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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

Easy Ways to Know if Your Cat is Happy

| June 1, 2015
Cats are very intelligent animals that express various emotions including fear, grief, jealousy, anger and love according to animal rights advocate Igor Purlantov

Cats are very intelligent animals that express various emotions including fear, grief, jealousy, anger and love according to animal rights advocate Igor Purlantov

Cats are very intelligent animals that express various emotions including fear, grief, jealousy, anger and love according to animal rights advocate Igor Purlantov. For those that are lucky enough to have a cat in their home, it is important to know if your feline companion is happy.

Finding out if your cat is happy can sometimes be a difficult task since cats are very good at hiding their true feelings says Igor Purlantov. Here are several ways to help you know if you have a happy cat:

Playful Behavior
Cats enjoy playing with others that they like and trust. Any amount of playful activity, from running back and forth and playing catch to simply patting your leg or face for attention is a good indication of happiness. Cats can learn how to play catch and when they do it is a great sign they are happy.

Body Language
Cats that keep their whiskers slightly forward and their fur smooth with a relaxed tail are generally happy and curious. When a cat has their tail straight up in the air, they are greeting others around them that they consider friends. A relaxed happy cat will rest with their front paws tucked under, their ears forward, and their eyes half open. A cat that shows a sudden dilation of the eyes is having a sudden boost of happiness and excitement.

Eating Habits
Cats that are happy have a nice healthy appetite. Each time a cat tries to get you to give them more food and treats, they are simply playing with you and thus being happy.

Shiny Coat
Having a shiny coat of fur is a very good indication that your cat is in good health and thus happy. A shiny coat is also a good sign that your cat is getting the necessary nutrition and enjoying regular grooming which they enjoy.

Confident Behavior
A happy cat will show interest in their environment and will be responsive when approached. Some cats enjoy taking a proactive approach and touching everything new around the home while others may simply watch from a distance. In either case, a happy cat will react to a stranger with caution rather than fear and a confident cat will generally have the highest amount of happiness.

Vocal Cats
Cats are very good at giving vocal cues to indicate what they are thinking or feeling. Some cats are more vocal than others and like to engage in long conversation to show they are happy. Quiet cats on the other hand may express happiness with silence, and vocalize to express unhappiness. Higher pitched sounds are generally happy while lower pitched sounds can mean they are frustrated or being demanding.

Grooming Behavior
Cats that are happy enjoy grooming themselves so that they look their best. Cats that enjoy grooming other cats and even their human companions are also happy and are showing that they trust you. Although not all cats enjoy grooming others, cats that groom one another are happy with each other and enjoy each other’s company.

Bathroom Behavior
When a cat starts missing the litter box and going elsewhere, this is a good sign that something is wrong and they are not happy. A happy cat that is adjusted and content with their environment will always use their litter box.

Sleep Patterns
Although some cats may sleep more when they are depressed, the location of where they sleep can be a good indication of happiness. Cats that enjoy sleeping close to other cats and seek them out are happy and showing that they enjoy being around others. If your cat sleeps next to you then be happy to know that your cat trusts you and enjoys being around you as much as possible. And if your cat is sleeping on its back, this is the ultimate sign that they feel safe and secure in their environment and are very happy.

Copyright & Credit:
Article Source:
goarticles.com | Igor Purlantov is an animal rights advocate that follows and writes about animal news and trends to help raise awareness of animal rights and protection. You can read and learn about his work on www.igor-purlantov.info or follow him on twitter @igorpurlantov – http://igorpurlantov.blogspot.com/2012/01/new-easy-ways-to-know-if-your-cat-is.html

Photo copyright and courtesy:  Taelcat

Potpourri, Glow Sticks, and Slug Bait, Oh My!

| August 1, 2013
Cats may be sensitive to some toxic agents simply because of their unique metabolism.

Cats may be sensitive to some toxic agents simply because of their unique metabolism.

They’re lurking.

In your garden.  On your night stand.  In your kitchen.  In your closet.  In your medicine cabinet.

Substances potentially toxic to your cat are everywhere.

Cats may be sensitive to some toxic agents simply because of their unique metabolism. Cats can also jump to high places and encounter materials that are assumed to be out of reach.  Cats are more discreet about what they put in their mouths, and are less likely than dogs to ingest a toxin simply out of curiosity. Even the most discreet cat, however, can be poisoned unintentionally by well-meaning owners who are unaware of the dangers of over-the-counter medications and insecticides. In addition, because of their grooming behavior, cats that experience dermal exposure to toxins are likely to receive an oral dose as well.

