Bad breath: Sign of illness?

Go nose-to-nose with your sleeping cat and give her a loving sniff. If it's not sweet kitty breath that you know and love, but a stench that makes you wince, something may not be right.
Just as the eyes may be windows into the soul, a kitty's breath may hint to her health.

"A healthy cat's breath should not be offensive," says Eric Davis, DVM, a fellow of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry and director of the Dental Referral Service at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Many Different CausesBad breath, in fact, may indicate conditions from periodontal, kidney, respiratory or liver disease to diabetes, skin disease (involving tissue around the lips) or oral trauma, such as electric cord injury."However, by far, the most common problem associated with bad breath is periodontal disease," says Dr. Davis. "Just think how your breath would smell if you didn't brush your teeth for a week, months or even years."

Without good dental care, this preventable disease is likely to cause pain, tooth loss, and infection that, in some cases, can spread to other organs. Without tooth brushing, a film called plaque adheres to the teeth. Over time, this film thickens and hardens, attracting even more plaque. The gums will swell with gingivitis, eventually leading to tissue and bone loss.
Early stages of periodontal disease can be remedied with professional teeth cleaning, which would give your cat a fresh start, but plaque will build up again within days without regular tooth brushing.

Another common cause of bad breath, however, is something caught in your cat's teeth or under her gums," says Dr. Davis. "Food or a strand of hair or string, for example, can get lodged in the little nooks and crannies between teeth and can decompose, soon infecting the surrounding tissue."
Bad breath can also be a sign of diabetes if the breath is sweet, kidney disease if it's urine-like, or liver disease or an intestinal blockage if it's foul (see sidebar). Bad breath can also be the result of a mouth ulcer, mouth sores or even cancer.

To prevent most cases of bad breath, brush your cat's teeth - ideally, every day - using tooth gel for felines. "Link the brushing to a treat, such as drinking water from a dripping faucet or a favorite canned food," advises Dr. Davis. "Just before the treat, you can apply a tiny amount of the gel onto a finger and gently apply it to the cat's teeth. Most cats will forgive your foolish human behavior to savor their desired food or beverage.

Repeat this procedure every day for the first week to establish the new routine. Then, apply the gel a little further back in the mouth, but still without stressing the cat."
If you grip your cat and jam a toothbrush down her throat, the battle is lost. Once the cat is tolerant of the gel on the finger prior to receiving the cherished item, try the same routine with the gel on the brush rather than the finger.

Because cats hate having their mouths forcefully opened, simply stretch back the lips without opening the mouth. Don't bother the tongue side of the teeth or focus too much on the motion. You simply want to disrupt the plaque buildup at the margin between the tooth and the gumline.

The younger your cat, the easier it will be to brush her teeth. Never use toothpaste for humans because some of its components can upset a cat's stomach. And never force the issue; it's not worth putting yourself at risk. Some veterinarians believe that dry food is also better than canned food to prevent plaque buildup.

Occasional Halitosis is OkayNot all cases of bad breath, however, indicate a health problem. Food smells that are repulsive to you - but gusty to your cat - can be harmless. Your cat's breath may be pretty pungent, for example, after she chows down some smoked oysters or canned tuna.

"Nevertheless, consistent bad breath should be checked by a veterinarian," Dr. Davis advises. "Halitosis is a common complaint of cat owners and veterinary examination is usually necessary to identify the cause.

Your cat may need a professional tooth cleaning, an antibiotic to clear up an infection, or other medication for a serious disorder that could jeopardize your cat's health, such as kidney or liver disease."

By Susan Lang

IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)

Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease

By Margaret Muns, DVM

In cats, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is the most common cause of chronic vomiting and diarrhea. The term actually refers to a group of diseases that are characterized by the invasion of inflammatory cells into the cat's intestinal wall.

Symptoms of IBD

One or many of the following symptoms can be found in a cat with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD):

Weight loss
Normal/increased appetite
Stomach rumbling
Black, tarry stools
Flatulence (from digested blood)
Increased thirst
Abdominal pain
Weight loss

In severe cases, weight loss can be extreme. Vomiting cats will seldom produce food in a cat's vomit. Instead, the vomit usually consists of bile-stained mucus. The presence of hair or partially digested food in the vomit indicates that the disease also involves the cat's stomach.
The most common form of inflammatory bowel disease in cats is the presence of lymphocytes and plasma cells, which produce a diagnosis of lymphocytic-plasmacytic enteritis (LPE).

Causes of LPE

This disease can develop in one of two ways. The inflammatory cells can enter the intestinal wall in response to an injury or infection. Or, parasites, food intolerance, bacteria, fungi, or cancer can cause activation of the immune system and subsequent inflammation.
Cats that are affected with LPE may have a defective intestinal wall barrier. This defect allows normal intestinal bacteria to leak into the deeper layers of the intestinal wall, and the body mounts an immune response to remove them. Subsequent inflammation damages the gut wall even further, allowing more bacteria to enter the deeper tissues.

History and Clinical Signs

The most consistent clinical signs associated with feline lymphocytic-plasmacytic enteritis are those consistent with a small-bowel diarrhea syndrome.

LPE can occur in cats of any age, but most commonly appears in older cats. LPE can affect any area of the intestinal tract, and can also be very localized. Consequently, the symptoms of an affected cat are quite variable.

For example, clinical signs in some cats can appear suddenly, while in others, the signs can be more subtle and intermittent. Many cats experience exacerbation of symptoms only during times of stress, while others experience constant problems.

