MSD Manual

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Pet Owner Version

Introduction to Diagnostic Tests and Imaging


Trevor J. Whitbread

, BVSc, DECVP, Abbey Veterinary Services/NationWide Laboraties

Reviewed/Revised Oct 2019 | Modified Nov 2022

When you have a health problem, your doctor may order blood tests, imaging, or other tests to help pinpoint the cause of the problem. When your pet has a health problem, your veterinarian will often order similar tests to determine the cause and seriousness of your pet’s condition. Depending on the tests needed and the facilities available at your veterinarian’s clinic, the tests may be performed at the clinic or at a laboratory or test facility in another location.

If the tests are to be carried out by the veterinarian or a technician within the clinic, the staff has access to the medical history leading up to the problem. If the tests are performed elsewhere, it is important that a detailed history of the problem be included with the samples or be available when the pet arrives. The staff at the external laboratory will need this information to correctly perform the tests and interpret the results. Usually, the referring veterinary clinic will provide this information directly to the external facility. However, if you are asked to bring the information to a referral facility with your pet, it is very important that you do so that work can be done correctly.

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