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RSSFeline Health

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.


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.


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.

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.

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

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.


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.


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).


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


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

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

Tel: +27 11 706-6023/4/5
Fax: +27 11 706-5801
Emergencies: +27 11 706-6023e

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
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

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.


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:

Photo copyright and courtesy: Stellan Kristiansson – 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
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
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, , 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” .

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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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
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Cat Eye Health Issues and Treatment Options

| July 8, 2018
Cat Eye Health Issues and Treatment Options. One of the most common issues with cat eye health is conjunctivitis. This is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the inner lining of the lid and the white of the eye.

One of the most common issues with cat eye health is conjunctivitis. This is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the inner lining of the lid and the white of the eye.

As a cat owner, it is important for you to promote good cat eye health by knowing what a healthy eye looks like as opposed to an eye with a defect. The eye should be clear and bright with the area around the eyeball showing white. If you see red inner lids, discharge, cloudiness, dullness, tear-stained fur around the eye or the “third lid” coming over the eye, you are seeing symptoms of illness in the eye. You need to have your vet examine your cat’s eye to determine the cause.

One of the most common issues with cat eye health is conjunctivitis. This is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the inner lining of the lid and the white of the eye. Conjunctivitis can be a result of allergies or infections by viruses, bacteria, or fungus. One of the viral infections that will cause chronic recurrences is herpes. If the condition is caused by infection, it can be spread to other cats, so you should keep your cat away from others until you know what the cause is and can clear up infection. Infection can also occur if the cat has been in a fight or accident that caused an ulceration of the cornea. Most likely the vet will prescribe an ophthalmic ointment to treat infection.

Overly watery eyes is another common eye problem for cats. Generally, this is an inherited defect in which the tear duct is blocked causing over tearing.

Much like humans, cats can also develop cataracts and glaucoma. Cloudiness of the lens, or cataracts, usually starts in older cats just like in older humans. Eventually, you may have to ask your vet to surgically remove the cataract to help your act remain active and able to see. If fluid is not draining from the eye properly, the cat can also develop the serious eye condition called glaucoma. This disease involves too much pressure on the inside of the eye.

If the vet prescribes eye drops, you will need to know how to administer them properly. First, clean the eye of any discharge. You may need someone to help hold your cat on its side. Use one hand to hold the eye open has you use the other to squeeze the drops into the eye. Make sure the tip of the bottle does NOT touch the eye or surrounding surfaces since it will contaminate the bottle with the infection. Once you have the drops in, allow the cat to blink so that it spreads the medicine over the entire surface of the eye.

Ointment may be a little more difficult to apply. Again, start by using a moist cotton ball or cloth to clean the eye and surrounding area. With the help of an assistant, restrain your cat on its side. While holding the eye open, you will need to keep the tube parallel to the lower lid squeezing the ointment along the edge of the eye. Usually, it needs to be a line about the length of a grain of rice. This can be a challenge if the cat is moving a lot because you have to be close enough to the eye to allow the ointment to rest on the edge of the lid without touching the infecting area with the tip to prevent contamination of the medicine. Once you have the ointment in place, the cat’s naturally blinking reflex will spread it over the eye. To get your cat’s eye health back in balance, use the medicine for the full term the doctor recommends.

Learn more about looking after your cat with coverage on problems ranging from cat fleas to diarrhea and other treatable conditions at

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Originally published on for Richard Davies Thursday, June 26, 2008
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Cat Hairballs

| October 27, 2010
Cat hairballs are hair that was not digested, accumulated and coughed out. Cats will either pass hair through their digestive system or the hair will build up in their bodies causing the retching and heaving required to get rid of it.

Cat hairballs are hair that was not digested, accumulated and coughed out. Cats will either pass hair through their digestive system or the hair will build up in their bodies causing the retching and heaving required to get rid of it.

Cat hairballs are hair that was not digested, accumulated and coughed out. Cats will either pass hair through their digestive system or the hair will build up in their bodies causing the retching and heaving required to get rid of it. Cat hairballs are masses of fur that form in your cat’s stomach. They are one of the most common health problems of cats.

Cat hairballs are a normal phenomenon in feline and there are many ways to manage them. The three most common remedies to help decrease the frequency or size of hairballs are hairball lubricants, fiber supplements, and improved grooming. There are some dry commercial cat foods specially formulated for hairball remedy. The best way, of course, is prevention.

According to some vets who operates a large cat practice, the biggest problems with intestinal lubricants are not using enough each time or not using it frequently enough. In almost all cases, the most effective dose is a two-inch strip from the tube of lubricant twice daily for two days.

