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Blood Collection – Patient Preparation

Why is it important to prepare my pet for blood collection?

Having your pet properly prepared before blood collection helps to ensure that test results are as accurate and reliable as they can be. Sometimes abnormal test results say more about how the pet was prepared than about true illness. Having confidence in the results avoids unnecessary worry, and eliminates the need for repeat testing to verify the results.

"...to ensure that test results are as accurate and reliable as they can be."

For some special tests, specific preparations may be essential to the accuracy of the test. These may involve specific fasting periods, withdrawal of medication, or administration of medication. If special tests are planned, your veterinarian will provide the necessary details in before your appointment.

"You may be able to save valuable time and money by having your pet properly prepared before your visit."

Any routine visit to the veterinarian may include collecting a blood sample; if your pet is not feeling well, it is even more likely that the veterinarian will recommend testing. You may be able to save valuable time and money by having your pet properly prepared before your visit.


How do I prepare my pet for routine blood collection?blood_collection_-_patient_preparation-1

The first step is to fast your pet before the appointment. If possible, take food away (but not water) for 4 to 6 hours prior to the appointment. This allows the pet to clear fats from the bloodstream that may be present following eating. Fat in the blood stream (called lipemia) may interfere with some blood tests, making the results difficult to interpret.

Be sure the pet has access to water. Even mild dehydration may introduce changes in blood results, so keeping the pet well hydrated, especially in warm weather is important.

Avoid exercise or active play just prior to your visit, since either can introduce changes into blood test results.

blood_collection_-_patient_preparation-2Try to keep your pet calm. This may be difficult if the pet is nervous or frightened. Having your dog on a leash at all times helps to maintain control, and reduces the opportunity for confrontation with other pets in the waiting room. Having your cat in a cat carrier helps to make your pet feel more secure and eliminates the risk of escape. Handling your pet calmly and using a soothing tone of voice may help to reduce anxiety. If the waiting room is busy, you may wish to let your pet wait in the car (weather permitting) to reduce excitement.

Minimize stress. If your pet is highly excitable and the veterinarian suspects that this may contribute to changes in the test results, you may be asked to bring your pet in at a time when the clinic is quiet, as a way to minimize the stress associated with blood collection. 


    Special preparation for your pet's next visit

    Date of next appointment: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_________________________________

    Pet's Name: ____________________________________________

    Test to be performed: ____________________________________


    Please follow these steps to prepare for your next visit to the veterinarian:


    This client information sheet is based on material written by: Kristiina Ruotsalo, DVM, DVSc, Dip ACVP & Margo S. Tant BSc, DVM, DVSc

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