“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……..

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….

What is Pyometra?

Pyometra is a condition affecting unspayed bitches (and less commonly cats) where the womb, or uterus, becomes infected. In mild cases it can come on fairly slowly with only slight changes in the uterus, but the worst cases happen very quickly and the womb becomes swollen like a balloon, but filled with pus. These are urgent and life-threatening.

Pyometra happens when the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) changes under the influence of the bitch’s hormonal cycle. It nearly always happens a few weeks after she has been in season and is more common in older bitches.

Harvey’s Retained Testicle

Joe Inglis BVSc MRCVS is the vet for the One Show, This Morning and BBC Breakfast. He runs his own line of natural pet food called Pet’s Kitchen

When Harvey the spaniel came in for his routine 6 month check up he looked the picture of health – tail wagging, eyes bright and full of enthusiasm – so neither his owner nor myself were expecting anything other than a straightforward check over. And for the first five minutes of the examination, I found nothing untoward whatsoever – Harvey was clearly a fit and healthy young dog with a strong heart, clear eyes, wet nose, healthy lungs and a good coat. However the final stage of my examination did show that he wasn’t quite 100% perfect and there was a problem that was likely to require treatment.

‘Hmm,’ I started as I straightened up from the final stage of my examination at the back end of Harvey’s wriggling body, ‘I’m afraid to say Mrs Mann that there’s a bit of a problem here – Harvey’s only got one descended testicle.’

Wally bites off more than he can chew

Some cases stick in your mind because they are unusual or because the patient is a bit of a character, or both. One such case was Wally the collie, who needed a major operation a few years ago.

Wally was well known at the surgery, partly because he had epilepsy, so he made regular visits for check-ups and blood tests, and his condition was well controlled. Despite a poor start in life before his present owner acquired him as a rescue dog from the Blue Cross, he had become a lovely dog with such a good temperament that he became a P.A.T. dog (Pets as Therapy), visiting residential homes for the elderly where I am sure he brought a lot of pleasure into the lives of the residents…….

An unusual tumour below the eye

Vets are very used to dogs, cats and small furries developing growths on various parts of their anatomy. We very often take a small sample of the growth by means of a needle (known as a fine needle aspirate or FNA) before deciding what action to take. In most cases the growth is removed surgically.

Skitzo was a 9 year old cat with something of an attitude to being handled by vets (and sometimes his owner). A fast growing lump had come up beneath his right eye and was very close to the edge of the eyelid. A fine needle aspirate was impossible in this case without him being anaesthetised so we decided to remove the lump and send it off to the lab for the pathologists to tell us what tissue type we were dealing with….

The dilemma of Gizmo’s leg tumour

Gizmo was a lovable cat who had been known to the practice for many years. In fact she had reached the tremendous age of 21 years with no major health problems until his teeth started to loosen and he had difficulty eating. We are always extremely cautious with giving anaesthetics to aged cats so we took some blood tests for organ function which came back completely normal. He came through his dental with flying colours.

A couple of months later she came back with a very painful leg, swollen around the left knee (stifle). When we X-rayed the leg our worst fears were confirmed: Gizmo had bone cancer….

Rusty aims too high!

Young Rusty the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel had an embarrassing problem. Everything was going well until he started to cock his leg at about five months of age. Instead of watering the local lampposts, Rusty urinated on the underside of his body and his skin was starting to get sore.

His owners were becoming very distraught about the problem. It meant Rusty had to be bathed at least once a day and his skin was starting to get sore where it was constantly wet. Something drastic had to be done…..

Cat Eye Operation

Joe Inglis BVSc MRCVS is the vet for the One Show, This Morning and BBC Breakfast. He runs his own line of natural pet food called Pet’s Kitchen
I often find myself sympathising with my patients, and feeling for their distress and pain when they are suffering from illnesses or injuries – and never more so than when their problem involves their eyes. Having an ulcer or other injury to an eye must be horribly painful, not to mention the psychological impact of dealing with the loss of some or all of your sense of sight. When Sylvester the cat came into the consulting room last week and clambered miserably out of his wicker basket, my heart sank and I felt an immediate sense of shock and distress……..

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