultrasound of the heart, or urine checks.

Veterinary team members consulting about a patientThere are several reasons why bloodwork should be rechecked prior to any anesthesia.

  1. The complete blood count provides information regarding the red blood cell count, platelet count and white blood cell count.
    • If your pet is anemic, a blood transfusion may be necessary.
    • If the platelet count is low, your pet could have serious risks of bleeding during and after surgery (which can be fatal if unchecked).
  2. The blood chemistry profile provides information regarding your pet’s overall body function. This enables us to choose the best anesthetic medications to use for your pet, making his or her anesthesia as safe as possible.
    • Some medications can cause severe reactions if the liver is not at its full capacity.
    • Your pet may require special fluid needs if the kidney values are elevated.
    • Certain fluid types may be necessary if electrolyte disturbances are present.
    • There are other metabolic problems that can be identified on the chemistry that would require a change in the anesthetic planning.
    1. Pre-anesthesia screening should be done as close to the time of surgery as possible. If your pet is undergoing an elective procedure, results up to 1 month old are acceptible. If your pet is undergoing emergency surgery, screening tests will need to be done immediately prior to anesthesia.

      Our goal is to make your pet’s anesthesia smooth, painless, and as low risk as possible. There is always some risk to anesthesia, no matter how prepared you are; performing pre-anesthesia screening helps us to make anesthesia as safe as possible and helps us to tailor the anesthesia protocol to your pet’s specific needs.

      Daniel Stobie, DVM, MS, DACVS - Chief of StaffDaniel Stobie, DVM, MS, DACVS – Chief of Staff
      A New Jersey native, Dr. Stobie completed his undergraduate work at Cook College/Rutgers University and is a 1990 cum laude graduate of the University of Missouri-College of Veterinary Medicine. He completed an internship in small-animal medicine and surgery at the Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, then went on to complete a three-year surgical residency at the University of Minnesota and earn a Master’s Degree in Veterinary Surgery, Radiology, and Anesthesia in 1994. Dr. Stobie became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1995. In 2007, he completed the mini-MBA certificate program at the Rutgers School of Business.

      To read more about Dr. Stobie, see his full bio at

      The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your family veterinarian’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss this information with your own veterinarian to determine what is right for your pet. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. We can not and do not give you medical advice via this blog. The information contained in this online site and emails is presented in summary form only and intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge. The information should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation or advice of your veterinarian. We do not recommend the self-management of your pet’s health problems.

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