Vomiting may be the only symptom of LPE. Often, cats with chronic vomiting are misdiagnosed and treated symptomatically for stomach or pancreatic disease, when the disease is actually located in the small intestine.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Appropriate tests must be chosen by your veterinarian to rule out infectious disease, parasites, obstructions and cancer. Metabolic disease (especially, hyperthyroidism), concurrent large bowel disease, and pancreatic insufficiency must be eliminated, since each can closely mimic the symptoms of LPE. It is also important that your cat is screened for the viral infections feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency because both diseases can be associated with IBD.

In severe cases of LPE, cats may have one or more abnormal test results that indicate advanced intestinal wall damage. In these cases, protein leaks into the intestinal tract and subsequently, cats can have abnormally low serum protein levels.

Definitive diagnosis of feline LPE can only be made by examining biopsy samples from the intestinal tract. Lymphocytic-plasmacytic enteritis lesions can be very localized, leaving the surface of the intestinal wall normal. If only grossly abnormal tissues are sampled, the diagnosis may be missed.

The pathologist will usually report cases of LPE as mild, moderate, or severe. A diagnosis of mild lymphocytic-plasmacytic enteritis may just indicate a reaction to an underlying parasitic or infectious disease, and the underlying causes should be addressed. A diagnosis of moderate to severe LPE tells the veterinarian that more aggressive therapy should be considered.

Dietary Therapy

Dietary therapy for feline LPE may or may not help, but it is certainly worth trying. Inflammatory response can be triggered by an abnormal immune reaction to normal intestinal components. Therefore, it may be possible that one or more ingredients in the cat's food may be one of the underlying causes.

Even if dietary therapy alone doesn't resolve the cat's symptoms, it can allow other treatments to be more effective. Occasionally, a cat can be completely weaned off oral medication and maintained on dietary therapy alone. One possible explanation for the efficacy of dietary therapy is that it helps the intestinal tract to compensate better, despite ongoing inflammation.

Effective dietary therapy for feline LPE involves feeding the cat a diet that is unlikely to trigger an immune response within the intestinal tract. To accomplish this, the cat must be fed a home-cooked elimination diet composed of a protein and carbohydrate source. Commercial hypoallergenic diets are not effective.

A careful dietary history should be obtained to find out which ingredients the cat has eaten over its lifetime. Once known, a food can be formulated consisting of a protein and carbohydrate source that the cat has never had. During the dietary trial (ideally five to six weeks), nothing but that special diet and water must be ingested by the cat, including treats, chewable vitamins, or chewable medications. If the cat has improved by the time the trial period ends, you can try switching to a commercial diet based on the protein source used.

Some cases of feline LPE may benefit from additional dietary manipulation. Adding extra fiber into the diet may help cats with large bowel involvement. Although the increased fiber doesn't have any anti-inflammatory effect, it can help to improve fluid balance inside the intestine and relieve diarrhea. Severe cases may benefit from additional vitamin and mineral supplementation.

A severely inflamed small intestine cannot absorb vitamins and minerals efficiently, which can result in a deficiency. Vitamin deficiencies can adversely affect the course of the disease. For example, folic acid and cobalamin may contribute to the small intestine's ability to repair itself. Therefore, supplementation of these important vitamins should be considered.

Drug Therapy

There is no set treatment regimen for every case of lymphocytic-plasmacytic enteritis in the cat. The appropriate choice of immune-suppressing drugs for treating feline LPE is up to your veterinarian. Treatment must be tailored to each cat's needs.

Prednisone (a potent corticosteroid) is usually the initial drug of choice for treating feline LPE. As a class, the corticosteroids are powerful immune suppressive and anti- inflammatory agents. In addition, treatment with corticosteroids may improve the fluid and electrolyte balance within the intestine. This can have a significant role in decreasing diarrhea.

If prednisone alone is given, then improvement should be noted within the first one to two weeks of therapy.Most cats with lymphocytic-plasmacytic enteritis will require life-long prednisone therapy to avoid a relapse.

In severe cases of LPE, azathioprine can be useful as a very potent immunosuppressive drug. Adding this drug to the treatment should be considered in cats that are not responsive to prednisone alone. Also, azathioprine can be used in cats that just cannot tolerate the adverse effects of prednisone. However, cat owners must wait three to four weeks before azathioprine will take effect.

Several other drugs can be tried for treating feline LPE. There is evidence that metronidazole may have a direct immune suppressing effect. Cyclophosphamide is a chemotherapy drug that also has potent immune suppressing qualities. Again, it is important that your veterinarian choose the appropriate treatment for your cat.


Most cases of feline lymphocytic-plasmacytic enteritis cannot be cured, although the disease is not usually life threatening. With aggressive therapy, many cases can be adequately controlled.

Feline Hypertension (High blood pressure)

High blood pressure (hypertension) in cats

Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure, which is a common problem in people. More recently, it has been recognised as an important medical condition of cats.

Feline hypertension is commonly found as a complication of other underlying medical conditions (so-called �secondary hypertension'), although primary hypertension (hypertension without any underlying disease) may also be seen in cats. In contrast to people, where primary hypertension (also called essential hypertension) is most common, secondary hypertension is more common in cats. The most common causes of secondary hypertension in cats are chronic kidney failure and hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland). Other more rare causes of hypertension would include acromegaly (a tumour producing excessive amounts of growth hormone) and Cushing's disease (a tumour of the pituitary or adrenal gland resulting in excessive production of corticosteroids by the body).

