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Cat Health Scoops3
Vet Files

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ACNE?
Oh no! You're at the vet's, and he/she has just asked you if you knew that your cat has feline acne! ACNE? HUH!? You are surprised, to say the least, and if you are like other typical cat owners, you might say something silly like: "My cat is too old to have acne!" or "All he eats is cat food. Wouldn't he have to eat junk food?" Well, the truth is that feline acne is a problem fairly common to cats of all ages.
Just as with human acne, there is more than one cause contribu- ting to the condition in cats: diet, hormones, allergies, bacteria, and cleanliness - each can have a role.
DIAGNOSIS - BY THE HAIR OF MY CHINNY CHIN CHIN
During a routine physical exam, your vet can discover lesions and will make a diagnosis of feline acne. (You may already have noticed a couple of bumps on kitty's chin.) These blackheads and/or whiteheads can appear on the chin or lower lip. These are clogged pores that can become infected by bacteria and develop into pustules that could burst and drain, causing discomfort. Eek! But don't fret, the acne actually looks worse to you than it feels to your kitty.
Unlike humans, the onset of puberty doesn't trigger feline acne and cats don't "grow out" of it. It can occur as a one-time thing or it can be chronic and recurrent. Also it is not contagious to other cats or humans. Acne may occur in older cats because they tend to groom less, and the chin is one spot that's harder to clean
CAUSE - BLAME IT ON THE FOOD BOWLS? One possible cause of acne is a topical reaction to plastic feeding and water bowls. So, changing to glass, ceramic, or stainless steel bowls will help in some cases. Also food residue can build up on the bowls and can contribute to the problem. It is important to give the dishes a proper daily washing, especially if you are feeding kitty canned food. If your cat's chin is continuously touching the dirty bowl edges, it makes sense that oily buildup could contribute to clogging the pores.
Also, you may notice that your cats put their chins right into the food when they eat. Feeding them from disposable paper plates has been shown to help with the cure of the acne.
TREATMENT - LESSENING THE LEGION OF LESIONS
In milder cases of acne, a daily cleaning of the affected areas with hydrogen peroxide is very helpful. This will open up the pores, remove the blackheads, and clean out the oils from the hair follicles. If there is definitely more inflammation and infection present, you may have to clip the hair around the spot and use us a benzoyl peroxide scrub or cream prescribed by the vet. Sometimes you may need to give kitty an oral antibiotic for 10 to 30 days.
In some cases, your vet may prescribe steroids to relieve the inflammation and decrease the secretions in the in the skin. But if a deeper infection is present, steroids can make the condition worse. In the more advanced cases, treatment with Vitamin A topical and oral preparations may be necessary, although there is a risk of some possible side effects. Your vet is the expert, and will provide you with all of the information and instruction you will need to get your kitty through the treatment.
Source: Elaine Wexler-Mitchell, DVM

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CAREFUL OF THAT POISONOUS POTPOURRI CAREFUL OF THAT POISONOUS POTPOURRI
Simmering potpourri is becoming more popular as a household fragrance. Even though it's a common object, few pet owners know the potential hazards of the product. If the oil is used in your home, there is always the chance that your cat could be accidentally exposed.
Most potpourri liquids contain natural or essential oils, which if ingested can cause vomiting, stomach upset, diarrhea, weakness, and possibly liver damage. Some products also contain cationic detergents, in which case the signs tend to be much worse.
Cationic detergents can be caustic. This means that if ingested, it can actually burn the mouth and tongue. With eye or skin contact, there can be severe pain.
In most cases received by the ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center, cats are often exposed to potpourri oils by rubbing against leaky bottles or pots containing the oil, or from spilling the oil containing pots over themselves.
If there is skin contact with the oils, the skin will become very red in color and be extremely painful to the animal. Instinctively, cats will tend to try to groom off the product, ingesting the potpourri. In both ingestion and skin contact, the cat may have extensive damage from the cationic detergents in the potpourri oil. Signs seen with potpourri contact include depression, drooling, food refusal, and tongue ulcerations. Treatment can be extensive and may involve several days of hospitalization and supportive therapy.
--If your cat is exposed to potpourri, here are some useful hints:
Be extremely cautious when working with any cat in pain. Try to avoid harm to both yourself and your pet. If your cat appears to be in severe pain, you should safely coax your cat into a pet carrier and take it directly to your veterinarian.
If there is skin exposure, the cat should be bathed immediately with a mild dishwashing detergent or baby shampoo. Afterwards, the cat should be dried thoroughly with a bath towel to prevent chilling.
Always assume that if the cat has the liquid on its fur, it most likely ingested some also, so you should offer your cat a few laps of milk/water.
Carefully examine the cat's mouth. It may be safer to glance at the tongue while your cat is lapping milk. If there is discoloration to the tongue, a veterinarian's assistance should be sought. Ulceration could take a few hours to occur, so you should check the tongue every hour for about 4-6 hours.
Monitor your cat closely; if it becomes sluggish or weak, salivates excessively, or refuses to eat, the cat should be taken to a veterinary hospital immediately.
Once you have prevented further exposure to the potpourri oil, you should contact your veterinarian or an animal poison center and be ready to give the ingredients of the potpourri to determine if there are cationic detergents in the liquid, in addition to the essential oils.
If the cat is showing signs such as an increase in salivation, depression, lung congestion, or oral pain, you should see your veterinarian immediately for treatment.
Fortunately, with proper treatment and good supportive care, most cats will recover within a few days. Supportive care may include veterinary prescribed use of gastrointestinal protectants, antibiotics, and pain killers. Adequate nutrition during this time is extremely important. Cats may refuse to eat commercial hard cat food, so soft or canned food should be available to the cat.
Source: Jill A. Richardson, DVM
ASPCA/National Animal Poison Control Center

