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How to Interpret Your Pet’s Animal Diagnostics Results: A Guide for Pet Owners

How to Interpret Your Pet’s Animal Diagnostics Results: A Guide for Pet Owners

Owning a pet is a rewarding experience filled with love, companionship, and snuggles. However, much like people, pets can get sick too! Understanding their veterinary diagnostic test results is vital to ensure your four-legged friend stays in peak health. But what do these tests entail, and how can you make sense of the results? Fear not – we’ve got you covered. 

This guide will help you decipher the various diagnostic tests and interpret their findings.

Understanding Veterinary Diagnostic Tests

As an essential part of pet healthcare, diagnostic tests come in various forms, each providing unique insights into your pet’s well-being. 

Here, we break down the most common tests and why they’re essential for routine care and geriatric pets.

Blood Testing

Blood tests can reveal a wealth of information about your pet’s health. They may consist of a complete blood count, blood chemistry profile, or platelet count. By monitoring these elements, vets can detect early signs of illness, infections, organ dysfunction, and blood clotting issues.


Urinalysis examines your pet’s urine to gain insights into their urinary health. This test helps vets assess the function and condition of your pet’s bladder and kidneys, making it a valuable tool in maintaining overall wellness.

Fecal Testing

Fecal testing is recommended twice a year to check for internal parasites such as roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms, and hookworms. These parasites can harm your pet’s digestive system and overall health. By examining fecal samples, veterinarians can easily detect the presence of parasites and recommend treatment.

Heartworm Testing

While heartworms are another internal parasite, they can’t be detected through fecal testing. Heartworms infect an animal’s heart and lungs; if left untreated, they can be deadly. Regular testing, even for pets on preventative medication, is crucial for early detection and better outcomes.

How to Interpret Diagnostic Test Results

Understanding diagnostic test results might seem daunting. However, with some guidance, you can confidently read the results and know what they mean for your pet.

Reading Test Results

  1. Understanding reference ranges and units of measurement: Each test will have a reference range representing the normal values for a healthy pet. If your pet’s results fall outside these ranges, it may indicate a health problem. However, keep in mind that some fluctuations can occur, so consulting with your vet is crucial for accurate interpretation. 
  2. Recognizing abnormal results and what they might indicate: If your pet’s test results reveal abnormalities, it’s essential to understand the potential health issues they may suggest. The following sections will delve deeper into common test abnormalities and what they mean for your pet’s health.

Common Abnormalities in Diagnostic Results


Anemia occurs when there are fewer red blood cells in your pet’s system. It can result from blood loss, destruction of red blood cells, or insufficient production. Geriatric pets may be more susceptible to anemia, making regular testing even more critical.


Infections can manifest in various ways in test results, including elevated white blood cell counts or abnormalities in blood chemistry. Catching infections early can be crucial for your pet’s recovery, so monitoring diagnostic results is critical.

Organ Dysfunction

Organ dysfunction, such as impaired kidney or liver function, can often be detected through blood test results. Abnormal levels of certain enzymes or waste products in the blood can signal potential problems. Organ dysfunction can be more common in geriatric pets, so regular monitoring is essential.

Blood Clotting Problems

Platelet count abnormalities can indicate issues with blood clotting. If your pet’s blood doesn’t clot properly, it may be at risk of excessive bleeding or bruising. Identifying clotting irregularities early can help prevent complications from arising.

Signs of Internal Parasites in Diagnostic Results

Fecal Testing and Common Parasites

As mentioned earlier, fecal tests help identify internal parasites that can negatively impact your pet’s health. Keeping an eye out for these parasites and addressing any infestations early allows for a more effective treatment process.

Heartworm Testing

Heartworms are deadly parasites that require prompt detection and treatment. Due to their grave consequences, heartworm testing should be a regular component of your pet’s healthcare regimen—even if they’re on preventative medication.

Next Steps: What to Do with Abnormal Diagnostic Results

Once you’ve identified any abnormal results in your pet’s diagnostic tests, taking the necessary steps to address the issue is essential.

Consult with Your Veterinarian

  1. Discussing treatment options: If your pet’s test results reveal concerns, consult your veterinarian to determine the best action. Timely intervention can significantly improve your pet’s chances of a full recovery. 
  2. Importance of timely intervention: Don’t wait to address potential health issues. Acting quickly and following your veterinarian’s advice is crucial for your pet’s well-being.

Monitoring and Follow-Up Testing

  1. Importance of tracking changes in your pet’s health: Regularly monitoring your pet’s diagnostic results and follow-up testing will help ensure their continued health. Keeping track of any changes allows you to adjust treatments or preventative measures accordingly. 
  2. Adapting care routines for older pets: As your pet ages, their health needs may change. Geriatric pets may require frequent diagnostic testing and adjusted care routines to maintain their well-being.

Importance of Regular Veterinary Exams

Routine Exams

Wellness exams for dogs and other pets are crucial for the early detection of health issues. Regular veterinary exams allow for early intervention and treatment, enabling you to maintain your pet’s overall well-being. An increased frequency of exams might be necessary for geriatric pets, as their health needs can change more rapidly.

Geriatric Pet Care

Aging pets may require additional attention to ensure their health remains in check. Partnering with a knowledgeable geriatric vet allows you to address any age-related concerns proactively and keep your senior pet feeling their best.

Veterinary Laboratory

Most diagnostic tests are performed in a veterinary laboratory—such as a vet lab in Seattle or your local area—where skilled professionals analyze your pet’s samples. These laboratories play a crucial role in identifying and addressing your pet’s health concerns, allowing your pet to live a longer and healthier life.


As a pet owner, understanding and interpreting diagnostic results is a major responsibility. It will inform you about your pet’s health and ensure you take the proper steps to maintain their well-being. So, remember to schedule regular veterinary visits, diagnostic tests, and preventative care measures to keep your furry friend happy and healthy!

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