Diagnosing Cat Ailments

All cat owners will face the question of cat ailments and other diseases at some point over the course of their pet's lifetime. Most pets suffer infrequently from mild diseases, just the same as human beings. However, as your pet ages, the likelihood that these bouts of disease will increase in frequency and severity is good. As his owner, you are responsible for monitoring his health and taking him to a vet for treatment. If you are considering adding a cat to your household, or if you have a pet already, it is important to familiarize yourself with the proper procedures for diagnosing cat ailments.

Take Note of Symptoms

Perhaps the single most important thing that you can do to help diagnose your pet's condition is to recognize that he is suffering from a disease in the first place. Take the time to note your pet's healthy behavior and physicality. Each animal is different, and a behavior that may be somewhat unusual for another cat could be perfectly normal for yours. The strongest sign that your pet is suffering from a disease of some kind is a change in his behavior or physicality. The faster that you are able to recognize that change, the faster you can begin to diagnose and treat his disease.

Some of the most common symptoms of feline disease include the following:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Limping
  • Discoloration of various parts of the body
  • Discharge from the ears, eyes, nose or other orifice
  • Visible signs of irritated or sore skin

If you see any of these symptoms, or any other unusual behavior or indication that isn't listed here, take note of the date of onset and the progression of the symptom. This information will prove helpful in diagnosing a potential cause of the symptom.

Take Your Pet to the Vet's Office

Having carefully documented the symptoms that you have noticed, you are adequately prepared to have your cat examined by a veterinarian. He will use your observations to aid in his examination of your pet. Depending upon the severity of the symptoms and the types of behaviors and physical changes, he may run a series of diagnostic tests. In most cases these begin with a complete physical exam, in which your doctor inspects your cat's body for visible signs of disease.

Oftentimes a veterinarian continues with other tests beyond the physical examination. A blood sample and count can help to determine if your pet has had any changes in hormone balance or any unusual substances in his bloodstream. A stool sample and urinalysis can analyze the health of his digestive and urinary tracts, respectively. X-rays and biopsies are useful in pinpointing conditions that may affect your pet's bones or internal organs. Beyond these, there are a number of other types of tests that may prove helpful in diagnosing your pet's condition.

Having diagnosed the underlying cause of your animal's symptoms, you and your vet can work together to formulate a treatment plan to address the disease. The sooner that you can take your pet into the vet's for diagnosis, the sooner that you will be able to begin treating his condition. In some cases, this can mean the difference between life and death for your pet.