Hi, my dog is not ill, (her bloodwork was all within 'normal' parameters) but I have a question about the Senior bloodwork I had done for her a couple of weeks ago.
I was under the impression the blood would be taken from her foreleg, with little fuss. As it happened, the vet told me they would have to take her sample from the jugular vein. The reason he gave for this was that the blood cells can 'break' sometimes when taken from the leg (?) and the sample can be corrupted.
This really stressed her out and took about 45 minutes. I didn't like it, and neither did she, as they had a struggle holding her down as she was so panicked, and had to shave hair from her neck in a big strip, from which she got razor burn.
I'd just like to know if, in anyone's opinion here, this was strictly necessary? And has anyone heard of this being normal procedure?
Hi Ginger...sounds like your girl had a rough day!
In the practices where I worked, we did prefer to get our blood samples from a jugular vein for several reasons. First, most dogs do better because they can sit comfortably and they are actually less stressed. Many dogs don't like having their feet messed with or held and they will resist a blood draw from the cephalic vein. Second, your veterinarian is correct with respect to the sample quality from a cephalic vein. It often takes longer to get an adequate sample from the leg and many technicians/veterinarians tend to use smaller gauge needles and that can lead to the hemolysis (breaking) of red blood cells. This can affect certain parameters in the bloodwork, artificially increasing some and decreasing others. With jugular blood draws, the sample is usually obtained in a matter of seconds and we rarely have problems with hemolysis.
HOWEVER, with all that said, taking 45 minutes to draw blood does sound a little extraordinary to me. When we would have issues such as this, we always opted for other means (sometimes less restraint, sometimes using the saphenous vein in a rear leg, sometimes using the cephalic vein if that was all we could access easily.)
I don't know the whole story but it sounds like it might have been better to wait and try again on another day. I have dealt with Viszlas before and they can be a little high strung, so I can understand that she might have been a little difficult to work with. But, it seems counterproductive to me to add that much stress to a dog while trying to get a blood sample.
Were you in the room while this was happening?
I am hoping some of our DVMs will weigh in here with their thoughts and experiences.
I agree with everything Tom has to say. The Jugular Vein is the primary site that I like to go to for venopuncture (blood draws). Most dogs and cats tolerate this well. On the other hand there are a small number of patients who do not like it. For those patients I would use the cephalic or the saphenous vein.
I am also sorry it was so difficult for your dog. Again without knowing the whole story it sounds like in the future they may want to use one of those other veins to get blood.
Hope this helps,
For some animals, for example those who have relatively low blood pressure, smaller superficial veins or obesity, it is very difficult to draw samples from limb veins. The jugular vein obviates all of these challenges and is preferred by me for its uniform large size and possibility of drawing larger samples from.
Too, there are animals, cats and dogs alike, for which calm acceptance of restraint has not been made customary, and sampling in such animals is best done with a touch of chemical restraint, just enough to "take the edge off." Of course its best to make this judgment before 45 minutes have elapsed. In any case open communication with a pets owner about why something seemingly so simple is taking so long, will ease anxiety and pressure for all concerned.
Thank you everyone. I understand ok now. I do trust my vet, he has been consistently good with Misty's treatment. But I'd never heard of this before, that's all. Last blood test she had, it was taken from the cephalic vein (but that was by a different vet at the same practice) But it's cool. Thanks Dr Tom and everyone for the info.
No, I wasn't with her. I didn't like that. But I had no idea it would be so difficult. When there is a next time, I think I definitely should be. That could make a big difference.
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