Injury

Understand the Risk of Glaucoma

The eye is an amazing, delicate organ. Cells within the eye normally produce a clear fluid (aqueous humor) that serves to nourish and maintain the shape of the eye. When the balance between the production and the drainage of fluid is upset, glaucoma can result. Decreased drainage of fluid causes increased pressure (and pain) within the eye, often resulting in damage to the optic nerve and, consequently, loss of vision. While glaucoma is much less common in cats than in dogs, it still poses the same high risk of blindness if left untreated. In fact, even if diagnosed early on, treatment is not always successful.

Taking Your Cat’s Temperature

You may wonder: How exactly can I take my cat’s temperature without being bitten or scratched to smithereens? Obviously, you will need to do it carefully, and if possible, with a partner. Additionally, it’s a smart idea to first have a trained staff member at your veterinary hospital demonstrate the technique for you. There may be a time when your cat is recovering from an illness and you’ll be asked by your veterinarian to monitor her temperature, so it’s a useful skill to aquire.

Taking Your Cat’s Temperature

You may wonder: How exactly can I take my cat’s temperature without being bitten or scratched to smithereens? Obviously, you will need to do it carefully, and if possible, with a partner. Additionally, it’s a smart idea to first have a trained staff member at your veterinary hospital demonstrate the technique for you. There may be a time when your cat is recovering from an illness and you’ll be asked by your veterinarian to monitor her temperature, so it’s a useful skill to aquire.

Earthquake and Tsunami Spared Cat Island

Japans "cat island" - known formally as Tashirojima - was found to be relatively intact after Marchs devasting 9-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami, according to Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support. The small island is home to at least 100 people - mostly elderly - and many more cats. The animals are valued by the residents for their beauty, companionship and ability to keep the rodent population down in this fishing area.

Feline Blood Donors: Necessary

Blood can be the gift of life not just for us, but also for our cats. "A cat suffering severe injury or trauma may require blood transfusions," says Marjory Brooks, DVM, associate director of the coagulation section at Cornell Universitys Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory. Other indications for transfusion include surgical complications and anemia caused by autoimmune disease, renal failure, chemotherapy, parasites in the intestinal tract or fleas. "Young kittens are especially at risk for blood-loss anemia caused by flea infestation," says Dr. Brooks. Cats that need plasma proteins to combat liver disease, clotting problems or rat poisoning may also require a transfusion.

Diagnosis: Conjunctivitis

Your cats eyes, like yours, are delicate structures made up of various components -the cornea, pupil, iris, lens, retina and so forth - each of which plays a role in enabling the animals keen vision. While the feline eye is generally sturdy and resistant to injuries and disease, a wide variety of disorders, such as glaucoma and cataracts, can impair a cats vision and even, in some cases, lead to blindness. According to Thomas Kern, DVM, an associate professor of ophthalmology at Cornell Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine, the most common of all feline eye disorders is conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the thin mucous membrane (conjunctiva) that lines the inner surface of the eyelids and coats the outer surface of the eyeball.

Short Takes: February 2011

Multiple endocrine glandular failure is recognized in humans, yet it is an uncommonly recognized phenomenon in veterinary medicine. This retrospective study ("Multiple endocrine diseases in cats: 15 cases [1997-2008]," Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery, 2010) included a population of cats from a university veterinary teaching hospital diagnosed with multiple endocrine disorders.

Emergency Care for Your Cat

Perhaps the most important characteristic of a responsible cat owner is the ability to distinguish the signs of minor feline illnesses from those calling for an immediate trip to the nearest animal emergency care facility. Cat owners should be equipped ahead of time to deal promptly with such a crisis. They should know precisely where the clinic is located, the speediest route to get there, how to transport the afflicted animal, what documents they should take to the facility - and what to expect to happen upon arrival.

Searching for Signs of Pain in Your Cat

Is there a clear way that we can tell that a cat is in pain? According to Andrea Looney, DVM, a senior lecturer in anesthesiology at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals, "We look at two categories of clinical signs - physiologic and behavioral. The physiologic signs include such indicators as heart rate, temperature, respiratory rate, blood pressure and the levels of certain stress hormones in the blood. "But these indicators are not as reliable as the behavioral signs," she continues. "Each cat is an individual, and we try to look at how they normally behave and how that behavior is different when they come in with complaints.

Can Acupuncture Help Your Pet?

Three or four decades ago, few cat owners or veterinary practitioners in the U.S. knew anything whatsoever about acupuncture, the centuries-old Chinese system of health care that aims to treat physical disorders and their accompanying pain by inserting needles into specific points on a patients body. Today, thousands of veterinarians throughout the nation routinely practice acupuncture in their clinics, and countless cats are benefiting from it. "Im certainly an acupuncture advocate," says Andrea Looney, DVM, a senior lecturer in anesthesiology at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals. "I use it in treating between 10 percent and 20 percent of the patients that I see - not only cats, but dogs, horses and other animals as well." Dr. Looney stresses that she relies on acupuncture as a complementary technique, always using it in conjunction with the standard practices of Western veterinary medicine.

Short Takes: December 2010

Researchers developed a questionnaire for evaluation of cat owners perception of and knowledge about vaccination of cats, with owners asked to fill out a separate questionnaire for each cat they owned. A total of 3,163 questionnaires were evaluated ("Use of a web-based questionnaire to explore cat owners attitudes towards vaccination in cats," Veterinary Record, 2010). Vaccination as a kitten was the strongest predictor of up-to-date vaccination status, followed closely by plans to take the cat to a boarding cattery or cat show in the coming year. Owners who ranked the severity of infectious diseases or veterinary advice as very important were more likely to vaccinate their cats than owners who perceived these factors as less important.

Hypothermia: A Winter Danger

Cats whose breed developed in frigid areas of the world are likely to tolerate cold weather better than cats whose origins can be traced to more temperate regions. But even the fattest, furriest Maine Coon will have only a slight edge over a trim, thin-coated Siamese when it comes to prolonged exposure to the biting winds, ice, snow and sleet that come with winter. Indeed, any cat that is left outside for extended periods of time when the temperature is below freezing - not to mention any poor creature that happens to tumble into an ice-cold pond - will be at risk for a potentially deadly drop in body temperature.