A challenging case: An emaciated cat with abdominal distention - Veterinary Medicine
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A challenging case: An emaciated cat with abdominal distention
This outdoor cat's severely distended abdomen and weight loss were the most obvious manifestations of numerous internal problems.


We performed heartworm antibody and antigen testing in this cat because of the radiographic evidence of respiratory disease. A diagnosis of feline heartworm disease requires multiple testing modalities for accurate diagnosis. A positive antibody test result correlates with exposure to D. immitis, and a positive antigen test result correlates with infection. Ideally, the positive antigen test result in this case would have been followed with an echocardiographic examination, which reportedly detects heartworms in cats with a sensitivity of 78%,25 but further workup was precluded by the need for emergency surgery. We attributed the murmur in this cat to chronic anemia since no cardiac abnormalities were noted on necropsy.

In complicated cases such as this, not only is it imperative to address immediate problems, but it is equally important to methodically evaluate every aspect of the case to appropriately manage each problem. Although the cat in this report was presented for the obvious problem of abdominal distention and it had a gastric perforation, the disseminated candidiasis and severe underlying respiratory disease were life-threatening comorbidities that played an important role in patient management and eventual outcome.


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