Cat Diarrhea Diagnosis with Blood Testing

Cat diarrhea can signify any number of conditions, from mild to severe. In general, the first determination to be made is whether or not the diarrhea is being caused by a minor or a major condition. If the determination is considered to be minor, such as would the case with intestinal viruses, parasites or contaminated food, minimal testing will be done. A physical examination, fecal exam and possible x-ray will reveal or rule out any infections or parasitic manifestations, and proper treatment can then be administered.

Major Causes of Cat Diarrhea

If the cause of cat diarrhea is determined to be major, additional testing will be necessary. Cat diarrhea is a symptom of any one of the following: inflammatory bowel disease, hyperthyroidism, loss of pancreatic function, neoplasia, fungal or bacterial infection, feline leukemia virus, or feline immunodeficiency virus. To determine the underlying problem, tests including stool cultures, biopsies, radiographies, thyroid profiles, blood tests and/or abdominal exploratory surgery may be performed.

Blood Testing for Cat Diarrhea Diagnosis

Any of several different types of blood tests may be performed to determine the cause of cat diarrhea. It is likely that bloodwork will be taken to determine how the organs of the body are functioning. The liver and kidneys play a significant role in digestion, and any malfunction in those areas could be cause for cat diarrhea. Testing for red and white blood cell levels and platelet counts is also important. Results of these tests can reveal the presence of fungal infections, bacterial or viral infections or anemia. Additional blood testing may be performed specifically to diagnose or rule out specific types of disease or infection.

Blood Testing for Thyroid Hormone Levels

A severe case of cat diarrhea may be caused by hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is an overactive production of the hormone that regulates metabolism and organ function. To determine the presence of hyperthyroidism, blood tests may be administered. A test to measure the levels of T4, or thyroxine in the blood resulting in high levels would normally indicate hyperthyroidism.

Blood Testing For Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are both very serious illnesses that can lead to cancer, blood disorders, immune system deficiencies and potential death in cats. While these diseases are fundamentally different from one another, both can be detected using blood tests. ELISA, (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) may detect protein components or antibodies present and circulating in the bloodstream, but this blood test is not always conclusive. For FeLV, the IFA (immunofluorescence assay) blood test is similar to the ELISA, but will only detect the disease in later stages, once bone marrow has become infected. An IDEXX SNAP combination kit can also detect antibodies for either disease, using the same blood sample. Positive test results may be followed up by another test called the WB, or immunoblot. This test is more time-consuming, as it requires laboratory analysis, but will confirm results of initial testing, preventing misdiagnosis from a false positive test result.