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Normal Blood Values And Raw Fed Dogs

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The majority of vets don’t advocate raw feeding and much of the reason for this is they don’t understand much about it.  The result is that many vets are alarmed when the raw fed dog’s blod values are skewed and this can result in costly and unnecessary follow up care for the dog and his owner.

Blood testing results from raw fed dogs will often differ from those of their kibble fed counterparts and this is something you should be prepared for if you ever need blood work done on your dog.  Below is a quick summary of what blood values are typically different.

The results below are taken from a study by Dr Jean Dodds’ that involved over 200 dogs of various breeds fed a raw diet for a minimum of 9 months prior to collection of the blood samples. The results of the laboratory tests were compared to healthy dogs fed dry kibble diet.  Most of the blood values were comparable with the exception of the above.

 

TEST RESULT RAW FED DOGS; KIBBLE FED DOGS NORMAL VALUES
Hematocrit 51.0 ± 6.6 – 53.5 ± 5.6% 47.6 ± 6.1% 37 – 55%
BUN 18.8 ± 6.9 – 22.0 ± 8.7mg/dL 15.5 ± 4.7mg/dL 6 – 24mg/dL
Creatinine 1.20 ± 0.34mg/dL* 1.07 ± 0.28mg/dL 0.4 – 1.4mg/dL

* results found only in dogs fed a Volhard diet

Below is further information.

  • Hematocrit

    Hematocrit is the measurement of the percentage of red blood cells in whole blood. Decreased Hematocrit (anemia) can be caused by poor nutrition, parasites or chronic disease including cancer and liver disease. Increased values (dehydration) are more of a concern with the dry kibbled fed dog than the raw fed dog because of the lack of moisture of the diet. Raw fed dogs are also more likely to get adequate iron and vitamin B from their higher quality protein diets.

  • BUN

    Blood Urea Nitrogen is a waste product derived from protein breakdown in the liver. Low levels are most commonly due to inadequate protein intake, malabsorption, or liver damage. Increased levels can be caused by kidney damage, certain drugs, low fluid intake, intestinal bleeding, exercise, heart failure or decreased digestive enzyme production by the pancreas. Raw fed dogs typically have higher BUN levels because they consume more protein.

  • Creatinine

    Creatinine is also a protein breakdown product. Its level is a reflection of the body’s muscle mass. Low levels are commonly seen with inadequate protein intake, liver disease, kidney damage or pregnancy. Elevated levels are generally reflective of kidney damage and need to be monitored carefully.

Be prepared when your dog needs blood work done. Keep this guide and have it ready to discuss with your vet.

 

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12 Responses to Normal Blood Values And Raw Fed Dogs

  1. Tricia

    do you have the same for cats..My 1yr old cat has abnormal blood results but the vet said he is not sure how abnormal they are as the normal range is based on kibble fed cats

  2. Jackie Kennemer

    I’m having trouble printing this, from my iphone/ipad, it doesn’t have a “Print” button included with the other share buttons, there isn’t an Adobe Reader button in the address bar, and when I just try to print the entire window, not all the pages print?

    • You could take a screen shot. If you’re on a Mac, select Command Shift 4 then select the area you wish to copy. If you’re on a PC, you’ll need to get screen shot software and use that.

  3. Brenda wolf

    Can you think of any reason for elevated white blood count? Both my dogs are raw fed only and both had slightly elevated white count on their latest blood work which was done on both at the same vet visit.
    Both are very healthy with no problems. One is 3 and the other 1-1/2 years old.

    • Hi Brenda
      If you are a subscriber, you’ll really enjoy Dr Will Falconer’s article on the importance of symptoms over test results. Tests tell very little about the whole dog – from a homeopathic point of view, you’re better off watching your dog and responding to your dog, not his test results.

  4. Betsy Cambareri

    I was hoping that this was the problem for my 12 1/2 yo Aussie, who has never been sick a day in her life (although she does have arthritic hips) and has been raw fed all her life. Her blood panel showed high amylase (1460 U/L with range being 450-1240), and high BUN (35 mg/dL with range by this lab being 7-27). My vet said she could have the beginnings of kidney and/or liver disease. Not sure what to do next, though I have started feeding her boneless meat with added calcium, to bring the phosphorus down. In her case, should I do additional testing and if so what tests?

    The reason she had the geriatric panel was because she has become incontinent, something I am trying to control holistically rather than going on the horrid PPA.

    Regards,
    Betsy Cambareri

    • Hi Betsy
      Urinary incontinence can be a sign of kidney disease. High quality proteins are a must. Have you considered consulting with a homeopath or veterinary homeopath? I would definitely consider this.

  5. Barbara Nedas

    Very interesting thankyou!
    I nearly lost my greyhound cross due to a vet reading his blood results as if he were another breed as he thought the red cell count and white cell
    count results were within normal limits – when in fact I had a very sick dog indeed.
    Do the other sprinter breeds have the same profile as a greyhound?
    I have a Whippet who is raw fed and I wondered what the norm would be for him?
    Kind regards
    Barbara

  6. Cindy

    My dog is fed 1 meal raw and 1 meal good quality dog food and did have elevated BUN on the last set of blood tests. Vet did say it was due to the high protein diet (which is good), but then proceeded to try and get me to change the diet to bring these values into the “normal” range” and sell me some of the food they have there. Of course I did not do it. It worries me how many dogs will go in with the same problem and then the owners will change the food and start feeding lower quality food because they think their vet knows best plus spend a bunch of money on further tests when the dog is perfectly fine.

  7. Lori Cote

    Thank you for that, I had a momentary palpatation when I got my dog’s results back.
    He had an elevated BUN, headed straight to Google and discovered it was normal.
    Luckily my vet did give high protein diet as one possible cause so I never panicked, but to be outside of “normal range” always seems scary.
    I think it’s just a matter of time before vets are educated on raw feeding, they can’t keep ignoring it forever……….

  8. Thank you Dana and the entire team at DNM for this information. I never gave it a second thought that my westies blood levels would be different because they have always been feed a raw diet [K9 Kravings] since the day they could eat solid food.

    Keep up the excellent work – and by the way – my westies love Coco Therapy coconut chips as well as the solid. I can’t wait to see what other tips and hints you have up your paw!

    All the best,
    Katie

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