Effects of hypertension
Hypertension is damaging to the body. The effects are most serious in certain vulnerable organs:

Bleeding into the eyes and retinal changes such as swelling and detachment can occur and this may result in damage to the cat's vision which is often permanent. In some cases, bleeding into the front chamber of the eye can be seen without the use of special veterinary equipment

Brain and nervous system
Bleeding in this area of the body can cause neurological signs such as odd behaviour, a wobbly or drunken gait, seizures, dementia and coma.

Over time, the muscle of one of the heart chambers (the left ventricle) becomes thickened, as the heart has to work harder to pump the blood when there is high blood pressure. In very severe cases, this can lead to the development of congestive heart failure. Affected cats may show signs of breathlessness and lethargy.

Over time, high blood pressure damages the kidneys and may increase the risk of kidney failure developing. In cats with existing renal failure, the hypertension is likely to make the renal failure significantly worse over time.

Clinical findings
As hypertension is often seen as an effect of other diseases, cats with hypertension may be showing signs attributable to their underlying problem. For example, in the case of hyperthyroid cats with high blood pressure, weight loss (in spite of a voracious appetite) and hyperactivity may be the major clinical signs. In many patients, no specific clinical signs of hypertension will be seen until the condition advances to the point where there is spontaneous bleeding into the eye or retinal detachment - these cats are often taken to a veterinary surgeon as they develop sudden onset blindness. Early recognition of hypertension is therefore important in order to minimise the severe and often permanently damaging effects of persistently high blood pressure on the eyes and other organs. Some cats with hypertension do appear depressed, lethargic and withdrawn, and many owners notice an improvement in their cats' behaviour once hypertension has been successfully managed even if signs of damage to other organs are not present.

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Destructive Scratching

Why Do Cats Scratch?

Although some people think a cat's scratching behavior is a reflection of his distaste for a couch's upholstery, a not-so-subtle hint to open the drapes, or a poorly conceived Zorro impersonation, the fact is that cats scratch objects in their environment for many perfectly normal reasons. For instance, cats scratch:
To remove the dead outer layer of their claws.
To mark their territory by leaving both a visual mark and a scent�they have scent glands on their paws.
To stretch their bodies and flex their feet and claws.
To work off energy.

Because scratching is a normal behavior, and one that cats are highly motivated to display, it's unrealistic to try to prevent them from scratching. Instead, the goal in resolving scratching problems is to redirect the scratching onto acceptable objects.

Training Your Cat to Scratch Acceptable Objects

You must provide objects for scratching that are appealing, attractive, and convenient from your cat's point of view. Start by observing the physical features of the objects your cat is scratching. The answers to the following questions will help you understand your cat's scratching preferences:
Where are they located?

Prominent objects, objects close to sleeping areas, and objects near the entrance to a room are often chosen.
What texture do they have�are they soft or coarse?
What shape do they have�are they horizontal or vertical?
How tall are they? At what height does your cat scratch?

Now, considering your cat's demonstrated preferences, substitute similar objects for her to scratch (rope-wrapped posts, corrugated cardboard, or even a log). Place the acceptable object(s) near the inappropriate object(s) that she's already using. Make sure the objects are stable and won't fall over or move around when she uses them.
Cover the inappropriate objects with something your cat will find unappealing, such as double-sided sticky tape, aluminum foil, sheets of sandpaper, or a plastic carpet runner with the pointy side up. Or you may give the objects an aversive odor by attaching cotton balls containing perfume, a muscle rub, or other safe yet unpleasant substance.

Be careful with odors, though, because you don't want the nearby acceptable objects to also smell unpleasant.
When your cat is consistently using the appropriate object, it can be moved very gradually (no more than three inches each day) to a location more suitable to you. It's best, however, to keep the appropriate scratching objects as close to your cat's preferred scratching locations as possible.
Don't remove the unappealing coverings or odors from the inappropriate objects until your cat is consistently using the appropriate objects in their permanent locations for several weeks, or even a month. They should then be removed gradually, not all at once.

TNR: Trap Neuter Return

Alley Cat Allies (ACA)

National information clearing house and advocacy organization working to establish effective nonlethal programs, including Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), as the standard method of reducing feral cat populations. ACA functions through print, video, and web based information; workshops and conferences; and by consulting with individuals, groups, agencies, and institutions that work directly with feral cats. ACA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit association based in Bethesda, MD, and is supported by 95,000 donors and activists.

A nonlethal sterilization method to reduce the number of feral cats in the environment both immediately and for the long term. A comprehensive, ongoing program in which stray and feral cats already living outdoors in cities, towns, and rural areas are humanely trapped, then evaluated, vaccinated, and sterilized by veterinarians. Kittens and tame (stray) cats are adopted into good homes. Healthy adult cats too wild (feral) to be adopted are returned to their familiar habitat under the lifelong care of volunteers. Cats that are ill or injured beyond recovery are not returned to the environment.

TNR was brought to the United States from Europe and the United Kingdom in the late �80s. The practice of TNR grew rapidly in the �90s when Alley Cat Allies began providing information and assistance to people caring for feral cats who recognized that their numbers must be controlled and reduced through sterilization. In communities where TNR is widely embraced, feral cat numbers have dropped.