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TO NEUTER OR NOT? TO NEUTER OR NOT? AN IMPORTANT QUESTION:
Vets say overwhelmingly "yes!" to sterilization. It is a must for your cat's health, happiness, and longevity. (Now, obviously, you know we're not talking about cat breeders here.)
If you haven't made up your mind yet, or have just been putting off that trip to the vet to get the job done, please consider the following facts. If you love your pet, you'll ultimately do what's best for you, your cat, and the community.
It is a myth that a cat becomes obese after being neutered. In fact, the opposite is true. A neutered cat requires less food, not more. Any cat can become obese if fed too much or improperly.
It is also a myth that a female cat is a healthier cat after she's had a litter. This is not based in fact. Also, if you think it might be an educational experience for your kids to witness a live birth, well, think again. You probably won't even be around when it happens. (There's probably a video you can rent.)
Unneutered cats cause stress to themselves and to their owners with their bad behaviors. Males, so preoccupied with their sexual desires, become difficult pets when they start spraying strong smelling urine (a way of marking their territory) on any and all vertical objects - yes, including you.
Letting him outside to find a female cat to satisfy his urges, will most likely lead to some serious territorial fights with other males, leaving him battered and bruised. Keeping him inside will turn him into one noisy, aggressive, disagreeable tomcat.
Unneutered males can develop a disorder called stud tail. This condition occurs when the sebaceous glands at the base of the tail produce too much oil causing a nasty grooming problem. It's difficult enough to bathe a calm cat, let alone an aggressive one.
In general a neutered male will be more resistant to illness, with a much decreased chance of developing prostate cancer, will be more affectionate, and will not spray, especially if neutered just after reaching sexual maturity (at about nine to twelve months.)
As for the unneutered female, she has her own set of strange behaviors when in "heat." She will rub up against anything and anybody, roll and writhe on the floor, crouch down with her rump in the air, and make some rather unflattering cat noises. (Females reach sexual maturity between six and eight months of age.)
During this time she is not affectionate, and is very nervous, so nervous, in fact, that she forgets how to use her litter box. If she is spayed, she, like the male will be more affectionate, more resistant to illness with a reduced risk for breast tumors and uterine disease, and overall, a much better pet.
Also, not having your cat neutered can lead to an even greater overpopulation problem. Sadly thousands upon thousands of unwanted pets are euthanized every year.
Convinced yet? Call your vet today! Give your cat a longer and healthier life.

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WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CAT HAS EAR MITES
WHAT ARE MITES?
Mites are microscopic white insects that can be found on a cat's skin or inside its ears. Ear mites are a specific kind of this insect, which infects cats' ears. Their Latin name is "Otodectes Cynotis" and they are quite common. There are other kinds of mites that can affect a cat's skin and these are often referred to as mange.
The mites themselves are invisible to the naked eye. A vet can make an accurate diagnosis by taking a sample from the infected area and examining it under a microscope. You may sometimes be able to observe the mites yourself at home by taking a bit of the "dirt" in the cat's ear, placing it on a dark surface, and looking at it through a high-quality magnifying-glass or a simple microscope.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Ear mites not only generate irritation and scratching, but also increase the secretion of earwax, which can make the inside of the ear look dirty. The cat then tends to scratch its ears and shake its head. Secondary bacterial or fungal infections can occur in the ears as well.
Stray cats and kittens are especially susceptible to ear mites. Ear mites are very infectious between cats and dogs. Cats in pet shops are often infected with this parasite.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?
Mites should only be treated after a vet has made an expert diagnosis. If there are no mites, using an anti-mite preparation may aggravate an infection in the ear. Mites on a cat's skin are treated by applying a medical shampoo under a vet's supervision.
Ear mites are treated with special ear drops, which can be obtained from your vet and in some pet shops. It is very important to apply the drops in the ears when they are clean, so that the drops affect the mites directly. Before administering the drops, you should clean the outer part of the ear, using a piece of cotton dampened with a special solution for cleaning cats' ears. Clean the folds of the outer ear using a cotton swab (Q-tip), soaked in the same solution.
SPECIAL NOTE: NEVER, NEVER insert the cotton bud (on a Q-tip or otherwise) inside the inner parts of kitty's ear.
Once the ear is clean, you should put several drops of the anti-mite medication into each ear. Your vet will set the precise dosage and frequency. Your cat will immediately try to shake its head. In order to keep the drops from being expelled, hold your cat firmly, close the ear and gently massage for several seconds so that as much of the medication as possible gets deep down inside. A bit of the stuff mixed with remains of the "dirt" may still be expelled from the ears, so don't wear your best clothes for this procedure!
If you find that your cat reacts violently - the medication often stings a little - you can use a heavy towel to immobilize the legs against the cat's body. This will save you from being scratched. It also helps to soothe your cat with your voice throughout the treatment.
Mites can be transmitted from cats to dogs. If there are other cats or dogs in the house, examine them for mites and treat them simultaneously.

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