Diagnosing taurine deficiency in cats include using outside laboratory blood tests to measure the levels of taurine in the cat’s blood. A physical examination and heart ultrasound may also reveal if the cat is suffering from symptoms associated with taurine deficiency.
Diagnosing Taurine Deficiency in Cats
Symptoms of taurine deficiency can mimic many other types of health conditions, but the history of the cat’s diet can help to cue veterinarians to a possibility of taurine deficiency. If cats are fed home cooked diets or diets consisting of scrap food or dog food, then they are at risk for developing this condition.
Once a veterinarian suspects taurine deficiency additional tests, such as blood and urine tests, are used to determine if any other health conditions could be contributing to the symptoms. A collection of the cat’s blood may also be sent to an outside laboratory for taurine measurements to confirm the diagnosis.
If taurine deficiency has been confirmed, an ultrasound of the heart is usually conducted to see if the heart has been affected by the condition and if so by how much. Complete eye examinations are also carried out to determine if the cat’s vision may have been affected by the taurine deficiency.
In some cases veterinarians may prescribe taurine supplementation if they suspect the condition has occurred without completing further tests. This is especially the case for pet owners who may not be able to afford additional diagnostic tests. In these instances, a positive response to supplementation may help to confirm the initial diagnosis of taurine deficiency.