blood test

What Is IMHA and How Did My Cat Get It?

IMHA-cat

Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia is a condition where the cat’s immune system turns against itself and attacks the patient’s own red blood cells. The immune system’s antibodies (blood proteins that are designed to counteract substances the body recognizes as alien, such as viruses and bacteria) target red blood cells for destruction. When too many red blood cells are destroyed, the patient becomes anemic.Continue Reading

proBNT Blood Test Can Detect Heart Disease Early

probnt-test-cat

Feline heart disease is far more common than most cat guardians realize. One in six cats can be born with or develop heart disease later in life, and it can strike any breed of cat at any age.  What makes feline heart disease very challenging is the fact that cats rarely show the warning signs that are typical for heart disease, such as shortness of breath, exercise intolerance, coughing or weakness until the disease is quite advanced.Continue Reading

New Test Detects Kidney Disease Early

sdma-test

This post is sponsored by IDEXX Laboratories

Chronic Kidney Disease, also known as Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) is a common condition in aging cats. It is the result of a gradual decrease in kidney function. Healthy kidneys act like a filter to remove waste products from the body. They regulate electrolytes such as potassium and phosphorous, and they produce erythropoietin which stimulates red blood cell production. Kidneys produce rennin, which contributes toward regulating blood pressure. Kidneys also play a major role in turning vitamin D into its active form, which controls calcium balance in the body.

When kidney function becomes compromised, cats may not even show symptoms at first. However, the disease is progressive and damage is irreversible, which is why early diagnosis and intervention is so important.Continue Reading

New Biomarker Could Provide Early Warning of Kidney Disease

tabby-cat-biomarker-kidney-disease

Chronic Kidney Disease, also known as Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) is a common condition in aging cats. It is the result of a gradual decrease in kidney function. Healthy kidneys act like a filter to remove waste products from the body. They regulate electrolytes such as potassium and phosphorous, and they produce erythropoietin which stimulates red blood cell production. Kidneys produce rennin, which contributes toward regulating blood pressure. Kidneys also play a major role in turning vitamin D into its active form, which controls calcium balance in the body.Continue Reading

Bloodwork for Your Cat: Why it’s Important and What it Means

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Regular and routine blood testing is an important part of your cat’s preventive healthcare.

Most vets recommend annual testing for cats seven years and older, and, depending on a cat’s health history, annual or bi-annual testing for senior cats over the age of eleven. It’s also a good practice to at least get a baseline for a younger cat. It is critically important that every cat, regardless of her age, has complete bloodwork done before undergoing any kind of anesthetic procedure, even a routine dental cleaning.

Typically, your vet will run a blood chemistry panel and a complete bloodcount. For cats age seven and up, she will also run a thyroid function test.

Blood Chemistry Panel

A blood chemistry panel screens organ function for several organs. The makeup  of a chemistry panel may vary slightly depending on which laboratory runs the tests. Some of the most common parameters screened in a chemistry panelContinue Reading

Bloodwork for your pet: what it means and why your pet needs it

Regular and routine blood testing is an important part of your pet’s preventive healthcare.  It used to be that veterinarians only recommended blood work for older pets, but it’s equally important for younger healthy pets.  It’s the best way to detect potential health problems before they become evident through symptoms.  It’s also critically important before your pet undergoes any kind of anesthetic procedure, even a routine dental cleaning.

Typically, your vet will run a blood chemistry panel and a complete bloodcount. The College of Veterinary Medicine of Washington State University has an excellent explanation of what these lab tests mean.

Amber, who is probably 11 years old (best guess – she was a stray when I got her as a young adult), gets complete veterinary exams and blood work (CBC, chemistry and thyroid) twice a year.