Why Diagnostic Tests are Important for Pets

Can you tell if your pet is ill simply by looking at them? In nearly all cases, the answer to this question will be no. Identifying that your pet is sick and discovering the underlying cause of their illness can be a complex process that looks at many factors – any symptoms your pet has, how they are behaving and how their body looks. Your vet will also need to take into account any internal changes that are happening and that aren’t visible to us. This is because many health problems cause internal changes to things like your pet’s blood, urine or organs. The only way of identifying these changes is to perform diagnostic testing.


Diagnostic tests are a crucial part of healthcare assessments for humans and animals alike. Here’s why.


What is veterinary diagnostic testing?

Diagnostic testing is used to assess internal elements of your pet for the early detection of disease, or to confirm suspected diagnoses that have been based on symptoms that your pet has been presenting with.


Here are some of the most common diagnostic tests that we may recommend to help keep your pet as healthy as possible, and why they are important.


Blood testing

Your pet’s blood can provide a lot of valuable information about the health and condition of your pet. Symptoms of some conditions and diseases don’t appear until an animal becomes very sick, but their blood may alert us to the fact that they are sick much earlier. There are several different blood tests that will be performed including a complete blood count, blood chemistry profile and platelet count. Some of the information we can obtain about your pet’s health from these samples will tell us:

  • If your pet is anemic
  • If they are fighting infection
  • If their internal organs are functioning properly
  • If their blood will clot properly

The results of blood tests are recorded on your pet’s file and can be used for comparison year on year, which enables close monitoring of your pet’s health.



You may be asked to bring in a sample of your pet’s urine with you when you come for an appointment. This is because, like your pet’s blood, their urine can also provide important information about their health and specifically, their urinary health. This includes the function and condition of their bladder and kidneys.


Fecal testing

Most owners are recommended for their pets to have fecal testing twice every year. The main purpose of this is to check for the presence of internal parasites, like roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms and hookworms. These live in the digestive system of your pet and can make them quite sick and be unpleasant to live with. Small parts of the worms or their eggs can be passed out into your pet’s feces, making them fairly easy to spot when a sample is placed under the microscope.


Heartworm testing

Heartworms are another internal parasite, but unlike other varieties, they can’t be detected using a fecal exam. This is because they don’t live in the digestive system, but instead in the blood vessels of the heart and lungs. Heartworms are often deadly and are spread through the bite of infected mosquitos. Regular testing is recommended, even if your pet is on heartworm medication, as the sooner heartworms are detected, the better the outcome for your pet is likely to be.



For more information about diagnostic testing for pets and why it is important, please speak to our experienced and friendly veterinarians. Call Lakeville Family Pet Clinic in Lakeville, Minnesota at 952-595-6500.