Category Archives: Diseases of cats

Why fat sucks! Pancreatitis – what it is and what you can do to minimize the risk to your pet

What is pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is part of the endocrine and digestive system that is integral for the digestion of food. One of the functions of the pancreas is to produce enzymes which enable food to be digested. When the pancreas is inflamed (pancreatitis), the flow of enzymes into the digestive tract can be distrupted and the digestive enzymes move out of the pancreas and into the abdominal area — this spells trouble!

When the body eats itself!

When the digestive enzymes wrongly move into the abdominal area they will begin breaking down fat and protein in the other organs as well, that should not happen — it causes the pet’s body to begin to digest itself. Clearly then, pancreatitis is a very painful illness that can cause can cause permanent organ damage and death if left untreated. If treated, pancreatitis can be resolved and your vet will put together a life treatment plan to help prevent recurrences. Pancreatitis can be acute or chronic and certain breeds seem more prone than others.

Some of the symptoms of pancreatitis

There are many symptoms which can include:

  • Diarrhoea.
  • High temperature.
  • Vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Weight loss (more common in cats than dogs).
  • Dehydration.
  • Fatigue.
  • Sluggishness.
  • Depression.
  • Mild to severe abdominal pain (pain can become more severe after eating).
  • Increased heart rate.
Some of the causes of pancreatitis

There many causes of pancreatitis. Below is list of the most common causes.

  • A high fat diet.
  • High levels of calcium
    in the blood.
  • Pet obesity.
  • Some medicines used to
    treat other conditions.
  • The marrow from bones commonly triggers a case of pancreatitis.
  • Festive eating – the pet that is usually on a suitable diet who gets into the BBQ sausages, bacon or large amounts of cheese or dessert foods. This is enough to trigger a bout of pancreatitis.

 

What can I do at home to help keep my pet’s teeth clean?

There are many preventative dental care routines to choose from. Our staff are happy to run through the various routines and then help you formulate the best plan for your pet.

Brushing teeth
Toothbrushes are very effective at keeping teeth clean in compliant pets. They are the gold standard care option. You can use a special pet toothbrush, a soft child’s toothbrush, or a finger wrapped in gauze to remove plaque from the outer surface of the teeth. There are a range of pet toothpastes or you can just wet the brush with water.

Specially formulated Dental Diets
These foods are formulated to abrade the teeth and reduce the recurrence of plaque and debris in the mouth. Pets usually find these very palatable. They can be fed as a single meal once a day to help clean their teeth. Weight management is required for a pet being fed a dental diet.

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Food and Water Additives
‘Plaque Off’ is a powder that can be mixed in with your pet’s food to help prevent tartar buildup and ‘Healthy Mouth’ is a similar product that can be added to your pets water bowl. These products are most effective when used in conjunction with mechanical cleaning like chewing or brushing.

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Chews and Toys
Chewable treats and toys are another great way to keep teeth and gums healthy. Pets get long-lasting fun and feel satisfied after gnawing on them for hours. Supervise your pet with novel treats to prevent mishaps.

Image result for greeniesImage result for kong dental toy

 

Bones
Bones are NOT recommended for dogs. They can cause fractured teeth, pancreatitis and intestinal obstructions.

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Ten signs that your pet may have Heart Disease

As a pet owner, it is important that you are equipped to spot signs of heart disease in your pets, as you may well be the first person to notice. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference when it comes to the quality and quantity of life of your valued pet. Bringing any concerns to your vet’s attention as soon as possible can have a great impact on your pets prognosis.

