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RSSFeline Health and Care

Cancer

| October 16, 2010

Cancer is any malignant growth or tumor caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division

Cancer is any malignant growth or tumor caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division

What is it?

Cancer is any malignant growth or tumor caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division.
If cancer occurs, it can often be treated very successfully. It is important to support the whole body during any treatment.

Symptoms:

Cancer gives you no symptoms or signs that exclusively indicate the disease. However, you may notice a general deterioration in your pet’s health. It is important to get a diagnosis for cancer so that you know what you are dealing with. Your veterinarian can help you with this.

Palpable lumps & bumps, weight loss, appetite changes, sores that will not heal, persistent discharges, lethargy, difficulty breathing, painful urination or defecation, stiffness, soreness or just not feeling right are all possible symptoms of cancer.

What can be done?

A cancer diagnosis can be a frightening and upsetting experience, you may feel helpless and want to do anything in your power to improve your pets chances of survival. It is at times like this that is important to try to deal with the diagnosis calmly and consider all of your options. Some practitioners and websites may promise results and dissuade you from a conventional approach to cancer care. This may not be in your pets best interests. Often a combination of conventional and natural treatment is the best way forward using each to support and complement the other. Do not be afraid to look for answers and to get a second opinion but remember that conventional medicine has many years of research behind it. Fortunately for your pet, he or she has no concept of the diagnosis so they are spared some of the mental anguish however they are receptive to your mood and may be experiencing some trauma at your upset.

The first thing to do in the fight against cancer is to get a firm veterinary diagnosis with recommendations for treatment such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery or a combination of them.

Lifestyle changes:

Holistic Treatments:
If cancer is one where conventional treatment cannot cure it or the side effects are a concern, or simply that you choose not to pursue a conventional course of action then there are some options to consider. The Natural Vet Company has consulted Sydney veterinarian, Dr Barbara Fougere to formulate a range of safe and easy to use products to best help your pet.

With malignant cancers, the goal is usually to prolong and enhance the quality of life. Natural Therapies can be used very very successfully in this area. If the cancer is the type that cannot be treated conventionally, if side effects are a concern, or if you have decided not to pursue a conventional treatment plan then we can help you with some natural options. The main goal being to support the body, reduce the impact of the cancer, and to keep your pet as happy and pain free as possible. Our cancer related products are only available as part of a consultation process – this is for a number of reasons – we do not want to encourage treatment of pets with cancer with an incorrect solution and in any way discourage conventional treatment without being aware of all the specific details of your pets condition. There are also a number of options available and it is important to receive guidance on the best combination of products for the specific case and to monitor their effectiveness once treatment begins.

A good diet is important to strengthen the immune system and minimise cancer growth. herbal medicine is the number one therapy for successful complementary treatment plan, acupuncture can reduce pain and improve energy. Homeopathic remedies can improve your pets quality of life by supporting the other forms of natural therapies. Gentle exercise is important and pain relief is a must (conventional or natural) if there is any pain to keep your pets spirit and energy up. Keep in mind some pets do not show that they are in pain even when they are.

We often see pets that are completely over medicated by well intentioned owners – they have read that a particular supplement or herb is good for a particular cancer and want to do everything possible to help their pet. The best formula however is one that is based on strategy and is balanced for your pets needs. As part of the consultation process we will suggest to you a number of supplements that may help, anti cancer diets (normally containing 60% meat / 40% veg) with recipes and a prescribed herbal formula tailored to your pets diagnosis. What is best for your pet may be just a few herbs or it may consist of many but it is really important that it be properly formulated and prescribed for your pet. We would never supply you with 3, 4, or 5 homeopathic or other treatments and 3 supplements – it just does not make sense medically or financially.

Do not give up hope – cancer does not necessarily mean death. Every animal and every cancer is unique- set yourself some goals and consider all of the information given to you. A combination of conventional and natural treatment is often the best course of action. Complementary treatments can reduce side effects and is also a good option if you decided not to treat especially in the case of a very poor prognosis. Complementary therapies can help keep your pet seeming healthy and pain free. If later when your companion cannot be kept comfortable or has a questionable quality of life then it is important that you recognise this and make the decision to let go. Often people say that they simply know inside themselves that their pet is tired and needs to rest.

Barbara devotes a chapter in her book to cancer and makes some recommendations as to possible treatment plans. We offer these combination formulas for sale on this site and if for any reason a consultation is not possible, you could try one of these as general tonics for your pet.

Conventional Treatments:
It may be in your interest to consult a veterinary oncologist – a specialist in animal cancers. Conventional treatment usually increases survival time. While The Natural Vet Company can offer you new and natural ways to improve your pet’s health, it is important not to disregard any of the advice that your regular veterinarian provides you with.

Lymphoma, osteosarcoma, malignant breast cancer, lung cancer, mast cell tumours and other forms of cancer can be treated in a humane way if they are caught early enough.

When you receive a diagnosis, it may be advisable to set a date for a second appointment with your vet to further discuss the available options once the news has sunk in. Take your time and get a second opinion if necessary. Do as much research as you can and perhaps ask some questions such as: Would it be helpful to get an oncologist to examine your pet? What is the life expectancy with and without treatment? What are the costs involved? What will your pets quality of life be with and without treatment? What side effects can be expected? What can I do to improve my pets quality of life? What other alternatives are available?

Consult one of our vets:
For more information and guidance feel free to contact The Natural Vet Company directly. You can sign up for a consultation using our online ordering system. One of the many trained veterinarians will be more than happy to guide you through a personalised treatment plan to ensure that your pet receives the best possible treatment. Another option is to post your question to our online forums where other members can perhaps help you with advice and guidance (please note: we do not have any control over the advice given in our forums). Please feel free to suggest a topic for a factsheet and we will be happy to put one online.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS FACTSHEET IS INTENDED FOR GENERAL BACKGROUND READING AND NOT AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL VETERINARY ADVICE. A VET CAN NOTICE SUBTLE CHANGES PERHAPS NOT OBVIOUS IN YOUR PET AND HAS MANY YEARS OF TRAINING TO PROVIDE THE BEST TREATMENT. WE DO NOT ADVISE YOU FOLLOW ANY OF THIS ADVICE WITHOUT CONSULTATION WITH OUR VET OR YOURS.

Copyright & Credit:
Source:  The Natural Vet Company | http://www.naturalvetcompany.com
Photo copyright and courtesy: www.123rf.com

Cancer and Chemotherapy

| March 1, 2017
Cancer is a mass of tissue that is characterized by persistent, excessive, and disorganized cell growth that is unresponsive to normal control mechanisms.

Cancer is a mass of tissue that is characterized by persistent, excessive, and disorganized cell growth that is unresponsive to normal control mechanisms.

INTRODUCTION

Cancer is a mass of tissue that is characterized by persistent, excessive, and disorganized cell growth that is unresponsive to normal control mechanisms. Why this happens, in most cases, is not yet known. In a normal situation healthy cells grow, divide and replace themselves in a systematic fashion. This natural process helps keep the body in good repair and slows the effects of daily wear and tear. Cancer cells, on the other hand, do not develop normally. They continuously multiply and divide and never mature properly to reach a resting state. In short there is no order or system to their replication. Many cancers do not directly cause problems to the body but merely occupy more space than they are naturally allotted. They crowd out the vital functions of other parts of the body and may cause complications due to this interference. Other cancers are “functional” in that they produce hormones or other substances that affect the body.

