Puppies and Kittens: A Guide to Common Lab Testing

As our pets age, several ailments can emerge that cause them to die prematurely. Kidney failure, diabetes, and liver disease are all prevalent diseases in middle-aged and older pets. Prostate disease, adrenal gland dysfunction, and bladder stones are common in geriatric dogs. Yet, not only senior pets but also young ones can be affected by these diseases as early as childhood.

Why Are Lab Tests Important?

A lab test analysis from your pet is an excellent way to determine potential concerns. For example, although some of these disorders develop in organs other than the urinary system, early symptoms can frequently be seen in the urine. The odds of successful treatment and possible recovery rise with early detection through laboratory tests and rapid treatment of certain illnesses. 

Here are some common diagnostic tests to determine diseases in pets:

Blood Analysis

A screening blood test, by definition, is a test used to detect a disease before it manifests and becomes symptomatic. So even if your cat or dog seems healthy, it is preferable to obtain a screening blood test to make sure they don’t have diseases like diabetes, kidney disease, or thyroid illness. When adopting a new puppy or kitten, it’s important to ensure they won’t bring parasites from your current pets into their new home. In these cases, the best course of action here is still prevention.

Prevention is still the best way to diagnose early symptoms of a certain disease further. Screening tests are also required if an animal of any age will be undergoing surgery.

Urine Analysis

Urinalysis can supplement blood test results and provide extra information that blood testing may not reveal. Urine testing, for example, shows whether glucose or ketones are present (indicating diabetes mellitus). A urinalysis can also detect early protein (albumin) loss via the kidneys, which a blood profile cannot. In addition, a microscopical urine examination reveals inflammation, infection, bleeding, malignancy, and bladder stones. 

Your animal’s urine should be tested in a vet lab at least once every six months, in addition to a urine culture, for a complete result. 

Fecal Analysis

Both cats and dogs can be affected by internal parasites. Tapeworms, roundworms, whipworms, hookworms, and protozoa, such as toxoplasma and cryptosporidia, are examples of internal parasites. These can be detected using a fecal flotation test (a fecal float) and fecal antigen testing on an animal’s stool. Animals with any disease are fecally tested, but those with gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea are tested most frequently. Several diagnostic procedures can help find out what’s causing gastrointestinal symptoms.

Internal parasites must be tested since they can be passed to other pets and, in some cases, humans. Fortunately, modern parasite treatments are highly successful. This is part of a dog and cat wellness exams that analyzes these tests for the optimum wellness of your pet.


Radiography uses small amounts of X-ray radiation to allow the doctor to see your dog or cat’s body. It benefits any animal suffering from any condition. However, it is most commonly utilized for orthopedic (fractures, dislocations) and soft tissue problems (bladder stones, GI blockages, heart/lung illnesses).

Radiography helps make early diagnoses in animals with no specific issues. For example, puppies can be examined for hip dysplasia. When an animal is sedated or anesthetized for another operation, such as spaying, neutering, or dental cleaning, clinics perform radiographs as a screening procedure. During radiography on animals, facilities usually discover issues, allowing them to give treatment choices before they develop significant illnesses.

Heartworms Screening

When most people think about heartworm, they think of a disease that only affects dogs. In actuality, heartworm illness can also affect cats, although less commonly.

Heartworm illness is a potentially lethal ailment caused by a worm in the heart and pulmonary arteries. Prevention is the most effective treatment for heartworm disease. Pets must be diagnosed before beginning preventative therapies since major consequences can emerge if an animal is infected. It is also critical to consult with your veterinarian about the appropriate product to prevent infection.


Understanding the significance of common lab tests that can be performed on healthy and sick dogs and cats is essential. By strategically applying these tests, you and your veterinarian can significantly increase your dog’s or cat’s lifespan by identifying potential health issues at an earlier stage, paving the way for more suitable treatment.