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June 20, 2023

Stressed dog signs? I subscribe to a few veterinary news things that give me inside intel on various things. One article called "Top 5 Signs of Patient Stress & Excitement on Clinical Pathology" caught my eye. That's fancy veterinary speak for how stressed dogs look in routine veterinary bloodwork. Note of course that excitement can cause these things too, but the idea that "chronic stress" can affect liver values means that NOT all of these end up being super-temporary changes in a stressed dog's bloodwork. 

stressed dog signs graphic

How Stressed Dog Signs Show Up in Bloodwork

1. Stress leukogram

This basically means the collection of white blood cell values looks high. Apparently, it's rare, however, of those increases to be more than 2 or 3 times higher than normal. 

2. Physiologic leukocytosis

This essentially means that the total concentration of white blood cells shows up high in bloodwork. It literally can spike within minutes of a dog or other pet (horses, cats) feeling stressed or excited. I guess in horses, at least, these values drop after about 30 minutes. 

3. Erythrocytosis

Maybe not surprising, but stressed dog signs include high red blood cell counts too. It's caused by contraction of the spleen. 

4. Hyperglycemia

Just means higher blood sugar. Much more common in cats than dogs, which is a real stinker because diabetes seems more common in cats too ... so it can be hard to tell what's stress and what's a real issue.

5. Increased ALP Activity as a stressed dog sign

This is a liver value that can change due to chronic stress in dogs. It has to do with long-term jumps in a kind of steroid the body releases when stressed. The ALP value can stay high for weeks after the stress-inducing event or time period in a dog's life. Yikes!

So, if your dog is making worried faces like below, understand that it could be causing more than emotional distress. 

stressed dog signs image of dog
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.

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