Some of the symptoms you may see:
Coughing: while coughing is a very common symptom of many illnesses, it is also a symptom of heart disease. Minor coughs will resolve in a few days. A persistent cough is an abnormal state.
Breathing difficulty: shortness of breath, laboured breathing, or rapid breathing.
Changes in behaviour: If you notice any behaviour changes in your pet, such as tiring more easily, being less playful, reluctance to exercise, reluctance to accept affection, being withdrawn, or an appearance of depression.
Poor appetite: No matter what the cause, a lack of appetite is always a concern.
Weight loss or gain: this can be a sign of a myriad of problems. Having a bloated or distended abdomen (pot belly) is a sign that needs investigation.
Fainting/Collapsing: if your pet faints or collapses at any time, seek veterinary help immediately.
Weakness: may be seen as a general sign of aging, but combined with other symptoms, a consultation and possibly blood tests may yield results that mean your pet’s quality of life is enhanced.
Restlessness: and change in demeanour, particularly if restless at night, may be a sign of heart disease.
Edema: is the swelling of body tissues. In regards to heart disease, your pet may show swelling in the abdomen and extremities if it has heart disease.
Isolation: If your pet starts to isolate itself or is keeping its distance from other pets and/or you, this indicates something has changed and warrants investigation.

There are a range of treatment options for heart disease and the earlier the intervention the better the outcome. If you feel your pet is not their normal self talk with your vet about your concerns. The above list is not exhaustive, just outlines some common symptoms.

Recognizing and treating Feline Arthritis

Many of our older cats are silently suffering from arthritis.
Cats are very good at hiding when they are in pain, therefore, the visible signs of arthritis are very subtle.
Even just a slight change in the way they are jumping might be the only clue we are given.

Cats with elbow pain may extend a leg and hesitate before jumping down, they often land with a thud and pause before walking away.
Cats with knee pain will use creative ways to avoid jumping up high – they may go via a chair to get to the table, or avoid heights all together. You may notice them scrambling to get up, or asking to be lifted.
Some cats will get long nails from inactivity and may need them trimmed more frequently. Other cats will get matted fur, because it hurts them to turn around and groom. You may even notice your cat sleeping more often.

If you have noticed any of these signs there are many options available to help make your cat more comfortable.

Things we can do at home:
-Warm bedding in an easy to access location
-Using ramps and steps to ensure access to your cats’ favourite resting places
-Using litter trays with lower sides to allow ease of entry
-Providing food/water at floor level or slightly raised

Are there any medications?
Lots of cats thrive when given medical treatments for their arthritis. There are many options that we can use; they range from dietary supplements, to liquid anti-inflammatory given in the food, to creams you can put on your cats ear. So even if your cat is difficult to tablet there are plenty of choices.

OUTBREAK WARNING of the deadly Feline infectious enteritis (Feline Panleukopenia Virus – FPV)

 

The resurgence of this deadly virus, which was almost eradicated 40 years ago by vaccinations, has been confirmed in various locations throughout Australia.

FPV is highly contagious and can be fatal to the affected cat. The most common form of FPV presents as a three to four day history of high temperature, lethargy, loss of appetite and may progress to vomiting and diarrhoea. However, in cases of very severe infection, cats can die very suddenly with no apparent signs.

FPV in cats is caused by parvoviruses, which are small DNA viruses. The main one is feline panleucopenia virus but parvoviruses that infect dogs can also cause the disease in cats. Disease control relies on strong herd immunity and that can only be achieved by keeping pets up-to-date with all vaccinations.

Hall Veterinary Surgery use the live Tricat vaccination which gives the best immunity against this disease. If your cat or dog are overdue for vaccination, call us on 6230 2223 to make a vaccination appointment.

Keeping your pets safe this Summer – Blocked Cats the Medical Emergency

A cat that cannot urinate is a medical emergency. This can be life threatening in a short time!
We often take calls from owners who think their cat is constipated and it turns out they are actually trying to urinate but they have a blockage preventing urine from being passed.
Cats have two kidneys that filter their blood and remove the waste products from the blood into the urine. The urine flows down tubes called ureters from the kidneys to the bladder. It is then excreted from the body through a tube called the urethra which connects the bladder to the penis where it is expelled out of the body. A ‘blocked cat’ is one where the urethra is blocked which prevents the urine from being passed.
Male cats are most at risk of this because of their anatomy. The urethra runs from the bladder through the penis but there is a bend in the urethra and it becomes narrower at the bend. The blockage is often comprised of protein, cells and crystals or stones.
Male cats that are overweight, confined indoors, don’t consume enough water or are fed dry food only are at greater risk of becoming blocked.
Signs to look for: straining to urinate, vocalizing when trying to urinate, frequent visits to the litter tray but not passing more than a few drops, discoloured urine. As the condition progresses the cat may move restlessly or hide because of the discomfort and eventually lose their appetite and become lethargic.
If you see your cat straining to urinate, seek veterinary help immediately.