The following are commonly used terms in cancer medicine:

 

  • Tumour: simply means a “swelling,” which may or may not represent cancer.
  • Benign tumours: have many normal growth characteristics. They do not “spread” or invade other organs. They may, however, compress body organs or tissues by virtue of their size. Surgical removal is usually curative.
  • Malignant tumours: often have rapid, irregular growth characteristics. These tumours can invade normal, local tissues, as well as spread to other tissues (especially the liver and lungs). New tumours can grow at these secondary sites, eventually causing the demise of the patient.
  • Metastasis: the process whereby a tumour spreads to secondary sites. These new tumours are referred to as “”metastatic”,” or “metastases.”
  • Oncology: refers to the study of cancer, including biological behaviour and treatment.
  • Remission: denotes a decrease in tumour size (often called “tumour burden”) over time. Remission time is the length of time in which the cancer is under control. Currently, treatment of cancer in animals can often result in fairly lengthy, good quality remission times. That still means that for many types of cancers, their return is inevitable.

As a result of improved owner and veterinary care, pets are living much longer and are thus more susceptible to diseases of old age, such as tumours. If your pet is thought or known to have cancer, a consultation with a veterinarian experienced in oncology can provide you with valuable information regarding treatment options and expectations.

Cancer can often be diagnosed on the basis of a procedure called fine-needle aspiration. This is a minimally invasive, non-painful, technique that involves inserting a needle into the tumour, aspirating a few cells out, and smearing the cells on a slide for a pathologist to evaluate under a micro­scope. When cancer is diagnosed (or suspected), further diagnostic tests can be performed to stage the cat’s cancer. Staging allows your veterinarian to educate you further about your cat’s disease, allowing you to make informed decisions regarding treatment. A thoracic radiograph will be performed to look for metastasis. A complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urine analysis will be obtained to assess your cats’ overall health status. An ultrasound examination of the abdomen may also be performed to search for metastasis. Other tests may be recommended, depending on individual circumstances.

TYPES OF CANCER TREATMENTS

Chemotherapy and/or surgery are the two most important treatment modalities in veterinary cancer medicine. A combination of therapies may also be indicated in certain cancers. Some cancers require a specific, brief number of treatments, while others require ongoing treatment to maintain remission.

Surgery
Surgical removal of tumours is a very common and valuable approach for solid tissue tumours. It can sometimes be curative on its own, if the disease process is localized and detected very early.

Radiotherapy
This consists of the use of a radioactive beam to damage and/or kill malignant cells in a localized area. It can offer good quality remission times for many types of tumours, but usually not a cure. Animals are surprisingly tolerant of radiation therapy

Chemotherapy
The use of a drug or chemical to treat any illness is chemotherapy, but this term commonly refers to the use of drugs in the treatment of cancer. The goal of chemotherapy in companion animals is either to increase the life span or to improve the quality of life for the animal with cancer. All of the drugs currently given to animals are human anti-cancer drugs. Fortunately, many of the negative consequences of their use in human medicine are not experienced in veterinary medicine.

Commonly asked questions about chemotherapy:

  • How does chemotherapy work? Anti-cancer drugs work by blocking cell growth and division. Different drugs interfere with different steps in these processes. In many cases, a combination of drugs is the most effective way to kill cancer cells.
  • How is chemotherapy given? Most anti-cancer drugs are given by mouth or by injection. The route chosen depends on the type of drug and the type of cancer.
  • How long will my pet receive chemotherapy? The length of time and frequency of drug administration will depend on the kind of cancer being treated and how well the therapy is tolerated by the patient. Treatment may be given daily, weekly, or monthly.
  • Am I at risk of exposure to these drugs? Yes. Most anticancer drugs are very potent and must be handled with care. Some are “carcinogens’” and can cause cancer with prolonged exposure. With orally administered drugs, it is important that the pills or capsules are kept out of reach of children in childproof containers. When handling these drugs, the owner should wear latex or polyvinyl gloves to avoid unnecessary exposure. With oral and injectable drugs, the cat’s urine and faeces may be contaminated with active drug compounds for several days after administration.
  • Will my pet experience side effects? Maybe. Veterinarians try to choose drug doses and combi­nations that cause the fewest side effects. Ideally, the animal receiving chemotherapy does not even realize that he or she is ill. The drugs used in chemotherapy, however, are ex­tremely potent and side effects can occur. The potential for side effects must be balanced against the benefits of the chemotherapy and the side effects of the cancer if left untreated. Choosing chemotherapy for your pet is an individ­ual decision.

WHAT IS LIFE LIKE FOR CHEMOTHERAPY PATIENTS?

Veterinarians who treat animals for cancer use many of the same chemotherapy agents that human oncologists use. Yet, in many ways the experience for pets seems very different. Why? For one thing, dosages of chemotherapy agents used in animals tend to be much lower than those used in people. Humans are given the highest doses possible, the consequences of which may require bone marrow transplantation, extended hospitalisation, and numerous costly medications-all with good cause. However, for veterinary patients, this process would be unacceptable and cost prohibitive for most owners. The general quality of life for many veterinary cancer treatment patients can be surprisingly good and very close to normal. Most of the time they can maintain their normal activities and have fun with the families that love and care for them.

Side effects arise because the normal cells in the body are also exposed to the anticancer drug. The most sensitive normal cells are found in the blood, gastrointestinal tract, skin, and reproductive system. The good news is that the normal cell lines can almost always regenerate themselves, while the less well-organised malignant cells suffer great damage. Potential side effects include infection, bleeding, decreased appetite, vom­iting, diarrhoea, thin hair coat or skin colour changes, and sterility. Hair loss, in contrast to humans, is uncommon in cats on chemotherapy. Rare side effects associated with specific drugs include bladder discomfort, kidney damage, and heart fail­ure. The most serious side effect is overwhelming infection leading to death.

There are various reasons why chemotherapy is better tolerated in pets, but probably the most important factor is psychological. Your cat does not know he has cancer. He also does not know the drugs make people sick, so he does not anticipate that he will be sick. Human cancer patients suffer from a phenomenon called anticipatory vomiting, but cats do not have this problem.

It is not a “given” that untoward side effects will occur in any one patient. In fact, the majority of patients complete their therapies without major complications. However, if they do occur you should be prepared to recognize them and take appropriate action. Over time, the tendency is to have less frequent side effects, as the individual animal’s sensitivity to the drug agents become known, the treatments are less frequent, and the cancer is in remission.

The most common side effect reported by owners is that the pet seems to be “off” for a day or two. This might mean that the pet has slightly less energy or seems less excited than normal about eating. Less commonly, the pet may skip a meal or two, have one episode of vomiting or diarrhoea, or seem lethargic. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict which pet will develop the most serious reactions. The animal receiving chemotherapy needs to be watched closely and taken to his veterinarian at the first sign of illness. Chemotherapy will suppress your pet’s immune system and make him more susceptible to infections. These infections generally arise from bacteria that normally live in the intestinal tract and on the skin and not from the environment. Signs of an infection may include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased activity, or depression. Phone your veterinarian immediately if your pet appears ill while receiving chemo­therapy. These signs are usually only brief reactions to the drugs but prompt treatment can often prevent more serious side effects from developing.

CARE AND FEEDING OF THE CANCER PATIENT

One of the most important goals of cancer treatment in animals is to maintain as much of the pet’s normal lifestyle as possible. This can often mean that once a pet has recovered from cancer surgery, and/or passed the initial phase of chemotherapy, restrictions on activities are very few, and will be discussed by your veterinarian.

