Just because they’re still eating doesn’t mean their teeth don’t hurt! Dental Disease in Cats – Part 1

“ Sure his teeth are a little dirty but he’s still eating so they can’t be that bad, right?” This is one of the biggest myths in veterinary medicine yet it is sadly repeated almost daily by my clients. It’s certainly understandable though – if we have a toothache, we tend to alter our diet rapidly to find foods that are suitably easy to chew and then book ourselves in to see the dentist as soon as possible. Cats (and dogs, but we’ll focus on cats in this article) would probably do the same, if they could, but I can’t recall the last time I saw Fluffy order her own meals or pick up the telephone! Cats are still in many ways wild animals with natural instincts, and those instincts tell them that if they don’t eat, they’ll die. For the same reasons, they are masters of hiding their pain, illnesses or anything that might make them seem vulnerable. Therefore a cat with a toothache will probably act and eat very much like a cat without a toothache, suffering in silence. Sure, there are some dental conditions that will cause a cat to stop eating, but by the time this happens they are usually so severe that they have become systemically ill……

Chronic Diarrhoea in Cats – Could it be Tritrichomonas foetus?

Marla is an older cat who has recently had the displeasure of becoming a frequent visitor to our practice. She was adopted not long ago from an animal shelter and now lives with a lovely woman who thankfully has a lot of patience!

Marla first came to see us because she had developed diarrhoea and a red, irritated rear end. She had a type of diarrhoea called ‘colitis’ (which simply means inflammation of the large intestine or colon), that caused her to strain frequently to produce small amounts of sometimes bloody stool. She was treated with antibiotics and her diet was changed to something that was bland and easy to digest, and although sometimes her symptoms seemed to improve a little they continued. A standard stool sample was run but this was negative for all worms and harmful bacteria. After nearly a month of problems and after trying every routine treatment out there, we decided to try one last and wouldn’t you know, it came back positive!…..

Pet Emergencies Happen When You Least Expect Them

The most common injuries which arise when out and about are things like cut pads, bite wounds, stick injuries and of course road accidents. Many illnesses can also have a fairly sudden onset, sometimes needing an out-of-hours visit to the vets.

Carrying a small first aid kit with you can help with emergencies such as cuts, bites or torn nails. If bleeding is part of the problem, then a temporary bandage applied just until you can get to the surgery can save a lot of mess but could also stop your dog from losing so much blood. A hankie or a sock can be very useful substitutes for a bandage, or anything clean with which you can apply pressure for a few minutes.

However, there is a risk of making matters worse if a bandage is too tight or applied for too long. The circulation may be reduced so much that tissue starts to die, so just use a bandage as a first aid measure until bleeding stops or you can get to your vet’s surgery.

The other thing that can reduce the stress when the unexpected happens is having your pet insured………..

Living in a Multi-Cat Household – Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Many people share their homes with more than one cat, and if all the cats get along they can provide everybody with companionship and entertainment. Sadly, however, it isn’t always that way. Cats are relatively solitary creatures by nature and serious problems can arise when more than one cat is asked to share a small living space such as a house and garden. Acquiring the cats at the same time can help, even more so if they are siblings. It also helps to introduce them while they’re young, and it’s often easier to get a male and a female kitty as opposed to two of the same sex. Just like people, newly-introduced cats need some time to get to know each other so don’t expect everybody to get along from day one. If you and your feline family are going through a bit of a rough patch, be it the occasional stare down or full on cat fights, read on…

Cats and Christmas

Yes, it’s true, Christmas is upon us yet again. A time of fluffy white snow, happy children, beautifully wrapped gifts and exceedingly large meals. Or, if you’re a cat owner, a time of missing ornaments, broken baubles, toppled trees, and shredded wrapping paper. The antics of the family cat can be a welcome distraction when the discussion gets a bit too heated around the dinner table, but just as cats enjoy all the new toys there could be some hidden dangers too. Here are some things to think about this holiday season.

