Types of Diagnostic Tests for Pets

Our vets at O’Fallon provide an overview of diagnostic tests that can help identify the reasons behind your pet's health issues. These tests help uncover the underlying causes of different pet health concerns.

Diagnostic Testing for Pets

Diagnostic testing is crucial for both human and pet medical care. Pets can't express their feelings or where they're in pain, making these tests even more vital. They help vets swiftly identify what's wrong with your pet, ensuring prompt treatment.

Below are some of the types of diagnostic testing for pets that veterinarians use when caring for the health of our pets.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are routine checks for pets, helping to assess their overall health. These tests examine organ function, electrolyte levels, and blood cells. They can be scheduled annually for your pet's checkup or if you notice any unusual symptoms in your dog or cat. Older pets benefit greatly from yearly blood tests, as they are more vulnerable to specific illnesses. These tests are swift and require only a small blood sample.


Urine tests are a usual way to diagnose health issues in dogs and cats. They're used to check kidney function, urinary tract infections, and other urinary system problems. These tests can be done fast using a small urine sample. Pet owners can often provide the sample, but sometimes a vet might need to collect urine directly from the bladder using a needle.

Fecal Testing

Fecal tests assist vets in finding intestinal parasites in dogs and cats that might not show symptoms yet. These tests just require providing a fresh stool sample from your pet to your vet for analysis.

Heartworm Tests

Heartworm is a very serious, typically fatal condition in pets. Many veterinarians strongly recommend annual heartworm testing for dogs and cats. Heartworm testing typically involves a blood test that detects the presence of antigens produced by adult female heartworms. 


X-rays are a helpful way for doctors to check different health problems like broken bones, joint issues, and breathing difficulties. These scans are safe and fast, but sometimes pets might need to be calmed down to stay still during the process. X-rays are useful for checking older pets or those with ongoing health problems.


Veterinary ultrasound is a non-invasive diagnostic test that uses sound waves to produce real-time images of internal organ function. 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 for pregnant pets in order to monitor the health of developing fetuses.


Endoscopy is a process that involves the use of a small camera attached to a flexible tube. 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. Endoscopy is commonly used to evaluate gastrointestinal issues but can also be used to evaluate the respiratory system and other organs.


A biopsy is a diagnostic test that involves the removal of a small sample of tissue for examination. 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 test that checks the heart's electrical activity. It's often advised for pets with heart issues or those in danger of heart problems. The procedure is safe and involves placing small sensors on the pet's chest to track the heart's electrical signals.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a modern medical test that creates detailed pictures of our insides using magnets and radio waves. It's good for checking brain and body issues, but it's pricier and usually only found at special pet hospitals. Pets usually need calming medicine to stay calm while getting an MRI.

Pet Diagnostic Tests at Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital

At Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital in O’Fallon, we have access to a range of advanced tools that help our team of specialist vets pinpoint the precise cause of your pet's medical issues so that we can provide you with an accurate and definitive diagnosis.

Our diagnostic imaging capabilities help us to provide more time-sensitive treatment options and to share data with your primary care veterinarian efficiently. Your primary care veterinarian may also send us referrals for outpatient ultrasounds and other diagnostic testing available at our clinic. 

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. 

Want to learn more about veterinary diagnostic imaging at Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital? Contact us today to speak to one of our team.