Ask the Vet With Dr. Kris: Cat With Ear Polyp, Vomiting Cat, Cat with Heart Murmur, Wheezing Cat, and More

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I’m sad to announce that this will be our last “Ask the Vet With Dr. Kris” segment for a while. Dr. Kris is embarking on a new project that is taking up all of his time: he developed The Cuban Experience Workshop, a week-long course for vets, vet students and veterinary technicians. Currently taught in Cuba, he has plans for an educational tour based on the workshop for 2018. I encourage you to subscribe to Dr. Kris’ updates so you can keep up with him and still benefit from the information he publishes on his own website.

Dr. Kristopher Chandroo is a veterinarian, scientist, photographer, animal welfare advocate, and creator of Stress to Success (STS): The Essential Guide to Medicating Your Feisty, Grumpy or Reluctant Cat.  Dr. Kris wants  your cats to be twenty years old. And counting! And he wants to provide medication and therapy to them in a way that respects the bond between cat and human. so you can keep up with him and still benefit from the information he publishes on his own website.

Here are Dr. Kris’ answers to your most recent questions. If your question didn’t get answered here, Dr. Kris will answer them on his own website in the future. .

13-year-old cat has a polyp in each ear

My 13 yr old female cat who is fixed has a polyp in each ear.. she gets yeast and shakes her head at times. My vet said the specialized vet would have to take the polyps out so they don’t come back. can these be cancerous at her age and should they be removed?

Hopefully this went well – you typically want to remove those. Even if they are not cancerous, they can be irritating for some cats…an itch you can’ tever scratch. Some cats end up with chronic infections as well…no fun.

It’s a tricky surgery, so a specialist is a great idea.

Good Luck!

Dr. Kris

Frequent vomiting in 5-year-old cat

Hi! My 5 year old indoor cat has a vomiting problem. The last vet appointment we took him to, he got a clean bill of health and the vet suggested giving him smaller amounts of wet food. He seems to gorge when eating sometimes. We also have changed the type of treats from meat sticks to crunchy small nuggets. My question is, could there be an underlying problem with his digestive system? Is this something the vet can test for? He is otherwise a clean, healthy, active and loving cat. Appreciate your feedback.

You have absolutely described perfectly what cats do – they can be very healthy, and yet over time develop gastrointestinal disturbances.

And people do this as well.

Let’s take me for example, decade by decade:

10s: I could eat whatever I wanted, but my mom always made awesome food. No health problems.
20s: Anything would burn in the tank until I hit 24. Boom – in the space of one week, Lactose intolerance had showed itself, and I could never drink milk again. But I was otherwise healthy.
30s: Bread. I love bread. Toast. And pancakes and waffles. Love them all. And sadly, I had to cut most of it out. Still, otherwise no health problems.
40: Pizza plus beer can happen, but I pay for it the next day. Increasing vegetables and lean protein makes me run smoother. Generally healthy but boy do I have to do yoga or something cause on some days the lower back….

So just like me, your cat can be healthy, but with life stages come new food requirements that let you thrive. Sometimes this means just changing the food, and if I want to be more precise, then I’m drawing some blood (a wellness panel, along with a Cobalamin, Folate and fTLi test) to see what other factors might be affecting that kitty’s gut.

Quick Tip – a low normal B12 in an otherwise healthy but vomiting cat is always too low…I always suggest supplementing them if their results show just “so so” B12 levels.

Dr. Kris

Why do my cats get so involved changing my bed linens?

Not sure this is a vet question but I wasn’t sure where else to ask… why do my cats get so involved with me changing my bed linens? They run in from somewhere else when I start, as though it is their duty or something. I might be less exhausted and handle it better if I understood it better. They get angry when I remove them so I can get on with it.

Ingrid’s answer: I’m sure Dr. Kris will chime in, but I think it’s a great game for cats. They can hide, they can stalk the “sheet monster,” they can chase the folds – it appeals to all of their hunting instincts. Mine love to “help,” and I consider it playtime for them. They’re having so much fun with it, I just build in the extra time to get the job done!