TNR programs operate largely or entirely through the dedicated efforts of committed volunteers. TNR works because it breaks the cycle of reproduction. In general, the cost of sterilizing and returning a feral cat is less than half the cost of trapping, holding, killing, and disposing of a feral cat. TNR protects public health and advances the goal of reducing the numbers of feral cats in the environment. The public supports humane, nonlethal TNR as the long-term solution to feral cat overpopulation.

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Feline upper respiratory infection (URI)


What cats are at risk?

Despite the highly contagious nature of all the feline upper respiratory agents, it is important to realize that most cats are at very small risk for exposure. In other words, in order to get this kind of infection, a cat must be in the same home as an infected cat or share the same human caretaker, toys or food bowls.

Typically infected cats come from the shelter, are outdoor cats, or are housed in close contact with lots of other cats (experiencing crowding stress). Persian cats are predisposed to upper respiratory infection due to their inherent facial flattening. The average housecat who is not exposed to any rescued kittens, lives with only one or two other cats at most, and never goes outside is unlikely break with infection. Kittens are predisposed due to their immature immune

Viruses are spread by the wet sneezes on infected or carrier individuals. The Herpesvirus is very fragile, surviving only 18 hours outside its host; calici is tougher, lasting up to 10 days. Bleach will readily inactivate either virus but calici is able to withstand unbleached laundry detergents.

Stop animal abuse

He was a 3 month old kitten that two teenage girls set on fire for fun, in early 2007. Since then he's made a full recovery, and now has a happy, loving home.

He was one of the Lucky ones.

Every year billions of other animals that would normally make wonderful pets are killed, maimed, tortured, tested on, and/or kept in unthinkable living conditions. In addition to that, an estimated eighty percent of the world's population of cats and dogs are staving, neglected, diseased, or are seen as pests.

If you go deeper still the black market of trading exotic animal parts has a multi-billion dollar annual income. And that's just the tip of the iceberg; do I have your attention yet?
A Universal Declaration of Animal Welfare has been created, in hopes to present it to the UN in the near future. Before this can happen a world wide petition needs over 10 million signatures! I know, it's a HUGE number, an intimidating number, but its far from an impossible number.
When I first saw the petition I thought the same thing you're thinking now; "Wow, that's soo many signatures, this petition will probably never make it." The I realized I was right, the petition would never get anywhere if I kept thinking that way. Think about it, there are almost 7,000,000,000 (6,617,726,009, to be exact) people on the planet. Basically we need .14% of the world's population. That's nothing. About 13,000 signatures for a SINGLE animal were collected in less than a month, surely we can get to 10 million for all of Earth's animals in a reasonable amount of time.
If you've ever been around an animal, you know just as well as they do that they are capable of pain, and emotions, just as much as we are. Animals may not be as smart as we are, but they are defiantly not stupid enough to not be terrified of something horrible, or realize that their death is soon at hand.
Please, if you've ever had a pet, seen an animal abused, or even heard a store about mistreatment, please, sign this petition for that animal's sake. Animals don't need to suffer for our benefit, and a devastating toll does not need to be taken on the Earth because of our selfishness. If we come together, we can make a difference. We can change the world for the better!

PLEASE! Sign the petition for a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare to be presented before the UN!! To learn more, please visit our myspace

Help prevent lose, get your Cat microchipped

"Our pets can be separated from us due to unforeseen reasons even when we are very careful. It can happen to you."

A family member is visiting or the cleaning person is over and your pet sneaks out. A hurricane can separate us from our pets too.

You have seen news media on lost pets due to hurricanes its heartbreaking!

A microchip is a small rice like capsule that is injected into the skin by the shoulder blades. Microchiping is easy and painless and can be done by a shelter or your veterinarian.

If you adopt a pet from a shelter alot of time they are already micro chipped. If your pet is lost and someone brings them to a shelter or vet clinic they will be scanned and that number will register to you.

It is very important that you fill out all paperwork and mail in the registration and be sure to contact the microchip company when you move to update your new address!

Carolyn Nassif
Purr'fect Pet Sitting For Cats
Sarasota fl.

Urinary disease in cats

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease Holly Nash, DVM, MS Veterinary Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) was formerly called 'feline urologic syndrome' or FUS. FLUTD affects the cat's urinary bladder and sometimes the urethra (the tube-like structure that leads from the bladder to the outside of the body). The term 'FLUTD' is broad and covers a number of conditions of the urinary tract in cats.

What are the symptoms of FLUTD?
FLUTD is a serious disease and if left untreated, it can result in death. Signs of FLUTD include:
Prolonged squatting or straining in or out of the litter box (some owners may confuse this with signs of constipation) and not producing urine or only a small amount

Frequent urination or straining

Pain while urinating (meowing or howling)

Urinating outside of the litter box

Blood in the urine

Frequent licking of the genital area



Some cats with FLUTD develop crystals in their urine. In the male cat, these crystals can block his urethra preventing him from urinating even though the bladder still fills. Sometimes, a plug can form and also block the urethra. You may have heard of a male cat with this condition called a 'blocked tom.'

What causes FLUTD?
Several factors can contribute to this disease including bacterial or viral infections, trauma, crystals in the urine, bladder stones, tumors of the urinary tract, and
congenital abnormalities. In many cases, the cause is never discovered. Factors that may contribute to development of FLUTD include:

Not drinking enough water

A diet high in magnesium or other minerals

Too much acidity or alkalinity of the urine


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Hyperthyroidism in cats

Hyperthyroidism in CatsVeterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc

Hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrine (hormone) disorder that affects cats. It creates a wide range of signs resulting from the overproduction of thyroid hormone made by the thyroid gland.

