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Types of Diagnostic Tests for Pets

Our Tracy veterinarians have provided a guide to various diagnostic tests that can be performed to identify the underlying causes of your pet's symptoms. Understanding these tests can help you make an informed decision about your pet's health.

Pet Care: Diagnostic Tests

Diagnostic tests are an essential part of healthcare for both humans and animals. In the case of our pets, these tests can be even more vital. This is because our pets cannot tell us how they feel, where they feel pain or discomfort, and what kind of pain they experience. Diagnostic tests can help your veterinarian quickly determine the cause of your pet's symptoms so that treatment can begin without delay.

In this article, our veterinarians present some of the types of diagnostic tests for pets that can be used to diagnose and monitor your pet's health.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are crucial to routine diagnostics for monitoring your pet's overall health. They help diagnose specific health conditions and evaluate various health problems such as organ function, electrolyte levels, and blood cell counts. You can perform them during your pet's annual check-up or when you notice symptoms. Older pets require annual blood tests as they are prone to certain diseases and health problems. The best part about blood testing is that it provides much information from a simple, quick blood test.


During your pet's annual exam, the veterinarian will probably conduct a urine test to evaluate their kidney function, detect urinary tract infections, and identify other health issues related to their urinary system. These tests can usually be performed on urine samples collected by pet owners. However, in some instances, the veterinarian may need to obtain urine directly from the bladder using a needle.

Fecal Testing

Fecal examinations help veterinarians detect the presence of intestinal parasites in dogs and cats that might otherwise go undetected until symptoms appear. If your pet is scheduled for a fecal exam, your veterinarian will ask you to bring a fresh stool sample to the examination.

Heartworm Tests

Prevention and treatment of heartworms are very important, as this parasite can be fatal. Many veterinarians strongly recommend annual heartworm screening for dogs and cats. Heartworm screening usually involves a blood test to detect the presence of antigens produced by adult female heartworms.

X-rays (Radiographs)

X-rays are a valuable diagnostic tool that doctors use to assess a range of health problems, such as bone fractures, joint problems, and respiratory problems. They are non-invasive and can be performed quickly, although pets may require sedation to keep them still during the procedure. X-rays can be particularly useful for assessing the health of older animals or those suffering from chronic diseases.


Ultrasound uses sound waves to provide your vet with valuable insight into the function of your pet's organs. This technology is commonly used to evaluate heart, liver, and kidney health. Ultrasound is often recommended for pets with suspected heart or liver disease or pregnant pets to monitor the health of developing fetuses.


Your vet may use a small tube fitted with a camera to look inside your pet's body. This is referred to as endoscopy. The tube is inserted into the pet's body through an opening such as the mouth or rectum, allowing the veterinarian to examine the internal organs minimally invasively. Endoscopy is commonly used to evaluate gastrointestinal issues but can also be used to evaluate the respiratory system and other organs.


Your vet will take a small tissue sample from your pet during a biopsy. Biopsies are often recommended when a pet has a suspicious lump or growth that may be cancerous. The sample is examined under a microscope to determine if it is cancerous or benign.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a diagnostic test that is used to assess the heart's electrical activity. It is commonly suggested for pets that have heart disease or those who are at risk of developing it. The test is non-invasive and involves attaching electrodes to the pet's chest to monitor their heart's electrical activity.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an advanced diagnostic test that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed images of internal organs. This test can be particularly useful for evaluating neurological problems but can also help examine other organs. It is usually only available at specialist veterinary clinics and can be more expensive than other types of diagnostic tests. Your veterinarian will most likely administer general anesthesia to your dog or cat throughout the procedure to keep them still.

Our Diagnostic Testing & Lab

At Paws and Claws Veterinary Hospital, we have access to various advanced tools that help our veterinarians accurately diagnose your pet's medical issues. We will refer you and your pet to a specialist if we do not have the required diagnostic equipment.

They will use appropriate imaging technology to diagnose your pet's condition or collect a sample like blood, urine, or biopsy to be tested externally at a veterinary diagnostic facility in the Tracy area. Our team is dedicated to providing the best possible care for your pet, and we will do everything we can to ensure they receive the treatment they need.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet. 

Is your dog or cat scheduled for a diagnostic service at our clinic? If you have any questions about what to expect, please get in touch with our vets in Tracy.

Caring for Pets in Tracy

Paws & Claws Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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