With regard to diet, usually, a higher fiber diet can assist in the passage of hair through the digestive tract. Additionally, some pet food companies manufacture food for cats with recurrent cat hair ball problems. Ask your veterinarian about these. Be aware that most cat hairball diets on the market have 2-10 times the normal amount of fiber, which is potentially irritating to the tender lining of the gastrointestinal tract. If you try one of these foods, make the switch gradually, and be sure to watch closely for too-loose or too-dry stools; either may result.

Brushing your cat and helping with its grooming lowers the chance of it swallowing a lot of hair and will help keep its fur shiny, smooth, and free of tangles. The act of licking themselves helps to untangle and remove loose hair. Their tongues are specifically made for the task. Long-haired cats especially need more protection from hairballs.

Cats shed heavily in a change of season especially from winter to spring and summer. Shedding can also be caused by a lack of adequate diet and care. Most cats adore being gently brushed, so keep a cat brush next to each of your favorite chairs. When kitty jumps in your lap, the brush will be handy.

Cat hairballs can only be predicted once a cat starts retching and vomiting. We can only hope that the cat gets that blockage out without trouble. Hairballs are a common problem with cats simply because it is part of their nature to keep themselves clean. In fact there are very few animals that are so meticulous about keeping themselves clean as a cat. Cat Hairballs are made up of all of the tiny hairs that the cat swallows while grooming.

As already stated, although vomiting may be a sign of hairballs, it may also be a sign of other problems, particularly if your cat doesn’t bring up hairballs or if it vomits more than about once a week. A visit to the veterinarian may be in order. Longhaired breeds especially need special attention. During the spring when all cats shed, daily brushing is most important.

If vomiting fails to expel a hairball, this hair can get lodged in the stomach or intestine where larger clumps of hair can build up. It can compact with undigested food in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. Impactions are serious business, and sometimes must be removed surgically. At the very least, it could compact and cause constipation. Cat hairballs are considered the leading cause of constipation in cats.

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Cat Hyperthyroidism – A Brief Introduction

| October 16, 2010
Cat Hyperthyroidism

Cat Hyperthyroidism

As cat owners, there’s nothing more distressing than finding out that your feline friend is sick. In the case of a disorder such as feline hyperthyroidism, the consequences can be severe and have the potential to rob your pet of its health, comfort, and even its life. However, when armed with some basic knowledge, you’ll be better able to help your cat through its illness and to hopefully catch the problem early on so you can ease your pet’s suffering and improve its health with early treatment and intervention.

The Feline Thyroid Gland

The thyroid is a double-lobed gland located in the cat’s neck, wrapped around its trachea. Consisting of spherical follicles, this gland is responsible for secreting the two thyroid hormones — thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These two iodine-containing hormones play a significant role in a number of physiological functions and have an effect on every cell in the feline body. In particular, T4 helps to regulate the cat’s metabolic rate, or the rate at which the cat’s cells burn energy.

Feline Hyperthyroidism

When a cat’s thyroid does not function properly and produces too much of the T4 hormone, the cat develops the endocrine disorder known as hyperthyroidism. This disorder is most common in middle-aged and elderly cats and affects male and female cats equally. Since thyroid hormones have an effect on every part of the feline physiological system, hyperthyroidism can also affect every organ. As a result, this endocrine disorder can have numerous negative effects on a feline patient and can quickly become extremely dangerous if left untreated.

Consequences of Hyperthyroidism

Since the thyroxine hormone controls the metabolic rate of a cat’s body, elevated levels of this hormone result in a higher rate of metabolic function. This causes an increase in blood pressure as well as an increased heart rate. This excessive stress upon the feline heart can eventually cause it to expand in size. Known as myocardial hypertrophy, this heart condition causes the organ to wear out more quickly than a normal heart and will eventually lead to heart failure if the myocardial hypertrophy and hyperthyroidism continue to go untreated.

Symptoms and Warning Signs

The fact that cat hyperthyroidism affects every cell in a feline’s body and increases the animal’s metabolic rate explains the nature and high number of different symptoms that this disorder can give rise to. While not all feline patients will experience the exact same set of symptoms, some of the most common warning signs of hyperthyroidism include a significantly increased appetite accompanied by weight loss, both of which directly result from the elevated metabolic rate. Hyperactivity, irritability, rapid breathing, and a rapid heart rate are also frequently displayed by cats suffering from this thyroid condition.


While there are likely many different factors that can contribute to the development of hyperthyroidism in a particular cat, this thyroid condition is caused by the presence of a tumour on the thyroid gland. Even though these tumours are often benign, they still trigger the overproduction of thyroid hormones. When it comes to possible contributing factors for cat hyperthyroidism, there is still much that is not understood. However, it’s believed that factors such as age, environment, and diet could be related to the development of thyroid tumours which lead to feline hyperthyroidism.


