Dystrophic cardiac calcification (DCC) is a post-mortem finding in mice of various strains frequently used in biomedical research. The major aim of this study was to see whether DCC severity can be assessed by chemical analysis of calcium in the heart. Histological examination was used as the method of reference. Hearts of mice of four strains (BALB/c, C3H, C57BL/6 and DBA/2) were halved and the two resulting parts were subsequently subjected to histology or chemical analysis. Within hearts, the halves generally yielded similar results. The DCC scores and calcium contents were directly correlated within hearts. Thus, calcium analysis could serve as an alternative to histological examination in the assessment of DCC severity in mice. DBA/2 and C3H mice were found to be affected by DCC. Plasma magnesium concentrations were lower in these strains than in the DCC-free C57BL/6 and BALB/c strains. The tongue, lungs and diaphragm were also found to be calcified in DCC positive animals. Possibly, DCC is just one component of a generalized soft tissue calcification.