What is the thyroid gland?
The thyroid gland is a small and consists of two lobes, one on each side of the trachea (windpipe) in the neck. This gland produces the major thyroid hormone called thyroxine (T4) and a small amount of another hormone, triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones regulate the body's metabolic rate and affect every system in the body. The production of the thyroid hormones is controlled by the hormone called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH is produced by the pituitary gland, which is found at the base of the brain.

What causes hyperthyroidism?
If the thyroid gland produces excess amounts of the thyroid hormones, the condition called hyperthyroidism results. The most common cause is benign (non-cancerous) increases in the number of cells in the thyroid gland. Groups of these abnormal cells form small nodules on the thyroid gland and are termed adenomas. Multiple adenomas may form in the same lobe, and in approximately 70% of the cases, both lobes are involved. Only 1-2% of hyperthyroid conditions in cats are caused by malignancy (cancer).

The incidence of hyperthyroidism in cats has increased remarkedly in the last 25 years. The reason for this is unknown, but probably due to multiple factors. The ingredients and types of foods fed, immunological factors, and environmental influences may be involved.

Which cats are most likely to become hyperthyroid?
Hyperthyroidism occurs most commonly in middle to old-age cats with a reported range of onset between 4 and 22 years. The median age for acquiring the disorder is just under 13 years. Only 5% of hyperthyroid cats develop the disease before 8 years of age. There does not appear to be a breed or sex predilection.

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Feline Asthma

Feline Asthma
Susan Little, DVM, DABVP (Feline)�2003

Feline asthma has been called by many other names, including chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, and allergic bronchitis. Regardless of the name, it is a common feline ailment. Inhaled allergens cause sudden contraction of the smooth muscles around airways, leading to typical clinical symptoms. It is usually impossible to determine which allergens cause asthma in individual cats, but common ones include grass and tree pollens, cigarette or fireplace smoke, various sprays (hair sprays, deodorants, flea sprays, deodorizers), and dust from cat litter.

Feline asthma is found in all areas of the world and in cats of all ages. The prevalence in the general adult cat population is about 1%. The most common symptoms in cats with asthma are wheezing and coughing. The coughing has been described as a dry, hacking cough that could be confused with gagging or retching. Many cats are misdiagnosed as having hairballs! Paroxysms of coughing occur frequently. In mildly affected cats, coughing and wheezing may occur only occasionally. A few cats with asthma are asymptomatic in between acute and severe bouts of airway constriction. The most severely affected cats have daily coughing and wheezing and many bouts of airway constriction, leading to open-mouth breathing and panting that can be life threatening.

The symptoms of asthma can mimic other diseases, such as heartworm, pneumonia and congestive heart failure. A diagnosis is reached by using chest x-rays, a complete blood count, a feline heartworm test, and a technique to sample cells from the lower airways (transtracheal wash, bronchial wash, or bronchoalveolar lavage). Chest x-rays may be normal in some cats with asthma, while others will have signs of bronchial inflammation, collapse of the right middle lung lobe, and over inflation of the lungs.

Unfortunately, feline asthma is a chronic progressive disease that cannot be fully cured. Medications can reduce the symptoms of asthma a great deal, but may not be able to eliminate coughing fully. In recent years, veterinarians have found that the most effective therapy for feline asthma may be to use inhalers such as human asthmatics use. A mask and spacer system, called AeroKat�, has been invented to enable cats to use inhalers or puffers. This system is similar to the mask and spacer system used to treat babies and small children.

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Feline chin acne

Feline Acne:Holly Nash, DVM, MSVeterinary Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.

Feline acne is a condition in which comedones (blackheads) develop on the chin of a cat.

What causes feline acne?
The exact cause of feline acne is not known, but several factors appear to be associated with its development including stress, a suppressed immune system, poor grooming habits, the presence of other diseases,
contact or atopic dermatitis, and skin conditions in which abnormal amounts of oils are produced and the hair follicles do not function properly.

What are the signs of feline acne?
Multiple comedones form on the chin and lips of the cat, and the chin may appear "dirty." The comedones can develop into small abscesses, which break open and form
crusts. In severe cases, draining tracts, hair loss, and swelling may develop on the chin. It may be itchy and cause the cat to scratch, which can lead to even more trauma to the area. Secondary bacterial infections can develop. The condition may appear only once in the life of a cat, it may come and go, or may remain for the life of the cat. In Persian cats, the condition may also affect the face and skin folds.
Feline acne occurs equally in male and female cats, and in cats of all ages and breeds.

Feline acne can be controlled, but is not really "cured." Very mild cases of feline acne in which there are no symptoms may not be treated. In other cases, antiseborrheic shampoos, such as those containing benzoyl peroxide (at a concentration of 3% or less), are used to break down the excess oils. Supplementation with fatty acids may be beneficial. Oral or topical antibiotics may be used if there is a secondary bacterial infection. Topical vitamin A (0.05% Retin-A) can often be used, but it is irritating, and needs to be applied very sparingly. Oral retinoid (Isotretinoin) therapy may be used in severe cases, but the drug is teratogenic (causes birth defects) in cats and humans, and needs to be handled very carefully. If there is a large amount of inflammation, a short course of corticosteroids, such as prednisone may be given.

