A CBC (complete blood count) is commonly run on cancer patients as a means of measuring hydration status, anemia, and the body's ability to form blood clots and fight infection.
If your pet is febrile or suffers from vomiting and/or diarrhea, weakness or pale gums, a CBC will often be requested by your pet's oncologist. These can be done at your pet's primary veterinarian's office or on-site.
Some values indicated in a CBC include:
a platelet count - platelets are cells that allow the body to form blood clots and stop bleeding; hematocrit - a measure of red blood cells used to detect anemia and dehydration;
and a white blood cell count to note increases or decreases that can indicate certain diseases or infections or your pet's suceptibility to infection.
White blood cells (image www.rncneus.com)
A normal white blood cell may be a neutrophil, lymphocyte, monocyte, eosinophil or basophil.
The "nadir" is the lowest point of the neutrophil count following chemotherapy treatment and is when your pet is most at risk for infection. This can vary from patient to patient, however, this point in time varies most in regards to the type of chemotherapy. Regular monitoring of CBCs is our way of determining when this occurs during your pet's treatment.