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Educational Articles

Cats + Diagnosis

  • Weight loss can be due to simple problems of feeding and nutrition, or can be due to a variety of medical conditions that result in poor digestion, decreased absorption of nutrients, or loss of nutrients from the body.

  • The thyroid gland is located near the trachea (windpipe), just below the larynx (voice box). It is a paired gland that is responsible for the production of thyroid hormones.

  • Trypsinogen is a proenzyme (a non-activated enzyme) that is secreted into the small intestine by the pancreas, along with other pancreatic digestive enzymes. When it reaches the small intestine, trypsinogen is converted to trypsin, an enzyme that is involved in the digestion of proteins.

  • An ultrasound machine emits and receives high frequency ultrasound waves through a transducer or probe. The probe is placed over the area of interest, directing the sound waves into the body. The ultrasound waves may be transmitted through, reflected from, or absorbed by the tissues that they encounter.

  • Urinalysis is a routine test that reports the physical and chemical properties of urine. It is used mainly to assess the health of the kidneys and urinary system, but it can also reveal problems in other organ systems, and is important for diagnosing metabolic disease such as diabetes mellitus.

  • Cortisol is a stress hormone that is excreted from the body in the urine. The amount of cortisol in the urine reflects the average cortisol concentration in the blood at the time that the urine was formed. However, this measurement is affected by the concentration of the urine.

  • The presence of protein in urine is called proteinuria, and it may indicate that the kidneys are not working properly.

  • The urine protein:creatinine ratio is a simple test that measures how much protein is being lost through the kidneys. It is used to determine whether a pet may have serious kidney disease.

  • Feline viral testing typically encompasses testing for feline leukemia virus (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and coronavirus which causes feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). FeLV is one of the most important highly contagious viruses in cats as it is responsible for a number of diseases including leukemia. FIV is a virus that weakens the immune system's response to other infectious agents. Testing for FeLV and FIV is recommended to detect underlying causes to illness, to screen apparently healthy cats who may have been exposed to the viruses, and to identify carriers of the viruses prior to introducing cats into a household of other cats. FIP testing is somewhat more problematic.

  • Testing for FeLV is recommended to detect underlying causes to illness, to screen apparently healthy cats who may have been exposed to the viruses, and to identify carriers of the viruses prior to introducing cats into a household of other cats. Testing for coronavirus is indicated when FIP is suspected. In-clinic blood tests are available for FeLV. Confirmatory testing of any positive tests is recommended at referral laboratories, usually using DNA tests. Vaccination against FeLV will not affect the outcome of a cat already infected with the virus nor will it affect testing.