Top 10 Cat Emergencies

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Cats often become reclusive and hide when they are not feeling well, which makes knowing when they need to be seen by your veterinarian a challenge. They have unique signs of emergency conditions that often go unrecognized by owners. Some injuries are obvious, such as a cat with an open wound, while others have more subtle signs that can be equally dangerous if left untreated. Knowing signs of illness is crucial in determining when to seek emergency care for your cat. Below is a list of some of the most common cat emergencies and their signs.

 

Urethral Obstruction

This is a condition in which a cat, usually male, is unable to urinate due to a blockage in the urethra (the tube leading from the urinary bladder to the outside environment).

Cats will show a sudden onset of restless behavior, which includes frequent trips in and out of the litter box. They will often attempt to urinate in unusual places such as in a bath tub or on a plastic bag. You may notice a very small stream of urine that contains blood. More often than not, despite a cat’s straining, there may be no urine or even just a drop produced. In later stages of the obstruction, cats may cry loudly, vomit, and become lethargic.

You should consider these signs a serious emergency and seek veterinary care immediately. There are reports of cats developing kidney failure and dying within 12 hours after the onset of signs. Expect your cat to be hospitalized at least 36 hours for treatment of this condition. Veterinary treatments may include a urinary catheter, intravenous fluids, and pain management. Female cats are less likely to become obstructed due to their wider urinary tract.

 

Toxicities (Poisoning)

The combination of their curious nature and unique metabolism (the way their body breaks down chemicals) makes cats vulnerable to toxins. Owners are often unaware that their home contains multiple products that are poisonous to felines. The most common cat toxins include antifreeze, Tylenol, and rat or mouse poison.

The signs your cat displays depends on the type of poison he or she has encountered. Antifreeze will often cause wobbliness or a drunken appearance first, then progresses to vomiting/weakness as the kidneys fail. Tylenol may cause an unusual swelling of the head and changes the cat’s blood color from red to chocolate brown. Rat or mouse poison interferes with blood clotting so you may see weakness from internal blood loss or visible blood in the urine or stool.

 

Breathing Problems

Often, cats hide the signs of breathing problems by simply decreasing their activity. By the time an owner notices changes in the cat’s breathing, it may be late in the progression of the cat’s lung disease. There are several causes of breathing changes, but the most common are feline asthma, heart disease, or lung disease.

 

Foreign Object Ingestion

Many cats love to play with strings or string-like objects (such as dental floss, holiday tinsel, or ribbon), but those strings can be dangerous for your cat. When a string is ingested by a cat, one end may become lodged or “fixed” in place, often under the cat’s tongue, while the rest of the string passes further into the intestine. With each intestinal contraction, the string see-saws back and forth actually cutting into the intestine and damaging the blood supply.

Signs that your cat has eaten a foreign object may include vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea, and weakness. Occasionally owners will actually see part of a string coming from the mouth or anal area. You should never pull on any part of the string that is visible; instead, call your veterinary health care team immediately.

Surgery is usually necessary to remove the foreign object and any damaged sections of intestine.

 

Bite Wounds

Cats are notorious for both inflicting and suffering bite wounds during encounters with other cats. Because the tips of their canine, or “fang,” teeth are so small and pointed, bites are often not noticed until infection sets in, which is usually several days after the initial injury.

Cats may develop a fever and become lethargic 48 to 72 hours after experiencing a penetrating bite wound. They may be tender or painful at the site. If the wound becomes infected or abscessed, swelling and foul-smelling drainage may develop.

You should seek emergency care for bite wounds so your veterinarian can thoroughly clean the area and prescribe appropriate antibiotics. Occasionally, the wounds can develop large pockets called abscesses under the skin that require surgical placement of a drain to aid in healing.

 

Hit By Car

Cats that spend time outdoors are at a much greater risk for ending up in the emergency room. Being hit by a car is one of the most common causes of traumatic injuries, such as broken bones, lung injuries, and head trauma. You should always seek emergency care if your cat has been hit by a vehicle, even if he or she appears normal, because many injuries can develop or worsen over the following few hours.

