Educational Articles

Cats + Pet Services

  • While cannabis use is not new, its use for recreational purposes is more recent. As with any other medication, the increased accessibility to the drug has led to an increase in accidental exposure in pets. A small amount of cannabis is all it takes to cause toxicity in pets. Many of the clinical effects of intoxication are neurological. Pets become wobbly and uncoordinated. They may be hyperactive, disoriented, and very vocal. Their pupils dilate giving them a wild-eyed appearance and they may drool excessively or vomit. They may also exhibit urinary incontinence. In severe cases tremors, seizures, and coma can result. Activated charcoal may be administered every 6-8 hours to neutralize the toxin. Enemas are also used to reduce toxin absorption from the GI tract. Medications and supportive care to regulate the pet's heart rate, respiration, and body temperature are used if needed. Since the pet may be lethargic with no desire to eat or drink, IV fluids can prevent dehydration and maintain organ function. Anti-anxiety medications can minimize agitation.

  • Capillaria is a small internal parasite, related to intestinal worms. Capillaria, however, can live in a number of areas within the body, including the bladder and respiratory tract. There are multiple species of Capillaria; some species affect cats, some affect dogs, and some can affect both species. These parasites are acquired from the environment, when a cat eats the Capillaria eggs directly or eats an earthworm infected with the parasite. Treatment is simple and effective, though diagnosis can be challenging.

  • Cardiomyopathy is a term used to describe diseases of the heart muscle. In cats, three classes of cardiomyopathy have been described: hypertrophic, dilated, and intermediate or restrictive cardiomyopathy. In the early stages of disease, the cat may not show any signs of disease. This is referred to as compensated heart disease. Often cats will alter their activity levels to those that they can cope with, which makes it difficult to diagnose cardiomyopathy until it is quite advanced. Diagnosis of heart disease can be suspected based on clinical signs, chest X-rays, and electrocardiography (ECG). In cases where an underlying cause of the heart disease is found, then treatment of this condition may result in improvement or reversal of the heart disease. The long-term prognosis for a cat with cardiomyopathy is extremely variable, depending on the cause of this disease.

  • Modern vaccines are extremely effective and safe. However, it is common for many pets to experience mild side effects following vaccination, similar to those that humans experience. Other less common but more serious side effects can occur within minutes to hours after vaccination. These reactions are considered medical emergencies, and you should seek veterinary care immediately if you suspect your pet is having a more serious reaction.

  • Wounds can be simple or complicated and prompt veterinary attention is important to improve a successful outcome. Care must be used to not use topical treatments unless directed by your veterinarian as these may inadvertently delay healing. Pain medication and good home care can help aid in healing.

  • Post-operative incisions in your cat may or may not have visible stitches. It is very important to follow the instructions to ensure appropriate healing. If your cat chews or licks excessively at the incision, there is a danger of the stitches being pulled out or of infection being introduced into the wound and you may need to use an Elizabethan collar to prevent this behavior. Do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian with any questions or concerns.

  • COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease of humans that was first discovered in late 2019. The illness is caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, which is a new coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans. Certain animals can be infected by the COVID-19 virus, but it appears to be an infrequent occurrence. If you contract COVID-19, you will need to remain quarantined on your property which may make caring for dogs a bit more challenging. If you suspect that you may have COVID-19 (with or without a positive test result), you should minimize contact with your pets. Just as you would quarantine yourself from the other human members of your home while sick, you should also quarantine yourself from your pets. If you are hospitalized and your pets must be cared for by a boarding kennel or pet sitter, inform the kennel or pet sitter that you are ill, allowing them to take the necessary precautions.

  • When your cat is being treated for an illness, it is very important that you follow your veterinarian's advice and instructions precisely. Take your cat for re-examination if and when requested. If your cat's condition worsens unexpectedly, contact your veterinarian for advice immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment will provide the best outcome for your cat’s recovery.

  • Carpal hyperextension is an abnormality of the carpus (wrist) that causes hyperextension of the joint. Carpal hyperextension in cats is typically caused by trauma. Cats can also develop carpal hyperextension in association with other systemic diseases (e.g., inflammatory arthritis, diabetes mellitus). Cats with carpal hyperextension have a noticeable bend at the wrist, forcing their lower limb into an abnormally flattened position. If carpal hyperextension is caused by trauma, it may also be associated with pain and swelling. A tentative diagnosis of carpal hyperextension can be made based on initial observation, but a thorough physical examination is necessary because cats with carpal hyperextension may also have abnormalities in other joints. Treatment of carpal hyperextension depends upon the severity of the condition.

  • Cats can have a special relationship with each other even if they are not related. A bonded pair consists of two cats that thrive when kept together. Shelters recognize the benefits of housing bonded pairs together and encourage the adoption of the two cats simultaneously. There are pros and cons of dual adoption. Potential cat owners should review the considerations and make an educated decision regarding their adoption options. Even though caring for two cats means a commitment of more time and money, it may also mean more joy.