Feline Viral Respiratory Disease Complex

Original Article: https://pets.webmd.com/cats/feline-viral-respiratory-disease-complex
Feline viral respiratory diseases are highly contagious, often serious illnesses of cats that can spread rapidly through a multicat home, a cattery, or a shelter. They are one of the most common infectious disease problems a cat owner is likely to encounter. Although few adult cats die of upper respiratory disease, the death rate among young kittens approaches 50 percent.
Although these diseases are highly contagious among cats, they cannot be transmitted to humans. Cats also cannot catch our colds. This is because the viruses that attack cats do not affect humans and vice-versa.
feline viral rhinotracheitisRecently, it has been recognized that two major viral groups are responsible for the majority of clinical upper respiratory infections in cats (80 to 90 percent). The first is the herpesvirus group, which includes feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR). The second is the calicivirus group, which includes feline caliciviral disease.
Other viral agents, especially those of the reovirus group, cause feline viral respiratory illness. They account for a minority of cases.
There are two distinct stages in the feline viral respiratory disease complex. The acute stage is followed by the chronic carrier state.

Acute Viral Respiratory Infection

There is considerable variation in the severity of illness. Some cats have mild symptoms, while in others the disease is rapidly progressive and sometimes fatal.
The disease is transmitted from cat to cat by direct contact with infected discharge from the eyes, nose, mouth; by contaminated litter boxes, water bowls, and human hands; and rarely, by airborne droplets. The virus is stable outside the host for as short as 24 hours or as long as 10 days, depending on conditions.
Clinical signs appear 2 to 17 days after exposure and reach maximum severity 10 days later. Illness begins with severe bouts of sneezing lasting one to two days. This is followed by conjunctivitis and watery discharge from the eyes and nose, which may suggest a cold or flu. By the third to fifth day, a cat exhibits fever, apathy, and loss of appetite. The eye and/or nasal discharge becomes mucoid or purulent. Cats with obstructed nasal passages breathe with their mouths open.
Further signs depend on the particular respiratory virus in question. A cat with herpesvirus develops a spastic cough. If the surface of the eye is severely inflamed, the cat may develop keratitis or corneal ulcerations.
In a cat with calicivirus, you may see ulceration of the mucous membranes of the mouth (stomatitis). This is particularly disabling, because the cat loses his taste for food and refuses to eat and drink. Drooling is common. Shortness of breath and viralpneumonia can occur. Secondary bacterial infection, dehydration, starvation, and rapid weight loss are all complications that can lead to death.
A diagnosis can be suspected from the clinical signs. It can be confirmed by isolating the virus from the throat or by specific serologic blood tests. Because these diseases are highly contagious, these tests are most important when the disease involves a cattery, a shelter, or a multicat household.
Treatment: Cats suspected of having acute viral respiratory infection should be strictly isolated for three to four weeks so as not to infect others. It is important to disinfect any bedding, bowls, cages, or other items the sick cat has come into contact with by washing them thoroughly with a dilute solution of bleach and water. Human caretakers should change their clothing, wear disposable shoe covers, and wash their hands frequently.
For the patient, rest and proper humidification of the atmosphere are important. Confine your cat in a warm room and use a home vaporizer. A cool steam vaporizer offers some advantage over a warm vaporizer because it is less likely to cause additional breathing problems. At the very minimum, keeping the cat in the bathroom while you shower will help.
Clean secretions from the eyes, nose, and mouth with moist cotton balls as often as needed.

Chronic Carrier State

Almost all the cats who have been infected with FVR will become chronic carriers. FVR lives and multiplies in the cells lining the throat. During periods of stress (such as illness, anesthesia, surgery, lactation, medication with steroids, or even emotional stresses), the cat’s immunity breaks down and the virus is shed in mouth secretions. At this time, the cat may exhibit signs of a mild upper respiratory illness.
Prevention: The most effective step by far is to vaccinate all cats, but even then, control is not 100 percent. Vaccination will not eliminate the chronic carrier states.

Heart Disease in Dogs: Chronic Valvular Disease and Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Original Article: https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/heart-disease-dogs-chronic-valvular-disease-dilated-cardiomyopathy
The leading cause of heart failure in dogs is chronic valvular disease. Next is dilated cardiomyopathy, followed by congenital heart disease and heartworms. More infrequent causes include bacterial endocarditis and myocarditis. Coronary artery disease is rare in dogs. It occurs only in dogs with severe hypothyroidism accompanied by extremely high serum cholesterol levels.