It may be helpful to switch food and water dishes to a stainless steel or glass variety in the event an allergic reaction may be a contributing factor (cats can be allergic to plastics and dyes). Using a very shallow dish can also be helpful. Owners should regularly clean the chins of cats who are prone to the development of feline acne and/or have poor grooming habits.

Trimming your cats nails

Notice the pink tissue (the quick) on the inside of the claw.
Avoid the quick when you trim the claw; cutting into it will
cause pain and bleeding Remove the sharp tip below the
quick (away from the toe), clipping about halfway between
the end of the quick and the tip of claw.

Most cats are capable of' keeping their claws the proper length, either by scratching an object (preferably a scratch post rather than the leg of' your couch) or by chewing off the claw's outer layer (the usual technique for the rear claws). Only rarely (toes a cat-perhaps an old or debilitated cat, or one with extra toes-need human intervention to keep the claws from growing so long that they arc into the pad. Claw trimming 'is a matter less of length than of sharpness. The obvious advantage of keeping your cat's claws blunt is that any scratching will cause less damage.

If possible start training your cat to have her claws trimmed as a kitten. Gently stroke your cat's paws often, getting her used to having her paws held before you attempt trimming. Be sure to reward your cat with a special food treat-one that she receives only during claw trimming or some other grooming procedure-during or immediately after trimming. The best time to trim your cat's claws is when she is relaxed or sleepy. Never try to give a pedicure right after a stressful experience or an energetic round of play.

Your cat should be resting comfortably on your lap, the floor, or a table. Hold a paw in one hand and press a toe pad gently to extend the claw. Notice the pink tissue (the quick) on the inside of the claw. Avoid the quick when you trim the claw; cutting into it will cause pain and bleeding Remove the sharp tip below the quick (away from the toe), clipping about halfway between the end of the quick and the tip of claw. If your cat becomes impatient, take a break and try again later. Even if you can clip only a claw or two a day, eventually you'll complete the task. (Because cats do little damage with their rear claws and do a good job of keeping them trim themselves-by chewing them-many cat owners never clip the rear claws. Others trim their cats' rear claws three or four times a year or have them done by their veterinarian or a professional groomer.)

If you accidentally clip into the quick, don't panic. The claw may bleed for a moment, but it Will usually stop very quickly. Soothe your cat by speaking softly to tier and stroking her head. If the bleeding hasn't stopped after a minute or so, touch a styptic pencil to the claw end or pat on styptic powder to help staunch the bleeding.
How often you need to clip your cat's claws depends somewhat on how much of the tip you remove, but usually a clipping every ten to fourteen days will suffice. If' your cat absolutely refuses to allow you to clip tier claws, get help from your veterinarian or a professional groomer.

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Feline Vision

Feline Vision: A Cat�s Eye View
You and your cat see the world differently. True, your eyes are built around the same design, but each of you has specializations that make your vision best for your needs. You evolved as a fruit-eating diurnal animal; your cat evolved as a meat-eating nocturnal animal. You evolved to have good detail and color vision; your cat evolved to have good vision in the dark. Compare your eye to your cat�s eye, and you�ll understand how each of you attains the best vision for your needs.

The Pupil
Light enters through the pupil, which gets larger or smaller to let more or less light in. The cat�s pupil can get much larger than your pupil can, letting in more light, but it does so at the expense of good depth of field (the distance over which objects can be put into clear focus).
When the cat�s pupil contracts, it doesn�t stay round as a person�s does, but becomes a vertical slit. Slit pupils are seen in animals that are active in both day and night; their advantage is that they can cover a great range of sizes, getting much smaller, much faster, than can a round pupil. Their disadvantage is that when they are in their slit formation, they create optical interference that makes perfect focus difficult.

The Lens
After passing through the pupil, light is collected and focused by the lens. The cat�s lens is much larger than the human lens, which enables the lens to gather more light. But again, there�s a trade-off: while the small human lens can change shape to focus light over a great range of distances, the big cat lens can hardly change its shape at all. As a result, cats have difficulty focusing on objects very close to them, very much like an older person who needs reading glasses.

The Retina
The optics of the eye work to focus an image on the retina, the lining at the back of the eye which is made up of cells that react to light. Several factors influence how fine the detail is that a retina can pick up. First, how well is the image focused upon the retina? If the lens is too strong for the distance between it and retina, the image will come to a focus before it gets to the retina and will be defocused by the time it reaches it. If the lens is too weak for the distance to the retina, the image will still be unfocussed when it reaches it. In most cats, the lens strength is appropriate for the distance to the retina; that is, cats are neither nearsighted nor farsighted.
Second, the farther the distance to the retina, and the larger the retina, the larger the image can be on the retina. Cats have large eyes and retinas for their size.

Third, the smaller the sampling grain on the retina, the better the ability to detect details. Both cats and people have two different types of receptors in their retinas, each with a different sampling grain. Rods pool light from comparatively large areas on the retina, while cones have a very fine sampling grain. Humans have a cone-rich retina, and even have an area in the center of the visual field made up of only cones. Cats have a rod-rich retina, and no cone-only area.

