Whew! That was close!
A couple weekends ago, I took my older cat, Tiger, in to the vet for his yearly checkup and shots. He behaved himself well at the vet and got his shots no problem. Last year he tried to jump off the table with a needle still stuck in him! Anyway, the doctor said he was in good health. I told the doctor that the only problem I noticed with him was that for the last few months he had bad breath. She checked him out and determined that he needed to have his teeth cleaned.
In order to clean a cat's teeth, it's necessary to anesthetize them. This means that I drop him off in the morning, they put him to sleep, clean his teeth, and then he wakes up and recovers afterwards. I would then pick him up in the evening after work. No problem there. But before I could do this, the doctor said it was necessary to take some blood and run some tests to make sure he's healthy enough to handle the anesthesia. I agreed and they took the blood. This means that the whole teeth cleaning would have to be delayed by a few days. I took him home and waited for the results of the blood work. A few days later they called me and told me that his blood work came out fine. This meant (I thought) that I could bring him in anytime for the teeth cleaning. Of course being the procrastinator that I am, it took me a week before I made the appointment. I had made the appointment for this past Monday to bring him in for the cleaning. That weekend prior to Monday I get a call from the doctor's office saying that his blood work had come up positive for heartworm antibodies. This means he *might* have heartworm (not a good thing!) Of course I was confused because one message says he was fine and the next said he was possibly very sick. I called the doctor back and she said that all the heartwork antibodies test shows is that he was *exposed* to heartworm at some point in the past. It doesn't necessarily mean he has them. Of course, when he was exposed is unknown. It could have been when he was a kitten before I even got him. They needed to bring him in for some more blood for a second test to confirm the existence of the heartworm.
I brought him back in so they could take the blood for the second test. They took the blood and I brought him home. On Friday of this week, they got the results of the second test and he turned up negative for heartworm! Whew! According to the doctor, this means either he doesn't have heartworm, or he has such a small amount that it doesn't show up in the test. Cats are a 'deadend life cycle' host for heartworms anyway, unlike dogs. This means that the heartworm cannot complete it's full lifecycle in a cat like it can in a dog. This means heartworms are less of a danger to cats than dogs, but they are dangerous. It was a huge relief to hear that he was healthy after all.
He now has an appointment for tomorrow to get his teeth cleaned...