Educational Articles

Cats + Pet Services

  • Fibrous tumors, including hamartomas, are a group of benign tumors arising from fibrous and fibrous-like tissues. Nodular dermatofibrosis can be secondary to (or a consequence of) tumors in the kidney or uterus. Fibrous tumors can develop as the result of underlying, repeated trauma (e.g., pressure on the elbows when lying on hard surfaces and self-trauma with skin allergies). Therefore, once a diagnosis has been made, determining and understanding the underlying cause is important.

  • Bile acids are made in the liver, released into the intestine to help digest fat, and are reabsorbed into the bloodstream. They can be measured in the blood to determine if the liver is working properly. Indications for the test include elevated liver enzymes, seizures, poor growth, and low blood albumin. The test is usually performed after a 12 hour fast and consists of the measurement of serum bile acids before and 2 hours after a meal. The test can be affected by poor intestinal motility – either from disease, sedation/anesthesia, or if the pet has had part of the intestine removed that is responsible for absorption of bile acids. Bile acids will be high if the liver is not functioning properly. It does not rule out liver disease as disease can affect part of the liver without significantly affecting bile acid production. Elevated bile acids may warrant further diagnostics or monitoring depending on your pet’s condition.

  • Bladder stones are rock-like formations of minerals that develop in the urinary bladder. All stones form because of disease or inflammation in the bladder. The most common signs of bladder stones in the cat are blood in the urine and straining to urinate. Large stones may act almost like a valve, causing an "on-off" or partial obstruction at the neck of the bladder. In males, small stones become lodged in the urethra and cause an obstruction. X-rays (with or without contrast dyes) or ultrasound may be necessary for diagnosis. The fastest way to remove bladder stones is via a surgical procedure called a cystotomy. Special diets or passing a catheter may be successful for some bladder stones. Your veterinarian will advise you of the best course of action for your cat’s particular situation.

  • When the digestive tract is upset, vomiting and diarrhea may result. Since the causes of these symptoms are varied, it’s best to consult a veterinarian. Often, a bland diet is recommended to rest the digestive tract and to decrease vomiting and diarrhea. Bland diets consist of a single easily digestible protein source and a simple carbohydrate. Pet owners may prepare bland diets at home or choose one of the many commercially available diets.

  • Blepharitis means inflammation of the eyelid and can affect one or both eyes. The affected eyelid will usually be red, swollen, and itchy. Any condition that can cause irritation of the eyelids can lead to blepharitis. Common causes of blepharitis include congenital abnormalities, allergies, infections, tumors, and occasionally other inflammatory disorders. Your veterinarian will conduct an eye examination to determine the extent of the eyelid involvement. Specific treatment for blepharitis will depend on the underlying cause of the disorder and the prognosis depends entirely on the cause.

  • A transfusion reaction is a medical reaction that occurs in response to a blood transfusion. Many transfusion reactions occur acutely, within seconds of starting the transfusion up to 48 hours post-transfusion. In other cases, however, transfusion reactions may be delayed. In many cases, a transfusion reaction can be diagnosed based on clinical signs alone. Your veterinarian will then administer medications specific to the type of reaction that your cat is experiencing.

  • Weight-conscious people are familiar with BMI (Body Mass Index) as a yardstick to identify ideal weight. There is a way to measure the body condition of our furry friends, too. The pet version of BMI is called BCS (Body Condition Score) which is a quantitative yet subjective method for evaluating body fat.

  • Bone marrow is vitally important for the production of blood cells, specifically red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Bone marrow is commonly collected and examined when abnormalities are found in the circulating blood. Bone marrow examination is complicated and should be done by a specialist. The pathologist’s report typically provides information about the health of the marrow, what types of cells are present, whether abnormal cells are found, and other details that may help to explain the patient’s illness. However, in some cases, bone marrow examination may do nothing more than confirm that there is a problem.

  • Botulism is a rare condition that can cause paralysis in cats. It is caused by ingesting the botulinum toxin, which is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum that can grow on raw meat and dead animals. The toxin can cause muscle paralysis and lead to death. It is difficult to diagnose and there is no vaccine available, although an antitoxin is available if the condition is identified before signs develop.

  • Bowel incontinence refers to the loss of the ability to control bowel movements. There are two broad causes of fecal incontinence: reservoir incontinence and sphincter incontinence. In reservoir incontinence, intestinal disease interferes with the rectum’s ability to store normal volumes of feces. In sphincter incontinence, a structural or neurologic lesion prevents the anal sphincter from closing normally. Clinical signs, diagnostic testing, and treatment vary based upon the underlying cause.