Cones and Color Vision
The end result is that cats have poor detail vision compared to humans. And because cones are also responsible for color vision, cats have comparatively poor color vision. But they�re not colorblind. Instead, they have the same type of color vision as many people who are called colorblind: a type of red-green colorblindness termed deuteranopia. They can see blue versus other color fine, but tend to confuse colors on the red through brown through green continuum

Night Vision
Cats give up the ability to see fine detail and rich colors in exchange for the ability to see in the dark. The level of retina illumination is about five times higher in your cat�s eye than in yours. And all those rods pooling signals from minute amounts of light allow the cat to pick up the faintest light source. Nonetheless, some light still manages to pass between the rods and cones. Instead of letting it be absorbed at the back of the eye, as the human eye does, the cat has a structure called the tapetum lucidum that reflects light back to the receptors for a second chance to create a signal. The eye shine you see when you shine a light at a cat in the dark is the reflected light that has managed to elude the receptors in both directions and is bouncing back to you from the tapetum. The end result is that cats can see light at eight times dimmer

illumination than you can!
In summary, the cat�s eye is specialized to see in dim and changing light. To achieve this it sacrifices the ability to focus close up, detail vision, and some color vision. It is the vision of a hunter active in both day and night, enabling it to detect movement under any lighting conditions, to use binocular vision to gauge distance, and to aim correctly to catch prey.

*Article by Dr Christianne Schelling

The Animals' Savior

I looked at all the caged animals in the shelter - the cast-offs of human society. I saw in their eyes love and hope, fear and dread, sadness and betrayal.

And I was angry. "God", I said, "This is terrible! Why don't You do something?"

God was silent a moment, and then He spoke softly. "I have done something", He replied.

"I created you."

-Jim Willis

Dont use DOG flea treatments on CATS!!

Dog flea treatments killing cats
08 November 2007

Hundreds of cats are dying needlessly after being accidentally treated with commonly used dog flea treatments, says a study produced by the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS), part of Guy�s and St Thomas� NHS Foundation Trust.

Following their recent joint study, the VPIS has joined forces with cat welfare charity Feline Advisory Bureau (FAB) to warn owners of the dangers of using dog flea preparations on cats.
The study found one in 10 cats reported to the VPIS died, after being exposed to spot-on dog treatments containing the chemical permethrin.

Permethrin is so poisonous to cats they can become seriously ill even if they come into close contact with treated dogs, such as by sharing bedding.
Pemethrin is of low toxicity to most mammals, but because of metabolic deficiency, it is highly toxic to cats.

Permethrin is a pyrethroid, a type of insecticide which is commonly found in pet flea treatments, ant-killers, fly sprays and other pesticide products.
The VPIS, which is part of the Medical Toxicology Unit at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital, regularly receives enquiries from vets across the UK about cats being exposed to permethrin.
The VPIS study reviewed 286 cases where canine spot-on permethrin preparations had been used on cats.

Of these cases:
97 per cent of the cats had signs of poisoning
88 per cent had twitching and/or convulsions
10.5 per cent of the cats died or were euthanased
The VPIS has already received over 230 enquiries this year about cats that had been exposed to permethrin.

However, VPIS manager Alex Campbell said he believed these figures indicate the problem was even more widespread and the number of poisonings understated.
"Not all veterinary practices use the VPIS, and not all vets will report every case. If this chemical is used, it can cause severe illness and death in cats."
Alex said cats poisoned with permethrin may need two to three days of intensive veterinary treatment.

He said: "There is no need to use permethrin containing products to control fleas on cats. There are many different 'spot-on' medications formulated specifically for cats, none of which contain permethrin".

The VPIS and FAB are urging cat owners to check very carefully when treating their cats with spot-on products. Owners should ensure they do not use flea treatments designed for dogs and especially notones that contain permethrin.
Advice should be sought from a vet or a qualified professional on the most appropriate, safe and effective flea treatments to use on cats.

VPIS and FAB are lobbying manufacturers to make the warning on permethrin containing flea treatments for dogs more noticeable.

He said: "Accidents inevitably occur, but it's not enough for the manufacturers of these products to say there is a warning on the packet. It must be visible, understandable, and printed on both the packet and the container itself to reduce the incidence of serious poisoning.

"They have a responsibility to their customers, and both have a duty to the animals under their care."

Cats nearly died from hartz flea drops

One owners story:

"I am so sorry i did not see this site before purchasing hartz ultraguard for cats.

I nearly killed my two babies, and I feel now as if i had put a virtual gun to their heads. I applied as directed, carefully separated them for over 12 hours, only to find the product did NOT dry. i called the"hartz hotline" only to get a person with limited english and no idea what i was talking about. all he kept saying was "wash it off". i tried to do that, but this stuff is petroleum based and oily. it stuck to their hair, and was impossible to remove. as i washed them, i got sick myself, just from touching them - swollen eyes, itching and shortness of breath.

By the next morning, both cats were lethargic, glazed eyes, barely moving. both had vomited and had diarrhea repeatedly through the night. i was unaware until i saw the results in the morning. i rushed them to the vet. they both needed fluids and veterinary assistants them both. the people handling them all complained of headaches and dizziness. After repeated washings, most of the residue was gone, but the effects remained from what had penetrated the skin. they were very sick for three more days, and needed repeated fluid infusions to keep them hydrated.

Finally after 5 days, both started to eat a little (after force feeding them high caloric supplements to keep them going while sick) and then they drank some, and i think we have turned the corner now. they are finally starting to move around a little and look more alert. The people who run hartz should be forced to eat this stuff, or thrown into a big vat of it. then maybe they would have some idea what they are doing to us and our pets. This stuff is lethal, and somehow we have to get it pulled from the marketplace. i have complained to the national pesticide hotline, epa, and of course, hartz themselves. everyone MUST complain. it is the only way.

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Cats and milk

Should Cats Drink Milk?

