Cat Health Scoops3
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
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
--If your cat is exposed to potpourri, here are some useful
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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