It is now known that cancer results in significant alterations in carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. Research findings have lead to the creation of a specific dietary program that depletes cancer cells of their required nutrients. A specific prescription diet is available from your local veterinarian and is comprised of limited quantities of simple sugars, modest amounts of complex sugars, modest amounts of highly digestible proteins, and calculated amounts of certain types of fat (including omega-3 fatty acids which have a negative effect on tumor growth, and improve survival times).

IS IT WORTH IT?

This is a difficult question to answer. Every situation and client-pet relationship is different and must be dealt with individually. If it were ever obvious that therapy was not working, or that the pet was indeed experiencing pain or discomfort, then your veterinarian is ethically obligated to inform you. Most pets do indeed appear to enjoy their extended life period and do not even realize that they are “ill.” The owner must, however, believe that they are doing the right thing for their pet and realise that this therapy is unique in that it can successfully prolong the cat’s life

COMMON TUMOURS

Some of the common tumours that affect the cat are lymphoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and mammary gland tumours.

Lymphoma
Lymphoma is a cancer of a specific white blood cell called the lymphocyte. Lymphocytes are found throughout the body in blood and tissues and act to protect the body from infec­tion. Lymphocytes are the major cells found in lymph nodes or “glands.” In lymphoma, the cancer cells invade and destroy normal tissues. The most common site for lymphoma is the lymph nodes, but lymphoma cells, like lymphocytes, can grow anywhere in the body. In most cats with lymphoma, the cancer cells are present in multiple lymph nodes and tissues.

Of all the tumours, lymphoma accounts for approximately 30% of all feline malignancies and may be associated with either feline leukaemia virus or feline immunodeficiency virus infection. Chemotherapy is the treatment of choice for lymphoma. Surgery and radiation therapy are less useful in lymphoma because these treatment methods attack cancer cells at only one site.

The goal of chemotherapy for animals with lymphoma is to induce a complete ‘remission” by killing the cancer cells. Animals with lym­phoma that are in complete remission look like normal animals by all accounts. They do not have any signs of cancer, and all masses or lumps have disappeared. They eat, drink, and play just as they did before they developed cancer. Unfortunately some of the cancer cells can survive in an animal in complete remission, but the numbers are too small to detect. Eventu­ally, these few cells will grow and the cancer will become evident again. When this happens the animal is said to be “out of remission.” Sometimes a second remission can be achieved with additional chemotherapy. Eventually, the can­cer cells will become resistant or insensitive to all drugs and results in the death of the cat.

Although chemotherapy does not cure cats with lymphoma, in most cases it does extend the quantity and quality of life. About 80-90% of cats with lymphoma attain a complete remission with an average survival of I year, and 25% live for more than 2 years.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) has two distinct presentations in the cat. The first is a lesion of the nasal plane, ears, or facial skin in white or lightly pigmented cats and is associated with sunlight-induced damages. Diagnosis of facial SCC is often delayed for months after lesions appear because the owners or veterinarians assume they are healing fight wounds. Facial SCC occurs in outdoor cats and is prevalent in South Africa because of our sunny location. These tumours are locally invasive and slow to metastasize. Regional lymph nodes are the most common site for metastasis but pulmonary metastasis is extremely rare. Treatment options include surgical excision, radiation therapy, or local chemotherapy. Adequate surgical resection requires very wide margins and recurrence is common despite seemingly aggressive surgery. Radiation therapy and local chemotherapy can result in complete remission if used early on in the disease.

The second common presentation is oral SCC and is the most common oral tumour of the cat. It often occurs on the floor of the mouth precluding surgical excision. It is locally invasive and slow to metastasize, however cats often stop eating, due to the presence of the tumour or secondary bacterial infections. Radiation therapy in conjunction with chemotherapy has been described for oral SCC, however survival times are usually less than 4-6 months. Palliative therapy, including analgesics, tube feeding, and antibiotics for secondary infections, allows many cats to thrive in spite of advancing local disease. In cases where the tumour is small and can be treated with aggressive surgery, the prognosis is better.

Mammary Gland Tumours
Mammary gland tumours (MGT) are reported to have a prevalence of approximately 25/100,000 female cats making MGT the third most common tumour of cats. Unlike dogs, where only 50% of MGT are malignant, almost all feline MGT are malignant. Clinical signs are attributable to presence of the MGT, which typically affect the cranial or caudal mammary gland pairs. One study reported that cat MGT were present 7 months before the owners consulted with a veterinarian. Client education to allow early intervention is thus very important.

Treatment is aggressive surgical resection. The surgery of choice is bilateral radical chain mastectomy. Cats undergoing radical chain mastectomy have a significantly longer median disease free interval (575 days) compared to cats undergoing conservative surgery (325 days). The most significant prognostic variable may be tumour size at the time of surgery. Cats with tumours > 4 cm in diameter have a median survival of 6 months, whereas cats with tumours < 2 cm in diameter have a median survival of approximately 4 years. The role of chemotherapy from MGT is unknown in cats, but because of the aggressive nature of feline MGT, it may prove to be beneficial.

Vaccine Associated Sarcoma
Vaccine associated sarcomas (VAS) are recent phenomena in cats. The first descriptions of vaccine site inflammatory reactions came in the mid-1980s in North America. This coincided with mandatory rabies vaccine laws for cats and a change from the use of intramuscular rabies vaccines to subcutaneous preparations. The types of VAS may include fibrosarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, osteosarcoma and undifferentiated sarcoma. A common feature of these rapidly growing tumours is the presence of a necrotic centre and prominent inflammation. VAS may develop from 3 months to 3 years after vaccination. The incidence has been estimated to be as high as 1/5,000 cats vaccinated.

 

Copyright & Credit:

Source: Dr Remo Lobetti
BVSc (Hons) MMedVet (Med) Dipl. ECVIM (Internal Medicine) Veterinary Specialist Physician

Dr Remo Lobetti Feline Infectious Peritonitis

Bryanston Veterinary Hospital
6 Ballyclare Drive
Bryanston
Johannesburg

Tel: +27 11 706-6023/4/5
Fax: +27 11 706-5801
Emergencies: +27 11 706-6023e
Mail: bvh@global.co.za

Photo copyright and courtesy: Portraityogi

Cancer Symptoms in Dogs and Cats

| October 27, 2010
Cancer Symptoms in Dogs and Cats

While it looks as though cancer affects a growing number of people in our society, it is also affecting larger numbers of our pets. It might seem like more pets are affected by cancer than in the past, but what is just as likely is that we are recognizing and diagnosing the condition more frequently.

Can you spot cancer symptoms in dogs and cats? Here is the top ten list compiled by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Included is some good advice about getting a second opinion and using natural, alternative herbal medicine.

Can you spot cancer symptoms in dogs and cats?

While it looks as though cancer affects a growing number of people in our society, it is also affecting larger numbers of our pets. It might seem like more pets are affected by cancer than in the past, but what is just as likely is that we are recognizing and diagnosing the condition more frequently.

As our pets live longer and fuller lives with better medical and health care, they are affected by cancer in much the same ways we are. A diagnosis of cancer can be confusing, but it is not always a death sentence for our cats and dogs. There are many areas in which one should be informed.

Cancer is not one single disease. Rather, it is an overgrowth of damaged cells that can literally spring from any tissue in the body. This means there are many different forms cancer takes. Some times the tumor is benign, or a localized tumor that does not metastasize or spread to other parts of the body. Other times it is malignant, meaning cancer cells are able to spread throughout the body via the bloodstream or through the vessels of the lymph system.

