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How to blood sample

02 February 2021
9 mins read
Volume 12 · Issue 1
Figure 1. This is an example of a vein board which can be purchased for the purpose of practising blood sampling and intravenous (IV) catheter placement techniques.


Venepuncture to obtain a blood sample for analysis is a task frequently undertaken by nursing staff in veterinary practices. This article will explore how to undertake this task safely and efficiently to ensure a diagnostic sample is obtained for analysis, while highlighting any potential pitfalls and how they can be avoided.

The indications for blood sampling in small animal practice are varied. Examples of patients from whom a blood sample may be required to assist in their diagnosis and ongoing treatment monitoring include patients with medical conditions, surgical patients and emergency patients. Blood samples are also indicated in healthy animals as part of routine health checks and to obtain baseline values, for example in senior patients and pre-anaesthetic patients. The decision about which blood analyses to perform is the remit of the veterinary surgeon (VS), however it is essential that student and registered veterinary nurses (SVN and RVN) are suitably trained to undertake venepuncture; it is a task they can undertake for the VS to assist in the prompt assessment, diagnosis and treatment monitoring of all patients. A range of analyses can be performed using a blood sample including haematology, manual packed cell volume (PCV) measurements, blood smear examination, biochemistry including electrolyte analysis, blood gas analysis and various laboratory assays, but a good quality blood sample is crucial to obtaining accurate results.

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