Library

Cats + Diagnosis

  • Dexamethasone is used to test the feedback loop that controls the level of cortisol hormone in the body. Injection of dexamethasone will cause a decreased level of cortisol in a normal pet; however, in a pet with Cushing’s disease, the negative feedback loop will not respond completely, or at all, resulting in minimal or no decrease in cortisol level. A pet with pituitary induced Cushing’s may have a slight reduction in cortisol as compared to adrenal-induced Cushing’s which will have no cortisol suppression. Standard testing for Cushing’s disease uses a low dose of dexamethasone and often diagnoses adrenal vs pituitary disease. Rarely, a high dose will be used if clarification on type of Cushing’s disease is required. Other diseases can suppress cortisol production, so it is important to rule these out prior to dexamethasone testing. Knowing the type of Cushing’s disease your pet has can guide treatment decisions and offers a more defined prognosis.

  • Testing for diabetes includes confirming hyperglycemia and glucosuria while looking for other conditions by checking a CBC (anemia, infection), biochemistry profile (hepatic disease, pancreatitis) and a urinalysis (urinary tract infection). Monitoring includes regular glucose curves and additional exams and testing based on the pet owner’s monitoring of their cat’s clinical signs in the home setting. Urine glucose testing and fructosamine are sometimes used in diabetic monitoring and urine testing for infection may be recommended.

  • DNA is a large complex molecule that carries the genetic information or genetic code of an organism. All common forms of life, such as viruses, bacteria, plants, and animals carry a copy of their own genetic code in each of their cells. Each organism has a unique section of DNA that is just like a fingerprint. DNA-PCR is often used to detect the presence of infectious organisms; especially when detecting extremely small numbers of infectious organisms and for detecting certain viruses and bacteria that are difficult to diagnose by other methods.

  • Microalbuminuria refers to the presence of very small amounts of albumin in urine. It may indicate underlying health problems and is sometimes an early warning sign of primary kidney disease. Many conditions can potentially lead to microalbuminuria (e.g., dental disease, chronic skin disease, feline leukemia virus, feline immunodeficiency virus, diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism, hypertension, and cancer). A simple test, early renal damage test (ERD), may be used to detect microlbuminuria. A small amount of urine collected in a sterile container to run this test. Microalbuminuria does not mean that your pet has serious kidney disease, and your veterinarian will recommend further testing to look for hidden disease if microalbuminuria is detected.

  • An electrocardiogram, or ECG, is a test that is used to assess the heart. More specifically, an ECG measures the transmission of an electrical impulse through the heart. This test is not painful and is typically performed as an outpatient procedure. Analyzing the electrical impulses produced as the heart beats can help identify a number of different abnormalities within the heart.

  • A fecal Baermann is a specialized test for detecting certain types of parasites or worms.

  • Fecal flotation is a routine veterinary test used to diagnose internal parasites or worms. The test detects the eggs of mature parasites that live inside the body and pass their eggs to the outside by shedding them in the host's stool.

  • Fecal occult blood refers to the presence of small quantities of blood in the stool that cannot be seen with the naked eye (occult means concealed from view). The blood can come from anywhere in the digestive tract, including the mouth, stomach, intestines or rectum.

  • FIP is a disease caused by a mutated (changed) strain of feline coronavirus. Unfortunately, routine blood testing for feline coronavirus is not clinically useful. Exposure to any strain of feline coronavirus will result in an immune response and the production of antibodies. A working diagnosis of FIP is typically made on the basis of the cat's clinical history, as well as supportive laboratory data. Histopathology remains the best way to diagnose FIP in the living cat.

  • Cytology is the microscopic examination of cells that have been collected from body tissues. Fine needle aspiration (FNA), also called fine needle biopsy, is the most frequently used technique in cytology. It is typically used to sample lumps and bumps on the body; however, it is also used to evaluate internal organs and body fluids. A sterile fine gauge needle is attached to an empty syringe and is introduced into the tissue. The tissue cells or fluid are aspirated when the plunger of the syringe is drawn back while the needle is held in the tissue. The cells are placed onto a clean glass slide, dried, and stained with special dyes. The cells are then examined under a microscope. Cytology by FNA does not always provide a diagnosis but contributes valuable information that ultimately leads to a final diagnosis.