Most cancers are identified through a variety of different symptoms. These are all too often not recognized as cancer warnings by the pet owner.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has identified a Top Ten list to help pet owners identify cancer symptoms in dogs and cats:

1. Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
2. Sores that do not heal
3. Weight loss
4. Loss of appetite
5. Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
6. Offensive odor
7. Difficulty eating or swallowing
8. Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
9. Persistent lameness or stiffness
10. Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating

(Veterinary Cancer Society)

These symptoms are not always cancer related, but they certainly should be investigated, especially as a pet ages. Many kinds of cancers become more prevalent with age.

Once your pet has received a cancer diagnosis, your veterinarian will want to determine to what extent the tumor has grown or the cancer has spread. This is one way to determine both a prognosis as well as the treatment protocol for your pet.

Depending on what kind of cancer it is and where it is located, a variety of tests may be performed including things like blood tests, biopsies, radiographs, ultrasounds, and endoscopy among other things.

Treatment is based solely on the type and extent of the cancer. If it is a localized tumor, surgery is one of the first actions in order to “debulk” and remove it. These tumors have a reasonable chance of removing all cancer.

Other times more treatment will be necessary. Additional options include radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. A concerned pet owner should always ask as many questions as possible and do the right research to understand the situation. It’s okay to ask for a second opinion, especially from a board certified veterinary oncologist.

There is no single best answer when treating a pet for cancer. Many factors must be weighed such as the type of cancer, the severity, the prognosis, and the quality of life. For example, if a dog or cat is an elderly animal with bone cancer, will the quality of life be good to remove a limb if the others suffer from arthritis?

In far more cases than conventional medicine cares to admit, the use of alternative medicine and supplements offers an excellent addition to cancer treatment. These therapies can help boost immune systems, relieve nausea, calm digestive tracts, provide necessary anti-oxidants, and remove toxins (like residue from chemotherapy) from the system.

Natural herbal therapies, especially in cases where it seems the options are limited, provide a pet with more quality and quantity of life than expected. Our first job as responsible pet owners is to recognize cancer symptoms in dogs and cats, get informed Computer Technology Articles, then get busy bringing our best friend back to good health.

Copyright & Credit:
Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Le Mon is a master herbalist specializing in natural health care for dogs and cats. His formulations include TripleSure, a non-toxic natural flea control plus DentaSure, an all-natural teeth whitener for dogs and cats plus many more.

Photo copyright & courtesy: Ilker – stock.xchng

Care of Orphaned Kittens

| August 7, 2012
An orphan kitten is a newborn kitten without a mother. A kitten may become an orphan because of death or serious illness of the mother, or the inability of the mother to produce sufficient quality or quantity of milk.

An orphan kitten is a newborn kitten without a mother. A kitten may become an orphan because of death or serious illness of the mother, or the inability of the mother to produce sufficient quality or quantity of milk.

Introduction

An orphan kitten is a newborn kitten without a mother. A kitten may become an orphan because of death or serious illness of the mother, or the inability of the mother to produce sufficient quality or quantity of milk. Proper care for the orphan is vital to maintaining health and helping the kitten to develop and mature. While raising an orphan, care must be taken to insure proper nutrition, cleanliness, environment, as well as both mental and emotional support.

Despite all efforts, the typical mortality rate of kittens, including those that are not orphaned, ranges from 10 to 30 percent. Deaths may occur at any time from birth to weaning and may be due to pneumonia, hypothermia (low body temperature), dehydration, infectious disease, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), birth defects, parasites or trauma associated with birth. The most common signs of illness in the newborn are continuous crying, decreased activity and failure to gain weight.

After birth, all newborns should be examined for birth defects such as cranial (skull) deformities, cleft palate or heart murmurs.

Vital Signs

For the first 2 weeks of life, the normal heart rate of a kitten is above 200 beats per minute and the respiratory rate is 15 to 35 breaths per minute. Body temperature ranges from 96 to 97 degrees Fahrenheit for the first week of life. By 7 days, the body temperature rises to 100 degrees. Newborn kittens typically weigh around 100 grams and are expected to gain about 10 grams per day. At 6 weeks of age, kittens should weigh around 500 grams (a little more than a pound).

Nutrition

Orphan kittens depend on their caretakers to provide appropriate quality and quantity of food, in the form of kitten milk replacer. Feline milk replacer is composed of water, fats, sugars, minerals and proteins similar to feline milk. Cow’s milk is not an appropriate substitute for kitten milk replacer.

Kitten milk replacer should be warmed to 100 degrees Fahrenheit before feeding. If mixing powdered milk replacer, mix only 48 hours worth of milk at a time. The amount to give at each feeding will depend on the weight of the kitten and the number of feedings per day. Follow the label directions on the milk replacer container.

Orphan kittens can be fed by stomach tube or by nursing bottle. The stomach tube is quicker but may not be the best option for the developing kitten’s mental and emotional health. Eyedroppers should not be used since it is very difficult to provide sufficient nutrition to the kitten using this method. Nursing bottles are commonly used but the appropriate size bottle and nipple is necessary. Nipples that are too small can be swallowed and nipples that are too large make it very difficult for the kitten to nurse. In addition to an appropriate sized nipple, the opening in the nipple must also be appropriate. A hole too small restricts milk flow and does not allow the kitten to ingest sufficient calories. A hole too large can result in excessive milk exiting the nipple, which may result in aspiration. Bottle feeding should only be performed in kittens with a swallowing reflex. This reflex appears in cats at around ten days of age.

Tube feeding is often performed in kittens under 10 days of age since kittens this young often do not have a well developed gag/swallow reflex. With experience, tube feeding can be fast and easy. Typically, a 5 French red rubber catheter is used for kittens weighing less than 300 grams and an 8 French red rubber catheter is used for kittens weighing over 300 grams. The tube should be measured from the tip of the mouth to the last rib and marked. As the kitten grows, the tube will need to be re-measured and remarked periodically. Moisten the tube and insert into the esophagus. The tube should be inserted to the level of the pre-measurement. A syringe filled with kitten milk replacement is attached and given slowly over 2 minutes. If resistance occurs, stop feeding and remove the tube.

After each feeding, the kitten should be burped to remove any swallowed air from the stomach. Until 3 weeks of age, kittens need to be stimulated to urinate and defecate after each feeding. Use a warm moist cotton ball or tissue and rub it gently on the genital area. Urine and feces should soon be eliminated.

Newborn orphan kittens should be fed 6 to 8 times a day. Gradually reduce the frequency to 3 to 4 times per day by the time the kitten is 2 to 3 weeks of age.

Weaning

By 3 weeks of age, kittens can be offered solid foods. This should be introduced as a thin gruel made of kitten food mixed with kitten formula. Continue to feed the kittens formula with a bottle during the initial stages of weaning. Over the course of the next 2 weeks, gradually thicken the gruel. By the time the kitten is 6 to 8 weeks of age, the food should be near solid consistency. Always have fresh clean water available.

Illness

Newborns dehydrate quickly and rapidly become hypothermic (low body temperature) and hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) when ill. Hypothermic should be warmed slowly to 97 to 98 degrees over 1 to 3 hours using heating pads, heating lights or warmer bottles.

Environment

The orphan kitten’s environment must be kept as clean as possible. The kitten should also not be exposed to other animals or multiple people until about 4 to 6 weeks of age to reduce the risk of exposure to infectious diseases. Carefully wash your hands after each handling and clean all equipment after each use.

