Why Is My Dog Or Cat’s Basophil Count High Or Low?

Ron Hines DVM PhD

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

The Number Of Basophils In Your Pet’s Blood “Basos”

The basophil is one of your dog or cat ’s white blood cells. It is a very uncommon cell in most pets – often none are seen. An over abundance of basophils (=basophilia) is quite rare. When your pet’s basophil numbers are above normal, it is often in conjunction with an increased number of eosinophils, another of your pet’s white blood cells that is associated with allergies. Like their cousins ,the mast cells , that are found scattered throughout your pet’s body tissue, basophils contain histamine, a compound intimately involved in allergic reactions.

In the rare cases where too many basophils are present, and your pet’s eosinophil count is normal, bone marrow problems involving the cells that give rise to basophils (hematopoietic stem cells) are sometimes involved. Those problems can be cancerous.

When increased basophil numbers are found in association with higher than normal eosinophils, internal parasites, fleas and allergies can be the cause. Basophil numbers occasionally go up in liver disease , as well as due to the things that cause persistently high triglyceride levels in pets.

Why Might My Dog Or Cat’s Basophil Count Be Low? (=basopenia)

 Veterinarians occasionally encounter pets with lower than normal basophil numbers. We do not know why that occurs. In humans, low basophil counts are associated with allergic reactions, severe infections, hyperthyroidism, prolonged corticosteroid administration and stress.

Complementary tests:

WBC and blood chemistry values, M:E ratio, bone marrow biopsy When accompanied by elevated eosinophil numbers – parasite examinations


You are on the Vetspace animal health website