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Ask A Vet: Why Does My Vet Want To Run All These Tests?

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When your veterinary team suggests that your cat have routine testing, it is important to know what value there might be in the results.

The biggest reason to run tests is that our patients can’t talk and tell us how they feel or what they are experiencing. The second biggest reason is that your cat is a master at hiding disease and early detection is critical to successful treatment. There are countless tests offered by diagnostic labs and it is part of your veterinarian’s job to know which are appropriate for your specific cat.  Here are some of the tests routinely suggested by vets for seemingly healthy animals.

Fecal check for intestinal parasites

Fecal flotation is microscopic examination of the stool and it is much more than just visually glancing at the poop. There is a procedure to help concentrate the parasitic eggs and a microscope is required. If your cat is not covered by a regular parasite product, this test is recommended as often as every 6 months. Ask your own vet how often is recommended in your area.

Retroviral Testing

Retroviruses include infections like Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.  If your cat was not tested and vaccinated as a kitten, make sure this test is completed.  These viruses can be transmitted by bite wounds (among other methods of transmission) so any cat that has been fighting must be tested again, even if he was tested as a kitten. Every fight is a possible route of transmission.  If your cat tests positive, you will want to know so that you can take the steps necessary to keep him healthy for as long as possible and prevent further spread.

Wellness blood tests

Wellness testing includes tests like Complete Blood Counts, serum chemistry profile and additional testing specific to certain patients.  Complete Blood Counts measure the number of blood cells, showing us anemia and alerting for infections and disease. A Serum chemistry profile creates a window on many organ systems.  Disorders like diabetes and kidney disease can show on these screening tests and early detection is critical to prognosis.

Based on age, gender and lifestyle of your cat, certain tests will be most appropriate and your veterinarian is your guide.  Plan ahead for your pet’s routine testing. It is an investment in your pet’s longevity and happiness.

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Written by Dr. Kathryn Primm
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