The kitten’s living area must be kept warm and draft-free. Use heat lamps, light bulbs or a heating pad covered in towels to provide heat. It is crucial not to overheat the orphan kitten. The temperature should be 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the first week of life and about 80 degrees for the next 3 to 4 weeks. Kittens can do well at a room temperature around 70 degrees once they are 6 weeks of age. Place a thermometer near the kittens to monitor the environmental temperature. In addition to maintaining adequate temperature, the humidity must also be monitored. Try to maintain a humidity level of 55 to 65 percent in the immediate vicinity of the orphans.

To keep the environment clean, use newspapers to line the floor and sides of the nest box. These can be changed quickly and easily when soiled. As the kittens mature, the newspapers should be replaced with cloth bedding to allow the kitten the ability to move around without slipping. Change and wash the bedding on a regular basis.

Handle the kittens only 6 to 8 times per day, which includes feeding times. Excessive handling will interrupt their sleep patterns and can predispose the kitten to illness. Do not allow young children to handle the kittens until around 6 to 8 weeks of age.

Recommended Treatments

In the past, it was thought that kittens had to ingest colostrum (antibody-rich milk from the mother cat) within the first 24 hours of life so that they could become protected against infectious disease. Recently, it has been shown that kittens do not require actual colostrum. A kitten only needs to ingest feline milk within the first day of life. This means that a kitten can be placed with a foster mother and still acquire enough antibodies. But kittens that do not receive colostrum or milk from a lactating mother in the first day of life should receive serum as an alternate source of antibodies. The serum can be obtained from any normal cat and can be injected under the skin at a dose of 1 milliliter per pound. This generally gives the kittens some protection for about 6 weeks.

At 2 weeks of age, the kitten may be dewormed. This dose should then be repeated in 2 weeks.

Despite receiving serum, orphaned kittens should initially be vaccinated at 4 to 6 weeks of age, as opposed to non-orphaned kittens, who begin their vaccine series at 8 weeks of age.

Monitoring

A log should be maintained for each newborn kitten. This log should include the daily weight, amount of formula ingested, urination and defecation as well as deworming information and vaccination. Each day, kittens spend their time sleeping and eating. Interrupting this sleep cycle or depriving the kitten of sleep can be detrimental to its health. Therefore, make a schedule for the kitten and stick to it. There should be sufficient intervals between feeding and sleeping to allow the kitten a chance for uninterrupted quiet time.

Kitten should be gently handled 6 to 8 times a day to mimic the stimulation they would have received from their siblings or mother. Prior to each feeding, spend some time handling the kitten. Twice a week, bathe the kitten with a damp cloth. After each feeding, the genital area should be stimulated with a warm, damp tissue or cotton ball. This should be done for the first 2 weeks of life. Periodically, take and record the kitten’s temperature. Until 3 weeks of age, take and record the kittens weight at least once a day.

Manhattan Cat Specialists carries kitten milk replacer and nursing bottles for people who are faced with the task of raising an orphaned kitten. Please don’t hesitate to call us with any problems or questions.
Copyright & Credit:
Article Source:
Dr. Arnold Plotnick is a board-certified veterinary internist and feline specialist. He is the owner of Manhattan Cat Specialists, http://www.manhattancats.com , a full-service veterinary facility located in New York City. Dr. Plotnick is the medical editor of Catnip magazine and is a medical advice columnist on CatChannel. He authors his own blog “Cat Man Do” http://catexpert.blogspot.com

Photo copyright and courtesy: Mark Heath Photography

Caring For Cats and the Essential Things that Must be Adopted

| November 3, 2010

aring For Cats and the Essential Things that Must be Adopted

Regular visits to the vet is the primary and maybe most important policy. Not merely will your feline recieve a daily checkup and maintain current with the really useful vaccinations, but any indicators of a problem may be detected early in the cycle.

Visiting the Vet

Regular visits to the vet is the primary and maybe most important policy. Not merely will your feline recieve a daily checkup and maintain current with the really useful vaccinations, but any indicators of a problem may be detected early in the cycle.

Kittens: We suggest a visit every three to 4 weeks until your kitty is four months old.

Adults Up to eight: Every year.

Adults eight and Over: Not less than once a year, extra if your cat begins to have health issues.

You may need to schedule an appointment if your feline is lethargic, has diarrhea, is vomiting, coughing or sneezing, has a discharge, is dropping hair, has itchy skin, or has sudden adjustments in the way they move.

Vaccinations

A kitten is delivered with natural antibodies that will chase away illness, but these wear off. Kittens ought to be vaccinated between the ages of 10 and 14 weeks to ensure that the vaccine is valuable. A booster shot is performed a year later, followed by boosters every three years.

Core Vaccines

Feline Distemper: That is given after 10 weeks of age and once more at 14 weeks. A booster is advised each three years after that.

Feline Herpes Virus Kind 1: That is usually given together with the feline distemper shot. Some 90% of all higher respiratory infections are attributable to Herpes Virus Type 1 and Feline Calicivirus. This shot doesn’t provide full protection, but it surely does reduce the severity of the illness.

Rabies: Many states insist on this vaccination and rabies is much more frequent in cats than dogs. Cats are especially susceptible to bites from other animals if in case you have an out of doors cat.

Non-Core Vaccines

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV): This is advisable only if your cat is youthful than sixteen weeks or spends lots of time outside. After sixteen weeks, your kitten’s personal defense system should shield them from FeLV.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP): The effectiveness of this vaccine is in disagreement and is not advisable at this time.

Bordatella: This vaccine is often administered provided that your cat is liable to infection. Nonetheless, some boarding services require this vaccination.

Chlamydiosis: This vaccination gained’t stop the an infection, which impacts the attention membranes and respiratory tracts of cats. It is going to solely cut back its nastiness.

Dermatophytosis: This can be a vaccine for ringworm and though it is out there, it hasn’t been confirmed to forestall the an infection or eradicate the fungus from a cat that is already infected.

FIV: This can be a comparatively new vaccine that’s meant for use against feline immunodeficiency virus, or feline AIDS as it’s generally called. Its effectiveness continues to be being discussed. Your pet doctor will be capable of offer you the latest update concerning Fel-O-Vax®, the trade title of the vaccine.

Giardia: The effectiveness of this medicine is still being debated and isn’t suggested.

Be vigilant for Parasites

Parasites can critically affect your cat’s well being, together with roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, heartworms, mites and fleas. You possibly can monitor your cat’s well being and have your doctor look at your cat if he appears to have parasites. Normally, a stool pattern is examined for the presence of eggs.

Preserve Kitty’s Teeth Clean

Your cat’s enamel ought to get the identical consideration as your own. Regular brushing will help prevent the buildup of plaque. Start brushing your cat’s tooth when they’re nonetheless kittens in order that they grow to be used to it at an early age. If you wait until the cat is an adult, you may be asking for an excellent scratching.

Proper Grooming

Cats naturally tidy up themselves. However if in case you have a longhaired cat you’ll want to get into the habit of brushing them consistently. Throughout a visit to the vet, you could need to ask the doctor to indicate you the right way to clean your cat’s ears frequently so you are able to do it as part of your grooming routine. This will scale back the prospect your cat will get an ear infection. Usually, cats don’t must be bathed. Brushing and self-grooming is enough to maintain them clean.

Poison Prevention

Cats are obviously curious, so you want to hold them away from family cleaners and other toxic products in your home. Maintain your medications within the drugs cabinet and off the counters. And ensure your cat on no account comes into contact with antifreeze.
If you suppose your cat has been uncovered to poison, instantly telephone your veterinarian, your native emergency pet clinic or the ASPCA Poison Control Heart.

As you understand, prevention is actually one of the best drugs for your cat. Common visits to the veterinarian and knowing your cat’s personality, habits and habits will help you recognize any changes that will want a go to to the vet.