Chronic Valvular Disease

This common heart disease of unknown cause affects 20 to 40 percent of dogs. It occurs most often in toy and small breed dogs, particularly Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Miniature and Toy Poodles, Chihuahuas, Lhasa Apsos, Yorkshire Terriers, Schnauzers, and Cocker Spaniels.
Chronic valvular disease is characterized by degenerative changes in the heart valves. The mitral valve is affected in nearly all cases; the tricuspid valve in about one-third of cases. The valve leaflets become thickened and distorted so that the free edges of the valves no longer make contact. The cords that attach the valve leaflets to the lining of the heart may rupture, allowing the valve to flap in the bloodstream.
These changes result in loss of valve function and a fall in cardiac output. When the ventricles contract, some blood is ejected backward into the corresponding atrium. This is called regurgitation. Regurgitation increases the blood pressure in the atrium and causes it to enlarge. Because the mitral valve is invariably involved, chronic valvular disease is also sometimes called mitral valve disease or mitral regurgitation.
The hallmark of chronic valvular disease is a loud heart murmur heard over the left side of the chest. A chest X-ray, ECG, and echocardiogram may show an enlarged left atrium, thickened valves, or a ruptured cord (muscle band). If the tricuspid valve is involved, there will be a loud heart murmur heard over the right side of the heart. It is important to exclude heartworms as a cause of a right-sided heart murmur.
Signs of congestive heart failure can be attributed to low cardiac output and lung congestion. They include a cough that occurs after exercise and/or is worse at night; lethargy and tiring easily; and fainting spells often related to cardiac arrhythmias.
Treatment: Many dogs with uncomplicated heart murmurs associated with chronic valvular disease remain asymptomatic for years. The disease, however, is chronic and progressive. Treatment should be started at the first signs of impending heart failure (coughing, easy tiring). The outlook depends on how far the disease has progressed and the general health and age of the dog.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease in which the heart chambers enlarge and the walls of the ventricles become thin. The heart muscle weakens and begins to fail.
Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common cause of congestive heart failure in large and giant breed dogs.It is rare in toy breeds and small dogs. A high incidence is found in Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, Springer Spaniels, and American and English Cocker Spaniels. Other breeds affected include German Shepherd Dogs, Great Danes, Old English Sheepdogs, St. Bernards, and Schnauzers. Most dogs are 2 to 5 years of age at the onset of symptoms. The majority are males.
In most cases the cause of dilated cardiomyopathy is unknown. Myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, may precede dilated cardiomyopathy in some dogs. Hypothyroidismhas been associated with dilated cardiomyopathy. A genetic or familial basis has been proposed for giant and large breed dogs. Cardiomyopathy related to taurine and/or carnitine deficiency is seen in American Cocker Spaniels, Boxers, and possibly Golden Retrievers, Newfoundlands, and other breeds.
The signs of dilated cardiomyopathy are the same as those of congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias. Weight loss can occur in a matter of weeks. Affected dogs are lethargic, tire easily, breathe rapidly, and cough frequently, sometimes bringing up bloody sputum. Coughing is especially common at night. A swollen abdomen (called ascites)may be noted. Cardiac arrhythmias can cause weakness and collapse.
The diagnosis of dilated cardiomyopathy is based on ECG changes showing cardiac arrhythmias, a chest X-ray showing enlarged heart chambers, and an echocardiogram showing the characteristic pattern of a failing heart muscle.
Treatment: Treatment is directed at improving the force of the heart muscle, controlling arrhythmias, and preventing the buildup of fluid in the lungs and abdomen (see Congestive Heart Failure). Many dogs benefit from the addition of taurine and/or carnitine to their diet. The prognosis for long-term survival is guarded. With excellent medical control, some dogs may live for a year or more. Death usually occurs as the result of a sudden cardiac arrhythmia. Some dogs will drop dead without any noticeable signs beforehand.
 
 

Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Cats

https://pets.webmd.com/cats/inflammatory-bowel-disease-cats

There are three bowel problems in cats characterized by chronic and protracted diarrhea, sporadic vomiting, malabsorption and, in long-standing cases, weight loss,anemia, and malnutrition. Together, these are classified as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Some affected cats show clinical signs in a cyclical pattern, while others are constantly in discomfort.
All of these diseases are immune-mediated reactions of the gastrointestinal system to food, bacteria, or parasite antigens. These reactions get out of control, with large numbers of inflammatory cells collecting along the gastrointestinal tract and interfering with digestion and absorption. These syndromes can be managed but are seldom cured, and over the long term may lead to ulcers or cancer, such as lymphosarcoma.
Other health problems, such as parasites,hyperthyroidism, and kidney disease, must be ruled out first. Blood work and ultrasound or X-ray studies of the gastrointestinal tract may be needed.
The role of bacteria in these syndromes has not been clearly established in cats but has been suggested, since cats tend to have higher concentrations of bacteria in their small intestines than many other mammals. This may be related to their being obligate carnivores and having a relatively short  intestinal tract. Some scientists believe that cats fed a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that is more like a wild cat’s natural diet are less likely to develop these problems.
In each disease in the IBD complex, a different type of inflammatory cell (plasma cell, eosinophil, lymphocyte, macrophage) accumulates in the mucous lining of the small or large intestines. Pancreatitis and intestinal cancer may cause similar signs. A definitive diagnosis is made by endoscopy or exploratory surgery, during which biopsies are taken of the intestinal wall.
Treatment: This is an illness for which the realistic goal is control, not cure. Treatment tends to be lifelong for most cats. Although the exact medications may vary for the three versions of IBD, all three types often respond, at least partially, to dietary changes as described for lymphocytic-plasmacytic enterocolitis. Along with immunosuppressive drugs such as prednisolone and azathioprine, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and probiotics such as acidophilus may be helpful. Metronidazole, which is used to lower bacterial counts, can reduce symptoms. Budesonide is a new drug being looked at for treating IBD. This is a version of a corticosteroid, but it may have milder side effects. More research must be done before this drug can be recommended.

Lymphocytic-Plasmacytic Enterocolitis

This is the most common inflammatory bowel disease in cats. Lymphocytes and plasma cells are the predominant inflammatory cells seen on biopsy of the small and large intestines. The disease has been associated with giardiasis, food allergy or intolerance, and an overgrowth of intestinal bacteria. Vomiting is a common sign but is not present in all cases.
Treatment: An antibiotic (metronidazole) is given to treat bacterial overgrowth and giardiasis. Immunosuppressant drugs such as azathioprine (Imuran) and/or prednisone are used if other treatments are not successful. As a general measure, the cat should be placed on a hypoallergenic diet, either homemade (baby foods or boiled chicken) or commercially obtained from your veterinarian. The diet should be highly digestible and low in fat. If colitis is present, fiber may need to be added. A homemade diet may be developed by consulting a veterinary nutritionist. Raw diets are not recommended because the cat already has a stressed immune system.

Eosinophilic Enterocolitis

On biopsy, eosinophils may be found in the stomach, small intestine, or colon, and the eosinophil count in the blood may be elevated. Some cases are thought to be associated with food allergy or the tissue migration of roundworms and hookworms.
Treatment: Treatment involves the use of high-dose corticosteroids, such as prednisolone, that are tapered as symptoms are controlled. The cat should be tested for food allergies and intestinal parasites and treated accordingly. Dietary changes, as described for lymphocytic-plasmacytic enterocolitis, may be beneficial. This form of IBD is the most difficult to treat successfully and has the poorest outlook.

Granulomatous (Regional) Enteritis

This is a rare disease, similar to Crohn’s disease in humans. There is thickening and narrowing of the terminal small bowel due to inflammation of surrounding fat and lymph nodes. Macrophages, which are cells, found in tissues, that fight infections, are found when the colon is biopsied. The diarrhea contains mucus and blood. Biopsies are processed with special stains to exclude histoplasmosis and intestinal tuberculosis.
Treatment: Corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs are used to reduce inflammation and scarring. A course of metronidazole may be of benefit. Surgery may be required for a strictured bowel.
 
 
 
 
 

Dog Emergencies – Swallowed Poisons

Article from Pet MD:  https://www.petmd.com/dog/emergency/poisoning-toxicity/e_dg_swallowed_poisons
Dogs will put almost anything in their mouths, and may view something as simple as a weekly pill holder as a plastic chew toy. Unfortunately, this means they are prone to swallowing all manner of poisonous materials — most cause unpleasant side effects, but some can be fatal without treatment.
When in doubt, pet proof your home and avoid self-administering over-the-counter medications without first consulting your veterinarian. And if you think your pet may have ingested something poisonous, call your veterinarian or a pet poison helpline immediately!

What To Watch For

Clinical signs will vary depending on the type of poison swallowed. They can be as mild as generalized lethargy, malaise, and weakness to gastrointestinal signs like vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and nausea. More severe signs can include agitation, excessive sedation, tremors, twitching, seizures, or even coma. Because symptoms vary, always call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-213-6680 for help.

Primary Cause

Most poisons are ingested by accident, when an inquisitive dog finds unsecured substances lying around. Sometimes, owners may self-medicate their pet, only to find out days later, when their pet is symptomatic, that the medication is poisonous to pets due to their altered ability to metabolize certain drugs.

