Category Archives: Medical & Health Care

The Dreaded “H” Word – Treating Hyperthyroid Disease in Cats

Hyperthyroid disease in cats is very treatable and manageable, and though I had always feared being told one of my cats has “hyperthyroid disease,” I have found that it isn’t the dreaded word or disease that I thought it would be.

Hyperthyroidism in Cats
Beautiful, blind Godiva

Godiva was our first cat diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.  She’s a beautiful blind chocolate Persian who as a kitten, was taken to our local animal shelter where she was adopted by a volunteer. But at five years old she was given up again, and found her way to our rescue group where we became her foster parents. When Godiva was never adopted, we adopted her ourselves and have found her to be a courageous, determined blind girl that navigates our house beautifully, despite her blindness and many cat “obstacles.”

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Probiotics for Cats Helps Build a Healthy Digestive System

Probiotics are the “friendly” desirable bacteria that boost digestion, build a healthy digestive/intestinal and immune system, and reduce the harmful bacteria and organisms that can invade the body and cause infections and disease. Probiotics work to enhance the right balance of GI bacteria.

I have learned through my two cats with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), that probiotics given daily in their food really helps to strengthen and build their intestinal tract and reduce the symptoms and suffering caused by IBD. In cats, IBD is caused by intestinal disorders that increase inflammation in the lining of the digestive tract. Food sensitivities and allergies can contribute to IBD, and chronic diarrhea and/or vomiting are typical symptoms that result in the inflammation and scar tissue in the lining of the intestines.

Who Needs Probiotics?

Not all cats need probiotics, but if your cat has loose or smelly stools, chronic diarrhea, lots of gas, is taking steroids for prolonged periods of time for a chronic medical issue, or is on antibiotics for an infection—probiotics can help get their intestinal and digestive system health back on track and ease any suffering they might feel.

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A Guide to Checking Your Cat’s Vital Signs at Home

Knowing how to check your cat’s vital signs at home is easy to do and can be a helpful way to keep track of your cat’s health. Checking their vitals can also  help you identify when your cat is sick or not feeling well,  and when it’s time for a visit to the vet. Learn what the normal vital signs are for your cat, and how to step-by-step check your cat’s vital signs at  home.

Capillary Refill Time (CRT) or Profusion Rate (Normal is 2 seconds)
A Guide to Checking Your Cat’s Vital Signs at Home
Checking Cat’s Capillary Refill Rate (CRT)

Capillary Refill Time or CRT, is done by checking your cat’s gums. This measurement checks the rate of blood flow in the blood vessels called capillaries, of your cat’s gums. By pressing on the gums with your finger, you are forcing the blood out of the capillaries, and when you remove your finger, you’re allowing the blood to refill the capillaries.

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Second-Hand Cigarette Smoke Causes Cancer in Cats

Was your New Year’s resolution this year to quit smoking? If it wasn’t and you’re a smoker, it may be time to quit smoking for your pets’ sake. An increasing number of research studies show that animals face significant health risks exposed to the toxins and carcinogens in second and third-hand smoke. And numerous research studies have revealed that cats exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke causes cancer in cats.

Toxic Chemicals in Cigarette Smoke

Cigarette smoke contains 4,000 chemicals including hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, arsenic, ammonia and urea among them. Second-hand smoke is considered the smoke that is exhaled or comes from the cigarette itself and can be inhaled by non-smokers including our pets. Third-hand smoke is the residue from smoke and smoke particles that can be found on clothing, furniture, bed linens, skin, and fur even after the air is clear of smoke. Cats get into problems with third-hand smoke when they lick smoke and particles from smoke off their fur.

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Why It’s Important to Microchip Your Cat

Is your cat microchipped? If not, one of the best and safest ways to increase the chances of finding your lost cat is to have it microchipped. One in three pets get lost during their lifetime and without microchips, 90 percent never return home. Unfortunately, only about 2-5 percent of cats that come into animal shelters have microchips and are successfully reunited with their owners.