Copyright & Credit:
Chris R Palmer Like folks, an knowing and caring for your Cats Health and Wellbeing may save you lots of heartaches and medical costs. Be aware and informed Now.
Article Source: http://www.articles4reprint.com


Photo copyright and courtesy: Stellan Kristiansson – stock.xchng

Cat Behavior Described

| February 22, 2011
Cat Behavior Described

It is always a concern, when a person witnesses a violent behavior between two cats, who were once good friends. Aggression among cats however is associated with certain reasons and it is necessary for human beings to understand this violent behavior of cats and act appropriately.

It is always a concern, when a person witnesses a violent behavior between two cats, who were once good friends. Aggression among cats however is associated with certain reasons and it is necessary for human beings to understand this violent behavior of cats and act appropriately.

Different Forms Of Aggression:

Below are some common and different types of aggression in cats:

Play aggression:

It is also termed play- fighting. It begins very early with kittens, but adults can also show this kind of aggression. Mother cats teach predator-prey behavior very early to their kittens, and thus cats possess a natural survival instinct be it in a comfortable home or in the wild.

The kitten will follow the other and then leap on that kitten. Play fighting is normally harmless fun, unless it becomes a sexual aggression. One needs to prevent injury by cutting the cat’s claw without fail. Play fighting is the initial step for establishing an everlasting hierarchy amongst feline house members.

Sexual aggression:

One can easily identify sexual aggression. The aggressor cat will nibble the scruff of the victim and will try mounting it. It will also display thrusting hip movements observed in female-male mating.

Territorial aggression:

Territorial aggression arises between equally matched cats and can occur between any genders. An individual may identify this aggression, since a cat exhibits this type of aggression by spraying urine or marking. The aggressor cat will raise its back, lay back its ears, hiss, growl and then will jump on its victim. The victim accepts defeat by whirling and gradually walking away or the victim begins a violent battle. An individual needs to try to part two fighting cats, or else they will inflict severe damage.

Most house cats will finally resolve their fights. Nevertheless, it requires a lot of commitment, time, and training to nurture a peaceful domestic or house cat.

Redirected aggression:

This aggression is generally a momentary condition and one needs to control it as soon as possible. An individual may control redirected cat aggression by following two steps:

1. The strange cat must be kept out of the yard

2. Separate two household cats for a while until they forget the episode.

Ways To Deal With Inter-Cat Aggression:

Below are some ways to manage inter-cat aggression:

Distraction:

An individual may effectively control over-enthusiastic sexual aggression, play fighting and territorial aggression by providing some distraction to the cat.

1. One can loudly clap hands to distract the cats
2. One can hiss loudly.
3. Give the cat a huge stuffed toy

Physical intervention:

Scuffing is one type of physical intervention. One must perform scruffing by holding the aggressive cat at its scruff and firmly but softly pushing it down. Use scruffing for disciplining the cats. This is accompanied by loud hissing just as the mother cat would do. The aggressive cat immediately relaxes into a submissive posture. Once the aggressive cat calms down leave him and talk softly to him. A few tender strokes will also be apt.

Copyright & Credit:
Author: Martin Marks
Go to Cat and Kitten Zone to get your free ebook about Cats and Kittens at Cats. Cat and Kitten Zone also has information on Kittens, Cat Supplies and a Cat and Kitten Forum where you can connect with others who love cats and kittens. You can Find Cat and Kitten Zone at www.catandkittenzone.com.

Article Source: http://www.a1articles.com/article_543074_54.html

Photo copyright and courtesy: Kamila Turton – stock.xchng

Cat Bite Abscesses

| December 17, 2011
Cat Bite Abscesses

Cat fights, and their resultant injuries, are a common reason for veterinary visits. Although cats living together indoor occasionally fight over territory or for owner attention, it rarely leads to serious injury. Cats that encounter other cats outdoors, however, are more likely to fight, usually over territory.

Carl Pastor couldn’t figure out where the foul smell was coming from. BeeJay, his 4-year old longhaired cat, always took pride in her spotless appearance, grooming enthusiastically at every opportunity. Lately, however, something wasn’t right. Normally playful and energetic, these last three days found BeeJay very quiet, apathetic toward food, and disinterested in going out in the yard. And there was that unpleasant odor that she mysteriously acquired. Determined to find the source of the odor, Carl gave BeeJay his own physical exam. Her teeth were fine, and her fur looked spotless. As he attempted to examine her rear end, however, BeeJay let cried and tried to run away. “I retrieved her, to finish checking her out”, said Carl, “and when I touched near her tail, and she cried again, and my hand was covered with some really awful smelling pus”.

Welcome to the world of cat bite abscesses.

Cat fights, and their resultant injuries, are a common reason for veterinary visits. Although cats living together indoor occasionally fight over territory or for owner attention, it rarely leads to serious injury. Cats that encounter other cats outdoors, however, are more likely to fight, usually over territory.

Cats’ teeth are sharp, and when they bite, puncture wounds are produced. There is a tremendous amount of bacteria in cats’ mouths. The puncture wounds seal over quickly, and bacteria injected into the skin become trapped. The bone marrow sends out many white blood cells to help fight this infection. The white blood cells and bacteria accumulate to form a painful pocket of pus just beneath the skin. This collection of pus is an abscess. Abscesses are common in cats, owing to the tough, elastic nature of feline skin, which readily seals over contaminated puncture wounds, allowing for pus to accumulate beneath the skin.

Dr. Mitchell Crystal is a board-certified veterinary internist at North Florida Veterinary Specialists in Jacksonville. Dr. Crystal warns that trauma and infection are not the only concern regarding cat bite injuries. “Cat bites have the potential to transmit several life threatening infectious diseases to other cats”, notes Dr. Crystal. “Examples of these include the feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency (FIV) virus, Bartonellosis, and rabies. Some of these, such as Bartonellosis and rabies, have zoonotic potential – they are transmissible to humans”.

The diagnosis of an abscess is based on history and physical examination findings. The majority of abscesses are seen in cats that go outdoors, like BeeJay. Intact males are at higher risk than neutered males or females, as they’re more likely to roam and fight over territory. Typically, a cat that has been bitten appears fine after the encounter. Over the next 2 – 4 days, bacteria deposited in the wound begin to multiply, and cats develop a fever, become lethargic, and often stop eating. Many cats are taken to the veterinarian at this stage, where the abscess appears as either a firm or soft painful swelling. In most cases, puncture wounds or small lacerations may be present, and the

area may feel warm. If not discovered in this early stage, the abscess will continue to swell, burrowing through tissues and accumulating more pus. The abscess may then burst through the overlying skin, releasing creamy yellow or brownish, often malodorous pus. Overlying hair may become matted with dried discharge. Common locations for abscesses are the face and neck, tail, back, and legs, although any part of the body can be bitten during a fight. If a bite wound occurs in a location that does not have much loose skin, such as a leg, the infection can dissect its way through the tissues, causing diffuse swelling instead of a discrete collection of pus. This diffuse swelling is called cellulitis.

