Since cats are very good at masking their pain, lab tests are recommended yearly. They offer safe and non-invasive ways to diagnose and prevent sickness or injuries that a physical exam cannot detect.
A blood screening checks for anemia, parasites, infections, organ function and sugar levels. It is important to get a blood test annually for your cat, to help your veterinarian establish a benchmark for normal values and easily see any changes that may point to problems.
Blood Pressure Testing
Senior cats are routinely tested for hypertension, or high blood pressure, annually or biannually with their regular examination. Hypertension may occur as a secondary disease to another illness and is commonly seen in older cats. However, it can affect a cat at any age and cause blindness and damage to the eyes, heart, brain and kidneys. A new heart murmur or alterations in your cat's eyes during a routine exam may prompt your veterinarian to take a blood pressure reading.
This test has the ability to screen for diabetes, urinary tract infections, bladder/kidney stones, as well as dehydration and early kidney disease.
Intestinal Parasite Check
Using a stool sample, your veterinarian can check to see if your cat has parasites. Many parasites can be passed on to humans, so it is important to complete this screening annually, especially if your cat has any symptoms including upset stomach, loss of appetite and weight loss.
A combination test checks for heartworm, Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). FeLV and FIV are serious diseases that weaken the immune system, making cats susceptible to a variety of infections and other diseases. FeLV is spread through casual contact, and FIV is transmitted primarily through bite wounds. They can also be transferred to cats by their mothers. Any new pets, or sick/stray cats entering a household, should be tested.
Routine testing can add years to your cat's life. Your veterinarian will recommend lab tests appropriate for your cat based on age and lifestyle.