Educational Articles

Cats + Diagnosis

  • Cytology is the microscopic examination of cells that have been collected from the body. Cytology is most often used to diagnose the nature of lumps and bumps found on the surface of the body. However, cytology can also be used to evaluate internal organs, body fluids, effusions, and surfaces of the body. Different techniques are employed to collect cells depending on the type of sample needed. The next diagnostic step after cytology is histology.

  • Cytology is the microscopic examination of cells that have been collected from the body. There are different methods for collecting cells from body surfaces including skin scrapings, impression smears, swabs, and flushes. Once the cells are collected, they are examined under a microscope. Sometimes examination of surface cells does not provide a definitive diagnosis and additional samples must be collected.

  • Two tests use dexamethasone (a synthetic cortisol) for diagnosing Cushing's disease or Cushing's syndrome. They are the "LOW DOSE" and the "HIGH DOSE" dexamethasone suppression test.

  • Generally, the following screening tests are recommended when diabetes mellitus is suspected: a complete blood count (CBC), a serum biochemistry profile, and a urinalysis.

  • Sometimes called the blue print of life, DNA is a complex protein that carries the genetic code of an organism. All common forms of life, such as viruses, bacteria, plants, and animals carry a complete copy of their own DNA in each of their cells.

  • Albumin is an important protein that is normally found in the blood, but is not normally present in the urine of healthy pets.

  • 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.