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Cats are usually very independent animals. All kitty cats, including cats that live indoors, tend to hide pain and discomfort well, and sometimes we may not notice that there is something going on until after they have lost weight or have had behavioral changes. In some instances, kitty cats start to have inappropriate elimination such as accidents outside the litter box. Sometimes this can be an indication of a urinary tract infection, among other things. In general, it is much easier to treat and/or support a patient through any condition or disease if it is caught early on.
Cats may sometimes develop different metabolic conditions such as hyperthyroidism and renal disease. These are two conditions that if detected early on, the right medication, treatment and diet can make a marked difference in their quality of life as well as life expectancy. For this reason we recommend that cats have annual blood work performed. This blood work includes urinalysis, chemistries, complete blood count, and thyroid levels.
A urinalysis allows us to see the renal/kidney function. We can detect how well the kidneys are concentrating the urine, if there is any protein, blood or glucose in the urine. These are all findings that require further workup as they can point towards chronic conditions.
Chemistries allow us to detect liver and kidney function, hydration status and whether or not there are any abnormalities in any of the electrolytes, such as potassium and calcium levels.
The complete blood count detects if there are any changes in the red blood cell count, the platelets and the white blood cells. Low red blood cells counts result in anemia, which can be a sign of and infectious disease, immune mediated disease, blood loss, among others. Low platelets can also be a sign of infectious disease among other. Again, if we catch these changes early on, we will be able to do a lot more for our feline friends.
Last but not least, thyroid levels will rule out the possibility of hyperthyroidism, which is a metabolic condition. Some of the signs of hyperthyroidism include excessive drinking, behavioral changes, weight loss despite a hearty appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.
Diagnostic testing is the most sensitive and accurate method of early detection of sub-clinical health problems. These simple tests provide critical information about the true health of your pet. So please, do not hesitate to ask us questions about anything at all. We will gladly help and point you in the right direction. We are happy that you are considering this for your kitty cat as we know that preventative medicine is the best way to keep diseases and conditions from getting out of control.