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5 Most Common Tests Your Pet Will Go Through at an Animal Hospital

Updated on February 5, 2018

When humans are ill, it can be relatively easy to diagnose what the problem is. With the exception of small children or the severely disabled, it is usually fairly easy for people to tell and explain to doctors how they are feeling, and help the medical professional to diagnose their problem. With animals, however, things are a little more complicated.

Whilst it is often obvious to pet owners that there is something wrong with their pet, short of the issue being an obvious physical problem, it can be difficult for vets to diagnose what their health problem is.

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There are, generally speaking, a number of tests that are carried out routinely to check for the most obvious illnesses or problems that your pet might have.


  1. General – The first test that the vet will usually carry out is a look at the animal’s general health. They will check its eyes and ears, it’s weight and size, and it’s mouth, teeth, and gums. These can often give a good indication of the overall health of your pet. They will also probably use a stethoscope to listen to the animal’s heart, lungs, and digestive system.

  2. Urine – Urine tests will routinely be carried out as they can show up many problems. Issues such as certain diseases or infections can be shown up, as well as proteins, glucose or even fragmented red blood cells. It can indicate bleeding, infections, problems with the kidneys and diabetes. Depending on your pet, some vets will ask you to bring a sample in, or others might take it at the animal hospital. Sometimes the vet will take a urine sample directly from the animal’s bladder.

  3. Blood – Another common test that will be carried out by a vet is a blood test. A blood sample allows medical professionals to analyze blood cell structure and counts for infection and diseases. Tests carried out on red blood cells can show up issues such as dehydration or diarrhoea, anemia or bleeding. Analysis of white blood cells can also give vets a wealth of information about inflammation, infection, stress, allergies, tissue injuries, chronic diseases, and cancers. The blood tests also give information about platelets which are affected by injuries, autoimmune diseases, blood clotting and bone marrow problems. Getting a blood sample from an animal will usually involve shaving a small area if they are a furry animal, and restraining them to an extent that the blood sample can be taken.

  4. Ultrasound – An ultrasound is non-invasive and pain-free and is a good way of looking at the internal organs of an animal using sound waves. It is also good for diagnosing pregnancy and other masses within the abdomen. For the ultrasound, an area of the animal might be shaved, and a special ultrasound gel applied to get the best results.

X-Ray – if it looks like your pet has a problem with the bones – maybe a break, fracture or potentially an infection, it might be that you vet deems it necessary to perform an x-ray on the animal. Other issues which can be detected with an x-ray include trouble breathing, trauma, coughs, and fever, as well as diagnosing or monitor issues such as pneumonia, cancer and heart problems. Just like with humans, the x-ray procedure is painless and can be carried out on most animals without the need for sedation.

Not being able to understand what is wrong with your pet can be worrying, and although they generally cannot talk to us to explain what they are feeling, the vet’s tests are very good at being able to diagnose problems. These 5 common tests are an excellent way to get a good understanding of what the problem might be.


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