In this article, you’ll be presented with a potpourri of tabby toxins, some fairly common, some a bit surprising.  Speaking of potpourri…

Liquid potpourris are popular household items, especially during the holidays. They’re found in most common retail stores.  Potpourri solutions are simmered in pots that are heated, usually by a candle, or electric heat. As the water containing the liquid potpourri heats up, fragrance is released. The fragrance is pretty harmless to cats, but the water containing the potpourri is not.  Liquid potpourris may contain cationic detergents and essential oils, both of which are toxic to cats.  Cats may be exposed to these toxins by ingesting the liquid potpourri right from the simmer pot, or lap it up from a spill. They may also be exposed if a container with the liquid potpourri is spilled on the cat’s fur and is then ingested when they groom.

Essential oils are extracted from plants.  They are volatile, and are used in many products, from perfumes to herbal headache remedies.  They are easily absorbed through mucous membranes, and usually through skin as well.  They can cause irritation of the mucous membranes and gastrointestinal system. Of more concern is the cationic detergent component of the potpourri. Cationic detergents are often used as fabric softeners, germicides, and sanitizers. Skin, when exposed to cationic detergents, may become red, swollen, ulcerated and painful. Ocular exposure can lead to severe corneal injury.  Oral ingestion can cause terrible inflammation of the mouth, tongue and esophagus. The degree of injury depends on how concentrated the cationic detergent is, and how much contact the body has had with it. The concentration of the detergent in liquid potpourri varies with the brand. Treatment of liquid potpourri exposure differs depending on whether the exposure was dermal, ocular, or oral, and may involve several days of hospitalization and considerable expense.

Glow sticks and glow jewelry (bracelets, necklaces) are plastic items that contain a liquid that glows in the dark.  They are frequently purchased at fairs, festivals, and summertime events. Cats frequently bite into the jewelry when playing with it. The main ingredient in these items is dibutyl phthalate.  Although the chemical may have the potential to cause death via respiratory paralysis, the jewelry usually has only a small amount of the chemical, and ingesting the contents of a piece of glow jewelry should not cause any serious effects.  The chemical has an extremely unpleasant taste, and most cats barely ingest any more than a tiny amount. Immediately after biting into a piece of glow jewelry, cats will show a strong reaction such as profuse drooling and agitation. Some may vomit. The signs of exposure are often very alarming to pet owners, however, the response usually lasts only a few minutes, and occurs only as a response to the repulsive taste of the liquid. The only treatment necessary is diluting the taste of the chemical with milk, tuna juice or canned cat food. To avoid further ingestion from any of the product that may have gotten on the hair coat, a mild soap and water can be used to wash it off.  Unsure if any spilled on the hair coat? Take the cat into a darkened room!

Molluscicides are products used to kill snails and slugs.  The active ingredient is metaldehyde, and it is toxic to cats.  Slug and snail baits are usually formulated as blue or green colored pellets, powder, granules or liquid. They generally contain 3% metaldehyde.

Metaldehyde toxicity causes neurological symptoms fairly rapidly – usually within 1 to 4 hours of exposure. Cats may show panting, excitement, anxiety, disorientation, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, extreme sensitivity to touch and sound, incoordination, and muscle tremors that can progress to outright seizures.  Repeated seizures due to metaldehyde poisoning can cause dangerously high body temperatures. If untreated, the neurological symptoms of metaldehyde toxicity can be fatal.  Cat owners who suspect that their cat might have ingested slug or snail bait should alert their veterinarian to this possibility immediately, as the signs of metaldehyde poisoning mimics symptoms of other poisonings and/or neurological disorders.  Bringing remnants of packages or containers for identification of the ingredients in the poison is very helpful. Knowing that the cat might have been exposed to metaldehyde reduces the need for extensive diagnostic tests and allows more rapid, specific treatment.  Treatment is symptomatic and supportive, and may include intravenous fluid therapy, induction of vomiting, pumping the stomach, cool water baths to lower the body temperature if hyperthermia secondary to muscle tremors or seizures has occurred, and anti-anxiety and/or anticonvulsant drugs.

Toxic substances are found everywhere in our environment, and cats may fall victim to them via intentional administration by a well-meaning owner, or by stumbling upon them as a result of their inquisitive nature. Prevention is key when it comes to safeguarding your cat. Keep all potential poisons safely locked away, and keep cats indoors if possible.

The ten most common toxins in cats

In the past four years, these are the top ten most frequent feline exposures reported to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center

1. Canine permethrin insecticides – accidentally applying (or deliberately ignoring the warnings on the label) of insecticides containing permethrin can be dangerous, or even deadly. In some instances, cats can be poisoned simply by sleeping near or grooming a dog recently treated with a topical permethrin product.

