Feline Health

Urge Congress to Support the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act of 2013

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Current legislation may prevent mobile veterinarians from providing complete care to their patients. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) makes it illegal for veterinarians to take and use controlled substances outside of the locations where they are registered, often their clinics or homes.

This means that it is illegal for veterinarians to carry and use vital medications for pain management, anesthesia and euthanasia on farms, in house calls, in veterinary mobile clinics, or ambulatory response situations.

As someone who has taken advantage of the service of mobile veterinarians for decades, I can’t sing the praises of the advantages of having your vet come to your home enough – especially for cats. This is why I urge you to support the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act of 2013.(H.R. 1528), Continue Reading

America’s Favorite Veterinarian: Could It Be Your Cat’s Vet?

America's Favorite Veterinarian

Do you love your cat’s veterinarian? Has she done something extraordinary to save your cat’s life? Does he just “get” your cat and make every visit as stress-free as possible for your cat? Maybe she has made a recommendation that really changed your cat’s life for the better?

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF), the charitable arm of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), is seeking nominations for amazing doctors of veterinary medicine from all aspects of the veterinary profession. Cat guardians who love their veterinarians are are encouraged to nominate these great doctors for a chance to be named America’s Favorite Veterinarian.

Nominating your veterinarian is easy:Continue Reading

Allergic to Kitty? Don’t Panic!

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Guest post by Sally Bahner

It’s an all-too-common scenario. A cat lover meets the man of her dreams. But he’s allergic to her kitty. A choice must be made between the two, and often the cat ends up losing his home.

It doesn’t have to be like that. Just ask Holly Tse of California. For her and her husband Zunaid, love – and persistence – conquered all, including his allergy to her cat Furball.

Zunaid’s reaction to Furball when they started dating several years ago was immediate, with the characteristic itchy eyes, wheezing and cough. Their early dates took place outside Holly’s apartment, but when the relationship turned serious,giving up Furball was not an option.

The couple moved into a bright, spacious townhouse,where Zunaid attempted without a lot of success to control his allergies using various conventional methods, including air purifiers and allergy medication. What finally worked for him Continue Reading

Injection-site Sarcomas in Cats

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An injection-site sarcoma is a tumor of the connective tissues in the cat. These tumors are often called fibrosarcomas, and are most frequently located between the shoulder blades, in the hip region, and in the back legs. They are most often associated with inactive killed rabies or feline leukemia vaccines, or with multiple vaccines given at the same time, but they can also be caused by other injections such as steroids. They have even been associated with microchips. The incidence of these tumors ranges from 1 in 1000 to 1 in 10,000 cats. They can develop as quickly as 4 weeks or as late as 10 years post vaccination.

Diagnosis

The first step toward diagnosis is a fine needle aspirate of the lump. Your cat’s veterinarian will insert a small needle directly into the tumor and extract cells. This is an inexpensive and minimally invasive test, but unfortunately, it is also not very accurate and can lead to a high rate of false negative results. In most cases, a surgical biopsy will be necessaryContinue Reading

Prescription Diets May Not Be a Good Nutritional Choice for Your Cat

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You’ve probably seen them on the shelves at your local veterinary hospital, or maybe your cat is currently eating one of these foods: so-called prescription diets that are formulated for cats with specific health conditions ranging from allergies to gastro-intestinal problems to kidney disease. Also known as therapeutic diets, you would think that these diets are high quality diets that are good for your cats, right?

You couldn’t be further from the truth. The majority of these diets are very high in carbohydrates and contain wheat, corn and soy – ingredients that have no logical place in the diet of an obligate carnivore like the cat. They also generally contain a high amount of by-products.Continue Reading

Why Does My Cat Not Cover Her Poop?

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Most cats deposit their pee and poop in the litter box, cover it up, and they’re done. So why do some cats refuse to cover their poop?

