November 2009 Issue

Critical Care for Your Cat

Know the signs of feline illness ó and keep your veterinarianís phone number handy. Hereís why.

A virtually comatose cat was rushed by its distraught owners into the emergency unit of the Cornell University Hospital for Animals (CUHA). The animal, a neutered two-year-old male, hadnít eaten a bite of food or consumed a drop of water for the previous 24 hours. The night prior to his arrival at the hospital, the cat had spent nearly an hour straining in his litter box, apparently in considerable pain, but had neither urinated nor defecated. When his owners awoke the following morning to find the poor animal vomiting intermittently, they finally agreed that emergency care might be warranted. Lucky for them, not to mention the ailing cat, they moved into action. By the time they reached the hospital, the cat was breathing with great effort and lying motionless on his side. A team of veterinarians and licensed veterinary technicians immediately noticed that the animalís bladder was grossly swollen. Clearly, it had a blockage in its lower urinary tract that prevented the passage of urine. The team went speedily to work, feeding fluids into the animal intravenously while relieving the obstruction in its urethra.

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