Pearl, an eight-year-old cat owned by Derek and Cheryl Stanford, recently visited Dr. Smith for her annual exam. Other than accumulations of dental calculus, Pearl appeared healthy upon examination. As recommended, Cheryl brought a fecal sample in for an annual intestinal parasite screen and because Pearl is now middle-aged, annual blood work and urinalysis was performed. The lab work was also going to serve as a pre-anesthetic panel for an upcoming dental cleaning for Pearl.
Unexpectedly, all of the annual lab work revealed significant changes. From the blood work and urinalysis we found that Pearl has renal insufficiency, which is a precursor to kidney failure.
Luckily, there are several things we can do, including dietary modifications, to slow its progression. Although Pearl does not spend much time outside, her fecal parasite screening results were also positive for an organism called Giardia. Giardia can cause diarrhea and can be spread to other pets or even humans in the household. Pearl and all of her feline housemates were treated for Giardia.
Pearl’s story is just one of many that underscores the importance of annual wellness exams and recommended laboratory testing. Fortunately, we were able to address these issues before they developed into more serious illnesses.