Yes, I agree with Ingrid – I would call that a game that’s fun for them until proven otherwise. “Sheet monsters” – both cats and kids play make believe with those!

Dr. Kris

11-year-old cat with a heart murmur

I have an 11 year old cat with a heart murmur. She sleeps most of the day. Is it because of her heart murmur she’s sleeping so much? What can be done for my cat? My cat is female and can’t have kittens anymore (spayed and/or neutered) what can be done other than monitoring?

Heart murmurs in cats can mean everything, or nothing. I’ve seen many a cat (including my own) live their full life with no heart problems, and then others have problems that mount very quickly.

A heart murmur isn’t a disease or illness.

But, sometimes a murmur can be associated with a heart working less efficiently.

But it’s just a swooshing sound, and on its own it doesn’t tell us that much.

All to say, I would be looking for other reasons for your cat to be sleepy, and while a murmur could be on that list, lethargic cats are definitely worth a vet visit.

Good Luck,

Dr. Kris

A note of thanks to Dr. Kris

No questions – the only one I have is probably more appropriate for Jackson Galaxy, haha – but I wanted to thank you for your website, Dr. Kris. When my 16-year-old baby boy was going through acute on chronic renal failure (likely due to a tumor) it helped me a lot. Helped give me hope, helped me realize there was no hope. Of course I looked at more websites than I can count and practically sped-read the bible that is Tanya’s website. It was like a 16-day marathon that ended with me slamming into a brick wall the day I took him for his last vet visit. And it’s coming up on the 2-year anniversary so thinking a lot about it right now. So anyway, thank you for all your common-sense with a dash of veterinary wisdom that you provide. Thank you for sharing your experience with your kidney kitty Zack. Talking about the feeding tube. All that jazz. It helped this person that was losing her mind keep her sanity just a little bit.  –Sue Lamothe

Thank you Sue.

They are unforgettable and affect our lives deeply, don’t they?

Dr. Kris

Cat with wheezing episodes

Hi Dr Kris, What do you recommend for a cat that wheezing episodes, about 2 or 3 per week where he seems to struggle to breathe? He’s 7 years old and this is not new behavior. His vet said he had a minor heart murmur on his intake exam when I adopted him but now when I mention the wheezing I get no feedback. Could it be asthma? Could it be his heart? How can I help my poor guy? – Lana

Hi Lana, here is what happens when a client tells me about wheezing or coughing. Even if they are not doing it in the exam room (they rarely do), and even if my stethoscope doesn’t pick up any obvious problems, I’ll recommend that we evaluate their chest. First step for me is a plain, simple x-ray.

If a client can’t do the x-ray for any reason, then I want them to send me some video of what they are seeing at home, and then we make some educated guesses to begin.

If a client can’t do that, then I’ll make some more guesses based on my exam results, and see if we can get some relief for the cat in question.

So, there always is a way, and even if your cat doesn’t show any wheezing in the vet clinic, you can ask that your cat be evaluated for that problem.

5 Comments on Ask the Vet With Dr. Kris: Cat With Ear Polyp, Vomiting Cat, Cat with Heart Murmur, Wheezing Cat, and More

  1. NB
    January 8, 2018 at 10:10 pm (4 months ago)

    So sorry that Dr. Kris is ending his segment. As for the wheezing question, you may need an ultrasound. Only the ultrasound showed that she had a lesion in her throat. Unfortunately, they couldn’t do anything about it, since she was about 12 and she had to be in a oxygen crate. They tried to wean her off it, but then she started with the breathing problems, so surgery was out. With much reluctance, had to put her to sleep. Ask your local vet about an Ultrasound (it’s expensive in most areas, though.)

    Reply
  2. Rachel
    January 8, 2018 at 8:31 am (4 months ago)

    Hi , how may I submit a question?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 8, 2018 at 8:54 am (4 months ago)

      Unfortunately, as explained at the beginning of this post, this is our last segment with Dr. Kris.

      Reply
  3. Katrina Midkiff
    January 8, 2018 at 8:25 am (4 months ago)

    Hello,
    Grateful for your time. How can I move 14 kitties across the USA safely, and stress free?

    Reply

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