There are a few different theories. The first step, as with any change in your cat’s behavior, is always to rule out a medical problem. This is especially important if your cat has previously buried her disposals, and all of a sudden stops doing so. If a cat experiences pain or discomfort during defecation, it could explain her desire to get away from the litter box as soon as possible. Painful or uncomfortable defecation could be the result of constipation, a blockage in the colon, or even a urinary tract problem.

If there are no medical issues, the problem may be behavioral.

In the wild, cats cover their stool to hide their trail so predators can’t track them. One theory as to why cats don’t cover is that indoor cats Continue Reading

Acupuncture Helps Restore Function to Paralyzed Cat’s Legs

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When a  good Samaritan found a wounded stray cat in her neighborhood and noticed that the cat appeared to be unable to use her hindlegs, she brought it to a local veterinary hospital for humane euthanasia. The cat appeared to be suffering, and it seemed like the right thing to do. After examining the young (barely a year old) cat, a veterinarian at the hospital decided that this little girl deserved a second chance at a good life, and accepted the cat as what is called a “surrender” in order to avoid euthanasia.

X-rays revealed a shattered pelvis, torn diaphragm and collapsed lung lobe. All of these injuries can be life threatening, and were most likely caused when the cat was hit by a car. The cat was named Pretzel, because the lack of funtion in her hindlegs caused an abnormal gait and a twisted appearance. Pretzel underwent surgery to repair her diaphragm and was spayed. Her pelvis slowly healed, and she began regaining some function in her hindlegs.

Dr. Patrick Mahaney, a holistic veterinarian in Los Angeles, donated acupuncture treatmentsContinue Reading

A Team Approach to Caring for Cats with Cancer

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While cancer in cats is not as common as it in dogs, it is still one of the leading causes of death in older cats. According to the Animal Cancer Foundation, 6 million cats will be diagnosed with cancer in the United States along. And because cats are masters at masking illness, it is often harder to detect.

Cancer used to be a death sentence for cats, but recent advances in feline cancer research have made treatment possible in many cases. Just like with human cancers, early detection is key to successful treatment. Depending on the type of cancer, treatment options may include sugery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

Whether you choose aggressive treatment for your cat’s cancer, or whether you elect to provide palliative care, which focuses on providing quality of life for the ill cat as well as the cat’s caregiver, caring for the feline cancer patient is a team effort that involves the cat’s guardian, her veterinarian and staff, and, if needed, a social worker or bereavement counselor.

I recently had a chance to speak with Conor J. McNeill, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM (Oncology), an oncolgist at the Hope Center for Advanced Veterinary MedicineContinue Reading

Mammary Cancer in Cats

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An estimated 30 percent to 40 percent of all cats will be affected by cancer. Mammary (breast) cancer is the third most common cancer in cats, after lymphoma and skin cancer. More than 90% of the victims are female cats older than 10 years of age. Early detection of this type of cancer is critical and greatly improves chances of survival for affected cats.

Symptoms

Mammary tumors often appear as small, hard lumps the size of a pebble or pea. They may be moveable, or may be firmly attached to the skin or underlying muscle. The most common locations for these tumors are the first front sets of mammary glands, but they can occur anywhere near the cat’s nipples. In its initial stage, the tumor may be hard to feel, it’s not painful, and there won’t be any obvious clinical signs. It can be months before a growth is noticed.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is obtained by surgically removing the growthContinue Reading

Why Do Cats Drool?

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I recently received a question from a reader about why her cat drools when he purrs. She had lived with cats all her life, but had never had a “happy drooler.”

Some cats will, indeed, drool when they’re exceedingly happy and purring up a storm. I’ve lived with a couple of these happy droolers myself. Feebee mostly did it when he was a kitten, but stopped once he got older. Amber drooled throughout her life when she was completely relaxed and purring. Ruby will occasionally drool.

But far more commonly, drooling can be the sign of a behavioral or health problem. Some of the causes of excessive drooling are:

Dental disease

Periodontal disease is the most common cause for drooling.Continue Reading