What Tests Can Vets Conduct to Detect Early Health Issues in Pets?

Eligible pet owners know that a healthy pet is a happy pet. Regular vet check-ups are essential to maintaining your pet’s overall health. These check-ups do more than keep your pet up-to-date with their vaccinations; they also provide an opportunity for early detection of potential health issues. 

Generally, young pets will require frequent check-ups, while adult pets might need annual or biannual visits to the vet. In addition to providing general health monitoring, regular visits to the vet can also aid in disease prevention. Regular vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, and heartworm prevention can all be managed during these appointments.

Common Vet Tests for Early Detection of Pet Health Issues

There are several tests that veterinarians can perform to detect potential health problems in pets. The most common ones include blood tests, urinalysis, fecal exams, imaging, and parasite screening.

Blood Tests

Biochemistry Profile

This is a series of tests done on a serum sample of the pet’s blood. It includes:

Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) and Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP): These two tests are useful in identifying liver disease.

  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) and Creatinine are useful in evaluating kidney function.
  • Blood Glucose: High levels can indicate diabetes, while low levels might suggest insulinoma.
  • Total Protein: This provides information about hydration and diseases related to the liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract. 

Complete Blood Count (CBC) 

It is a broad screening test to check for such disorders as anemia, infection, and many other diseases. It includes:

  • Red Blood Cells (RBCs): These cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Low levels can indicate anemia, while high levels might suggest dehydration or polycythemia.
  • White Blood Cells (WBCs): These fight infection. Variations in the WBC count can indicate problems such as inflammation, stress, or abnormal cell production—as seen in leukemia.
  • Platelets: These are small cells involved in blood clotting. A reduced number can lead to spontaneous bruising or bleeding. 

Thyroid Hormone Testing

The thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) help regulate your pet’s metabolism. Variations in these hormone levels can lead to problems such as hyperthyroidism (most common in cats) or hypothyroidism (more often seen in dogs).


This test assesses the physical and chemical properties of a pet’s urine, identifying issues such as urinary tract infections, diabetes, dehydration, kidney problems, and crystals in the urine that may lead to the formation of stones.

Fecal Exam

A microscopic examination of the feces can detect the presence of intestinal parasites, including roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia, and giardia.


Imaging techniques like X-rays, ultrasound, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can provide an internal view of your pet’s body. They’re particularly useful in identifying issues related to the heart, lungs, abdominal organs, bones, oral cavity, and other soft tissues.

Parasite Screening

Parasite screenings involve testing for internal parasites (like heartworms) through a blood sample and external parasites (like ticks and fleas) through a physical exam and skin scraping or tape preps.

Puppy & Kitten Veterinary Care

Young pets, such as puppies and kittens, have specific health needs. Being a reliable veterinarian for puppies and kittens involves thorough health checks and a vaccination plan, ensuring they will grow healthy. Here’s what more comprehensive puppy and kitten veterinary care includes:

Initial Physical Examinations

  • Within the first few weeks, puppies and kittens should have their first vet visit.
  • This initial physical exam is important as it helps ensure they grow properly and have no congenital abnormalities or illnesses.


Puppies and kittens need a series of vaccinations in their first year of life to protect them against common, serious diseases such as:

  • Canine and Feline Distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Rabies
  • Feline Calicivirus
  • Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, among others.

Deworming Treatments

  • Most puppies and kittens are born with intestinal parasites contracted from their mothers.
  • Regular deworming treatments during their first few months of life help ensure they grow up healthily.

Nutrition Counseling

  • Young animals have specific dietary requirements.
  • Your vet will guide your puppy or kitten for your puppy’s growth and healthy development.

Parasite Prevention

  • To make sure your new pet remains healthy, it’s essential to protect them from parasites, like fleas and ticks, from an early stage.
  • Your vet will advise on safe and effective preventatives for puppies and kittens.


  • While this generally comes a little later in a pet’s first year, discussing the benefits and timeline for spaying or neutering your pet is essential to early veterinary care conversations.

Socialization and Behavioral Advice

  • Puppy and kittenhood are formative periods where animals learn much about being good pets.
  • Your vet can share tips and guidance to help you positively shape your pet’s behavior during this essential learning period. 
  • Microchipping Microchipping can be discussed during these early visits. A microchip is a permanent form of identification, increasing the chances of a lost pet being returned safely.

Veterinary Internal Medicine

Veterinary internal medicine covers several areas, including endocrinology, gastroenterology, and nephrology. Recent advancements in dog internal medicine can help detect issues such as hormonal imbalances, kidney disease, and digestive problems at an early stage, leading to quicker treatment.

Urgent Veterinary Care

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, pets suffer from health emergencies. In these cases, urgent veterinary care like at WellPet Humane can be a blessing. Well-trained and compassionate urgent care vets are equipped to handle all pet health emergencies.


Early detection of pet health issues can give them a fighting chance for a long, healthy life. Regular vet check-ups and screenings are vital components of this. Remember, keeping up with your pet’s health is integral to their happiness and well-being. Besides regular check-ups, a balanced diet and regular exercise can contribute significantly to your pet’s overall health.