News & Advice

Why does my vet recommend pre-anaesthetic testing?

Feb 28, 2023 | Cats, Dogs, Pet Health, Preventative care

If your pet has been booked in for a procedure that involves an anaesthetic, it is likely your vet has recommended pre-anaesthetic testing. As with humans, putting a pet under anaesthetic does involve some risk. We can reduce the risk of something unplanned happening by using pre-anaesthetic testing.


What is pre-anaesthetic testing?

To ensure your pet can properly process and eliminate an anaesthetic, we run tests to confirm that your pet’s organs are functioning properly and to find hidden health conditions that could put your pet at risk.


Why does my vet recommend pre-anaesthetic testing?

  • Peace of mind. Testing can significantly reduce medical risk.
  • To Detect hidden illness. Healthy-looking pets may be hiding symptoms of a disease or ailment. Testing helps detect this kind of illness so we can avoid problems with anaesthesia.
  • Reduce risk. If the pre-anaesthetic testing results are normal, we can proceed with confidence. If not, we can alter the anaesthetic procedure or take other precautions to safeguard your pet’s health.
  • Protect your pet’s future health. These tests become part of your pet’s medical record, providing a baseline for future reference.

Vet Nurse Renee processing a patient’s blood test.

What exactly does the pre-anaesthetic test, test for?

Liver function
  • Liver disease
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Abnormalities resulting from long-term medications


Kidney function
  • Blood and urine tests can indicate:
  • Early kidney disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Infection
  • Stones
  • Cancer
  • Abnormalities resulting from long-term medications


Blood Chemistry – Pre-anaesthetic panel (PAP)
  • Alkaline Phosphatase (ALKP) An enzyme present in multiple tissues, including liver and bone. Elevated levels can indicate liver disease, Cushing’s syndrome or steroid therapy.
  • Total Protein (TP) The level of TP can indicate a variety of conditions, including dehydration, inflammation and diseases of the liver, kidney or intestine.
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) BUN is produced by the liver and excreted by the kidneys. Abnormally high levels can indicate kidney disease or dehydration, and low levels can be associated with liver disease.
  • Aminotransferase (ALT) An enzyme that becomes elevated with liver cell injury.
  • Creatinine (CREA) Creatinine is a byproduct of muscle metabolism and is excreted by the kidneys. Elevated levels can indicate kidney disease, urinary tract obstruction or dehydration.
  • Blood Glucose (GLU) High levels can indicate diabetes. In cats, high levels can also indicate stress, which can be a result of the trip to the veterinary hospital. Low levels can indicate liver disease, infection or certain tumours.

If you have further questions regarding your pet’s proceedure or pre-anaesthetic bloods, please get in touch with your vet.



Other resources you may find useful:

More than meets the eye – the importance of pre-anaesthetic bloods

Checks before your pet is anaesthetised

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