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Cats + Diagnosis

  • Hypoglycemia can be caused by many different things including liver failure, sepsis, Addison’s disease, and overdose of insulin in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Clinical signs include weakness, tremors, and rarely seizures. After detecting hypoglycemia on a blood sample, determining the cause includes a full history, physical exam, CBC, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. In some cases, more advanced testing such as imaging, biopsy, or ACTH stimulation testing will be recommended.

  • In pets, pallor is usually detected as a loss of color from the gums and inner eyelids. Pallor is a sign of illness and your veterinarian will take your pet’s history, perform a physical exam and perform initial blood and urine screening tests to determine the cause of pallor. Depending on the results of the history, physical exam, and screening tests, additional tests such as X-rays, ultrasound, biopsy, echocardiography, and specialized blood tests may also be recommended.

  • The pancreas is an abdominal organ responsible for regulating blood glucose (endocrine function) and releasing enzymes that aid in digestion (exocrine function). A deficiency in releasing digestive enzymes causes a disease called exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. This disease is diagnosed by measuring blood levels of trypsin-like immunoreactivity that is proportional to the amount of a specific digestive enzyme released into the intestine (trypsin). False negatives can be seen with concurrent pancreatitis or not performing the test on a fasted sample. B12 and folate levels can be supportive of the diagnosis. Endocrine pancreatic dysfunction causes diabetes mellitus, diagnosed by elevated glucose levels in the blood and urine. Pancreatitis diagnosis without a biopsy of the organ is not straightforward. Many abnormalities in blood tests can support the diagnosis, including: increased white blood cells, increased PCV, increased amylase or lipase; but an elevation of pancreatic specific lipase immunoreactivity is the most diagnostic of the blood tests. Ultrasound and X-rays can also show changes supporting pancreatitis.

  • Seizures typically occur for three main reasons, but finding the cause can be difficult. Finding the cause of a pet's seizures can be difficult and usually starts with a complete history and physical examination. Your veterinarian will likely recommend screening tests to look for metabolic disease and other illnesses that can cause seizures. Screening tests are a series of simple tests that provide information about the overall health of the pet. There are many additional tests that can be done depending on the results of history, physical examination, and screening tests.

  • Sneezing and nasal discharge can occur for many different reasons including infection, allergy, foreign body, and tumors. A thorough history and physical exam is the first step in diagnosing the cause of sneezing/nasal discharge. Initial screening tests include CBC, biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and coagulation testing. These tests can be used to indicate the safety of general anesthesia needed for additional testing. Specific testing that may be recommended for determining the cause of nasal discharge/sneezing may include nasal swab for cytology, radiographs of the nasal cavity, nasal flush for cytology, culture and sensitivity testing, and rhinoscopy. Chest radiographs, specific micro-organism DNA testing, more advanced imaging such as CT or MRI, and biopsy may be considered based on initial test results.

  • Most bleeding (or hemorrhage) is caused by trauma. There is usually a wound or a history of injury to explain why a pet is bleeding. Typically, the bleeding stops when a blood clot forms at the site of injury.

  • Many problems can lead to vomiting, some easier to diagnose than others. Simple acute vomiting with no other clinical signs may not require diagnostic testing, but if vomiting is ongoing or your pet is showing other clinical signs, then baseline diagnostic testing including complete blood count (CBC), biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and fecal testing may be recommended. Additional diagnostic testing may be required depending on the results of these tests.

  • Pets that feel weak often have difficulty getting to their feet and move slowly or unsteadily. Other signs include shaky muscles, fainting, or collapse. You may find your pet does not want to exercise, seems dull, and does not respond when you call.

  • Diagnosis of hyperthyroidism includes screening the hormone output of the thyroid as well as screening for other systemic disease. This is achieved by running a complete blood count, biochemistry panel, urinalysis and total T4 (tT4). In cats with signs of hyperthyroidism but with tT4 levels in the upper half of the reference range will often have their free thyroid hormone tested using a special test called equilibrium dialysis. More advanced screening for hyperthyroidism includes the t3 suppression test and advanced imaging of the thyroid called scintigraphy.

  • Trypsin-like immunoreactivity (TLI) is a blood test that measures the amount of a pancreatic proenzyme called trypsinogen. This measurement correlates with the amount of pancreatic enzymes released into the intestine to aid in digestion. A low measurement indicates exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. Concurrent pancreatitis or tests done shortly after a meal may temporarily increase this measurement to a normal value (false negative).