2. Other topical insecticides – in general, topical application of flea control products, if done according to label directions, will not cause systemic effects in cats. Dermal irritation or a dermal hypersensitivity reaction, however, is a common complaint received by poison control centers. Cats that lick a topical applied product may experience a taste reaction (drooling, vomiting, agitation) that can be quite dramatic in some cases. Fortunately, the ingredients in most of these products have low oral and dermal toxic potential.

3. Venlafaxine – this is an antidepressant known by the brand name Effexor or Effexor XR (Wyeth). It comes in tablets and capsules of varying strength. Cats seem to like the taste of the capsules.  Signs of toxicosis may include dilated pupils, rapid breathing and heart rate, agitation and incoordination, beginning one to eight hours after ingestion. Hospitalization and symptomatic therapy is required for most cats. Generally, the prognosis is good.

4. Glow jewelry and sticks – see article

5. Lilies – ingestion of lilies can cause acute renal failure in cats.  Many plants are called “lilies”, however renal failure has been seen only with Easter lilies, Stargazer lilies, tiger lilies, Asiatic lilies, Oriental lilies, and day lilies.  All parts of the plant are toxic. Prompt, aggressive treatment is necessary for a successful outcome.  Once renal failure develops, however, the prognosis rapidly declines; some recovery may be possible, but this may take weeks, and peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis at specialized referral centers may be the cat’s only hope.

6. Liquid potpourri – see article

7. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – Cats, with their unique metabolic pathways, have a low tolerance to NSAIDs. Although deliberate ingestion of NSAIDs is possible (especially with chewable formulations), most cases of NSAID toxicity is due to the deliberate administration of these drugs by well-meaning cat owners. Commonly administered NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. These drugs can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and gastric ulcers.  At higher doses, acute renal failure can occur.  Treatment may include minimizing further absorption by inducing vomiting and administering activated charcoal. Acid reducers and gastrointestinal protectants are given to prevent gastrointestinal ulcers. Aggressive fluid therapy is necessary to prevent renal damage. Prognosis depends on the specific drug, the amount ingested, and how quickly treatment was begun.

8. Acetaminophen – the main ingredient in Tylenol, acetaminophen is frequently combined with several other drugs in common over-the-counter cold and flu preparations, such as Nyquil. Cats rarely ingest this drug on their own; instead, it is often administered to cats by well-intentioned owners. Acetaminophen is a very dangerous drug in cats. One regular (325 mg) or extra-strength (500 mg) tablet can be lethal. Signs of poisoning may include vomiting, labored breathing, swelling of the face and paws, and brown discoloration of the mucous membranes. Treatment requires hospitalization and administration of fluids and several drugs.  The prognosis for acetaminophen toxicity is guarded and is dependent on the amount ingested and how quickly treatment was administered.

9. Anticoagulant rodenticides – these rat and mouse poisons work by inhibiting the activity of Vitamin K. This blocks the synthesis of important clotting factors, causing rodents to bleed to death internally. Ingestion of these poisons by a cat can result in a bleeding disorder.  Clinical signs can vary, depending on where bleeding occurs.The lungs are a common place for bleeding to occur, so coughing or labored breathing may be seen.   Lameness may develop if bleeding occurs in a joint, and neurologic signs may develop if hemorrhage occurs in the spinal cord or brain. Treatment with vitamin K can reverse the effects of the anticoagulant. Most animals do well, especially if treatment is begun before significant hemorrhage occurs. If the patient is already bleeding, the prognosis becomes guarded, although many cats recover with aggressive supportive care.

10. Amphetamines –  Amphetamines are prescribed for people for many purposes, such as appetite suppression and attention deficit disorder. Amphetamines are also found in illegal drugs such as methamphetamine (“crystal meth”) and MDMA (“Ecstasy”). Amphetamines stimulate the central nervous system, and cats that are exposed to amphetamines often show clinical signs such as tremors, agitation, high blood pressure, fast heart rate, heart rhythm disturbances, high body temperature, and possibly coma. Treatment is supportive, and may include sedatives for agitation, anticonvulsants for seizures, and beta blockers or other heart medications for cardiac arrhythmias.  In most cases, the prognosis is good with aggressive support.

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: Niklas

The Tibetan Cat

| January 2, 2011
Tibetans Cat - Anshira Waya's Eloïse: Seal Point

The Tibetan Cat

The Tibetan cat – or semi-longhaired Tonkinese – blends the best features of its ancestors into one beautiful, medium-sized cat that is remarkably dense and muscular.

Whether appearing in the coat pattern of its Burmese predecessor, with sparkling gold-green eyes, the pointed pattern of its Balinese ancestor, with glittering blue eyes, or the “mink” coat pattern with its unique aqua eyes, the Tibetan is an intelligent, gregarious cat with a sense of humor.

These cats are firmly convinced that humans were put on earth to love them; these are the cats that know they belong.

