Submit Content

Healthy Paws: Understanding Your Pet’s Labwork Results — Part II: The Biochemistry Profile

Healthy Paws
Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic and winner of a 2017 Arlington Chamber of Commerce Best Business Award. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

A couple of weeks ago we looked at the significance of the complete blood cell count. This week, we’ll be looking at the serum chemistry profile which has loads of useful information about metabolic function:

  • Electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorous, calcium — electrolytes may be abnormal with dehydration (or overhydration in rare cases), kidney disease, advanced diabetes, hormonal imbalances and with some gastrointestinal diseases. The pattern of elevation or decrease can be especially helpful in ruling in and out some diseases.
  • Blood sugar, or glucose — measure of how much “sugar” is circulating in the bloodstream; high elevations are seen with diabetes, though animals can develop a very transient elevation, or hyperglycemia), with stress. Low glucose levels, or hypoglycemia, can be seen with liver problems, some cancers, among other causes.
  • Kidney values — kidney function is typically monitored by measuring certain enzymes or products that are typically eliminated by the kidney. The two most commonly measured values are creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (or BUN); the term for elevation is “azotemia”:
    • Creatinine — produced by muscle and eliminated by the kidney. Elevations indicate decreased kidney function or severe muscle damage.
    • BUN — urea is produced by the liver (so may actually be low with significant liver disease), but eliminated by the kidneys, thus increasing with decreased kidney function. However, high protein diets and GI bleeding are other potential causes of elevations.
    • Calcium and phosphorous levels can also be affected with more significant kidney disease.
  • Liver values — here again, several different values are typically measured:
    • ALP — alkaline phosphatase — may be increased with conditions that cause “stasis” in the liver, but also can be induced by certain drugs such as prednisone (a commonly used steroid medication). ALP can also be produced by bones, and mild elevations are not uncommon in growing dogs.
    • ALT — alanine aminotransferase — elevations typically indicate ongoing damage or irritation of the liver.
    • GGT — gamma glutamyl transferase — similar to ALP, but more specific to the liver.
    • Total bilirubin — bilirubin is the molecule responsible for causing a jaundiced or icteric color to the skin, eyes and mucous membranes in individuals with significant liver disease. May also be elevated with a form of anemia in which the body destroys its own red blood cells.
  • Blood proteins
    • Globulins — may be increased with inflammation, some cancers (i.e. multiple myeloma); decreases can be seen with blood loss and with more severe gastrointestinal diseases.
    • Albumin — may be elevated with dehydration, and decreased with blood loss, liver disease, gastrointestinal disease, kidney disease or destruction of red blood cells.

There are many other biochemical values that can also be measured from the blood, providing valuable information about heart health, pancreatic inflammation, cholesterol levels, thyroid hormones and so much more! Veterinarians today are fortunate to practice in an era when so much information is accessible in such a short period of time.

Recent Stories

The Barnes & Noble store in Clarendon was the scene of an alleged armed robbery today. Police responded around noon to the bookstore at 2800 Clarendon Blvd, in The Crossing…

The Arlington County Fire Department is reviving a door logo last seen on county vehicles more than 50 years ago. At the same time, the department is gradually upgrading its vehicles…

Statutes of Liberty discusses how the DACA program came to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Clarendon’s Maison Cheryl says it is not closing for good but rather undergoing a “fall refresh.” Over the last week, ARLnow has received several emails from readers asking whether the…

Now you can have fun with your family and friends when deciding where to eat!

Just hop aboard The Lunch Train and set the destination for: breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or nightlife!

– No app necessary. Simply go to the website if you’d like!
– No account necessary
– Use your current location or a desired location
– Add restaurants you’re interested in, invite your friends, and play the game!

Submit your own Community Post here.

Lyon Park & Ashton Heights’ biennial home & garden biennial tour is back. The tour will include contemporary custom homes, older historic bungalows as well as renovated properties. One of the stunning homes on the tour is pictured above.  In addition to beautiful & unique homes, the Villa & Vistas ’22 event will conclude with a festive reception at the Lyon Park Community Center at 414 N Fillmore Street, Arlington VA 22201. What could be better right?

All proceeds from this event will go to the Lyon Park Citizens Association (LPCA) towards our neighborhood jewel & hub, the Lyon Park Community Center (LPCC).

When: Sunday, October 2nd, Noon – 4 PM. 

Where: Meet to get your tickets and the tour map at the Lyon Park Community Center (414 N Fillmore Street) We will have a table with information outside.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Vini Franchetti Wine Dinner

Join us as we explore Vini Franchetti & their two sister vineyards Passopisciaro (Sicily) and Vini Franchetti (Tuscany) for our Sicily/Tuscany Wine Dinner!

Sunday, Oct 9 @ 6pm

Special Guest: This wine dinner we will be hosting the wine maker

Homebuying 101: Steps to Getting Pre-Approved

Are you ready to jump into homeownership or started considering it but don’t know where to start? Financial preparation is key when thinking about purchasing your first home and the first step to getting pre-approved. Join ACFCU for our Homebuying


Subscribe to our mailing list