What To Do if Your Cat Just Seems Off

Cat upset on the couch

Let me fill you in on a little veterinary secret -- we use the term ADR for “Ain’t Doin’ Right” quite commonly in our field. We do this because a lot of dogs and cats will be brought in by their pet guardian for general vague signs of malaise -- or what we fondly call ADR.

So what does this mean, and how can you tell if something is truly wrong with your cat? When in doubt, trust your gut instinct.

What are some of the signs of “ADR?”
Here is a general list of ADR signs that warrant a trip to your veterinarian practice. (Note: This list is not all-inclusive. When in doubt, seek veterinary attention to be safe!):

Any of these signs may represent serious medical conditions.

What tests might your veterinarian recommend if your cat “ADR?”

  • A physical examination
  • Blood work (looking at the blood sugar, electrolytes, kidney function, liver function, white and red blood cells, etc.)
  • Serologic testing for infectious disease (e.g., feline leukemia, FIV, etc.)
  • Urinalysis (looking for a urinary tract infection, urinary crystals, etc.)
  • Urine culture (looking for a urinary tract infection)
  • X-rays may be suggested. If x-rays are abnormal, then an abdominal ultrasound (which lets us look at the inside architecture of the organs) or echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) may be necessary at a specialty clinic.

Depending on what the underlying cause of ADR is, treatment may be either outpatient or require hospitalization. Some minor problems can be managed on an outpatient basis with subcutaneous fluids, i.e., under the skin (to help hydrate your cat), an injection of an antibiotic, or even pain medication. However, more serious conditions may require hospitalization for intravenous (IV) fluids, IV antibiotics, blood pressure monitoring, and supportive care.

When in doubt, if you notice something is wrong with your cat, it’s always better to get to your veterinarian sooner than later. Not only could that potentially save you the cost of an expensive emergency veterinary visit, but the sooner you notice a problem, the sooner your veterinarian can treat it, and the less expensive it may be.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets. 

Reviewed on: 
Wednesday, July 15, 2015