They purred their way through six years and a lot of presentations to the board of directors of The Dutch Cat Breeders Association in their pursuit of championship status, achieving their goal in 1997.

Although new to modern competition, the Tibetan cats are descendants of the Tonkinese breed, the same breed that is depicted in “The Cat-Book Poems of Siam” during the Ayudha Period (1358-1767), and imported to England in the early 1800s as “Chocolate Siamese.”

The colorful personality of the Tibetan make them ideal companions. They will take possession of your lap and shoulder, and they will supervise your activities. They are warm and loving, highly intelligent, with an incredible memory and senses that are akin to radar. They are strong willed, and their humans are wise to use persistent persuasion in training them. They are naturals at inventing and playing games, using favorite toys to play fetch, and delighting in games of tag with each other. Of course hide ‘n seek is a favorite game, which they play with humans as well as other Tibetans.

They become your “door greeter” and will happily entertain your guests. They have been described by enthusiastic owners as part puppy (following their owner around the house), part monkey (their “acrobatics” are legend!), and can sound like an elephant running through your house when they choose. In short: they quickly take over and run your house and your life! Their affectionate ways are impossible to ignore, and they quickly endear themselves to family and visitors.

Caring for Tibetans is as easy as feeding a well-balanced feline diet, clipping their nails weekly (providing a scratching post and insisting they use it is also imperative), using a soft brush to groom them, and of course the all important visit to the vet for check-ups and inoculations.

These are best kept indoors, and a thorough inspection of your home prior to your Tibetans arrival, to make certain screens and doors are secured, will help insure they remain indoors. “Cat proofing” your home, much as you would for a two-year old human on the loose, is bound to save you frustration.

Toys and an interesting cat tree will help keep them occupied when you have other things to do besides playing with your Tibetan. Working humans find two Tibetans will keep each other company as well as lessen the mischief one bored Tibetan can get into.

Tibetans wear a rainbow of colors, and no matter which color in whatever coat pattern you may choose, be assured you are joining an enthusiastic fan club of admirers of this breed. You are about to embark on the most joyful experience of your life — enjoy!

The Tibetan is an elegant, nimble cat and is a real Tonkinese, both in type as character. The big difference is the beautiful bushy tail and the slightly longer coat on the body.
The Tibetan cat is of average size with an oriental body and head, firm and round as the traditional Siamese. The Tibetan has a sleek, silky, very soft, semi-long coat which gives this oriental cat an extra stylish look. The fur has no undercoat. That is why he fur doesn’t tangle and sheds just a little.

Tibetans as well as the Tonkinese come in three markings:

  • Siamese marking (point) with blue eyes,
  • Burmese marking (sepia) with yellow / green eyes and
  •  Tonkinese marking (mink) with aquamarines eyes.

Characteristics and nature of the Tibetan and Tonkinese cat

The Tonkinese and Tibetan are spontaneous and confident. They love to communicate with their people. This breed is gentle, playful, affectionate, social, naughty and very cuddly. It is a lively cat and very curious, they want to know and take part in all that you are doing, just to ‘help’, of course in their own way … (walking in front of your feet, talking when you are on the phone, reading your newspaper and books by lying on top of them, getting your things out of your bag, etc.). They love company and feel most comfortable when they have a lot of room to have fun in and toys you throw are quickly apported back for another throw.

This cat has a sense of humor and often invents new games, with their people or their catfriends. They also know their name well – of course they don’t always listen to it . The Tibetan and Tonkinese are not happy when they are alone, they require regular attention and love. If they think they get not enough, they will ask for it on their own way and they will usually get it because of their enchanting character. When you feel bored or a bit lost, having one or more Tibetans or Tonkinese in the house will make you feel better soon. Their stunts, remarkeble habits, beautiful looks and good nature makes them an exceptionally pleasant pet. You will always see something interesting when you look at them.

It’s a pretty smart cat and they do like to explore the entire house, especially cabinets and forbidden spots’ are favorites. Outside trips make them happy but their curious nature and kindness makes them sometimes end up in places where you do not want them to be. So keep an eye on them and do not let them stray.

The Tibetan cat is developed in Agnes Driessen’s cattery Anshira Waya out of crosses between Balinese and Burmese cats and later out of Balinese and Tonkinese with the gene for long hair. It is developed since 1992 by Agnes Driessen and is recognized in 1997 in the Netherlands. The Tibetan is bred in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. A cattery in France is planning to breed the Tibetan in 2010. In 2008 the South African cattery LoeLoeraai has bred a litter Tibetan kittens.

Copyright & Credit:
Breed Profile and
Photos copyright & courtesy: Agnes Driessen’s cattery Anshira Waya, Tibetan and Tonkinese Cats – www.tibetancats.nl

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