In the movies, cats love a bowl of cold milk. In the real world, giving a cat milk can do more harm than good. While milk might seem like a natural choice for your cat, the truth is that cow�s milk offers no nutritional value for cats, and it can cause digestive problems in many. The reason is that most cats develop intolerance to lactose shortly after they are weaned. This means that they are unable to digest the sugars that occur naturally in milk. This causes problems that include diarrhea and other unpleasant digestive problems.
Some people think that cats need to have milk in order to get all the necessary nutrients. This is not true. In fact, cow�s milk does nothing to meet a cat�s nutritional needs. If a cat was fed only milk, it would not be able to survive. Feral cats provide proof that cats do not need milk to be healthy, as wild cats do not usually have the opportunity to drink cow�s milk. As long as your cat is eating a high quality food, and has access to clean fresh water, she is getting all that she needs. Milk alone is not a sufficient diet for any cat, and should never be given in place of food OR in place of water. Replacing a cat�s food or water with milk can cause your cat to become malnourished.
Many cats do seem to enjoy milk, and this causes a dilemma for many cat owners who love to give their cat treats that they enjoy. While most cats are lactose intolerant, some are not. For these cats, milk as an occasional treat is fine. The only way to know how your cat will react to milk is to feed her some. If she does not develop diarrhea then it is safe to assume that she is not lactose intolerant, and you can continue to give her the treat she loves. Again, milk should never be given in place of food, but as a treat.
If your cat IS lactose intolerant, but still seems to crave a bowl of milk now and then, there is a way to satisfy her without upsetting her digestive system. Milk substitute that is specially formulated for cats is sold in most pet food stores. Like regular milk, it should only be given as a treat and not as a replacement for meals. Even if you feed this "cats milk" on a regular basis, a high quality cat food and fresh water should always be available. Another option for lactose intolerant cats is to give lactose-free milk. This milk is available in the same aisle as regular milk in most grocery stores.
In addition to cat�s milk there are a lot of other ways to treat your cats to special food. If your cat normally eats dry food, give her some wet food once or twice a week as a special treat. Many makers of dry cat food also make wet food, so you can stick with your favorite brand if that is important to you.
Another way to treat your cats is to find ways to make their dry food special. Pet stores sell special gravy that can be poured over dry food. Several flavors are available, so you can offer your cat a variety to keep her from becoming bored with her food. Another version of this is to pour the water from a can of tuna over the dry food. You can also feed your cat some tuna, in place of wet food, as an occasional treat.
Take a trip down the treat aisle at the pet store, and you will see row after row of treats. While most of them are fine for your cat, keep in mind that treats should be given as such, and should not be fed to your cat in excess as this can cause an unhealthy weight gain.
Kittens, unlike full grown cats, DO need milk, but the milk they need is their mother�s. The mother�s milk is full of all the fat, protein and antibodies that a kitten needs to grow and survive. Until a kitten is weaned, approximately four weeks after birth, a kitten should have only milk. NEVER give a kitten cow�s milk. Obviously, the ideal milk is that from the kitten�s mother. If this is not possible due the kitten being abandoned or orphaned, you will need to feed a substitute that should be available at your local pet store. The kitten will need to be fed this milk substitute several times a day.
While the pet store personnel can probably answer most of your questions about caring for abandoned kitten, you should consult a veterinarian to be sure that the kitten is getting exactly what it needs. The bottom line is that milk is not necessary for a cat, but as long as she seems able to tolerate it, an occasional bowl isn�t going to hurt.
By: David Beart

Cat Age Chart

�NEW AGE WELLNESS FOR OLD AGE CATS� By Dr Sherry Zenor, Sarasota fl.

It is definitely a �new age� for cats. Once worshipped as gods in ancient Egypt, they have once again come into their own and now outnumber dogs as the # 1 American Pet. They have evolved from a utilitarian existence as rodent-hunters to beloved pets that are considered part of the family.

Because the new age cat is primarily an indoor-dweller, they are also living longer than ever before. A cat�s �senior years can last a long time. A 9 year old cat, equivalent to a 52 year old person, has 10 more years to become a �90-year old�. Although old age ailments are common, medical advances are continuously offering our cats a better quality of care.

Don�t compromise your older cat�s well-being by overlooking the basics. ALL senior cats need an annual exam, even if they �look healthy� to you. Cats are experts at hiding illness. Veterinarians are well-trained and practiced in looking for things owners can�t see. We know that cats can�t speak for themselves. With willing owners, we help find problems early when they are more manageable.

Older cats are prone to many diseases that older people also get: diabetes, thyroid disease, kidney disease, arthritis and dental disease being the most common. Such age-related problems can always be more effectively managed if caught early. Specialized diets, new medications, hydration therapy, and careful patient monitoring are allowing our new age cats to maintain health and vitality, despite the onset of the years.

One of the things I hear most often is people saying they don�t wish their pets to suffer. Unless your cat is getting at least an annual exam, you may be unintentionally allowing them to suffer needlessly from a problem modern veterinary medicine can treat.

Help your cat live its 9 lives to the fullest. Our cats provide us with a lifetime of unconditional love � by caring for them properly in their old age we can repay that debt, enhance their quality of life, and with it our own!

Cat-Human Age Chart

1 -15
2 -24
3 -28
4 -32
5 36
6 40
7 44
8 48
9 52
10 56
11 60
12 64
13 68
14 72
15 76
16 80
17 84
18 88
19 92
20 96