What Diagnostic Services Are Available at Animal Hospitals?

Hey there, pet parents. Taking care of our furry friends sometimes requires more than just love and good nutrition. When there’s a health concern, having access to comprehensive diagnostic services at animal hospitals is crucial. This article delves deep into what diagnostic services you can expect at animal hospitals and why they matter. Buckle up because we’re about to embark on an informative journey.

1. Standard Physical Examinations

Physical exams are the foundation of diagnostic services. Vets use them to assess your pet’s overall health by examining their eyes, ears, mouth, and skin and feeling their abdomen.

  • Eyes: Checking for any signs of redness, discharge, or abnormalities.

  • Ears: Looking for infections, wax buildup, or parasites.

  • Mouth: Examining teeth and gums for dental health.

  • Skin: Checking for lumps, rashes, or parasite infestations.

  • Abdomen: Feeling for any unusual masses or pain.

2. Blood Tests

Blood tests are invaluable for diagnosing a myriad of conditions. They reveal internal issues that might not be visible externally. Common blood tests include:

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

This test measures different components in your pet’s blood, including red cells, white cells, and platelets. It helps in diagnosing anemia, infections, and even cancer.

Biochemical Profile

This test evaluates your pet’s organ functions, such as the liver and kidneys. It helps in diagnosing metabolic disorders and systemic diseases.

3. Imaging Techniques

When physical exams and blood tests aren’t enough, imaging techniques provide a closer look at what might be going on inside your pet’s body.


X-rays are often the go-to imaging technique. They are mainly used to diagnose bone fractures, arthritis, and sometimes even tumors.


Ultrasound uses sound waves to create real-time images of internal organs. It’s particularly useful for examining the heart, liver, and kidneys.

MRI and CT Scans

Though less common due to cost, MRI and CT scans offer detailed images of soft tissues, making them useful for diagnosing neurological disorders and complex fractures, especially when considering options for pet surgery. For more details on pet surgery, consult your veterinarian to understand the best imaging techniques for your pet’s condition.

4. Urinalysis

Urinalysis is a simple yet effective diagnostic tool. By examining your pet’s urine, vets can diagnose urinary tract infections, kidney disease, and diabetes.

5. Fecal Analysis

Yup, you read that right. Examining your pet’s poop can reveal a lot about their health. Fecal analysis helps diagnose gastrointestinal parasites, infections, and even dietary issues.

6. Electrocardiograms (ECG)

If your pet has a suspected heart condition, an ECG can measure the electrical activity of the heart to diagnose arrhythmias and other cardiac issues.

7. Skin Scrapings and Biopsies

If your pet has a persistent skin issue, a skin scraping or biopsy can help identify the root cause, such as bacteria, fungi, or cancerous cells.

8. Specialized Diagnostic Services

Some animal hospitals offer more specialized services that can help diagnose complex conditions. For example, a veterinary laboratory in Rocklin, CA, can analyze blood and tissue samples with precision.


Endoscopy involves inserting a tiny camera into your pet’s body to visualize internal organs directly. It’s often used to diagnose gastrointestinal and respiratory issues.

Allergy Testing

Does your pet have itchy skin or frequent ear infections? They might have allergies. Allergy tests can identify specific allergens, helping you manage their condition effectively.

9. Oral Health Diagnostics

Dental health is often overlooked but is vital for your pet’s overall health. Visiting an experienced vet dentist in Rocklin, CA, can help diagnose and treat dental problems such as periodontal disease, broken teeth, and oral tumors.

Importance of Dental Diagnostics

  • Regular dental check-ups can prevent serious health issues.

  • Dental X-rays can reveal problems beneath the gum line.

  • Professional cleanings can remove plaque and tartar buildup.

10. Genetic Testing

Genetic testing is an advanced diagnostic service that can provide valuable insights into your pet’s health and predisposition to certain diseases.

Why Genetic Testing Matters

  • Genetic tests analyze your pet’s DNA to identify inherited conditions, breed-specific health risks, and traits.

  • They can help in diagnosing conditions like hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, and certain heart diseases.

  • Early detection through genetic testing can enable preventive care and tailored treatments.

How It Works

  • A simple cheek swab or blood sample is collected from your pet.

  • The sample is then analyzed in a specialized lab to identify genetic markers associated with various conditions.

Benefits of Genetic Testing

  • It helps in making informed decisions about breeding.

  • Allows you and your vet to implement early interventions and lifestyle modifications.

  • Provides a deeper understanding of your pet’s behavior and physical characteristics.

If you’re considering genetic testing, consult your vet to determine if it’s appropriate for your pet and to get guidance on the best testing options available.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, folks. Knowing the wide array of diagnostic services available at animal hospitals can significantly impact the health and well-being of your pets. From standard physical exams and blood tests to more specialized services, these diagnostics are crucial for early disease detection and effective treatment. Caring for your furry friends means staying informed and being proactive about their health. So, the next time you visit an animal hospital, you’ll know just what to ask for.