Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Holiday Dangers for Pets-Food, Flowers, Tinsel, and More

1. Dangerous wrapping—Brightly colored bows and ribbons are a festive and enjoyable part of the holiday season, but remember that ribbon can be extremely dangerous for cats. If ingested, it can cause a cat’s intestines to bunch and get twisted, and in many cases this will need to be remedied with surgery. If left untreated, this can be fatal.
2. Hanging ornaments—From a cat’s perspective, low-hanging ornaments on a tree are just begging to be swatted at and then played with on the floor. If there are any low-hanging ornaments on your client’s tree, be sure that they are made of materials that a cat can’t chew or otherwise destroy and ingest.
3. Poisonous plants—While poinsettias have long been believed to be extremely dangerous for cats, the danger they pose when ingested by a cat (stomach upset) is not as bad as some other common holiday plants, such as mistletoe, pine tree needles, amaryllis lilies, red azaleas and paperwhites. If your client has festive plants, make sure they are somewhere a cat won’t be tempted to chew on them. If you are unsure if a plant is poisonous, or are concerned that your cat may have eaten something dangerous, have your client call you or the ASPCA’s animal poison control center (888-426-4435) for more information.
4. Candles—A cat probably isn’t going to be too intrigued by the candle itself, but a wayward swishing tail can easily knock a candle over, causing a host of problems. Clients should candles out of reach, and make sure they stay vigilant around lit candles. The last thing they need over the holidays is an injured cat or fire damage to their home.
5. Holiday foods—While it may be tempting to give a cat just a nibble of turkey or other holiday food, encourage your clients to resist the urge. Rich foods can upset a cat’s digestive system, which could produce unpleasant effects. Also, cats should never be given any type of bone, as they can splinter and cause internal injuries to a cat.
6. Stress—Cats like routine and predictability, so when their schedules or environments change, they can become upset. If your client is planning on having holiday guests and their cat isn’t used to entertaining, create a safe, quiet space away from the action where the cat can have some peace and quiet. Dr. Brunt, CATalyst Council’s executive director and a feline veterinarian for more than 20 years, adds, "Be sure to have food, water and a litter box available in this secluded area so your cat can be comfortable away from your gathering."
7. Tinsel—Like ribbon, tinsel is almost irresistible to cats and, if ingested, it can require surgery to extract. Which would your client rather live without: tinsel or a night at the veterinary emergency clinic?
8. Cats given as gifts— Every companion animal deserves a home where it will be wanted and well taken care of. Shelters nationwide report an uptick in new arrivals right after the holidays, when people surrender the "gift pet" that they may not have wanted.
9. Christmas tree water—The water that keeps a tree fresh is frequently treated with chemicals that can make cats sick. Be sure that cats can’t access the tree water.

10. Travel dangers—If your client is traveling with their cat during the holidays, be sure that their cat is properly secured in a carrier and that he or she has adequate identification, including a microchip. That way, if they get separated, their cat has a way to be reunited with them. Also, prior to leaving home, encourage your client to find contact information for a veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian in the area they’re visiting, so that, if their cat gets injured or becomes ill, they know where to go to get their cat the care and attention it requires.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Kittens-Wean Naturally By Mom and Continue Feeding Past Six Weeks

This is why we didn't let our kittens be adopted until they were 12 weeks old and argued AGAINST them being removed from their mother at 8 wks. (Of course, only two eventually left the house at 12 wks.) I had read many articles about kitten growth and read that 12 weeks should be more standard and that 6 weeks is only based on when kittens begin to start eating and that kittens are not done growing and learning from mom at 6 weeks.

"Early weaning increases aggression and stereotypic behavior in cats. Based on the study, the recommended weaning age of 12 weeks should be raised by at least two weeks. Delaying weaning is an easy and cost-efficient way of improving the quality of life of cats."

Taking Care of Senior-Elderly-Cats

One day you have a kitten; six years later and it's now a "Senior"; ten years later and it's considered "OLD"!  Meanwhile, the cat may be running around acting still very much like a kitten. There is a lot to be aware of as a cat ages; and a lot more to prevent.