 

Increased Thirst and Urination

Sudden changes in your cat’s thirst and urine volume are important clues to underlying disease. The two most common causes of these changes are kidney disease and diabetes mellitus.

Your veterinarian will need to check blood and urine samples to determine the cause of your cat’s change in thirst and urine. Having your pet seen on an emergency basis for these signs is important because prompt treatment increases chances for recovery. Exposure to certain toxins, such as antifreeze or lilies, will show similar signs, and delaying veterinary care can be fatal.

 

Sudden Inability to Use the Hind Legs

Cats with some forms of heart disease are at risk for developing blood clots. These clots can sometimes lodge in a large blood vessel—the aorta—where they can prevent normal blood flow to the hind legs. If your cat experiences such a blood clotting episode (often called a saddle thrombus or thromboembolic episode), you will likely see a sudden loss of the use of his or her hind legs, painful crying, and breathing changes.

On arrival at the emergency room, your cat will receive pain management and oxygen support. Tests will be done to evaluate the cat’s heart and determine if there is any heart failure (fluid accumulation in the lungs). Sadly, such an episode is often the first clue for an owner that his or her cat has severe heart disease. In most cases, with time and support, the blood clot can resolve, but the cat’s heart disease will require lifelong treatment.

 

Upper Respiratory Infections

Cats and kittens can experience a variety of upper respiratory diseases caused by a combination of bacteria or viruses. An upper respiratory infections, or URI, can cause sneezing, runny nose, runny eyes, lack of appetite, and fever. In severe cases, it can cause ulcers in the mouth, on the tongue, and on the eyes. More often than not, severe cases are seen in cats that have recently been in multiple-cat environments, such as shelters. Small kittens, or kittens struggling to thrive, are also easily infected and may develop more severe complications, such as low blood sugar.

 

Sudden Blindness

A sudden loss of vision is most likely to occur in an older cat. The most common cause is increased blood pressure (hypertension), which may be due to changes in thyroid function (hyperthyroidism) or kidney disease. There are some cats that appear to have hypertension with no other underlying disease.

Sudden blindness should be treated as an emergency and your veterinarian will measure your cat’s blood pressure, check blood tests, and start medications to lower the pressure and restore vision.

If you notice a change in your cat’s eyes, whether he or she loses vision or not, you should consider this an emergency have your pet seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary-related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at cathealth.com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site

SOURCE: http://www.cathealth.com/safety/top-ten-emergencies-in-cats

Easter Pet Poisons

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The veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline receive hundreds of calls this time of year from pet owners and veterinarians concerning cats that have ingested Easter lilies.

“Unbeknownst to many pet owners, Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “All parts of the Easter lily plant are poisonous – the petals, the leaves, the stem and even the pollen. Cats that ingest as few as one or two leaves, or even a small amount of pollen while grooming their fur, can suffer severe kidney failure.”

In most situations, symptoms of poisoning will develop within six to 12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration. Symptoms worsen as kidney failure develops. Some cats will experience disorientation, staggering and seizures.

“There is no effective antidote to counteract lily poisoning, so the sooner you can get your cat to the veterinarian, the better his chances of survival will be,” said Brutlag. “If you see your cat licking or eating any part of an Easter lily, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. If left untreated, his chances of survival are low.”

Treatment includes inducing vomiting, administering drugs like activated charcoal (to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines), intravenous fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys, and monitoring of kidney function through blood testing. The prognosis and the cost – both financially and physically – to the pet owner and cat, are best when treated immediately.

There are several other types of lilies that are toxic to cats as well. They are of the Lilium and Hemerocallis species and commonly referred to as Tiger lilies, Day lilies and Asiatic lilies. Popular in many gardens and yards, they can also result in severe acute kidney failure. These lilies are commonly found in florist bouquets, so it is imperative to check for poisonous flowers before bringing bouquets into the household. Other types of lilies – such as the Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies – are usually not a problem for cats and may cause only minor drooling.

