Cat Infection Diagnosis

Cat infection varies according to the location of infection and the type of underlying condition that the pet is suffering from. The diagnosis of most pet infections are based on the clinical symptoms exhibited. Regardless of the type of infection, a prompt diagnosis is necessary as it can often prevent severe and permanent damage to the body. In order to understand the diagnostic tests performed, its necessary to know the most common infection's that cat's suffer from.

Common Cat Infections

  • Feline distemper virus
  • Feline urinary tract infection
  • Feline infectious peritonitis
  • Feline leukemia virus
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus

Feline Distemper Virus

Feline distemper virus is also termed as feline panleukopenia. Pets exhibit severe gastrointestinal symptoms and often succumb to the disease if not treated with prompt medical intervention. The vet will perform a thorough physical examination and check for swelling of the intestines or lymph nodes. In addition, a blood test will be performed to determine low white blood cell count. A new test used to detect feline distemper virus is known as PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing. It detects the presence of genetic components of the pathogen in blood or stool samples. The vet may also conduct an abdominal ultrasounds or x-ray to confirm the diagnosis. Pet owners should also inform the vet of previous exposure to feline distemper virus or vaccinations that were administered in order to rule out false positives.

Feline Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections are present in the cat's urinary bladder and the lower urinary tract. The condition may develop due to bladder stones and bacterial infections. Diagnosis involves an evaluation of the clinical symptoms such as polyuria, polydipsia and weight loss. A urine analysis and a bacterial culture test is also performed to detect the presence of bacteria or crystals in  the urine. The urine sample will be obtained by performing cystocentesis, in order to prevent external contamination. Urine analysis will also reveal the pH level of urine. Pets with high pH levels are more likely to develop urinary tract infections.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

FIP is caused by a mutation of a strand of the coronavirus. The two forms of FIP are the effusive and non-effusive forms. The diagnosis of FIP is subjective and the vet will perform various tests in order to confirm the disease. Blood tests, serum biochemistry tests, PCR testing and serum antibody tests are all helpful to detect FIP in cats. In addition, the vet will perform tests to rule out other viral infections such as the feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)

Cats infected with FeLV experience severe immune system damage. In order to prevent the transmission of disease to other pets and disease progression in sick cats it's important to seek prompt medical help. Diagnoses includes a physical examination, an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test and an indirect immunofluorescence test.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

FIV also known as feline aids virus affects the pet's immune system. This viral infection causes neurological disorders, periodontal diseases and anemia. Although the diagnostic testing is complex, the vet will perform an ELISA test and a PCR test. The vet may also perform additional tests to rule out other health concerns.

In addition to these common cat infections, pets also suffer from skin infections and intestinal parasites. It's important to monitor cats that exhibit unusual symptoms and seek medical help.