Frequently Used Tests for Dog Diagnosis

Dog diagnosis comprises of various diagnostic tests that help reveal underlying health conditions. Although pets that are vaccinated periodically and fed a nutritious diet remain healthy for several years, dogs often contract diseases or conditions that require medical intervention. The vet will evaluate the clinical symptoms exhibited and perform a thorough physical examination of the pet to detect abnormalities such as high body temperature, swollen lymph nodes or abdominal enlargement.

Diagnostic tests confirm or provide a definite diagnosis of health concerns and reveal internal abnormalities that can't be seen during a physical examination. Canine heartworm disease, distemper virus and intestinal parasite infections are common ailments in dogs.

Frequent Dog Diagnostic Tests

  • Fecal examination
  • Complete Blood Count
  • Urine analysis
  • Ultrasound
  • X-ray
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) test

Fecal Examination

A fecal examination is a microscopic evaluation of a sample of fresh feces. This test reveals parasite infections such as tapeworm or whipworm infection. A fecal test will also detect gastrointestinal infections caused by bacteria such as salmonella. Often, parasite infections go undetected in a fecal exam and hence repeat feces exams may be necessary. Blood present in the feces is a strong indicator of underlying disease that requires prompt treatment.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

A complete blood count test measures the various components of blood against a standard. The white blood cells count along with the pet's red blood cell count is determined in a CBC test. This test also reveals any abnormalities present in the size or shape of blood cells. In addition to CBC another blood test that determines the dog's level of enzyme present in the blood is known as blood chemistry test. This test will detect underlying diseases such as diabetes or kidney disease.

Urine Analysis

A urine analysis reveals the amount of protein, sugar or acidity present in a sample of urine. In order to obtain a pure sample of urine the vet may have to perform catheterization. Urine tests are an effective diagnostic tool to determine urinary tract infections and kidney stones.


An ultrasound is a non invasive diagnostic test that provides a visual representation of the internal organs in the dog's body. An ultrasound can detect internal organ swelling, tumors or damage. An ultrasound is often conducted to screen dogs for cancer or gastrointestinal problems.


An x-ray provides a radiograph of the affected part that's x-rayed. An x-ray is a preliminary diagnostic test performed for pets suffering from broken bones, injury and arthritis or bone cancer. An x-ray may not be effective to detect internal tumors as the tumor may blend with a shadow or the colors of the radiograph.

Electrocardiogram (EKG)

An EKG test is useful for pets suffering from heart disease. It measures the electrical activity of the heart to detect any abnormal heart beats. Although the test is non-invasive, pets may refuse to stay still due to the attachments made to the body. An EKG has to be performed by a licensed practitioner and the results should be interpreted by a qualified vet to diagnose any heart problems.

The diagnostic tests vary according to the clinical symptoms exhibited by the pet. Other tests include biopsies, cytology tests and ophthalmic tests.