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Cat Health Scoops
Remember, you are more likely to contract a disease from another human than from your cat.
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WHEN TO TAKE KITTY TO THE ER
Though your cat may appear sick, you may not be sure if her condition warrants an immediate trip to the emergency vet clinic, or if it could wait until the regular vet's office is open. Here are some signs that your cat may warrant a trip to the emergency room:
--Seizure, fainting, or collapse.
--Eye injury, no matter how mild.
--Vomiting or diarrhea that occurs more than two or three times within an hour or so.
--Any suspected poisoning, including antifreeze, snail or rodent bait, or human medication.
--An open or bleeding wound.
--Traumatic injury, such as being hit by a car.
Sometimes an animal may seem to be fine, such as after being hit by a car. However, there could be internal injuries that need immediate veterinary attention.

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WHAT'S AILING KITTY?
The following is a brief list of some of the more common feline ailments. If you suspect that your cat is suffering from any of the following or is exhibiting unusual behavior, see your vet right away.
--ALLERGIES:
The most common allergy among cats is flea allergy. As cats get older, their sensitivity to flea bites increases.
Food allergies account for 5-10% of cat allergies. They can cause itching, vomiting, or diarrhea.
--VOMITING:
Vomiting Can result from hairballs, worms, food allergy, overactive thyroid, or kidney infection. It is important to keep your cat hydrated - be sure to offer plenty of water.
--DIARRHEA:
If your cat has persistent diarrhea, you can try changing her diet. If symptoms continue for more than 2 days, take your cat to the vet with a stool sample.
--FELINE URINARY SYNDROME (FUS):
FUS is an inflammation, irritation, and/or obstruction of the lower urinary tract. The inability to pass urine can become life threatening if not treated quickly. FUS is far more common among male cats than females. Symptoms include straining to urinate, blood in the urine, frequent trips to the litter box with only small amounts voided, or refuses to use the litter box.
--DIABETES:
Diabetes occurs in cats who cannot properly regulate their blood sugar level. Symptoms may include excessive thirst and urination, weight loss or obesity.

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BE READY FOR AN EMERGENCY - WITH A FIRST AID KIT-TY:
Many vet clinics are open late and on weekends, but accidents can happen after hours. It's a good idea to have a few things on hand at all times in the event of an emergency. It could make a difference to the health and even survival of your injured pussycat. Keep these items in a box in a handy place:
1. Phone numbers of your vet and after-hours emergency clinic with driving directions if needed.
2. Hydrogen peroxide - a good wound disinfectant and an emetic (to induce vomiting). The vet may instruct you over the phone as to how to get your cat to vomit any poisons.
3. Oral syringe for giving the hydrogen peroxide or other medications.
4. Gauze roll and gauze sponges for wound cleaning and bandages.
5. Bandage tape and adhesive tape for securing gauze.
6. Scissors for cutting bandages and tape.
7. Benadryl - an antihistamine for allergic reactions. (Call your vet in advance to get the correct dosage.)
8. Styptic powder - to stop bleeding. Use this if you accidentally trim your cats nails too short.
9. Triple antibiotic ointment (Neosporin) - to help prevent infections in wounds.
10. Tweezers - to remove splinters.
11. Eye wash - a saline solution to flush contaminants from the eyes. You can use your contact lens solution.
12. Thermometer - Non-breakable plastic digital types are the safest.
13. Water based jelly - K-Y, not petroleum based Vaseline, to lubricate the rectal thermometer.
14. Thick towels - to cover the animal for warmth if in shock (after being struck by a car.)
15. Cat carrier - to transport the injured pet more safely and
This may seem like a lot of preparation, but if something happens to your cat, you'll be glad you had this kit ready to administer emergency care to your injured pet. You could lessen the pain and severity of an injury and maybe even save a precious life! That would be a very good thing!

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HEARTWORMS AREN'T JUST FOR DOGS ANYMORE!

Just when you think you've got all your kitty's "normal" vaccinations and immunizations up to date and under control, here comes another potential fatal disease to worry about - feline heartworm infection.

Dogs and cats are both at risk for this infection. The prevalence of heartworms has steadily increased and now infects cats in all fifty states.

Heartworms are parasites that live in the heart and lungs of infected cats. Just one worm can cause permanent damage and even death. In fact sudden death may be the only sign of the presence of the disease.

Unfortunately, indoor cats are not safe from this disease. The infection is transmitted by mosquitoes that can get into your house. Of the cats who tested positive for heartworms, 55% lived "strictly or mostly indoors."

Here's how it all happens:
--A mosquito bites an infected dog, drawing in a small amount of blood containing immature larvae.
--This same mosquito then bites a cat, depositing the larvae on the skin.
--Within only 6 months, heartworms reach the heart and lungs, causing the disease.
Feline heartworm disease can be difficult to detect and diagnose, and there is no approved treatment for the infection in cats.
Some signs of the disease include:
--Coughing
--Vomiting
--Breathing difficulty
--Sluggishness
--Sudden death

However, the good news is that the disease is 100% PREVENTABLE and protection is fairly easy. Ask your vet about available preventative programs (such as Heartguard for cats) that can be administered orally once a month and at a reasonable cost.

