Why Is My Dog Or Cat’s Red Blood Cell MCH Value Low Or High?

Ron Hines DVM PhD

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

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

To see how tests are grouped, go here

You Pet’s Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin = MCH = The Amount Of Hemoglobin In Each Of Your Pet’s Individual Red Blood Cells

This blood test tells your veterinarian the average amount of hemoglobin in each of your pet’s red blood cells (erythrocytes). It is calculated from your pet’s blood hemoglobin level divided by its red blood cell numbers. Although it is still often included in your pet’s blood work results; abnormal results tell your veterinarian very little other than that your dog or cat’s total hemoglobin level and red blood cell counts were abnormal – something he/she already knew.

A tests called MCHC (the amount of hemoglobin per volume within the red cell) and MCV  (the size of your pet’s red blood cells) give your veterinarian considerably more information in sorting out the cause of anemia problems. Read about them by following the links below.

Asiatic Dogs

Dog breeds that originated in Asia (Asiatic breeds) can have naturally low MCV, MCH and high end RBC (red blood cell = erythrocyte) numbers. But not all of them do. Husky and arctic breed crosses that sometimes are mistaken for asiatic breeds do not share this genetic peculiarity. Asian breeds can also have higher blood potassium levels than non-asian canines. Neither of these features seem to affect their general health. (ref1, ref2, ref3)


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