The Christmas tree

“What could be better?” says the cat.  “The joys of the outdoors in the warmth of my living room!”  Christmas trees are a cat’s dream come true.  Many cats, especially kittens, find climbing the tree irresistible and will stop at nothing to try to make it to the top.  You can try all sorts of deterrents, including aluminium foil around the base (cats hate walking on it) and keeping a water spray bottle close at hand, but it usually won’t stop them trying at least once.   Many cats also hate the smell of oranges, so some people say keeping orange peels under the tree can help deter climbing……….

“No! Not on the carpet!” – Vomiting in Cats

I knew it was going to be a rough day when I walked in and saw that three of my ten morning appointments were vomiting cats.  Second only to the chronically itchy dog, vomiting cats can be one of the most frustrating things we have to deal with as vets because there are so many possible reasons why it can happen.  Anything from what the cat had for dinner last night to metabolic diseases that may have been brewing for years could be the cause, and distinguishing between them can take a lot of time, money and effort.  And that’s just for the vet – as the owner of a cat that vomits frequently myself, I understand how unpleasant it is to walk downstairs in the middle of the night and step in a pile of cat sick.  Be it on the new white carpeting or the beat up old sofa, it’s not pretty.  It may be a harmless hairball, but it can also be a sign of serious illness in your cat so it’s definitely worth getting it checked out by your vet.  If you are unlucky enough to have a vomiting cat, here are some things you may want to consider……..

“No, Radioactive Iodine Therapy Will NOT Make Your Cat Glow In the Dark…”

I had to laugh as I answered my client’s child’s innocent question. But it certainly wasn’t the first time a cat owner had expressed surprise and concern when I first mentioned this treatment for feline hyperthyroidism (see my previous blog for more information on hyperthyroidism). Radioactive iodine therapy (RAIT) certainly does sound scary and this has resulted in some strange misconceptions, but actually it is a fantastic option for the treatment of what can be a frustrating long-term disease of older cats….

Hyperthyroidism in cats.

This is one of the most commonly diagnosed endocrine (hormonal) diseases in cats.

Many older cats suffer from a variety of symptoms which might just be put down to ageing, or might previously have been attributed to kidney disease, but many of these will actually be in the early stages of hyperthyroidism. Over the last 20-30 years a great deal of research has been done on this disease, and treatment has improved as a result….

Bringing Home Baby – How To Help Your Cat Cope With The New Arrival

Congratulations! You’ve just found out that you’re pregnant and can’t help but share the good news with all of your friends and family. Everyone is overjoyed, but then the questions start – How long will you be taking off work? Do you have any names picked out? And what are you going to do with your cat?? You’ve probably already received plenty of opinions as people offer advice about problems that you didn’t even know you had. Fortunately, your feline friend doesn’t have to be a source of stress, and may in fact be one of your most faithful companions every step of the way. Here are some tips to help ease the transition for both you and your cat and hopefully help separate fact from fiction.

During Pregnancy

One of the things that often gets brought up when discussing cats and babies is toxoplasmosis.  A zoonotic disease (in other words, transmissible to humans) that is sometimes spread by the faeces of cats, toxoplasmosis results in many cats needlessly …..

Help your dog or cat to overcome travel sickness.

Travel sickness, or motion sickness, can affect cats and dogs just like humans, and can make journeys unpleasant for pet and owner alike. There are several ways in which you can reduce both the fear and the nausea which some pets associate with travel.

DOGS

Start when your puppy is very young if at all possible. If your dog is already adult and still suffers from travel sickness, don’t despair. If you follow the same steps you will almost certainly help them, although it may take a little more time and patience.

First of all you need to decide how your dog is going to travel in the car. It is important for their safety and yours that they are restrained in some way. This could be inside a dog crate, behind a secure dog guard, or clipped by a harness to the seat belt. Whichever you choose, the dog should have an area in which they feel secure and comfortable.

Once you have made this choice, it is time to get the puppy used to its travel quarters so that they are not afraid. Start by sitting them in the car, in the place where they will normally travel, for just a few minutes each day without even starting the engine. Sit in the car with them but try not to ….

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