Iron panels

Iron panels consist of serum iron, total iron binding capacity (TIBC, an indirect measurement of transferrin) and percentage saturation of transferrin measurement. Below is a table on guidelines for interpretation of this test panel.

Interpretation of common changes in iron panels
Iron TIBC % saturation transferrin Disorders
N Any cause of low iron. Most common causes are transient variation and inflammatory disease. May be seen with or without anemia. If there is a concurrent anemia, these results do not indicate an iron deficiency anemia, unless there is evidence of chronic external blood loss and concurrent expected changes in hemogram results (microcytic hypochromic RBC indices). More frequently, these changes in the iron panel in an anemic animal are due to the common causes listed above.
N This pattern is typical of inflammation of >24-48 hours duration. Both iron (inflammatory cytokines, hepcidin) and TIBC (negative acute phase protein) decrease, resulting in a normal % saturation.
N N, ↑ Loss or decreased production of transferrin, e.g. protein-losing enteropathy
N Hemolytic anemia, non-regenerative immune-mediated anemia or pure red cell aplasia, ineffective erythropoiesis, hepatic necrosis, corticosteroids (dogs, horses)
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