Friday May 24, 2013
Hello and welcome to our July 2009 Mewsletter!.
By producing this Mewsletter we can reach and help so many more people to understand and care for their cats. This will go out to our clients at SimplyCats and also to our clients who have signed up on our Cat Behavior Web Site. We apologise for the American spelling but 80% of the clients on this site are from overseas.
We hope to mail all SimplyCats subscribers monthly. Remember this mailing is totally free and you can un-subscribe at any time, using the link on the top of the page or at the end of this Mewsletter..
Please feel free to browse our website where you will be able to view our special offers. www.simplycats.net
The idea is to select a number of articles each month that we think our subscribers will be interested in and have a direct link to how your cat thinks and his / her wellbeing. We sincerely believe the most important aspect of living in harmony with your cat is understanding how he or she thinks. You have to get inside your cats mind. This was the real passion behind creating our Cat Behaviour Guide and SimplyCats.
Being cat vets, feline behavior and cat medicine is an area of continuous interest to both of us and has a massive influence on the well being of cats and the humans owned by cats ;-). This is even more important when your beloved cat is ill or sick. Knowing about cat behavior has been the centre point of the design of our cat only veterinary practice for example CAT ONLY, NO DOGS, all kept quiet and calm with places to hide in most of the hospitalisation cages. Also very careful use and selection of disinfectants etc. so as not to disturb the cats incredible sense of smell. Remember all these facts when you are trying to make your home cat friendly, though, do remember cats can get on fine with dogs once carefully introduced.
How to give your cat tablets
Hold the angle of the jaw firmly * Tip the head back gently
Hold the pill and open the mouth * Place the pill as far back in the mouth as possible
Release the head and allow the cat to swallow * Syringe a little water after medicating
Helping the medicine go down
It is now common for vets to recommend oral treatments for cats with a variety of medical problems. Tablets are the most common but other types of medicine include capsules, liquids and pastes. Recently, several papers have appeared with some startling news concerning the safe administration of tablets and capsules to cats. Several studies have demonstrated that tablets or capsules given 'dry' to cats (ie, dosed orally on their own) often sit in the food pipe (oesophagus) for prolonged periods of time. One of these studies reported that after five minutes nearly two thirds of the pills were still in the oesophagus. This gives us cause for concern as it has recently been demonstrated that some medicines can cause damage to the lining of the oesophagus (oesophagitis). There have been several case reports where this has caused such severe inflammation that a stricture (narrowing) of the
oesophagus has developed.
Prevention of this very serious potential complication is simple - giving a small amount of water, a knob of butter or offering some food rapidly takes any stuck capsules or pills to the stomach. This was demonstrated in one of the scientific studies where giving the cat 6ml (about a teaspoonful) of water by syringe, immediately after pilling, took all of the pills to the stomach within a couple of minutes (see picture above right). Alternatively a small amount of butter can be smeared onto the nose to stimulate swallowing and encourage the tablets to move to the stomach.
A reminder about the Blue Cross Tea Party
The Blue Cross is a registered UK animal welfare charity.
If you don't know how to find us, click here for directions and a map.
Raffle * Tombola * Tea & Cakes * Treasure Hunt for the kids * Bric a brac and much more !
Weightwatchers - Dubby's Diet - continued....
Caroline, one of the receptionists at SimplyCats has three cats. Two are an ideal weight but one called Sandy weighed in on the 6th May 2009 an (un)impressive 8.85kg (19.4 pounds).
"A month down the line, the low fat veterinary diet (which thank goodness all the cats love) supplied by the vet seems to be doing the trick. After an initial disappointment of a little weight gain after the first loss, the scales started to go in the right direction. Continuing his drooling in anticipation of food Sandy (otherwise known as Dubby) carried on with his apparent obsession for being fed, but gradually this has started to subside and now drools very rarely. He seems to know when the food will come - measured amounts twice daily - and waits to be first in line for his share! "
Dubby reluctantly, as you can see from the picture above, was weighed on the 29/06/09. His reluctance had good reason - he had gained weight and was 9kg - (that's 19.8 pounds).
At this point Caroline doesn't know if he is being fed elsewhere as he gets no treats at home and there is nothing to suggest there is anything physically wrong to cause the weight gain. She would appreciate if there is anyone out there having had a similar problem with their own cat to offer any tips and tricks they mave have. Send an e-mail to: email@example.com
He will still be weighed on a monthly basis so, with some good luck (and a small miracle), in the next edition of this Mewsletter there will be more positive news to tell - watch this space!
As we all probably know, (unlike Dubby !) cats can be quite particular about what is in their food bowl. Most cats will have a favourite food, texture or flavour and will often turn their nose up at anything different.
Remember – fussy eaters are made not born.
Prevent bad habits
Bad habits are easier prevented than cured.
