Medicine

X-Rays: An Indispensable Veterinary Tool

Although animals were used in the early 20th century to test the diagnostic potency of X-rays, the first-generation radiologists involved in those experiments could hardly have imagined a time when most veterinary clinics would be equipped with X-ray machinery and radiology would be a mainstay in the diagnosis of many feline physical disorders. It is difficult to pinpoint the time when X-rays came into widespread use among veterinarians, says Peter Scrivani, DVM. However, he points out, the American College of Veterinary Radiology was founded in 1961. "And thats about the time that the use of the technology by veterinarians really started to take off," says Dr. Scrivani, an assistant professor and director of veterinary diagnostic imaging at Cornell Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine.

Arthritis: A Common Problem

Cats are living longer these days, thanks largely to advances in feline nutrition and veterinary medicine in general. Thats good news. The bad news, however, is that these longer life spans give cats a greater chance of developing arthritis - a painful, debilitating and potentially crippling joint disease that is predominantly age-related. In a study conducted a few years ago, researchers carefully analyzed X-rays of the spines and limbs of 100 middle-aged or elderly cats (10 years of age or older). The X-rays revealed that 90 percent of cats over age 12 showed clearly discernible radiographic signs of arthritis.

Anesthesia: What’s Involved? What Are the Risks?

Any surgical procedure that will be painful to your cat - whether its a matter of stitching up a wound, pulling a tooth, repairing a fractured limb or removing a diseased organ - will require that the animals pain perception be dulled, if not totally blocked, by an anesthetic of some sort. Some cat owners find the notion that a pet will be placed under anesthesia a frightening prospect. What are the chances, an owner might wonder, that the animal, while surviving the operation itself, will fail to fully regain its senses? Or worse: What if it fails to awaken from its drug-induced sleep?

Does Your Cat Seem to Be Losing Her Mind?

Your 17-year-old cat, once a fastidious creature, has been ignoring her litter box for the past several months, defecating and sometimes urinating wherever she pleases throughout the house. She spends most of the day either fast asleep or, if awake, staring blankly at a wall. And at night she wanders about the house in the dark, wailing pathetically. Considering that she seems to be in good physical health, youre apt to wonder whether the cat, at the age of 17 (the equivalent of 85 years or so in a human) might be losing her mind.

Short Takes: 10/07

If you need refills of prescription medications for your cat - and youre tempted to buy the drugs at discount prices from a website - you might wonder whether that bothers your veterinarian. Indeed it does, according to an article in the trade journal Veterinary Economics (Vol. 48, Issue 8). And vets have some persuasive reasons why you should continue to buy cat drugs from them. But first, some reasons to think twice about your cat-care budget: The typical mark-up (beyond the cost to veterinarians) for dispensed medications is 150 percent. Heartworm, flea and tick-control products tend to be marked up 100 percent. And therapeutic food, which some cats eat throughout their lives, is sold by veterinarians at about 45 percent above cost.

Compounding May Help Your Medication Woes

Some cats are model patients. They sit calmly for nail trims and they let you look inside their mouths and even brush their teeth, purring all the while. Other cats - perhaps the majority - are not so accommodating. You just think about trimming their nails and they disappear. Getting a pill into them requires protective gear and strong determination. Drew Weigner, DVM, a board-certified member of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and founder of The Cat Doctor in Atlanta, Georgia, knows all about pill resistance.

Ask Elizabeth: 09/07

Dear Elizabeth: My vet tells me that my indoor-only cat, Izzy, needs to be vaccinated for rabies. We live in an apartment in New York City and Izzy is never outside, so why does she need a rabies vaccine?

Your Cat’s Sense of Hearing

When you call your cat, it often seems like he doesnt hear you at all, but a cats sense of hearing is quite astute. A cat can hear sounds with frequencies from 45 to 60,000 vibrations per second (one vibration per second is called a hertz; 1,000 vibrations per second is called a kilohertz) as opposed to a human who can hear from 20 to 20,000 hertz. Even the canine who may be sleeping at your feet doesnt hear the upper ranges as well as your cat.

How to Medicate Your Cat

Thanks to medical science in general and veterinary health research in particular, a vast array of medicines are available today to treat virtually any acute or chronic feline physical disorder. Many of these medications can be administered only by veterinarians or qualified technicians in animal clinics or hospitals. Others, however, can be administered at home by a cats owner.

First Aid for Your Cat

All cats, no matter how pampered and vigilantly cared for they may be, are prone to serious injury or the sudden onset of life-threatening clinical signs of deeply rooted and perhaps previously unrecognized illness.

Cat Research Woes

Why has feline health research fallen behind? Heres the scoop.

Compounding Drugs

Administering your cats medication can be difficult. Adding a pleasant flavor is one of the ways that compounding can help.