A microchip is the size of a grain of rice (12 mm), implanted in the subcutaneous tissue of your cat’s skin, typically between the shoulder blades. The procedure is done in a matter of seconds using a needle, similar to a routine shot, and is considered relatively painless.

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Gallstones, Gallbladder and Bile Duct Inflammation in Cats

Recently my cat Simba suffered from severe gallstones, gallbladder and bile duct inflammation with many calculi in his gallbladder and one large gallstone obstructing his bile duct. There was no warning for us until it was too late and his case was too severe for medical treatment. So after much research, I want to share what I’ve learned through my vet, the ultrasound radiologist, and the best medical sources of information on the Internet about gallstones, gallbladder and bile duct inflammation in cats.

My cat Simba had apparently been making gallstones for some time without showing any apparent symptoms until they posed a medical problem and he stopped eating and was in severe pain. When the symptoms appeared, Simba had stopped eating and Mirtazipine (an appetite stimulant) was not jump-starting his appetite, he isolated himself and didn’t want any interaction, he was lethargic, vomiting, and I knew he was suffering and in pain. Our vet confirmed he had a fever and his abdomen was sensitive to the touch.  He proceeded to give Simba a senior blood panel and X-rays and while we waited for the blood test results, our vet kept Simba for gavage feeding (since he would no longer eat on his own) and gave him intraveneous fluids and pain therapy for 1-2 days.

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How to Find a Great Veterinarian For Your Cat

Whether you have recently moved, adopted a new cat or kitten, or are having some concerns about your current veterinarian—finding the very best health care available for your cat is one of the most important decisions you can make for them. While there are many excellent veterinary practices out there, there are also significant differences between practices, so you want to carefully evaluate and choose a veterinarian that meets your expectations and one you can feel comfortable with. Overall, you want to look for a practice that offers the highest level of standards, medical expertise and quality of care possible in an office that offers both modern diagnostic and state-of-the-art medical equipment and technology.

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How to Determine Your Cat’s Age in Cat Years

Ever been curious how old your cat is in cat years versus human years? Well, there’s no absolute or reliable scientific calculation for determining exactly how old your cat is in cat years, but there are good calculations that come close to estimating your cat’s approximate age. So here’s how to determine your cat’s age in cat years.

What Factors Determine How a Cat Ages?

There are many factors that go into a cat’s aging and lifespan including how well they have been cared for, whether they are indoor or outdoor cats, their daily diet and quality of food, whether they have received good veterinary care and annual wellness exams, whether chronic diseases and short-term illnesses have been treated in a timely manner, if they have received good dental care, the environmental stresses they have been subjected to, and their genetic predisposition to disease. Continue reading How to Determine Your Cat’s Age in Cat Years

Tips for Buying a Pet Health Insurance Plan

Planning ahead for your cat’s health care is no different than planning for our own health care. We never know if or when we’ll get sick and need insurance, but having it gives us peace of mind. Knowing your cat will need medical help at some point is inevitable, so it’s good to plan ahead and be able to provide the care your cat will need. Here are some tips for buying a pet health insurance plan that will meet your needs.

Pet health insurance is just one of the many options available to help pay for emergency or unexpected veterinary bills. If you’re worried about being able to pay for your cat’s chronic illness or life-saving care, an accident, or an emergency—it may be good to know there’s a safety net under you. As with any insurance, you may never need it, but if you worry about affording those one-time emergencies or unexpected expenses that you feel could cripple your finances—having pet insurance may be a good option.

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What Are the Warning Signs Your Cat is Sick?

Don’t miss the warning signs your cat is sick and may be in pain. Research shows that cats feel pain just like we do. But they tend to hide their pain—so just because they don’t show you obvious signs of pain, doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering or in distress. It’s up to you to know the signs that something is wrong and advocate for them by getting them the help they need.

When cats aren’t feeling well they give us clues. The clues may be physical or behavioral, or both. Some signs require immediate veterinary attention like respiratory problems or changes in breathing; straining to urinate, defecate or crying in the litter box; dilated pupils, or having any dramatic changes in behavior from normal. Some signs may increase over time with illness and won’t go away until your cat is diagnosed and treated by your veterinarian.

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