What is a Geriatric Panel?

What is a Geriatric Panel? And why should I have my pet’s blood & urine screened?

A geriatric panel is a diagnostic tool that our veterinarians use to look inside your pet and assess their overall health.  This panel can be used when a pet is ill to help your veterinarian determine the cause of the illness.

A panel can be performed when a pet is otherwise healthy to help detect early illness/disease before noticeable symptoms become apparent. Normal results give your veterinarian a baseline for your pet.

To begin 2mls of blood and urine is collected from your pet. This small amount of blood and urine provides a lot of useful information about your pet’s health.  The samples are prepared in our very own laboratory.  The samples are collected and placed into special tubes that preserve and help separate the cells from the serum. The samples are spun, slides are prepared.

The blood itself is closely analyzed. A comprehensive blood cell count is performed; meaning the amount of red and white cells is counted as well as each type of red and white cell. The white cell count and type helps to rule out infection and inflammation. The red cell count and type helps to assess hydration and rule out anemia. It also counts platelets that are important to circulation and clotting.

Next is your pet’s chemistry!  The chemistry looks at many different factors in the serum part of the blood. Electrolytes like potassium and sodium are analyzed. Results may point to problems with electrolyte imbalance, organ disease or hormonal imbalance. The geriatric panel can produce results related to liver, kidney, pancreas, and thyroid.

Your pet’s urine is collected and a urinalysis is performed. What your veterinarian team is looking for in your pet’s urine is:

  • Urine concentration
  • Presence of red or white blood cells
  • Presence of bacteria
  • Presence of sugar or ketones
  • Presence of crystals
  • Presence of protein

There is a high-level overview of a geriatric blood panel and urinalysis. Your veterinarian is here to guide you through the numbers and values. Routine testing is important, catching illness in its early stages can make treatment easier, more effective and less costly.

Written by Morinville Veterinary Clinic