Josie went to the veterinary hospital on Tuesday for a full examination, with blood tests. I was hoping that she would have her urine tested as well, but she had evidently ‘gone before we left’, as every good traveller should. In this case, it may have been an inconvenience, except for a new test.
Symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA) is something new – or perhaps just a new discovery – the examination of which, I was informed, gives an earlier and more accurate indication of kidney disease than does creatinine. The interesting thing is that SDMA is tested through the blood. Some of that was taken from Josie anyway for a seniors’ blood-panel; she would also have her T4 numbers scrutinized. My local hospital does not yet have the SDMA test – that will be available in December – but my Chubs’s blood was sent up to Calgary for that purpose, and I was notified the next day.
The results are that Josie is in very good health. She is in fine shape for a thirteen year old cat. Her T4s are in the normal range, and there is no sign of anything bad or dangerous. This does leave her weight-loss as a bit of a mystery, but there are no symptoms of anything that may be causing it. Cats, I was told, do tend to lose weight as they age. I am not entirely persuaded that this is the sole reason for her diminution. And there is her vomiting to consider. But she has always had that problem, and it was very likely not a sign of anything worrisome in the past.
The final verdict is that Josie has nothing that veterinary science can find that I need be concerned about. I will of course continue to watch the Great White, weighing her every month, as I do with all the beasts and, now that she is ‘of a certain age’, taking her for regular check-ups, which I have been loathe to do in the past because of the cost/results ratio, which I have not thought advantageous. I may vary her diet’s schedule, feeding her smaller soft-food meals more often. She is eating less than she used to – when she first came to live with me, she would clean everyone else’s dish – but still sits eagerly waiting for her soft-food, and lets me know when she thinks the hard-food bowl should be made available.
Just because nothing is seen when a light is shone, doesn’t mean hazards don’t lurk in the dark, so I have told Josie that my eye is upon her, and I will be watching her health, behaviour and habits closely. I hope still to be doing it in another ten years.