Keeping your pets safe this Summer – Blood Testing

What are we looking for in a blood test?
Routine blood testing typically assesses haematology (red and white blood cells), biochemistry (all the blood products associated with normal bodily functions, including liver and kidney function) and electrolytes. There are blood tests which look for particular problems as they arise, such as hormonal imbalances or clotting problems. Some health conditions can only be detected by blood testing, making this a very useful part of any check-up.
Which pets should have blood tests?
Blood testing is recommended for any pet that is feeling unwell or a little off-colour. Routine monitoring is also recommended for senior animals, those on long term medications and for any pet undergoing general anaesthesia. Recent scientific research has recommended performing regular blood testing in young healthy animals. Every animal is different, so doing this allows us to get an idea of what normal values to expect for each pet as an individual. This is particularly useful for detecting early changes (for example, onset of kidney disease) and allowing prompt investigation and treatment of issues as they arise.
How is blood collected?
Most pets tolerate blood collection well. Your vet or nurse will clip a section of hair away from the neck or leg, clean the skin and collect blood with a needle and syringe. Pets who are anxious about the process often find comfort in lots of cuddles, treats and gentle handling. A small number of animals may need to be sedated for collection, but your vet will assess the pros and cons of performing the test if this is the case.
When should a blood test be performed?
For young healthy animals, the goal is to obtain 3 blood tests before becoming ‘middle aged’ (this age varies between breeds, but as a rough guide is between 6-8 years). Yearly testing is recommended for senior pets. Animals on long term medications often need 6 monthly testing but this will depend on the medication and your vet will guide you as to what is appropriate. Testing is recommended in all animals prior to general anaesthesia as in some cases we may decide to alter our anaesthetic protocol in relation to the blood results.
Where are blood tests performed?
We have state of the art in house blood machines, which allows us to run many tests on the spot with a quick turnaround time. Some tests do however need to be sent to external laboratories and may have a delay of a couple of days for results.
Your vet will advise you if your pet is due for a blood test. If you have any concerns about your pet’s general health and wellbeing, please contact us for further assistance.

Keeping your pets safe this Summer – Paralysis Ticks

Are you heading to the coast this summer? Tick protection is a MUST! Although most pets who are treated quickly for tick paralysis survive, ticks are capable of killing your pet within 3 to 4 days of attaching if your pet has not had any tick prevention.
REMEMBER: PREVENTION IS MUCH SAFER AND MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE THAN TREATMENT.
It is possible for ticks to be carried back in your luggage etc and attach to pets that haven’t travelled to the coast themselves so if you are heading to the coast and your pet is staying home they still need protection.
Protection for dogs is now more convenient than ever and is available in flavoured chews that cover for both Fleas and Ticks! Nexgard protects your dog for one month and is perfect for that one off trip to the coast for the weekend, Bravecto covers your dog from fleas for 3 months and ticks for 4 months and is perfect for those who travel to the coast more frequently.
Prevention for cats is slightly trickier (but still essential), please phone us on (02) 6230 2223 to discuss further.
Early signs of tick paralysis include tiredness, staggering, vomiting, breathing difficulty, change in the sound of their bark or breathing, progressing to paralysis, these signs may continue to worsen even after the tick is removed.
If you notice any of these symptoms your pet should be taken to the nearest Vet immediately.
Call us on (02) 6230 2223 and we can discuss the most suitable tick prevention product for you and your pet.

Arthritis in pets

With the weather cooling down, many of our older pets are feeling the strain.Attentive Senior Dog

Arthritis is quite common in older animals and is exacerbated by cool, humid weather. Being overweight or having had joint surgery at some point in their life are recognised risk factors. Large breed dogs often develop arthritis at an earlier age than smaller breeds. The impact of arthritis on a pet’s quality of life can be significant, but there are management strategies available. Continue reading Arthritis in pets