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  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone is produced in the brain and regulates the production of cortisol. When blood cortisol levels are low it is secreted to stimulate more production and when cortisol is high it will suppress the production of ACTH. Cushing’s disease caused by a pituitary tumor will result in elevated ACTH levels in the blood, whereas Cushing’s disease caused by an adrenal tumor will result in lower ACTH blood levels as production will be suppressed by the cortisol released from the adrenal tumor. Endogenous ACTH cannot be used alone to diagnose Cushing’s disease, but can help determine what type of Cushing’s disease the patient has.

  • Serum is the liquid portion of blood. Serum is collected by placing a tube of clotted blood in a machine called a centrifuge, which spins the blood very quickly in a small circle, forcing the cells to the bottom of the tube and allowing the serum to sit on top.

  • Electrolytes are the salts and metallic components that are dissolved within the blood serum, and are involved in most of the body's daily functions.

  • Serum iron tests are indicated when the results from a complete blood count (CBC) indicate that your pet is anemic (decreased red blood cell numbers and/or decreased hemoglobin) and that the red blood cells are microcytic (smaller than usual) and hypochromic (contain less hemoglobin than usual).

  • Serum contains a large number of proteins that perform diverse functions which include providing cellular nutrition, defending against infections, playing a role in inflammation, and acting as hormones or enzymes. Protein electrophoresis is a specialized test that analyzes specific groups of proteins in the blood serum and measures how much of each group of protein is present. The results of the analysis are displayed on a graph, and the pattern of the different proteins is used to help diagnose specific diseases, such as infection and some types of cancer.

  • A biopsy is one of the more common diagnostic procedures performed in cats. Biopsies provide valuable insight into the type of cells in an abnormal area of skin or a skin growth and whether the growth poses a more serious health threat to your pet. Either the entire mass or a small representative section of skin is removed and submitted to a veterinary pathologist, who will perform a histopathology analysis. The pathologist will attempt to determine the nature of the lesion, identify the type of cells and their relationship to each other, as well as any evidence of malignancy.

  • Abdominal enlargement in cats may occur due to a simple cause such as obesity, pregnancy, or intestinal parasites; however, it can also be a symptom of different illnesses including heart disease, organ enlargement, cancer, FIP, trauma, and rarely hyperadrenocorticism or hypothyroidism. Identifying the cause of abdominal enlargement can take several steps starting with history and physical exam, progressing to screening tests including bloodwork and urinalysis. The CBC is assessed for signs of anemia, low platelets, or signs of inflammation. A biochemistry profile may reveal liver or kidney dysfunction, hypo- or hyperproteinemia, hypoglycemia, or other abnormalities. Urinalysis is used to fully interpret the biochemistry and check for abnormal urinary sediment. Based on the findings of the screening tests, additional diagnostics may include imaging, EKG, tissue biopsy, or fluid analysis.

  • A number of different conditions may cause coughing episodes. Some of these conditions include inflammation and infection (bacterial, fungal, and viral) of the respiratory tract, the presence of foreign bodies or tumors within the respiratory tract, allergies, tracheal collapse, parasitic disease (including heartworm infections and lungworm infections), aspiration pneumonia, and underlying heart disease.

  • A lack of appetite (inappetence) and energy (lethargy) are clinical signs associated with many different diseases and conditions. These symptoms are not specific for any particular disease.

  • Many different diseases and conditions may result in diarrhea. The frequency, urgency, and physical characteristics of the diarrhea, along with a history and other clinical signs that your pet is exhibiting may provide some clues to its cause.



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We are committed to providing you with the latest in cat health information. This information is for educational purposes only to help you understand your cat’s healthcare needs. Please contact us directly for specific concerns about your cat.



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