By swapping and changing your cat’s routine or by tempting them with titbits if they reject a food in their bowl. They will quickly learn how to manipulate you into feeding them the tastier food rather than a healthy and balanced diet. Think about it from your cat’s point of view, if you were rewarded with a treat every time you didn't eat, what would you do? To avoid fussy cats, it is best to stick to a routine.
Is your cat really being fussy?
Sometimes, fussiness is more down to the way you serve food rather than the food itself.
Cats generally prefer to eat in private and don't appreciate an audience. Try and provide some privacy for your cat at meal times.
Ensure your cat's bowl is clean. Several cats will not eat out of a bowl that has some old food in it. Try and get into the habit of washing the food and water bowls after every use.
If your cat usually eats dry food but has become fussy, you may have to replace the food. Dry food absorbs moisture and therefore becomes stale, particularly in warm weather.
If your cat usually eats wet (tinned/pouched food) it may be because it is cold. Cold wet food doesn't have much smell, and cats often won't eat what they cant smell. Wet food can be made more appealing by warming it up until warm to “mouse temperature” (warm to the touch) - this releases the aroma and therefore stimulates the cats appetite.
If your cat has access to outside, he/she may be having an unscheduled snack on the other side of the cat flap and come dinnertime he/she just may not be hungry.
Cat's don't have psychological eating disorders and unless there is an underlying reason for a lack of appetite, your cat will most likely eat when they get really hungry. When your cat does eventually eat, offer lots of praise and affection as soon as they have finished eating.
If your cat continues to be fussy try an alternative high quality cat food, often a change in recipe will prompt your cat into eating again.
Some questions to ask yourself when thinking about your cat's eating habits:
* Where is your cat's food is positioned, is it near a busy thoroughfare or next to the washing machine?
* Does your cat get bullied when eating by other cats/dogs/children?
* Is the food on a raised level and is there an easy way for arthritic cats to get to their food?
* What type of material is your cat's bowl made out of? Cats do not appreciate plastic bowls as they can taste the residue, they prefer ceramic, glass or even metal bowls. The larger surface area the better.
* Is your cat's food bowl next to the water bowl? Food and water should always be placed in seperate areas, and do not feed from a “double diner” as your cat can be put off the food by the presence of water and will drink more water if food is not near by. In the wild if a cat catches food in the wild near a water supply, the act of killing and dismembering the food will lead to contamination of the water, so cat's will always seek out another water source.
It is important to remember that if your cat refuses to eat for 24 hours or more, contact us at SimplyCats on 0191 385 9696 for an urgent appointment. Refusal or reluctance to eat can indicate a serious complaint and dental problems.
If you notice your cat's gums are red or swollen, or if the breath is unpleasant please ask us at SimplyCats for a dental examination.
Idiopathic Feline Cystitis
Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) describes a collection of conditions that can affect the bladder and/or urethra of cats. Unfortunately, the clinical signs are rarely indicative of a particular disease. While there are many conditions that can result in signs of Feline lower urinary tract disease (see below) the vast majority of cases are idiopathic (ie. we cannot find the cause).
Clinical signs of Feline lower urinary tract disease
Cats with Feline lower urinary tract disease usually present with signs of difficulty and pain when urinating, increased frequency of urination, blood in the urine, urination outside the litter-box, or even complete obstruction to urine outflow.. Some cats show only behavioural change, loss of litter-box training and/or aggression.
While the condition can be seen in cats of any age, it is most frequently seen in middle-aged, over-weight cats, which take little exercise, use an indoor litter-tray, have restricted access outside and eat a dry diet. Persian cats appear to be predisposed. Feline lower urinary tract disease occurs equally in male and female cats; however, neutered cats are more susceptible, and the risk of urinary tract obstruction is greatest in males.
Causes of Feline lower urinary tract disease
Causes of non - obstructive Feline lower urinary tract disease
Non - obstructive idiopathic cystitis- 65% * Bladder stones- 15% * Anatomical defects/cancer/other- 10%
Behavioral problems- <10% * Bacterial infection- < 2%
Causes of obstructive Feline lower urinary tract disease
Obstructive idiopathic cystitis- 29% * Urethral plug- 59% * Bladder stones- 10% * Bladder stones + bacterial infection- 2%
1. Feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC)
In the majority of cases of Feline lower urinary tract disease no underlying cause can be found. However, while research over the last 30 years has failed to find a consistent cause, a recent hypothesis has suggested that Feline idiopathic cystitis may result from alterations in the interaction between the nerve supply, the protective (glycosaminoglycan [GAG]) layer that lines the bladder, and the urine (see Figure 1.).
Figure 1. Diagram showing how the nervous system may be able to induce/exacerbate inflammation in FIC (neurogenic inflammation)
It is now known that certain nerves within the bladder can be stimulated, either by the brain (in response to 'stress'), or by local triggers within the bladder (eg, inflammation, bladder stones, concentrated urine, infection, etc.). Regardless of how these nerves are stimulated they can induce and/or exacerbate local pain and inflammation.