Thankfully, lily poisoning does not occur in dogs or people. However, if a large amount is ingested, it can result in mild gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Other Dangers to Pets at Easter Time

Pet Poison Helpline also receives calls concerning pets that have ingested Easter grass and chocolate.

Usually green or yellow in color, Easter grass is the fake grass that often accompanies Easter baskets. When your cat or dog ingests something “stringy” like Easter grass, it can become anchored around the base of the tongue or stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. It can result in a linear foreign body and cause severe damage to the intestinal tract, often requiring expensive abdominal surgery.

Lastly, during the week of Easter, calls to Pet Poison Helpline concerning dogs that have been poisoned by chocolate increase by nearly 200 percent. While the occasional chocolate chip in one cookie may not be an issue, certain types of chocolate are very toxic to dogs. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the danger. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The chemical toxicity is due to methylxanthines (a relative of caffeine) and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possibly death. Other sources include chewable chocolate flavored multi-vitamins, baked goods, or chocolate-covered espresso beans. If you suspect that your dog ate chocolate, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately.

Spring is in the air and Easter is a wonderful holiday. Remember that your pets will be curious about new items you bring into your household like Easter lilies, Easter grass and chocolate. Keep them a safe distance away from your pets’ reach and enjoy the holiday and the season.

 

SOURCE: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/seasons/easter/

3 Tips for Traveling with Your Pet

Tips for Traveling with Your Pet

Are you getting ready for a road trip in 2016? If you’re bringing your best friend with you, it’s important to be prepared! Some pets travel well, but others may experience anxiety or motion sickness, in addition to the general discomfort that is often associated with a new experience of any kind.

At East Lake Animal Clinic, River Oaks Animal Hospital, and Pet Care Center of Apopka, we make your pet’s needs our priority and we have a few tips to help you keep your pet safe and happy while road tripping.

  1. If your pet is experiencing motion sickness or anxiety (which is often the cause of car sickness) in the car, talk with us about how to handle it before your trip. This way, you can practice using medications or other anxiety intervention options and make sure that your pet is comfortable and happy for their trip!
  2. Give your pet their own space in the vehicle. Generally, a travel crate is the preferred option for most traveling pets as they get to have their own familiar space. Pet owners often prefer crates too because then their pet can’t wander all over the vehicle. Just make sure they are secured in the event of an accident!
  3. Pack for your pet’s needs. Be sure to have enough food, medication, water, etc. for the duration of your trip. If your pet needs preventive medicines during the trip, make sure you bring those with you also. It can be helpful to have a copy of your pet’s medical records and their microchip identification number available in the event of any emergencies on the trip.

 

Is your road trip coming up? Be sure to think about your pet as you plan your vacation. Talk with our team if you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s safety and enjoyment. We want your whole family to have a great—and safe—time!

 

Laser Therapy: Treatment Options for Your Pet’s Health

 

 

Laser therapy is a treatment option that was first developed more than forty years ago. It was first used for the treatment of humans, and relatively recent advances in the field have opened up this therapy option to animals as well! Laser therapy works by emitting laser light that pinpoints areas needing treatment, stimulating the cells to promote healing. A laser therapy treatment only takes a few minutes per session, and depending on the particular needs of the patient, sessions may be recommended several times per week or month until desired results are achieved.

What Conditions Can Be Treated Using Laser Therapy?

When we utilize laser therapy as a treatment option to reduce pain and inflammation, and to promote healing. At River Oaks Animal Hospital, laser therapy is an option for treating a variety of injuries, wounds, fractures, neurological conditions, dermatological conditions, issues that cause chronic pain or inflammation, and more.

Results of Laser Therapy

Some clients have reported that their pet showed signs of improvement after even the very first session. For other patients, it may take a few sessions. This depends on the severity of the pet’s condition and their particular needs. If you are concerned about your pet’s health and wonder if they are a candidate for laser therapy, we would love to talk with you about your options!