The goal of treatment is to prevent further contamination by cleaning the wound, removing dead tissue, and treating for infection. The earlier that treatment is instituted, the better the chances of the wound healing without complication. Dr. Gary Norsworthy is a board certified feline specialist and owner of Alamo Feline Health Center, in San Antonio. Dr. Norsworthy has treated hundreds of catfight abscesses, and has even authored a chapter on these types of injuries in a veterinary textbook, “The Feline Patient”. “In most cases, the cat is anesthetized so an incision can be made into the abscess”, says Dr. Norsworthy. “The wound is then flushed with an antibacterial solution to further remove pus and other debris”. If detected and addressed at an early stage, lancing and flushing (plus antibiotics) may be all that is required. If discovered at a later stage, where significant tissue damage has occurred beneath the skin, the veterinarian may need to debride the wound (i.e. remove dead or compromised tissue). In some cases, the veterinarian may find it necessary to insert a drain (a piece of soft rubber tubing that exits at the lowest point of the wound) to allow any future accumulation of fluid or pus to escape. After debriding, if the wound is large, sutures may be required to partially close it, however, most wounds are left open to drain and heal on their own. Very large skin defects may require some type of reconstructive skin surgery after the infection has resolved. BeeJay’s abscess had already burst through the skin, leaving a small hole just to the left of her tail base. The wound was cleansed, but placement of a drain wasn’t necessary. “It was kinda gross looking”, said Carl, “but she felt much better afterward”. Indeed, once an abscess is opened up so that pus can drain, most cats immediately begin feeling better.

Antibiotic treatment, therefore, is an important part of abscess therapy “because oral bacteria are literally injected below the skin during the biting process”, says Dr. Gary Norsworthy, and nearly all of these wounds are infected. Penicillin derivatives are the antibiotics of choice. Pus that has a particularly putrid smell, like that present in BeeJay’s wound, is usually indicates that anaerobic bacteria – bacteria that thrive in environments where oxygen is low or absent – are involved in the infection, and antibiotics known to be effective against anaerobes should be administered. A short course is typically all that is required. “Antibiotics are given for 5-10 days”, says Dr. Norsworthy. Occasionally, some bite wound infections do not respond to initial antibiotic therapy, and a bacterial culture and sensitivity test may be required to determine which specific bacteria are infecting the wound and which antibiotics are most effective.

The prognosis for a properly treated abscess is excellent, however, cats that engage in frequent fights are at high risk for contracting serious illnesses, such as FeLV and FIV. Cats who contract these viruses may then spread them to other cats in future encounters. Cats with FeLV or FIV also have weakened defenses against infection, and may have difficulty defeating an infection if bitten by other cats. Outdoor cats should be regularly tested for these viruses. Although the majority of cats will test positive within several weeks of being bitten by an infected cat, a cat that tests negative should be retested no sooner than 90 days after exposure, to rule out false negative results obtained during incubation of the virus.

Cats that go outdoors should also be current on their vaccinations, especially rabies and FeLV. A vaccine against FIV was introduced several years ago and is gaining popularity, although there is still some controversy regarding its usage. Administration of the vaccine causes cats to test “positive” when tested for FIV, and there is currently no way to determine if a cat that tests positive is infected, immune, or both. Once a test is developed that can distinguish between vaccinated and infected cats, the FIV is certain to gain more widespread acceptance.

The best prevention is to keep all cats indoors and prevent them from roaming and fighting. All cats should be neutered, to reduce roaming and aggressive tendencies. A good sturdy fence can be helpful in preventing cats that insist on going outdoors from getting into fights with cats outside their property. “BeeJay is an indoor cat now”, says Carl. “I love her too much to take chances”.

Signs of an abscess
Lethargy
Poor or absent appetite
Visible puncture wounds
Swelling or lump on skin
Limping (if bitten on a leg)
Pain or resentment when picked up or touched
Fever
Swollen lymph nodes

 

Copyright & Credit:

Article Source: Dr. Arnold Plotnick is a board-certified veterinary internist and feline specialist. He is the owner of Manhattan Cat Specialists, http://www.manhattancats.com , a full-service veterinary facility located in New York City. Dr. Plotnick is the medical editor of Catnip magazine and is a medical advice columnist on CatChannel. He authors his own blog “Cat Man Do” http://catexpert.blogspot.com .

Photo copyright and courtesy: V.Tanke

Cat Cancer – A Brief Explanation

| October 16, 2010
Cancer involves the unregulated proliferation of cells resulting in the formation malignant tumors.

Cancer involves the unregulated proliferation of cells resulting in the formation malignant tumors.

For cat owners, there’s nothing more terrifying and distressing than to find out that your beloved feline companion has developed a malignant tumor or tumors. In order to give your cat the best chance to survive a case of feline cancer, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Also, having a basic understanding of cat cancer and the steps involved in fighting the disease can help make the process of diagnosis and treatment less confusing and overwhelming.

What is Cancer?

Cancer involves the unregulated proliferation of cells resulting in the formation malignant tumors. This type of uncontrolled growth occurs when gene mutations are caused by damaged DNA. Typically, any damaged cells would be destroyed by the animal’s immune system; however, cancerous cells are able to avoid destruction by the immune system and, therefore, continue to grow in their unregulated manner. These cells then form a mass known as a tumor, which can either be benign or malignant. Malignant tumors are the cancerous ones, and they can be very aggressive and dangerous.

Types of Cat Cancer

There are so many different types of cat cancer that it’s not possible to discuss all of them here. Cancer can originate in and affect almost all parts of the feline body; however, there are certain types of cat cancer that are more common than others. These include bladder cancer as well as various abdominal cancers which can affect the kidneys, intestines, spleen, and liver. Feline leukemia and malignant skin tumors also affect cats quite frequently.

Causes

In most cases, it’s impossible to identify one or more particular causes of cancer in a feline patient. The potential causes and triggers of this disease are numerous and encompass both genetic and environmental factors. For example, hereditary defects and toxic chemicals can both play a role in the development of cat cancer. Radiation and viruses such as the Feline Leukemia Virus are also known to increase a cat’s risk of developing cancer. With so many potential triggers and contributing factors, the cause of feline cancer in a particular cat will often remain unknown.

Common Symptoms

Since there are so many different forms of cat cancer, the type of the disease that is affecting a particular cat will determine the type of symptoms and warning signs exhibited. For example, excessive drooling and trouble with eating could be signs of mouth cancer while stiffness and difficulty with movement could be symptoms of bone cancer. However, even though the warning signs of cancer will differ with each type of the disease, there are certain symptoms that are common to various forms of cancer. These warning signs include weight loss and loss of appetite, abnormal and firm swelling, a lack of interest in daily activities, trouble with eating, an offensive odor, and unusual stiffness or lameness.

Diagnosis

A diagnosis of cat cancer will be reached through an evaluation of symptoms and clinical signs as well as the results of various diagnostic procedures. Since there are so many different types of feline cancer, there are a number of diagnostic tools and tests that may be necessary to confirm and identify a particular case of this disease. Certain tools and tests that may be employed include blood tests, biopsies, x-rays, and CT scans. Once the presence of a particular form of cat cancer has been confirmed, the veterinarian will also need to evaluate the stage of the disease in order to implement an appropriate treatment plan.

Treatment

When a cat has been diagnosed as having cancer, the necessary treatment plan will depend on a number of different factors, including the type of cancer present and the stage of the disease. Examples of treatment methods frequently used for various forms of cat cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is part of a holistic health approach to treatment and is often used in conjunction with other treatments. This particular form of therapy involves using a variety of natural supplements to boost the cat’s immune system in order to provide the animal with a greater ability to fight the cancer as well as to withstand other forms of treatment such as chemotherapy. In some cases, treatment for cat cancer will successfully eradicate the disease but, unfortunately, in other cases treatment will only serve to slow the progress of the cancer.

