Medicine

Easily Missed Signs of Skin Cancer in Cats

These tumors are often diagnosed in their advanced stages because of the cats exceptional ability to hide signs of serious disease. However, new research and emerging targeted therapies have the potential to improve lives. The advances may be able to provide a better outcome to patients stricken with these cancers, says Cheryl Balkman, DVM, ACVIM, Senior Lecturer and Chief of Oncology at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dont Ignore Extended Head Pressing

If your cat firmly presses his head against a wall or sofa for extended periods for no apparent reason, dont be quick to dismiss it as attention seeking. He could be facing a significant health problem. Head pressing is an abnormal behavior, Dr. Kaplan says. It should be considered an emergency, and veterinary attention should be sought immediately.

How to Navigate a Second Opinion

When you bring a cat into your family, you make decisions in his best interest for food, litter and veterinary care. As your cats healthcare proxy, youre also responsible for routine check-ups, dental health and vaccinations. Sometimes, however, you may need to make more difficult decisions, perhaps to seek a second opinion when the current treatment isnt working.

A New Era in Medicine: Feline Genetic Screening

Complete genomes - genetic blueprints - of numerous cats DNA have been sequenced in what has been described as a new era in veterinary medicine. Cornells Veterinary Biobank, as one example, is a database of DNA and tissue samples from several species. The biobank is supported in part by the Cornell Feline Health Center.

Cats With Gum Disease Sought for Study

Cornell is seeking cats with chronic, non-responsive gingivostomatitis for a clinical trial using stem cells. The disease causes severe, painful inflammation affecting the gums and mucosa in the mouth. The cause remains unknown. The Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service at Cornell University Hospital for Animals will use the cats own stem cells in the research. Current treatments are less than ideal, unpredictable and associated with possible complications.

Studying the Genetic Basis of Feline Heart Disease

The disease takes several forms: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, where the walls of the heart are thick; restrictive, where the walls are stiff; dilated, where there is thinning and weakening of the heart muscle, and arrhythmogenic right ventricular, where fat and scar tissue replace heart muscle, primarily in the right side of the heart.

Cats Likely Candidates for Giardia

Every time your cat nuzzles up to a neighbors cat or scratches in wet soil where another cat has relieved himself, he runs the risk that he will pick up an uninvited guest: the parasite called giardia. It survives throughout the country in any place thats wet or damp, and thrives inside its hosts. Infection rates will vary depending on geographic location but one study has shown the rates to be about 10 percent in cats, says Brian Collins, DVM, Section Chief of the Community Practice Service at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Geography’s Role in Feline Ear Infections

Ear infections are relatively uncommon in cats - infections of the external ear occur twice as often in dogs. However, you should be aware of these significant facts: A study shows that geography can determine if your cat is likely to develop an ear infection. Left untreated, an infection can become chronic, causing pain and irreparable damage to the ear canal or eardrum. You can become the first line of defense in identifying an ear infection. Simply check your cats ears by giving them a quick rub - something you probably do everyday. Whether your cat shows pleasure or discomfort is a clue to the ears condition.

Acupuncture for Cats Heads Mainstream

Dusty was a black and white cat who hissed, swatted and squirmed anytime a veterinarian or technician tried to restrain her for an examination or, worse, tried to draw blood or give an injection. This same cat, however, transformed into a picture of serenity and calm during acupuncture treatments.

An Exciting New Frontier in Medicine

Your arthritic cat walks stiffly, and its difficult to find a medication to treat him without side effects. Could stem cell therapy be an option? Its use in human medicine has grown in the past decade, heralded as a promising treatment for a host of diseases. The latest area of pioneering research, according to the National Institutes of Health, is adult-derived stem cells for repair of the heart.

Fewer Heartworm Cases, More Severe Signs

Cats are less commonly infected by heartworms than dogs, and approximately 80 percent of infected cats clear the infection without signs of disease, but studies have shown the incidence of infection to be greater than previously thought. One study found that between 2 and 5 percent of shelter cats were harboring heartworms. Other statistics show that the prevalence of heartworm disease in cats likely approaches 5 percent, and that it can even occur in cats living indoors.

When Compounding Is Right for Your Cat

Hrudey was in trouble. The 7-year-old cat had been diagnosed with both kidney disease and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the most common form of heart disease in cats. The double whammy made it difficult to manage his health because of the need to balance the fluids necessary for kidney health with the diuretics that helped control his heart disease. On top of that, of course, his feline nature meant that he wasnt fond of taking medication.