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Why Is My Dog 's Blood Sample Turbid ?

Why Is My Cat 's Blood Sample Turbid ?

To see what normal blood and urine values are for your pet, go here

For an explanation of causes of most abnormal blood and urine tests go here

To see how tests are often grouped, go here

Ron Hines DVM PhD

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Cloudiness In Your Pet's Blood Serum Sample

Some clinical chemists and labs do not differentiate between the cloudiness of blood serum samples that contain large amounts of tiny fat droplets (lipemia) and those that contain tiny grains of other materials (turbidity). I was taught that the two are not the same. If you consider them to be the same, read the source and causes of lipemia in blood samples here and add them to this explanation and list of causes.

When your pet's blood sample is taken, the lower portion consisting of red and white blood cells is removed. The upper liquid portion should be crystal clear. If it is not, your pet most likely ate too recently and the serum/plasma portion is cloudy (milky) with fat droplets (lipemic). The other possibility is that the sample is turgid or cloudy due to fine granules of protein
and other constituents that have come out of solution.

Turbidity and lipemia are both important because they can alter many of your pet’s blood chemistry test values. Many of the machines used to record blood chemistry values depend on the amount of light that passes through the serum sample after chemicals have been added (absorbence reading).

Particles that form turbidity or the tiny globules of fat in lipemic serum scatter and prevent the normal passage of that light through the sample. Since the effect of turbidity occurs across all wavelengths of light, many blood test values can be altered when turbidity is present. Some values will go up and some will go down.

Reasons Why Your Pet’s Blood Sample Could Be Turbid :
Blood serum samples that have gone through major temperature changes are the ones most likely to become turbid. Freezing and thawing or prolonged storage in hot environments can cause proteins within the sample to fall out of solution (cryoprecipitate) – like fine snow (a calcium phosphate precipitate). The problem is worse with blood plasma than with blood serum because plasma still has large amounts of additional fibrinogen protein dissolved in it.

Blood samples that were not allowed to fully clot before the upper serum portion was removed also have this tendency.

Long periods of refrigerated storage and repeated freezing and thawing when tests are repeated can also alter blood chemistry values due to increased turbidity.

Very rarely, tumors of antibody producing cells of the immune system (plasma cells, a type of leukemia ) can cause extremely high levels of a single antibody protein in the blood stream. That problem also called a monoclonal gammopathy has been known to cause turbid blood samples.

Bacterial contamination of samples that were not refrigerated properly or soon enough can also cause turbid serum and plasma.

.................... DxMe