Educational Articles

Cats

  • Arsenic poisoning is the accidental ingestion, skin contact, or inhalation of products containing a toxic dose of arsenic. The clinical signs of sudden arsenic poisoning can vary depending on the dose. Supportive therapy is a crucial part of treating arsenic poisoning. Aggressive fluid therapy and rehydration is necessary and helps the body to remove arsenic from the body.

  • There are many environmentally friendly ways that owners can care for their pets. Waste disposal can involve biodegradable or compostable bags or careful composting. Cat litter can be transitioned to recycled newspaper or sawdust pellets. Any toys, beds, houses and other accessories can be biodegradable and/or recycled such as cotton or rubber. Cats should be kept indoors to reduce their impact on the ecology of their surrounding environment. A nutritionally adequate diet composed of organic food can be provided.

  • An abscess is a “pocket of pus” located somewhere in the body. Abscesses can be located superficially or deep within the body tissues. Typically, an abscess appears suddenly as a painful swelling (if it is not located inside a body cavity or deep within tissue). A cat with an abscess will often have a fever, even if the abscess has ruptured and drained to the outside of the body. One of the most common causes is a bite from another animal. Abscess treatment depends on the location and the severity of the infection. Most abscesses are treated on an outpatient basis, rather than in the hospital. Appropriate antibiotic therapy is a critical component of the successful treatment of abscesses, no matter the location. It is also important to ensure adequate pain relief during treatment of an abscess. Delayed or inadequate treatment may lead to chronically draining tracts in the tissue or even to organ system compromise, so it is important to follow all treatment instructions from your veterinarian.

  • Acetaminophen is a medication that is used to treat fever and/or pain in humans. Cats have a genetic deficiency in a metabolic pathway in the liver that makes cats vulnerable to acetaminophen toxicity.

  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening complication of critical illness. These underlying critical illnesses may include sepsis, pancreatitis, pneumonia (either due to an infection or the inhalation of foreign materials), trauma, near-drowning, and other severe illnesses. In ARDS, massive inflammation and the release of various inflammatory chemicals leads to the leaking of capillaries within the lungs. Signs of ARDS include increased respiratory rate, blue discoloration to skin and mucous membranes due to poor oxygen delivery, and occasionally coughing. Treatment of ARDS is primarily focused on supportive care and addressing the underlying critical illness.

  • Hypoadrenocorticism, also known as Addison’s disease, is a condition in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough glucocorticoids (steroids) to allow normal body function. This condition is considered rare in cats, but numerous cases have been reported. Affected cats often have a history of waxing and waning periods of lethargy, decreased appetite, and weight loss. Long-term, cats with hypoadrenocorticism require medications to supplement the substances released from the adrenal glands.

  • Early decontamination of can be performed following exposure to a toxic dose of alcohol as long as a pet is not showing clinical signs. Decontamination may include inducing vomiting (for ingestions) or bathing (for skin exposures). Other therapies include intravenous (IV) fluids, IV dextrose to help with low blood glucose, anti-nausea medication and warming support. Although there is no specific antidote for alcohol poisoning, medications may be used to assist with severe clinicals signs of respiratory depression and coma. Hospitalization for monitoring of cardiovascular and neurological parameters is needed until animals have recovered. Recovery is expected within 24 – 36 hours following treatment.

  • Allopurinol (brand names Lopurin®, Zyloprim®) is a drug used to prevent the recurrence of uric acid and calcium oxalate uroliths (stones) in dogs. This medication works by decreasing the production of uric acid in the body. It is also used in the treatment of leishmaniasis in dogs and cats and is usually combined with other drugs. Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications (including vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies) that your pet is taking.

  • Amitraz is a topical solution in the form of a medicated dip, spot-on treatment, or collar used to treat demodectic mange or for the prevention of flea and tick infestations. Common side effects include sedation, incoordination while walking, slow heart rate, gastrointestinal effects, skin irritation, and a temporary high blood sugar. This medication is contraindicated in very young, and used with caution in old, debilitated, diabetic, or small-breeds. While animals may exhibit signs of sedation, contact your veterinary office if your pet cannot be aroused from sleep or if the sedation lasts for more than 72 hours. Amitraz is toxic if swallowed, especially in the form of a collar, so contact your veterinary office immediately if this occurs. If they are not available, follow their directions in contacting an emergency facility.

  • Amyloidosis occurs when amyloid proteins are deposited outside of cells in various tissues and organs causing tissue and organ dysfunction. It is uncommon in cats, except for Abyssinians, Siamese, Burmese, Tonkinese, Devon Rex, and Oriental Shorthair breeds. Signs depend on the organs involved, but kidney involvement is most common. If kidneys are involved signs include mouth ulcers, weight loss, vomiting, and dehydration. For cats with liver involvement, signs include weakness, pale gum color, distended abdomen, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, abdominal pain, and collapse. There is no specific medication for the treatment of amyloidosis in cats, with treatment focusing on kidney support.