Tag Archives: Cats

Vaccinating your Cat

Kittens are due for their first check up and vaccination at 8 weeks of age. A booster at 12 weeks protects against enteritis and cat flu for 12 months.
Feline Enteritis causes vomiting and diarrhoea and is usually fatal.
Cat flu caused by Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus and/or Feline Calicivirus is not often fatal. Early signs of cat flu are sneezing and watery eyes. Later, affected cats go off their food, lose weight and may develop chronic snuffles.   Flu is contagious to other cats and cats with signs of flu cannot enter boarding catteries.  Flu vaccination minimises signs of disease but does not guarantee full protection against infection.
Cats beginning the vaccination schedule after 12 weeks of age receive one booster a month later.
Your cat will need a booster vaccination 12 months after the initial course, and then yearly.
Vaccines work best in healthy cats, so a full examination is mandatory before each vaccination.

In summary:

1st Shot 2nd Shot And then…
At 8 weeks if possible 4 weeks later 12 months later and annual thereafter

Boarding Vaccinations

Is your pet boarding this Christmas holidays?  Check that vaccinations and heartworm injections are up to date now.

If your cat or dog are due for boosters before boarding come in and see us during November.  Immunity will be high in time for Christmas.

Consultations are hard to book close to Christmas so come in soon.

Snake season

Snakes are up and about again after their long sleep.  Binka is in hospital on a drip after a close encounter of the reptilian kind.  She has been paralysed for 2 days.  Today she lifted her head and meowed a greeting when her owner came to visit.  We hope she will be home by the weekend but her carers will be restricting her outdoor activities this summer.

Loss of a Pet


Katrina Warren has created a site for people who have lost a pet or have old or ill pets.  If you are grieving the loss of your pet or agonising over a decision to end your pet’s life then you may find help and information on this site.

She encourages people to share their stories and honour the lives of their special pets.  Have a look it at:

Our Wonderful Pets

The love we have for our pets never dies- they live on in our hearts and memories forever.

Tick season on again

We have had our first tick paralysis cases for the season already.  Signs of weakness and slobbering don’t show up until a few days after the ticks attach. Pets are often back in Canberra before owners notice something is wrong.

If you are off to the coast with your pets apply tick preventative BEFORE you go.  Advantix should be applied (dogs only) 2 days before.  Permethrin spray needs regular reapplication.  Inspect and run your hands over all pets on the coast at least ONCE  a day.   We can’t rely on chemicals alone.  Ticks sneak into skin folds near the ears, under the tail, in the groin and armpit, in the corners of the mouth and under the collar.

Arthritis in cats

Changes in jumping behaviour are the most obvious sign of arthritis in cats.

Cats with elbow arthritis are reluctant to jump down and seem to pour themselves off the bed or cupboard.  Because they lose agility and flexibility they land with a thud and stand a moment before moving off.

Cats with arthritic knees are reluctant to jump as high as before.  They use chairs to get onto tables or abandon high resting places altogether.  Painful knees make them hesitate before jumping, scramble rather than jump or even miss the target.  Some cats pull themselves up onto the couch or bed rather than spring up.  Occasionally accidents happen because an old cat is unwilling to climb into the litter tray.

Cats that move stiffly have arthritic backs. Because it is difficult for them to groom their sides and backs their coats look rough or matt into tufts.  Nice cats turn into cranky cats when they are picked up or petted because of the pain.  Many spend the day resting and avoid play altogether.

You can help your arthritic cat. Set up stools or boxes as steps onto favourite resting places.  Encourage gentle play to strengthen muscles by trailing ribbon and batting balls.  Keep bodyweight down to reduce strain on old joints. Most important of all provide a warm, well-cushioned sleeping area.

Cortisone

Cortisone

We often prescribe cortisone for allergies and immune related diseases. Prednisolone, Macrolone or Antihistalone tablets contain a form of cortisone called prednisolone.  Short or long acting cortisone injections contain dexamethasone.

After 5 days of prednisolone tabs every day the adrenal glands start to slow their production of natural cortisol. It is safe to stop after 5 days of daily tablets but if we prescribe a longer course follow our instructions carefully.  Usually we recommend every other day tablets so that the adrenal glands keep functioning.

On a long course of prednisolone do not stop giving the tablets suddenly. Your pet may not be able to step up the production of cortisol fast enough to cope with an emergency, like a dog attack, a new pet or illness, and may collapse.

Side effects of cortisone include:

  • Increased fluid intake
  • Increased urine production
  • Increased appetite

Longer term and more serious side effects of cortisone include:

  • Cushings disease signs like a pot belly, flakey skin, enlarged liver and weak legs
  • Diabetes mellitus

Cortisone and anti-inflammatories given at the same time cause stomach ulcers.  We give anti-inflammatories such as Previcox, Deramax, Rimadyl, Metacam and Meloxicam for postoperative pain relief or arthritis. Please make sure your vet knows that your pet is on anti-inflammatories already.

A short acting dexamethasone injection rarely causes more than a mild increase in fluid and food intake.

We only inject long-acting dexamethasone if your pet is difficult to medicate or if your cat has a chronic condition that is not responsive to other cortisones.  Cats are generally more resistant than dogs to the side-effects of cortisone but very occasionally long-acting dexamethasone tips a weak heart into failure.

Diabetes Mellitus

Cats with diabetes mellitus have high blood glucose levels caused by a deficiency of insulin.

Diabetes is commonest in older overweight cats. Male and Burmese cats are more susceptible.

Diabetic cats produce more urine and, to compensate for this, drink more.

Some cats saturate the litter rapidly or urinate outside the tray after being litter trained for years.

They also lose weight despite a ravenous appetite.

How is diabetes mellitus diagnosed?

If you report any of the above your vet will test for high blood glucose and glucose in the urine. Stress can cause a transient rise in glucose levels in cats so your cat may be admitted to hospital for a day for a series of blood glucose tests to confirm the diagnosis. Untreated diabetes eventually causes loss of appetite and lethargy.

How is diabetes mellitus treated?

Cats with diabetes are treated with twice daily  insulin injections.

Diabetic cats require a low carbohydrate diet (unlike diabetic humans or dogs). Specially formulated diets such as Hills m/d are low in carbohydrate and high in protein and ideal for diabetic cats. Many small meals or grazing are fine as long as the cat is not overweight.

Some overweight cats get over diabetes if they lose weight. Stopping drugs such as prednisolone also helps.

What happens if my cat receives too much insulin?

We run regular blood glucose tests (known as blood glucose curves) to see if the insulin dose is correct.

Too much insulin drops the blood glucose dangerously low. Your cat might salivate, shake, walk unsteadily, convulse or faint. This is a hypo and is an emergency.

Rub liquid glucose, sugar solution, honey or icing sugar on the gums of an unconscious cat or syringe it into the mouth of a cat that can swallow. Call your vet as soon as you have done this.

Prevent hypos by double checking the dose of insulin every time you draw it up  and by taking your cat for regular blood glucose curves. Cats often go into remission and don’t need insulin any more. The first sign of remission could be a hypo if we don’t check blood glucose levels often enough.

If your cat is off food or vomiting for more than a day do not give the normal dose of insulin. Call your vet.

You should never change the dose of insulin without first discussing it with your veterinary surgeon.

For more information visit

www.pet-diabetes.com

www.pet-diabetes.com