DENTAL HEALTH: By the age of two, often significant dental conditions are becoming apparent, such as periodontal disease which is a precursor to teeth loss, and oral infections. “Bacterial spray” from mouth infections affects the heart, kidneys and liver. That systemic infection can and does shorten lives.
Anytime you smell any kind of a foul odor in your pet’s mouth, they need to be examined for a dental problem. The bad smell may be from infected teeth or periodontal disease.
Cats are also prone to stomatitis and feline osteoclastic resorptive lesions (FORL), both extremely painful dental condtions. If you suspect your cat not eating normally or feeling “off”, he needs to see a veterinarian.
ANAL GLANDS: Anal glands are located inside the rectum and help “lubricate” the passage of fecal material. Sometimes they get plugged and the pressure becomes uncomfortable.
Expression of the anal glands by a veterinarian or trained technician, relieves the discomfort. A plugged anal gland may abscess or infect. Cats will lick themselves, they may scratch in an attempt to alleviate the pain, they may have hair loss around their abdomen and/or back near the tail.
Chronic anal gland problems often require continued attention. As an alternative, we may suggest surgical removal of the gland for a permanent solution. This is a common condition in cats but rarely recognized by owners and most veterinarians.
SKIN: Skin problems can be caused from allergies to food or environment or a parasitic reason. We look at nutritional changes, different flea control or allergy testing. ** Also see section on Anal Glands.
ABSCESSES: Cats are very prone to abscesses. An abscess occurs when a cat is scratched or has a puncture wound from another cat’s teeth or claws inoculating the wound with bacteria. The infection results in an elevated temperature and a systemically sick and often very painful cat.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Considering a cat scratch or bite wound is usually small and will close up as it attempts to heal, the bacteria that gets trapped inside that wound can create a dangerous infected condition for a human also. If you are ever scratched or bitten by a cat, immediately wash the area well and then seek professional medical advice.
ALLERGIES: Loss of hair, poor quality hair, respiratory, sneezing/wheezing, watery eyes, diarrhea, dermatitis, digestive disorder and weight loss can all be symptoms of an allergic reaction to an environmental or perhaps nutritional cause. We routinely test and treat allergies successfully, desensitizing the patient to his allergies similar to methods commonly used in human medicine.
FOREIGN BODY INGESTION: STRING is a big one! Sewing kits, Christmas ribbon and tinsel …. A cat will play with a “string” and often it will end up inside of the cat. Ingested “string” bunches up the intestines and either cuts off blood supply to part of the intestine or it can cause a blockage. Either of those are often fatal to the cat.
REPRODUCTIVE: If you plan on breeding your cat, excellent husbandry, vaccinations and parasite control are essential to insure a healthy pregnancy and resulting litter.
If raising kittens is not in your plans, spaying a female reduces the chances of reproductive diseases such as a pyometra (uterine infection). Neutering the male tends to eliminate the need to “spray” to mark their territory and the urge to wander is reduced. Spaying and neutering can be done at 6 months. Cats come into heat at 6 – 9 months.
INTERNAL: Older cats can be susceptible to renal disease or diabetes. Observe for changes in water intake, urinary habits and body condition. Older cats (7 or over) should have semi annual check ups and urinalysis performed. **WATCH YOUR CAT’S BEHAVIOR FOR CHANGES**
HEART: Cats will sometimes have a heart condition called cardiomyopathy. Diagnostics usually include radiography and ultrasonography. Appearances could be lack of activity, difficult breathing, less endurance. With correct diagnosis medication can often be used to control the condition.
NAIL TRIMMING: Cats that are not outside don’t have the opportunity to wear off their claws. Lengthening claws will curl back into the pad and often result is a very infected and painful foot. We suggest trimming claws regularly to keep cats comfortable. This can be done at the same appointment that anal glands are expressed.
FLEAS: Cats can be inside pets and still have fleas. Fleas can be tracked in on human’s clothes or shoes or via another animal that comes into the house.
INTERNAL PARASITES: Parasites have become very proficient at survival. Talk to our clinic about the most efficient product and schedule to keep your pet parasite free.
NUTRITION: Obesity is a major cause of diabetes, heart problems and general poor health. We have successful weight control programs in place.
HYPERTHYROIDISM: This is one of the most common diseases in middle aged and older cats. It is characterized by weight loss, increased appetite, perhaps vomiting, increased drinking and increased heart rate. Older cats can also have renal problems that may be hidden by this disease.
MALE URINARY TRACT BLOCKAGE: This is a TRUE EMERGENCY. Notice how often and how your cat urinates, is he leaving urine or just trying? Are there numerous trips to the litter box? It is difficult to notice this condition so watch your cat’s behavior. This is a very painful condition and it WILL NOT get better on its own. The cat will die if not treated.
TALKING/MEOWING: We wish we could tell you that we could all talk “Catinese” at our clinic, but we can’t. BUT, if your cat seems to be talking/meowing more than normal, it may be because of an issue above. Pain will sometimes make a cat meow more or it might make them more quiet. Just be very aware of your cat’s NORMAL behavior so you will know when he is behaving differently.