When hyperthyroidism is suspected in a feline patient, a thorough physical examination will be conducted so that the veterinarian can check for clinical signs such as enlarged glands, high blood pressure, and an elevated heart rate. Numerous blood tests can also provide important information on the condition of different organs and physiological systems. Thyroid tests will also likely be conducted in order to measure the levels of thyroid hormones in the cat’s body. In certain cases, imaging tools such as ultrasound will also be used to examine the physical structure of the thyroid gland and to check for any physical abnormalities such as tumours.


Once a diagnosis of cat hyperthyroidism has been made, there are a variety of different treatment methods available. Traditional forms of treatment include surgery, radiation, and medication. A holistic health care approach will also be beneficial in some cases, involving the use of natural supplements and homoeopathic remedies to balance hormones and to regulate thyroid activity. Natural supplements are also beneficial in the sense that they can reduce uncomfortable symptoms and boost a cat’s overall health. Whether your particular cat will benefit the most from a holistic health care approach or traditional treatment methods is something that will depend upon your individual pet’s circumstances and will need to be determined by a veterinarian. For some feline patients, the best approach will involve a combination of both traditional and holistic treatments. In any event, it’s always important to ensure that your feline friend receives treatment as soon as possible so that severe and potentially fatal consequences of this endocrine disorder can be avoided.

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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
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Cat Obesity: Causes, Prevention and Treatment

| December 30, 2014


Jordan Walker loves cats and confesses that he could look at their pictures all day long. He writes informational stuff about these furry friends at Coops And Cages and in websites like this one. In this article, he talks about cat obesity.


Many would say they love their pets. But if there was a pet health meter that could prove this, how many do you think would be able to pass this test?

According to the statistics provided by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), 57.6% of cats in the United States are obese. The same trend can also be seen in pet dogs. What does this mean for pet cats?

Cat obesity awareness is promulgated because this is tied to many health risks. Just like humans can suffer from health diseases such as diabetes, poor skin condition, fatty liver, reproductive problems, and lowered immune system due to obesity, cats could experience this too. You say you really love you pet cat? Is it obese? Then read the rest of this article.

Diagnosing Cat Obesity

There are several signs that your pet cat is already obese. Some of these are listed below:

  • Obvious weight gain
  • Body fat
  • Tiredness
  • Unwillingness to move or exercise


As you can see, the symptoms are similar to that of humans who are considered obese. Take note that a huge cat is not always a sign of pet obesity. It may be that your cat’s breed belongs to the larger type. If you want to know how your pet scores on the weighing scale, all you have to do is visit your veterinarian. Diagnosing cat obesity requires body condition assessment that includes comparison with a standard sized cat that matches your cat’s breed.

Possible Causes

Cat obesity can be attributed to varying conditions. Some are medical in nature, while others are due to feeding and exercise inadequacies.

  1. Feeding on high-carb diet. Ideally, cats should eat a high-protein diet. Experts claim that if humans were to eat like cats do, they would easily suffer from heart problems. In reverse, when a cat is fed the ideal diet of humans, they suffer from a similar consequence. When cats eat a lot of protein, this is converted to energy. When carbohydrates are tossed into their plate, this on the other hand is synthesized as fat.
  2. Lack of exercise. As a cat owner, you may have been advised to keep your pet inside the premises of your house. Yes, it’s true. Cats outside can easily fall victim to road accidents, mischief with other pets, and even theft. But although you keep it from the dangers that could stem from being outside, being inside the house on the other hand poses a threat to its health in the form of obesity because of inactivity.
  3. Owner is considered an obese. Having a pet cat is like transferring your genes to your own son or daughter. But instead of your physical traits, they acquire your eating habits. If you eat more than five times a day, and eat plentiful at that too, your pet cat may have been eating with you this whole time.
  4. Hypothyroidism. This condition is characterized by the cat producing lesser amounts of thyroid hormone. When this happens, your pet’s metabolic function is compromised. Even if you feed your pet cat its ideal normal food portion, this will still suffer from weight problems due to its lowered metabolic rate.
  5. Its age. Just as hypothyroidism could affect your pet’s metabolic rate, age also plays an important role. Older cats no longer synthesize energy as effectively as before. Moreover, playfulness decreases as a pet cat gets older, which could mean lessened physical activity for pet cat.