A thin layer of protective mucus lines the inside of the bladder. This layer helps to prevent bacteria and crystals from sticking to the bladder wall. It has been suggested that defects in this protective layer may result in increased bladder wall permeability, allowing noxious substances within the urine to cause inflammation.
2. Bladder stones
Bladder stones (uroliths) can vary in their composition, with struvite and oxalate forms being most common in cats. Over the last few years the pet food companies have focused on designing diets that help to dissolve struvite stones. Unfortunately, while this has resulted in a decline in the incidence of struvite stones there has been an increase in oxalate stones. Unfortunately, oxalate uroliths are not dissolvable in cat urine, and so must be removed surgically.
3. Urethral plugs
Urethral plugs are of particular importance because they can cause urethral obstruction. They are composed of varying combinations of (various proteins and cells from the bladder and blood and crystalline material). The protein is believed to 'leak' from the bladder wall as a result of inflammation. The cause of this inflammation may be neurogenic, idiopathic, or secondary to infection, cancer or bladder stones. Thick protein may cause urethral obstruction without evidence of crystalluria (crystals in the urine).
4. Infectious causes
So far, no bacterial, fungal or viral organisms have been consistently shown to cause Feline lower urinary tract disease. However, it is still possible that an organism that is very difficult to grow could be involved. Bacterial infection is a very rare cause of Feline lower urinary tract disease. Where it is seen, it is usually secondary to veterinary intervention, bladder stones, an anatomical defect, or cancer. Older cats, particularly those with kidney failure, have an increased risk of bacterial infection. However, Feline lower urinary tract disease is rarely seen in cats of this age-group.
5. Unifying hypothesis
The different causes of Feline lower urinary tract disease may occur individually, or in various interacting combinations (Figure 2). For example, the formation of urethral plugs may result from concurrent, but not necessarily related, disorders, ie the simultaneous occurrence of urinary tract inflammation and crystalluria. While obstruction most typically results from the formation of urethral plugs, it may also be caused by the passage of small bladder stones, or from pain-induced urethral spasm.
Figure 2. Flow diagram illustrating how interaction between urinary tract inflammation and urine crystals can lead to different clinical presentations.
* Urinary tract inflammation may be neurogenic (triggered via the nervous system), idiopathic (cause unknown), or secondary to infection, cancer or bladder stones.
Diagnosis of Feline idiopathic cystitis is made by exclusion of all other causes of Feline lower urinary tract disease. A practical, step-wise, approach is used. It often includes taking blood samples to rule out systemic disease, followed by collection of a urine sample. The urine will be assessed for its concentration (specific gravity), and for the presence of crystals, protein, red and white blood cells, and bacteria (infection). Taking abdominal radiographs, performing contrast bladder studies, and/or ultrasound examination of the bladder may then be performed.
If no physical cause can be found it may be thought to be a purely behavioral problem. However, if the cat is not currently showing signs of Feline lower urinary tract disease repeating the investigation when the cat is showing signs may reveal more obvious disease. It is interesting to note that many cats which are believed to have a purely behavioral problem have a history of Feline lower urinary tract disease at some time in their past.
Management of Feline idiopathic cystitis
Most cases of non-obstructive Feline lower urinary tract disease are self-limiting; usually resolving within five to 10 days. However, most affected cats have episodes of clinical signs, which recur with variable frequency. The recurrent episodes generally tend to decrease in frequency and severity over time. Despite the likelihood of spontaneous resolution, treatment is recommended for a number of reasons:
* Feline idiopathic cystitis is very painful and distressing to the cat.
* Cats with Feline idiopathic cystitis may self-traumatise their perineal region (the area below their tail).
* Cats with Feline idiopathic cystitis may stop eating.
* Male cats with Feline idiopathic cystitis are at risk of developing urethral obstruction, which can be fatal.
* Cats with Feline idiopathic cystitis may develop behavioural changes, become aggressive to their owners or other cats within the household, or may lose their litter-box training.
* Having a cat with Feline idiopathic cystitis is very distressing to the owner.
First line of treatment:
1. Reduce stress
It is essential to reduce the level of stress to which the cat may be exposed. Providing a safe, clean area in which the cat can urinate, reducing overcrowding or bullying, and reassuring the cat as much as possible may achieve this.
2. Alter the content of the urine
* Change diet to canned food or moisten dry food.
* Supply free access to water and encourage cat to drink.
* Do not feed acidified diet if urine is acid and struvite uroliths are not a problem.
* Long-term use of highly acidified diets can be very harmful.
3. Repair the protective glycosaminoglycan [GAG] layer that lines the bladder.
Paul and Sarah MRCVS
It is very difficult to know how much to put into a newsletter but for the next edition we will explore Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV), show you the first chapter of our new book on Cat First Aid and discuss more aspects of feline behaviour.
Be creative, live long, be happy and follow your own path.
...And the emperor said "Let the party begin!"
Paul and Sarah M's RCVS
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