Cat Illness Diagnosis

Cat illness can vary in severity and pets exhibit a wide range of symptoms that are essential to a proper clinical diagnosis. Felines in general are capable of masking symptoms of disease such as pain or discomfort and hence most pet owners detect changes only after the disease has progressed. Although many pet owners try to help pets by offering home remedies or over the counter medication to cure the symptoms, its best to conduct a vet check as symptoms are often a sign of underlying disease.

Physical Examination

There are several common cat ailments that are marked with specific symptoms which enable both pet owners and vets to better understand any condition. Along with clinical signs of disease, vets usually conduct various tests to confirm the disease and track its severity. The most common tests include a physical examination. During the physical examination, the vet will check for external signs of sickness. In addition, the vet will take a rectal temperature reading, check cat ears for infection or discharge and note the pet's blood pressure and pulse.

Specific Diagnostic Tests

  • Blood tests (Complete blood count)
  • Urine analysis
  • Radiographs
  • Ultrasound
  • Fecal exams
  • Cytology
  • Dermal testing
  • Biopsy

Common Cat Illnesses

  • Cat Diabetes
  • Ear infections
  • Liver disease
  • Hairballs
  • Parasite infections

Cat Diabetes

Feline diabetes can be diagnosed with the help of observation of symptoms such as excessive thirst, hunger, frequent urination and weight loss. The vet will also conduct lab tests to determine the amount of sugar in the urine and blood. Once diabetes is diagnosed, the vet will start prompt treatment to prevent a condition called ketoacidosis which can also lead to death.

Cat Ear Infections

Cat ear infections are accompanied by distinct symptoms such as frequent ear itching, ear discharge, inflamed ears, foul smelling ears and excessive wax buildup. The vet will diagnose ear infections by conducting a physical ear exam using an otoscope and conducting a cytology test to examine ear discharge for the presence of yeast or bacteria.

Liver Disease

Feline liver disease generally occurs due to varying illnesses. The vet will note down the pet's complete medical history and run several tests such as complete blood tests, thyroid tests urine analysis and biopsy to check the severity of liver disease. Pets that show symptoms like weight loss, loss of appetite or symptoms of jaundice should be checked promptly to prevent severe liver damage.


Cat hairballs are fairly common in breeds that have long hair. Cats suffering from hairballs frequently attempt to cough up the hairball to expel it from the body. Few pets may also experience constipation and loss of appetite. Pets that cough up hairballs more than twice a month require treatment to prevent intestinal blockage caused by hairballs mixed with undigested food.

Parasite Infections

Cats are susceptible to hookworms and tapeworms that survive in the intestines and multiply. In addition cats are also prone to flea and ticks that are common carriers of disease. Pets suffering from parasite infections experience nausea, diarrhea, anemia and vomiting. The diagnosis includes a complete blood count (CBC) and a fecal examination.

Pet owners should monitor their pets for unusual behavior or prolonged symptoms and seek medical help. Early treatment is necessary to prevent disease progression and severe organ damage.