Four parameters can be measured to objectively assess dehydration.
- PCV and Total Protein should be interpreted together. An increase in both suggests fluid loss except that resulting from acute haemorrhage.
- Lactate. Hypoperfusion of tissue increases the concentration of lactate due to anaerobic metabolism of cells. A portable lactate meter quickly and cheaply measures blood lactate in the clinical setting and functions similarly to a glucometer. Lactate <2 mmol/l is normal. Increased lactate correlates with outcome and is a poor prognostic indicator in dogs. Serial lactate measurements can be used to monitor and guide fluid therapy.
- Blood gas analysis. The equipment for measuring blood gas analysis is expensive and not usually available in general practice.