Here's an article about taking care of a senior pet. It suggests monitoring weight and getting the cat to lose weight; monitoring activity levels; and watching for signs of physical changes.

It's Getting Cold Outside-Keep HCM Cats Warm and Indoors

As a reminder: it's getting cold in the world, in general, at this time of year. Keep your HCM cats indoors, keep them out of cold windows and drafts, keep their rooms well heated. Stress causes congestion, and fighting to stay warm causes stress on the body. 

Cataracts in Cats

Cataracts are not life threatening but can be the result of an injury to the cat's eye which may be life or vision threatening. Cataracts themselves cause a loss of vision. Cataracts-as in humans-will appear as a white or milky white spot that grows over the eye. Healthy cats may have surgery to remove the lens and have a fake one replaced. There may be drops that will be used. If you see a white glaze forming over the cat's eye, or if the cat seems to be pawing at the eye, or if you see goop running off, or any other changes to the appearance of the eye, the cat should see the vet as soon as possible to address the issue.

None of our cats have cataracts so far. 

Glaucoma in Cats-How to Tell If Your Cat's Eye Pressure is Increasing

There are many illnesses that are difficult for pet owners to assess in cats because our cats can't tell us how they are feeling. We can only watch and observe for changes in behavior and those looks on their faces or in their actions that say "I'm not doing well." One disease is glaucoma. Unlike other diseases that cause the eye to produce goop (herpes), or appear to be red and bloody (uveitis), or make the second lid appear (injury, other diseases), glaucoma may be impossible to detect at home. Your cat may paw extensively at the eye; may shake its head. Blood veins may appear pronounced as the disease in the eye is at its worst. The pupil may become dilated or fixed, not contracting as much as the other eye. But really-that could be anything. If you find your cat pawing at the eye, shaking its head, and especially if you do find goop running out, bloody eye, second lid coming down, take your cat to the vet. Your vet can check pressures, and put in drops to lower pressure. The cat would need drugs for the rest of its life to keep pressures low. Your cat doesn't have all of the same options humans have of various surgical techniques to lower pressure but some techniques can be deployed (including lens replacement which is what is done for cataract surgery.) Many cats face having eyes removed. Untreated glaucoma-for pets and humans-can lead to optic nerve damage and loss of vision. The increase in pressure will also make the cat sick-just as with humans-vomiting, dizziness, lack of eating, etc.
It may not be a bad idea to have pressures tested in your cat once a year or anytime you feel the cat is troubled by an eye. 
None of our cats have glaucoma but we know humans who do and it can be difficult for humans to detect it in themselves-even if they have annual eye exams-as the symptoms for them appeared as headaches, spotty vision when they bent over and came up again, etc.-signs they and their doctor thought were simply related to sinus trouble. Until it wasn't. 

This is separate from cataracts which will appear as a white or milky cover over the cat's eye as it grows.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Atenolol Drug Shortage-You May Need a Compounding Pharmacy

There is a drug shortage for Atenolol, a very important medication. Atenolol is often prescribed for HCM cats. It works to lower the heart rate and blood pressure by working on the heart muscle. It is vitally important that the heart rate and blood pressure come under control for an HCM cat. Most cats with HCM have a high heart rate. A damaged heart should not be overworked and stressed. Lowering the heart rate also helps to lower blood pressure, although Atenolol is only one drug that the cat might need to lower blood pressure. 
Our vet cardio released this statement:
"Some of you may already be aware that there is a nationwide shortage of this medication due to a production issue. Many pharmacies are running low, which is becoming an issue for our cardiac patients who are receiving it.

There are a couple of options:
1) Continue calling around to pharmacies in your area since some pharmacies still have it in stock.
2) Get it compounded at a specialty compounding pharmacy. We prefer to use Wedgewood for our compounding needs. Atenolol can be made into tablets, capsules or liquid suspension. See the link below for more info..."
If you or your vet are unable to find Atenolol locally, here are two reputable pharmacies you can try:

Also, Google "compounding pharmacy" for your area. You may find one locally. Your vet would call in a script for them to fill.