How to Reverse Cat Obesity

Luckily for some of the obese cats out there, their condition could still be reversed or improved depending on what’s causing it. Here are some suggestions on how to get this done:



  1. Pay attention to its diet. Ditch the carbohydrates for high-protein foods. If you can, buy fresh lean mean instead of feeding your pet cat with cat foods that are laden with preservatives and low quality ingredients.
  2. See to it that cat gets enough exercise. Provide recreational activities indoors. If you can’t play with your cat on a daily basis, then at least give it some toys such as a ball or fishing pole that it could play on its own.
  3. Take care of your own health. See to it that you are eating well yourself. Don’t let your pet cat see you munching on a bowl of fries when you are depressed. Remember, eating plus misery loves company. With your cat close by, this will likely take on that role anytime.
  4. Work with your vet. If cat obesity is caused by an underlying medical condition, you will need to get this treated properly in order to see your pet lose the excess weight.

Final Thoughts

If you really love your pet cat, then its health should be your number one priority. A fat cat is not a happy cat. It can’t breathe nor move freely with ease. If your pet cat shows any of the signs mentioned above, then it’s an indication that it needs your care the most- it needs you to implement actions that could help it lose the extra pounds.
Author: Jordan Walker


Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages as well as a couple of other pet related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for ‘attempting’ to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can via Google+ or Twitter: @CoopsAndCages


Cats and Diabetes

| December 29, 2013
Cats and Diabetes

Introduction- Diabetes mellitus or sugar diabetes is a chronic endocrine (hormone) illness characterised by high levels of glucose in the blood. It is seen in dogs and cats as well as humans, and in each species is commoner in the overweight and obese. There is no cure, but treatment, which in cats may or may not include insulin injections, can maintain a healthy and active life.

Introduction- Diabetes mellitus or sugar diabetes is a chronic endocrine (hormone) illness characterised by high levels of glucose in the blood. It is seen in dogs and cats as well as humans, and in each species is commoner in the overweight and obese. There is no cure, but treatment, which in cats may or may not include insulin injections, can maintain a healthy and active life.

Pathology – Diabetes occurs when the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, the Islets of Langerhans, stop producing sufficient insulin to cope with the body’s glucose load (Type 1 diabetes), or when the peripheral tissues in the body that react to insulin become resistant to its effect (Type 2 diabetes).


* Weight loss (more likely in type 1 diabetes)
* Thirst, excessive drinking (polydipsia)
* Increased urination (polyuria)
* Increased appetite
* Increased blood glucose (hyperglycaemia)
* Blindness
* Weakness
* Depression


* Obesity
* Chronic Pancreatitis
* Stress (cortisol, one of the stress hormones, makes fat cells less sensitive to insulin)
* Genetic predisposition – it affects cats of all ages, sexes and breeds, but is commoner in older, castrated male cats, especially Burmese cats Diagnosis

Diagnosis depends on a urine test followed by a confirmatory blood test for glucose levels.

Effects of Diabetes – There is an increased incidence of:

* Cataracts
* Premature death
* Problems in pregnancy
* Infections, especially bladder
* Pancreatitis

Current Western Treatments

* Insulin
* Diet
* Exercise
* Neutering of diabetic female cats

Insulin – The discovery of insulin in 1921 ( see was pivotal in changing diabetes mellitus from disease that was fatal within weeks to a chronic and not necessarily life-threatening condition.

Insulin is the mainstay of treatment in many cats, although some cats, once stabilised, can be managed with diet alone. Diet

Diet needs to be specific and timed correctly. Glucose control is better if you feed a fixed formula feed, low in fat and high in slowly digested complex carbohydrates. However, if your cat’s routine is to eat several times per day, your vet is unlikely to change this.

If your cat is overweight, getting his/ her weight down to normal is essential over the first 3-4 months after diagnosis.

Exercise – Your cat should be allowed to take exercise as normal. Other considerations

A diabetic cat will take up a lot of your time and finances over the years, but will reward you with years of companionship.

Complementary Therapies – Stress Reduction will help with glucose control and can be helped by:

* Spiritual Healing
* Reiki
* Crystal Healing with crystals such as amethyst
* Massage
* T-touch technique

Herbal remedies

* Stinging nettles – for fatigue, poor appetite
* Garlic – for digestive problems
* Fenugreek – for fatigue and weight loss
* olive leaves – for blood pressure and glucose control

Bach Flower Remedies tend to be favoured over aromatics by cats. Your choice of remedy will depend on your cat’s personality and current circumstances.

Conclusion – With Diabetes mellitus it is very important that you work closely with your vet in order to get optimum glucose control. The triad of insulin (where needed), diet and exercise is pivotal. Other things that can help you to support your cat.


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Alison Grimston is a holistic doctor and animal healer with a website that helps to inform the public about complementary animal therapies while connecting animal therapists worldwide.

Photo copyright and courtesy: Linda Gavin

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