All cats face the risk of heart disease, from domestic shorthairs to prized rare breeds, but the signs can remain undetected for years before resulting in diminished or total loss of cardiac function. The challenge for owners is to be alert to subtle changes in their cats.
Two different disorders in cats - inflammatory bowel disease and a cancer of the gastrointestinal tract called alimentary lymphoma - have similar signs, including lack of appetite, weight loss, vomiting and diarrhea.
Amyloidosis is found in Oriental shorthair, domestic shorthair, Siamese, Burmese and Abyssinian breeds. The disease develops when the abnormal protein amyloid, a fibrous substance, collects for unknown reasons in tissues and organs. The disease can become fatal if amyloid is deposited in the tissue of critical organs, such as the kidneys, liver or heart. The disease also affects humans.
Veterinarians commonly diagnose hypertension with a Doppler system that detects blood flow acoustically. This method uses an inflatable cuff with a gauge that measures pressure within it, a stethoscope and a unit that uses Doppler signals to detect blood flow. The veterinarian or technician places the cuff around a limb, inflates it until blood blood flow in the limb is blocked and then gradually deflates the cuff until blood flow is detected once again. …
Hypertension in people can damage the heart, eyes, kidneys and brain. As dangerous as it is for us, hypertension - also known as high blood pressure - can cause equally serious problems for our cats, especially those 7 years of age and older. Yet its symptoms arent always evident, even to experts. The disease is insidious, meaning signs may come on slowly or not be that apparent. Its been called the silent killer for that very reason. Cats may be a little bit lethargic or may act strangely, but in most cases its not obvious, says cardiologist Bruce Kornreich, DVM, Ph.D., ACVIM, Associate Director of the Feline Health Center at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. The most important thing to keep in mind is target organ damage.
Although your kitty probably wont like his blood being taken, he wont suffer any major discomfort - just a squeeze, a prick and perhaps a little stress, mostly from being restrained.
In this age of high-tech veterinary tools like digital X-rays and color Doppler ultrasound, one humble blood test - a complete blood count - remains at the forefront of diagnosis. A single drop of blood contains millions of cells, and with a scant half teaspoon, your cats veterinarian can quickly identify nearly two dozen types of cells to diagnose conditions ranging from anemia and autoimmune disease to cancers and infections.
The drug mirtazapine, used to treat depression in people, has a surprising side effect in pets: It can stimulate appetite and, in some cases, control nausea and vomiting, which are signs of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in cats.
Cats suffer kidney disease more often than many other species, including dogs and humans. Almost all geriatric cats have some kidney damage. Because the kidneys produce a hormone that stimulates red blood cell production, when the kidneys fail, cats may experience anemia, which is low red-blood cell concentration in the blood. Anemia may limit the delivery of oxygen to vital tissues. It cant be dismissed merely as tired blood to be cured by magic elixirs. Anemia can be life threatening and may occur suddenly. At other times, it may be a clue to a chronic underlying problem like kidney disease. However, advances in veterinary medicine are providing hope.
I recently fostered a rescue dog I was told had eaten the feces of a feral cat while being housed in another foster home. This cat subsequently had his stool tested, and it came back positive for toxoplasma gondii. The dog unfortunately defecated in my car while I was transporting him and I am concerned that I may have been exposed to toxoplasma while cleaning up the mess in my car. Do I need to worry about this?
These are among the treatments that veterinarians increasingly use to improve cats well-being:
Dear Elizabeth: My cat, Couscous, is 15 years old, and I know that I won’t have her here with me forever. I can’t imagine life without her dainty little paws brushing against my face in the morning as she wakes me for breakfast, or the warm, happy mews that she greets me with each time I walk in the door. I read about a company that was cloning cats. How does cloning work, and is this something that I could consider to ensure that Couscous will always be with me?