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First Posted: Nov 20, 2013
Nov 20, 2013

Your Horse's Blood Test/What Is It All About?


Your horse is not himself and your vet suggests that a blood test be done. What kind of blood panel is usually done on a horse? What is the vet checking? How do your horse's results compare to other horses? Are there specific parameters that enter into your horse's blood test restults or are there variabless that should be considered?

Horse Complete Blood Panel and Chemestry Profile

  • Red blood cells - Dehydration (too many) or anemia (too few). Also checked are the size and shape of the red blood cells. Sometimes parasites can be seen in the red blood cells.
  • White blood cells - Infection and blood cancer.
  • Serum aka Plazma - Electrolytes, glucose, protein, bilirubin, creatinine, enzymes and bunn levels are checked in plazma. Altered levels can be indicative of kidney or liver fuction problems.
  • Fibrinogen - Elevated levels of fibrinogen can be indicative of inflammation or infeciton.
  • Platelets - Abnormalities in platelet counts can be indicative of immune deficiency and tick borne diseases.

All blood tests are not equal. There are a number of variables to be considered in the results as they are compared to standard parameters.

  • Breed
  • Geographic location
  • Poor training
  • Poor management
  • Genetics
  • Feeding
  • Stall, field or combination in environment

Below is a blood test result from one of my horses which had some results did not fall within the parameters of blood work. However, it should be noted that for Kentucky Mountain Horses and other gaited breeds the results were fine.

Decisions made solely on the blood test results are not necessarily accurate. The above variables certainly have to be considered. There are on-going studies being done to determine these variables and perhaps to update the blood test parameters presently being used.


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