What are the causes of high WBC in dogs?

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What are the causes of high WBC in dogs?
Dogs that are feverish, weak and lethargic should have a CBC run (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Amazon CARES Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety)

An elevated count of white blood cells in a dog's CBC (complete blood count) blood work can be indicative of various health conditions. There are several types of white blood cells (WBCs) in a dog, therefore determining exactly which type is elevated may help veterinarians come to a more accurate diagnosis.

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Identification

White blood cells are often referred to as leukocytes. Their normal value in a dog, according to Peteducation.com, range between 6,000 and 17,000 per microliter of the dog's blood.

Types

There are several subtypes of white blood cells in a dog such as neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, lymphocytes and monocytes. The blood test used to determine their numbers is called "differential white blood cell count."

Benefits

A differential white blood cell count analysis will help the veterinarian determine exactly which white cells are elevated.

Causes

The most common cause of elevated white blood cell count in dogs is infection. However, there may be other causes such as stress, allergies, autoimmune disorders, viral disease, parasitism, and some forms of cancer, such as lymphosarcoma or leukaemia.

Considerations

In some cases, sending blood work to a pathologist may provide more information in difficult cases where an exact diagnosis cannot be determined based solely on physical findings and in-house lab work.

What are the causes of high WBC in dogs?
Sending blood work out to a lab may be helpful (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH))

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