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March 22, 2017

Question: Why would you routinely do dog blood work on young and seemingly healthy dogs? Answer: Because sometimes you find things and can catch them before the medical issue gets worse. This appears to be the case with Clover. We did routine blood work at the end of February, and we’ve been on a medical mystery tour ever since. She does not seem sick at all, so that keeps our worry on simmer (not boil), but it’s still quite weird.

Dog Blood Work Saga

I’ve mentioned in recent weeks on our Champion of My Heart Facebook page that we’re going through some weird things with Clover’s blood work. Here is a little context:

  • Most of Clover’s red blood cell values are high or on the high side of normal range (per the lab reference values).
  • And, maybe more importantly, all of Clover’s white blood cell values are low or on the low side of normal range.

Dog Blood Work Results

When you look, however, at what we know is “normal” specifically for Clover (based on past dog blood work tests), things look weirder.

Clover’s Red Blood Cell Count is 10.5% higher than normal for her.

dog blood work results graphic RBC

Clover’s Hematocrit is 16% higher than normal for her.

Hematocrit is the ratio of the volume of red blood cells to the total volume of blood.

dog blood work results hematocrit

Clover’s White Blood Cell Count is 36.6% lower than normal for her.

dog blood work results wbc

Clover’s Neutrophils are 40% lower than normal for her.

dog blood work results neutrophils

Dog Blood Work – What We’ve Ruled Out

Last week, we drew blood to test for a bunch of tick-borne diseases (looking for a possible cause of this weird dog blood work), but all of those tests came back negative. So, Clover does NOT have a tick-borne disease. 

Clover’s blood chemistry results look fine, so all of her organ function seems okay.

Clover’s urinalysis looks fine, so she does NOT have a low-grade bladder infection.

Removing a supplement we added in September did not change anything, so it is not the cause.

The issue is NOT dehydration (which can throw the hematocrit off). We greatly increased Clover’s water intake, and nothing changed in the later CBC.

Dog Blood Work – What Next?

Clover will have another complete blood count (CBC) done (Thursday, March 23). We hope that the results will come back similar to or better than the two other CBCs we’ve done in the last month.

Then, on April 5, we will meet with the same veterinary internal medicine specialist who figured out and solved Clover’s non-stop UTI issues when she a puppy.

This is Why We Do Dog Blood Work

Because Clover seems 100% herself and 100% healthy, these dog blood test results came as a shock. I’m upset, but not flipping out (yet).

But, this highlights WHY we go to the trouble and expense of doing dog blood work on young and seemingly healthy dogs:

  1. It gives you points of comparison for what’s NORMAL for YOUR dog, in case you need them later (like we do now).
  2. It gives you the CHANCE to catch things early, if something is starting to go wrong medically.

Initially, our veterinarian asked me to keep Clover home from agility class and not take her in public — fearing that Clover’s immune system was too weak to do its job. Since no other major symptoms have cropped up and since the blood work is holding somewhat steady (abnormal, but steady), we have her okay to go about our normal life … while we continue working to figure out what’s causing these weird dog blood work results.

About the Author Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related.

I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

  1. Blood work is a very important diagnostic tool that provides a significant amount of information about your dog’s health. I think every dog owner should have this test run on their dogs.

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