Diagnostic Tests: Blood Chemistry Panel

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Treatment Type: Diagnostic Procedures
Caregiver: Vets Only
Diagnostic Tests: Blood Chemistry Panel | Dog Owner Ratings | RightPet

A Blood Chemistry Panel test (Serum Chemistry Profile, Chemistry Profile, Biochemical Profile etc.) examines blood serum for a variety of chemicals and enzymes, including:

  • Blood Glucose
  • BUN
  • Creatinine
  • Calcium
  • Total Protein
  • Albumin
  • Globulin
  • Total Bilirubin
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • ALT (SGPT)
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Potassium

Here is a list of some of the most common canine conditions where the blood chemistry panel is used as a diagnostic tool.

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

Acute respiratory distress syndrome can be caused by a myriad of different conditions, and while most of them are respiratory and lung related, a disease of other organs can also cause ARDS. Due to this fact, it's necessary to do at least the basic blood chemistry and asses the function of the kidneys and liver since diseases of both can lead to ARDS. If we don't treat the underlying condition simultaneously, stabilizing a patient with ARDS can be quite challenging and in some cases downright impossible.

Epilepsy (Generalized Seizures)

This blood panel won't diagnose epilepsy, but it will identify possible metabolic derangements leading to seizure activity. This is the first diagnostic I recommend to any dog that has had seizures. Epilepsy is a diagnosis of exclusion, and this blood work is one of the steps to rule out possible causes.


Leptospirosis can cause liver failure and kidney failure. The chemistry panel is the piece of blood work that will identify any changes in these organ systems.

A chemistry panel will look at liver values and pancreatic enzymes which will help give a better picture of disease severity. Pancreatitis is diagnosed via ultrasound, but blood work will help your veterinarian know what they should be looking for. This is an easy test to perform and the veterinary staff will perform the blood collection.


There are several things in a blood chemistry that can go wrong in Parvo dogs. Low blood sugar, electrolyte imbalances, dehydration. These are very helpful monitoring parameters for treatment. The treatment can be done without it by estimating the problems we know can occur, but treatment goes much better if monitoring bloodwork is in the budget.

Pneumonia (Bacterial)

A chemistry is helpful to evaluate and monitor electrolytes, dehydration and know if there are any other related or unrelated illnesses that would complicate the patients recovery. These are beneficial pieces of information that fine tune treatment.
This is a simple test to run off a small blood sample that is easily obtained from your dog. Pneumonia patients in ICU will often have IV ports that allow repeated blood draws.

Pus in the Urine (Pyuria)

If there is a concern that there is some other disease leading to the infection or that the infection is actually in the kidney and not the bladder a chemistry is very important. A lot of information is gained from this fairly simple test. There are two main benefits, treating the primary issues faster and less chance of heading off in the wrong direction with diagnostics or treatment.

Senior Dog Wellness

A chemistry panel is part of the baseline labwork I recommend for all senior patients. I always tell clients, "Age is not a disease, but things tend to break down as we get older." This is why I recommend baseline labwork for all older patients because a lot of times we can catch concerning changes before they become a major problem.

Sepsis (Septicemia)

Sepsis is a condition which occurs when a local immune response fails to isolate infection and bacteria enter the bloodstream. When this occurs there is a number of complications which can stem from it, first and easiest to treat being a shock, and the second more complicated problem is so-called SIRS/MODS, which stands for Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome and Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome.
Blood chemistry panel helps us identify which organs have been damaged, which means we can plan a proper treatment protocol, it can also point to an organ from which the problem originated, which makes it invaluable diagnostic procedure in case of sepsis.

Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers (Gastroduodenal Ulcer)

A blood chemistry is helpful to evaluate organ function and electrolytes. This is helpful in both evaluating potential causes as well as safety of pursuing treatments and potentially anesthesia or surgery.

Urinary Tract Obstruction

Blood chemistry is very beneficial in evaluating the health of the dog. If there is a urinary obstruction this test will let the veterinarian know if there is dehydration, a build up of blood toxins, electrolyte imbalances.
This not only helps direct treatment but also assess safety if surgery is needed.

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