Why Has A D-dimer Test Been Run On My Dog Or Cat’s Blood?

What Do The Results Mean?

Ron Hines DVM PhD

See What Normal Blood & Urine Values Are

Causes Of Most Abnormal Blood & Urine Tests

See How Tests Are Grouped

The D- Dimer Test

When blood clots (thrombi) that have formed anywhere in your dog or cat’s body begin to dissolve, they liberate a compound called D-dimer. That is because those clots contain fibrin and when fibrin dissolves (fibrinolysis) D-dimer fragments are released.

Besides confirming the presence of blood clots, D-dimer blood levels can also increase in life-threatening clotting defects that sometimes accompany shock and trauma. That situation is called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).

The d-dimer test is only one of a group of tests that investigate the state of your pet’s blood clotting mechanism. Your veterinarian might include it if he/she is suspicious that your pet is bleeding internally (or excessively through an unseen wound) due to a fault in its blood clotting mechanism. Because the clotting of blood is such a complex process (the coagulation cascade) with many different stages or steps and the interplay of many different body chemicals and cells; a series of tests might be required to determine exactly what is wrong. The other tests used include a thrombocyte count,   prothrombin time (PT), partial thromboplastin time (PTT), fibrinogen level and thrombin clot time TCT.

Reasons Why Your Dog Or Cat’s D-dimer Blood Levels Might Be High:

A disseminated intravascular coagulation crisis (DIC), blood clots, severe trauma, after extensive surgery, cancer, internal hemorrhage, anaphylactic shock. Perhaps after a vaccination reaction or a bee sting, liver disease, lung embolisms (perhaps associated with heartworms) and occasionally in widespread inflammatory disease such as FIP in cats

Complementary Tests:

Prothrombin time (PT), aPTT,   CBC /  WBC and blood chemistry panel


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