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Curious about the chemistry panel?

Has your vet ever recommended a biochemistry panel (which is sometimes called an internal organ function screen) test to check your pet’s kidney function? Want to know a bit about the measurements on this panel? Read below to find out what kidney – related parameters commonly appear on this very important blood test.

Blood urea nitrogen (BUN)

When elevated, it can be a marker of kidney dysfunction but there are other possible causes for an increase in BUN, such as protein diets and GI bleeding, for example. Additionally, it is important to remember that this value should be interpreted in light of other factors such as hydration status and urine specific gravity


Creatinine is a marker used to estimate glomerular filtration rate (GFR). This value increases as GFR declines. However, a pet has to have an approximately 75% loss of renal function before this value will be abnormal on a chemistry panel


o This is a kidney biomarker that is able identify kidney dysfunction earlier as it rises earlier in CKD

There are now also AI algorithms such as RenalTech that can predict the possibility of the future development of CKD. You may see this measurement on some biochemistry panels, depending on which lab is used.

The biochemistry panel isn’t limited to just checking kidney status, however. There are many other markers on this penal that can help investigate a pet’s systemic health, such as total protein, total bilirubin, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), Alkaline phosphatase (ALP), cholesterol, triglycerides, as well the electrolytes, potassium, chloride and sodium and more. That’s what makes this test so useful as a diagnostic screening tool! However, a chemistry panel should be run and interpreted with other blood, urine and other diagnostics tests to thoroughly work-up a pet’s condition.


1) Veterinary Partner.

2) Tilley, L. P., & Smith, F. W. (2005). The 5-minute veterinary consult: Canine and feline. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

3) Yin, S. A. (2010). The small animal veterinary nerdbook. Davis, CA: CattleDog Pub.

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