Questions about Pet Obesity

At our Central Florida Vets practices, we are often asked about ongoing, at-home pet care. One of the most common concerns has to do with a healthy pet weight. Our most recent question was:

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Why is my dog so fat when I really don’t feed him very much?

 We are so glad that you’re looking to maintain your pet’s weight. Just like with humans, obesity has become a leading health issue for pets. When determining your pet’s dietary needs, it’s important to understand that:

  • Each brand of dog food will have a different caloric value per pound and you should know what yours is on the brand of food your pet eats.
  • Some foods may be higher in fat content. These will be the foods that your pet is more likely to like better. This is similar to the human desire for fast food!
  • Other factors that must be considered in dietary management are your pet’s:
    • Energy levels
    • Age
    • Living conditions

Once you understand these parts of your pet’s lifestyle, it’s important to evaluate the amount of food they eat daily and the amount of exercise they get. If your pet is not overeating and is getting adequate exercise and still looks like a football on legs, there may be another issue that is causing the weight gain. A metabolic disease can be the cause of this, but a condition of this type must be diagnosed through examination and blood tests. Weight issues can be caused by conditions such as an underactive thyroid or Cushings disease.

A River Oaks Animal Hospital Case Study

 Our veterinary team is currently working with a pet named Bonzo who is experiencing weight management issues. He is currently 67 pounds, but his healthy weight is only 15 pounds.

Bonzo’s case addresses another problem: how to lose weight.  In this case, there is an underlying disease, so we use medication and diet control. Bonzo’s food is strictly regulated and we have now started an exercise program.  With this amount of excess weight, we are aiming to boost the metabolism by splitting his meals into four portions and making sure that he walks before eating.  In other words, no energy input without energy output. We are aiming for a weight loss of about 1 to 2 pounds every ten days.

 

So far, we are on track and after a few days, Bonzo has been able to double his exercise.  The owner is committed to winning, and that is another important facet. Ignore the comments and stares you may get taking a very overweight dog to the dog park. You are doing the right thing. Overweight dogs have a higher chance of developing diabetes and joint disease.

Is Your Pet Overweight?

 If you are a pet owner with an overweight pet, talk to us. We would love to work with you to help determine the root cause, and more importantly, the treatment options available to get your pet back to their healthy weight. Remember, a healthy weight is essential for a long life!

 

 

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Pet Fall Festival this Sunday November 17

TRAVEL SAFETY TIPS FOR YOUR PETS

Our case of the week involved a young, healthy dog that suddenly overheated.  As this can happen very quickly and unexpectedly I thought the following tips might help.  I am happy to report the dog is now fine.
Planning a road trip with your furry friend?  Here are some tips to help you maintain safety, good health and a relaxing time
1.      Make sure you have current health and vaccination records from your veterinarian, and also a thirty days ( or more) supply of any medications. Give him his monthly flea/tick control so you know he is protected for your vacation time  If you are travelling to certain areas make sure you know ahead of time if lymes vaccine are recommended and/or heartworm prevention. You can find this out on the AVMA website www.avma.org
2.      Make sure your dog/cat is used to being crated and take a favorite blankie and toy with you.  The crate will be very useful in hotels ( often a requirement) as well as for safety in the car.
3.      Ensure you have your pet microchipped and registered with the company as well as a good collar and leash with clearly marked tags.  Hint: Use your cell phone on the tags…if your pet is found you won’t be answering your home phone on vacation.
4.      Make sure you check ahead that pets are welcome and that you have a place for them to stay if you decide to go to a Park for the day.  Many of these, such as Disney and SeaWorld have kennels on site.  You will be pleased you have your vaccination records with you, or your pet won’t be staying!
5.      Stop often for rest stops and water breaks.  Do practice runs in the car first to ensure your pet does not get car sick. Most dogs travel well especially if they feel they are going somewhere special with their best friend.  That’s you!
6.      Never leave your dog in the car.  The interior can heat up to a life threatening temperature in as little as ten minutes. Remember that road surfaces and pool decks can burn pets feet easily.  If you are going from a cooler state to a hotter state you will need to make allowances and realize your pet will feel the difference.  Keep alert for signs of heat exhaustion.  Heavy panting, extreme redness of tongue, vomiting or diarrhea.  If this happens get to the nearest vet ( which you will also have researched on line) immediately.  On the way there pack ice under his arms and turn on a fan or air conditioning directing it  at him
7.      I do not recommend tranquilizers as this can alter or even eliminate a dogs temperate regulation control as well as having an unknown side effect of extreme lethargy or ironically excitement.