Prevention

Since the potential contributing factors with respect to the development of cat cancer are so numerous, it can be difficult and even impossible to predict and prevent cancer in many cases. Yet, there are certain steps that pet owners can take to help lower the chances of their feline friends developing this terrible disease. Often, a holistic health care approach is very beneficial in this regard. By promoting and protecting your cat’s overall health with a good diet, a healthy living environment, and natural supplements, you will be boosting the strength and function of your pet’s immune system. As a result, your feline companion will have a stronger defense against cancer and all other feline medical problems and will be more likely to live a long and healthy life.

Copyright & Credit:
Article source: Articlecat.com
Author: About Author: Catharine Wells is a freelance writer who writes about topics concerning pet care such as Cat Cancer | Cat Hyperthyroidism | Cat Kidney Disease
Photo copyright and courtesy:
Hervé de Brabandère
– stock.xchng

Cat Care 101: Keeping Your Home Clean and Your Cat Healthy

| December 27, 2011
Keeping Your Home Clean and Your Cat Healthy

Our cats are full-fledged family members - there's no doubt about it. Their loyalty, their love, and their ability to comfort us are unparalleled. Sometimes, though, their hair or odors can leave an unwelcome footprint in our homes.

 

Our cats are full-fledged family members – there’s no doubt about it. Their loyalty, their love, and their ability to comfort us are unparalleled. Sometimes, though, their hair or odors can leave an unwelcome footprint in our homes. Just as we clean up the spills made by our kids (or our spouses!), it’s up to us to clean up after our cats. Luck ily, there are any number of products that make pet care a breeze.

Cat Litter Boxes

Cats are generally low maintenance pets, but their litter boxes often contribute little to you home decor, and can become a smelly nuisance. Today’s litter boxes, though, can bring a touch of whimsy to your interior design, while their functionality can put an end to messes and odours.

One line of litter boxes comes in an assortment of patterns and colors, from solid silver and solid black, to polka dot, leopard print and wood grain. The litter tray door pulls out, and a metal sifter rake pulls and lifts litter out of the tray for easy cleaning. Another ingenious design has a triangular shape so that you can easily place it otherwise used corner space.

If you want to make cat care even easier, self-cleaning litter boxes are the answer. One style has an internal grill that traps used litter. You simply roll the enclosed litter box on its side and remove the waste tray. Another type takes self-cleaning to the next level by having a slowly but rotating system that quietly but continuously scoops used cat litter into a receptacle. The ultimate litter box is one that automatically flushes cat waste down your toilet. Instead of cat litter, this box uses permanent granules that are washable. After your cat uses the box, the granules are automatically washed, disinfected, and dried. Liquid and any solid waste are flushed down the toilet with fresh water.

Kitty Litter

When it comes to kitty litter, many cats have a preference for one brand over another. But if you start with the right litter or are persistent, you can find kitty litter that can help eliminate odors while keep your cat healthy. One brand of kitty litter on the market not only neutralizes litter box odors, but also changes color if your cat has a urinary tract infection. Given that urinary tract infections can quickly become life threatening, early detection is key. It’s also helpful to have information about a potential infection to give to your veterinarian.

Shedding Tools

Many people who love cats are troubled by allergies, or by the cat hair that clings to furniture and clothes. Products that help with shedding take one of two approaches: either they work at the source of the problem (your furry feline) or they make it a snap to clean up hair off of furniture.

Cats typically shed their undercoat (rather than the hair you see), so a product that helps you remove hair from your pet – a “furminator” of sorts – means you’ll never see it on your couch. These products brush out the dead hair from the undercoat (but don’t cut it), while bringing your cat’s natural oils to the surface. Because this type of product also helps stops over zealous self-cleaning, your cat may be less likely to be bothered by hairballs.

Cat care isn’t difficult, and the great litter boxes, kitty litter, and shedding tools make it even easier!

Copyright & Credit:
About the Author:  Linda Cain at Rain Shadow LLC and Rain Shadow Gardens. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2007 | Article Source: http://www.freearticles.co.za

Photo copyright and courtesy: viv choi photography’s

 

Cat Care Tips – 10 Things Your Cat Wants You To Know

| December 26, 2011
Cat Care Tips

Given the differences between humans and felines, it's amazing that we get along the way we do. These cat care tips deal with subjects such as preventing litter box problems and letting your cat act on her instincts.

Given the differences between humans and felines, it’s amazing that we get along the way we do. These cat care tips deal with subjects such as preventing litter box problems and letting your cat act on her instincts. Following these tips will help you and your kitty to better bond and enjoy your lives together.

1. Lay your hands on your cat often – some cats just don’t like to be picked up no matter what. But, if you can start handling your cat often when she’s a kitten, chances are good she’ll better accept it later in life. She’ll also do better when it comes time to get checked by the vet or have her claws trimmed.

2. Check your cat for health problems – use weekly (or more often) grooming sessions to examine your cat for common health problems. Check your cat’s teeth, gums, eyes, ears, skin, and limbs for obvious problems. Check for fleas, ear mites, and signs of pain, swelling, or injury.

3. Let your cat sunbathe – cats love heat. In fact, domestic cats love warmth so much that they’ve been known to singe their fur on a hot stove. Cats love to sunbathe, so provide a bed for your cat by a window so she can have her place in the sun.

4. Keep your cat indoors – every major cat care organization recommends keeping your cat indoors for safety, better health, and a longer life. Cats can live out a healthy life indoors, get the exercise they need, and survey their territory from a nice spot in front of the window.

5. Your cat wants to hunt, so let her – no, I’m not saying to let your cat hunt rats. Instead, bring out the hunting instincts in your cat by spreading some treats around the house. This will make feeding time a bit more fun. One of my cats likes it when you toss dry food bits and let her chase them down. Try it.

6. Provide enough litter boxes – follow the one plus one rule – one box for each cat in the house plus one more. This ensures that there’s a fresh, available box to use at any given time. Some cats don’t like using a box that was recently used, even if they were the one to use it.

7. Clean the cat litter box twice a day – clean the box twice a day and change the litter every few weeks, thoroughly scrubbing the box and disinfecting with bleach when you do. Keeping the box spotless will help prevent any possible cat litter box problems that might arise.

8. Set aside playtime for you and your cat – play fetch with your cat, or dangle toys on a string for her. Play a game of tag and take turns chasing each other around the house whenever you can. Increase your cat’s exercise level daily and you’ll help lower risks of heart disease, diabetes and other diseases.

9. Must have cat toys – cat toys can be fun for both of you. Rotate your cat’s toys in and out of circulation so that you keep it interesting. Always, however, leave your cat’s favorites accessible. Heed warning labels, though, and do not leave your cat unsupervised as injury can occur. Also, a belt or a shoe lace, if used safely, can make a great interactive toy and provide exercise for your cat.

10. Get your cat a housemate – two cats are more than twice the fun of one. Plus, your cats will be able to give each other attention when you can’t. A second cat around the house will offer comfort, reduce boredom, and encourage exercise. This will help prevent possible behavior problems as well, as bored kitties are more likely to get into trouble.

Keeping your cat indoors will help keep her safe, and ensuring she exercises will keep her healthy. Nurturing your cat’s instincts, and paying more attention to her will make your kitty a better adjusted family member. The cat care tips concerning the litter box may prevent future headaches, and the health check is just a good habit for the two of you.

 

Copyright & Credit: About the Author: For at least 15 more practical tips on cat care see Kurt Schmitt’s online resource for cat lovers. Title: Cat Care Tips – 10 Things Your Cat Wants You To Know Article Distribution and Free Web Content by www.reprint-content.com

Photo copyright and courtesy: Michelangelo Di Schiena

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