When it comes to assessing kidney function in our furry friends, two important measurements, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine levels, provide valuable insights. By understanding what these levels indicate and how they can be affected, we can help ensure the well-being of our beloved pets.
What Are BUN and Creatinine?
BUN, or blood urea nitrogen, is a measurement that reflects the amount of urea present in the blood. Urea is a waste product produced when the liver participates in protein metabolism. Normally, the kidneys eliminate urea from the body. Therefore, both the liver and kidneys must be functioning properly for the body to maintain a normal BUN level.
Creatinine, on the other hand, is a substance produced during normal metabolism. It is almost exclusively eliminated through the kidneys’ filtration process. Measuring creatinine levels provides an accurate estimation of how well the kidneys are functioning. Any factors that affect the kidneys’ ability to filter efficiently, such as dehydration, can cause changes in the creatinine levels.
Combined with a urinalysis, BUN and creatinine levels offer a reliable estimation of kidney function. They are often included in a routine blood test, known as a chemistry panel, during wellness checkups or pre-surgery screenings for healthy pets.
When Should BUN and Creatinine Levels be Evaluated?
Sometimes, pets exhibit signs of illness that may be related to abnormal BUN and creatinine levels. These signs include vomiting, appetite loss, lethargy, anemia, increased drinking and urination, weight loss, and dehydration. If your pet displays any of these symptoms, it is advisable to have their blood tested by a veterinarian.
How are BUN and Creatinine Levels Measured?
To measure BUN and creatinine levels, a small blood sample is taken from your pet. This procedure is typically quick and painless. In some cases, where the patient is nervous or uncooperative, gentle restraint devices like muzzles or towels may be used. Shaving the hair from the area being drawn may also be necessary to find the vein quickly.
Some veterinary clinics have in-house blood analysis equipment, allowing them to perform the tests and provide same-day results. Alternatively, blood samples may be sent to an outside laboratory, with results typically available within 1 to 2 days.
Remember to inform your veterinarian about any medications or supplements your pet is taking, as some can affect the BUN and creatinine levels.
Interpreting BUN and Creatinine Levels
While changes in BUN and creatinine levels are often associated with kidney disease, there are various factors that can influence these measurements. Use of certain antibiotics, for example, can cause an increase in these levels.
Abnormal BUN and creatinine levels may be indicative of conditions such as dehydration, kidney infection, kidney failure, toxic injury to the kidneys, urinary blockage, shock, severe heart disease, muscle wasting, or severe weight loss. In some cases, one level may be normal while the other is not. Additional diagnostic tests, such as urinalysis, radiographs, or further blood testing, may be recommended by your veterinarian to investigate any abnormal results.
Risks Associated with Measuring BUN and Creatinine Levels
There are very few risks associated with measuring BUN and creatinine levels. Drawing blood is a quick and safe procedure, with precautions taken to ensure your pet’s well-being. All further processing is carried out either at the veterinarian’s office or a diagnostic laboratory, eliminating any risk of harm to your pet.
By understanding and monitoring BUN and creatinine levels, we can help protect our furry companions’ kidney health. Regular checkups and open communication with your veterinarian are vital in ensuring the well-being of your beloved pets.
If you have any concerns about your pet’s health or need further information, do not hesitate to reach out to Katten TrimSalon, where our expert team is ready to assist you and your furry friend.