If travelling by air, consult the airline for regulations.  Many now do not take certain breeds, or fly pets at certain times of the year, due to climate influences.  There is a new company that specializes in flying just your pet.  You can find them at www.petairways.com.     

Happy travels!

Ack—My Pet Ate Garbage!

Why worry? Because people food is not safe for animals. And food isn’t the only risk—animals will eat the most unexpected things. It’s important to guard that garbage can.
“You don’t want your dog to pig out on chocolate or leftover pizza, chicken or turkey—anything with a high percentage of fat can lead to pancreatitis (inflammation and swelling of the pancreas, which can cause permanent damage and be fatal),” says Martha Gearhart, DVM, owner of Pleasant Valley Animal Hospital, Pleasant Valley, N.Y. “Raw bones are digestible, but their sharp points are dangerous, and cooked bones are very brittle and can shatter [once eaten].”
The odor of food or blood attracts animals to garbage, sometimes with tragic results—Gearhart’s brother’s dog ate the plastic wrap and Styrofoam tray from a package of meat, killing the dog. “It didn’t show up in the X-ray, but the points from the Styrofoam punctured the lung,” she recalls.
Boredom and separation anxiety can make animals explore trash cans or pounce on decorations, Gearhart says. “Some dogs have a passion for salty, smelly socks!” she notes. “I had one dog that enjoyed knocking down glass ornaments and biting on decorative balls.”
Cats eating tinsel is so common that tinselitis is a veterinary term. “Cats won’t eat tinsel from the garbage can, but will be attracted to tinsel on a tree,” warns Gearhart.
I discovered that myself—my own cat once ate tinsel. I found out when she eliminated it, tangled in balls of poop that she dragged around the apartment. I was lucky to get her to the veterinarian in time for treatment.
Dogs may eat used tampons or sanitary pads, which cause dangerous internal obstructions, Gearhart says.
There is string in a roast or bird, and string is severely dangerous—it causes internal damage. Cats are more likely to eat string than are dogs, notes Gearhart.

Prevention First
Prevention is the best way to protect animals from garbage:
  • Rinse wrappers, containers and packaging before pitching them.
  • Lock garbage under the sink or on the porch.
  • Use trash cans with tight-fitting lids (heavy, self-closing cans for households with large dogs).
  • Move garbage from indoors to well-secured outdoor containers.
  • Put tinsel and breakable decorations high up, out of reach.
  • Put a decorated tree in a room with a door—and keep it closed.
  • Keep dogs away from dangerous and tempting situations.
As Gearhart notes, “I’m all for crate training. They feel better and more secure.”
Protective Measures
If precautions fail, the best thing to do is call your veterinarian, who might have you come in to get a vomit-inducing drug. Or, they may encourage you to induce vomiting, unless the animal ate something sharp, acidic or caustic.
In some instances, your veterinarian might have you wait—it can take up to 5 days for elimination. Regardless, work with your veterinarian to find the best “cure” for your pet.
Here’s to a safe diet, and holiday season, for your animals!
Readers: Tell us what your pet has gotten into by e-mailing the editor at ann.everhart@aahanet.org.

Originally published by AAHA.

Today is National Pet Travel Safety Day

Today is National Pet Travel Safety Day! The mission of this day is to save lives by creating awareness of the vital need for pet safety in all areas of travel. Safe Travels!