Doyalson Animal Hospital | Pet Diagnostic Testing

The Importance of Pre-Anaesthetic Blood Tests

Unfortunately pets can’t tell us when they feel unwell or if something is wrong. It is up to us as pet parents to keep an eye out for any different or out of character behaviour in our pets. However some illnesses and diseases have no symptoms at all and these can often be the most dangerous.

That is why diagnostic tests such as blood and urine tests are so important to your pet’s medical records.

Pre-anaesthetic blood tests are particularly important as this helps us decide if your pet is healthy enough to be anaesthetised for their procedure.

On arrival before a hospital stay your pet will see a vet and have a physical exam, but this can only give us a basic overview of your pet’s health. A pre-anaesthetic blood test will tell us a lot more.

We run the blood tests in-house before any medication is given to your pet in hospital. The results are back in about 15 minutes allowing quick diagnosis by the vet. Depending on the results we can go ahead with the procedure or further blood or urine tests or medication may be recommended before reassessment at a later date. It is these times where the pre-anaesthetic blood test has picked up an anomaly that could not be seen from just a physical exam.

Blood results are a very useful thing to have on your pet’s medical records however young or healthy you think they are. Their bloods may come back perfect but a few months down the track they could become unwell and blood tests are needed to help with a diagnosis. We are then able to compare the blood tests to help give us a good indication of any problems with your pet.

Our pre-anaesthetic blood tests are offered for all patients, however we strongly recommend for pets aged 7 years and older.

What does the pre-anaesthetic blood test tell us?

The blood tests have two main panels:

Full blood count:

  • Red blood cells – checking for anaemia. If severe then surgery may be delayed or blood transfusions may be required
  • White blood cells – checking for evidence of inflammation or infection
  • Platelets – if these levels are too low then there may be potentially life threatening clotting abnormalities and surgery may need to be delayed


  • Kidneys – levels may be affected by kidney disease, dehydration or obstruction of the urinary tract. If severe then anaesthesia may need to be delayed and extra intravenous fluids may be required, or anaesthesia may be cancelled entirely
  • Liver – is important for metabolising anaesthetic drugs
  • Glucose – to check for diabetes
  • Protein levels