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CATS AND MILK

The image of a content kitten lapping up milk from a saucer may be heart-warming scene, but we know today that cow's milk and cats just don't mix very well.

Most adult cats are incapable of properly digesting cow's milk. Your cat may like the taste, but it will probably give her an upset tummy and even diarrhea. And we certainly don't want that, do we?

So, if your cat relishes the taste of milk, you can safely give her an occasional treat as there are a number of commercial lactose-free milk drinks that are made especially for cats.

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QUICK OVERVIEW - FELINE UROLOGIC SYNDROME (FUS)
Cats have a common problem called FUS (Feline Urologic Syndrome), or cystitis. Urine produced in a healthy urinary tract contains a great deal of dissolved minerals. In cats with FUS, mineral crystals collect in the urinary tract, especially the bladder and the outflow tract, the urethra. These crystals irritate the lining of the tract, clumping together to form stones in the bladder or causing an obstruction to urine flow.
FUS affects less than 1% of the entire cat population, but as many as 10% of sick cats taken to vets are there for FUS treatment. Male and female cats are equally prone, but it is life threatening to males because of the length and shape of the urinary tract. Affected cats are typically 2-6 years old, overweight, neutered, and stay mostly indoors, getting little exercise.
Your cat may be affected if he behaves as though he constantly needs to urinate, or stops using the litter box (signs sometimes mistaken for constipation.) He may sit on cool surfaces such as the sink, bathtub, or tile floor. The irritated bladder and urinary tract may cause bloody urine. He may also pace restlessly, lick his genitals, and cry.
If untreated, your cat may stop eating, vomit, and become depressed. As the uremic poisoning progresses, kidney failure and body salt imbalances may cause coma or death within as little as 48 hours if complete blockage has occurred. If you do suspect this problem, contact your veterinarian immediately!!!!
If the crystalline accumulation is very severe, a surgical procedure may be required to clear the blockage from the urinary tract. If it has not progressed too far, a change in your cat's diet may be all that is needed to correct the problem. The vet will make the best recommendation for you.
Congenital defects, urinary tract infections, tumors, and trauma can cause FUS, but most researchers agree that diet induced FUS is more common. Diet affects the acidity or alkalinity, the pH, of the urine. Acidity interferes with the formation of the crystals, and alkalinity contributes to their formation. Feeding a special food which keeps the urinary pH acidic, makes it easier for the salts to dissolve.
It's also recommended not to allow your cat to overeat at any one time. Large meals result in rapid, long-lasting periods of alkaline urine. Feed several small meals a day if your cat overeats whenever food is always available.
In addition, it's important that your cat has a higher water intake especially if he's fed only dry food. You may consider switching to, or at least adding, canned food to his diet for extra water content. Place water bowls around the house near some of his favorite spots.
For further information about treatment and prevention of this syndrome, your best source is the ultimate cat expert, your vet!

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WHAT ABOUT DECLAWING? (Excerpt from article by Glenda Moore)
"One of the side effects of people bringing cats indoors has been a trend toward having them declawed for their owner's personal comfort. It's done to preserve that beautiful sofa in the living room, or because the kitten looked down at the owner from the curtain rod a couple of times. People think, because declawing is apparently such a common practice, that it is a good and safe and reasonable thing to do.
Declawing a cat is NOT a good or safe or reasonable thing to do.
Look down at your hands and imagine having your fingertips up to the first knuckle, being cut off. THAT is what happens when a cat is declawed.
Declawing is not just simply removing what you see - the claw. Declawing is multiple amputations, Motor and sensory nerves are cut, damaged, destroyed. While most cats can go home safely the same day from any surgical procedure (except declawing,) vets usually recommend that a declawed cat remain overnight at their facility.
Recovery from the surgery is typically slow and always painful (How could it NOT be painful??) Since cats walk on their toes, this procedure can hinder the sensations and enjoyment involved in walking, running, springing, climbing, and stretching in the future.
Declawing can traumatize your cat and change his temperament forever - he may become untrusting, fearful, a biter or a hider. He can no longer defend himself as he was intended to be able to do ("but he's an inside cat so he doesn't need to defend himself" is a rationalization, not a reason!)
If the surgery isn't done correctly, your cat may literally be crippled for the rest of his life, or you may have to pay a second fee to have the problems corrected.
Please Know this: With a little work, you CAN train your cat to use a scratching post and preserve that beautiful sofa and lace curtains."
(This is not meant to make you feel guilty if you have already had your cat declawed, so please don't take this as a scolding - only as an offering of information.) See your vet for more information.

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OOH, THAT SMELL! BAD BREATH ISN'T JUST FOR DOGS!
Does your cat suffer from bad breath, body odors, or maybe litter box odors? If after a checkup, your vet cannot find anything physically wrong with your cat, he/she may recommend a product called Odor Free. You can spray it on your cat's food and let it do its job. It has a nice tuna flavor that your cat will enjoy and not make a fuss about.
Hopefully you will see, or smell, a difference in just a few days. Within 30 days or so, about 95-100 percent of the odors will be totally gone. Odor Free is made with 100 percent natural active ingredients and is safe for cats of all ages.

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