Immediate Care

  • If your pet has accidentally ingested something poisonous, immediately remove him or her from the source of poison. However, you first must determine if it is safe to do so. Some substances require special safety equipment for handling (i.e., rubber gloves, masks, etc.).
  • If possible, identify the poison and have the contents available for your veterinarian to evaluate. Having the labels and/or containers of the material or medication is extremely helpful, too.
  • If the dog has vomited, gather a sample of it in a plastic bag and save it for your veterinarian. It may be used for testing and analysis. However, never induce vomiting without consulting with your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-213-6680 first, especially if it is unconscious. Certain types of poisons can be made worse when vomiting is induced.
  • Contact the Pet Poison Helpline on the way to the veterinarian or emergency clinic. It may help you relay important information to the doctors.

Instructions for poisoning with household products:

Some common types of household products include acids, alkalies, or petroleum-based hydrocarbons such as:

  • Drain cleaner
  • Oven cleaner
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Dishwasher granules/tablets
  • Laundry soaps/detergents
  • Kerosene
  • Gasoline
  • Paint thinner
  • Paint stripper/remover
  • Lye
  • Furniture polish
  • Floor polish
  • Shoe polish
  • Wood preservative
  • Caustic soda
  • Chlorine bleach

If your pet is exposed to any of these products:

  • Stay calm!
  • Contact a veterinarian immediately and tell them you are on your way; this will allow them to prepare for your arrival.
  • Move your pet to a safe area (away from the poison), if possible.
  • Check to see if your dog is breathing. If not, perform CPR on the animal.
  • If your pet begins to tremor or convulse, move her to a safe area where she won’t injury herself(away from stairs or furniture).
  • Always take the dog to the vet as soon as possible, as your vet may need to pump your dog’s stomach (called “gastric lavage”) or administer activated charcoal to bind up any toxins in the stomach.

Instructions for poisoning with acids, alkalies, and petroleum products:

If your pet swallowed anything caustic (i.e., acids or alkalies), do not administer home remedies. Neutralizing the chemical ingestion can, in and of itself, cause a chemical reaction, which can further aggravate the dog’s injuries.

  • Instead, flush your pet’s mouth out with tepid water for 15 to 20 minutes by using a shower head or kitchen sink spray hose. Try not to point the hose to the back of the mouth, though. The water may go into the lungs, which can complicate the situation. It is better to clean the mouth from different angles.
  • Never induce vomiting without consulting a veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline first, as sometimes you can make your pet worse by inducing vomiting.
  • Burns in the mouth often take hours to show up. Just because you don’t see any injury, doesn’t mean it’s not occurring! Also, burns may only show up in the esophagus or stomach, where you can’t visualize them.
  • If your pet is unconscious, seek immediately veterinary care!
  • If your pet swallowed a petroleum product, do not induce vomiting. This can make your pet worse, and these substances are easy to aspirate into the lungs, making your pet develop a potentially severe aspiration pneumonia.
  • If the dog has licked the substance, refer to Burns and Scalding for treatment of chemical burns in the mouth.

Other important points to consider:

If your veterinarian recommends inducing vomiting, use fresh, non-expired, bubbly hydrogen peroxide as directed by your veterinarian. It is no longer recommended to use syrup of ipecac, salt, or any home remedies, as this can make your pet worse.
Do not administer activated charcoal products that you have at home – these aren’t as effective as what your veterinarian can give
If your veterinarian or emergency clinic cannot be reached, call an animal poison helpline.

Prevention

Treat your dog as you would a young, inquisitive child:

  • Crate train your dog — this is the best way to prevent accidental toxicities!
  • Pet proof your house adequately, making sure all dangerous substances (i.e., medication, chemicals, household products) are stored in secured cabinets or closets, out of reach of inquisitive paws and noses.
  • Do not allow your dog to play in areas where chemicals are stored.
  • Keep the garage floor or parking space free of oil, antifreeze, and petroleum products, even minor spills. Antifreeze is especially toxic and enticing to dogs because of its sweet taste, and should be stored away securely.
  • Store your medication in a separate area from your pets’ medications. This will help prevent you from giving your own medications to your pet by accident.
  • Carefully read the label of the prescription vial to make sure you’re administering the correct drug to your pet.
  • If you keep pills in a weekly pill holder, make sure to put this in an elevated cabinet, instead of on the kitchen counter. Dogs view these as plastic chew toys (they even rattle inside with all those pills!), and can easily chew through this.
  • Do not store your pills in a plastic storage bag (i.e., Ziploc) — these can easily be chewed through, exposing your dog to many medications all at once.

Rabies Awareness Day – September 28

In celebration of World Rabies Awareness Day, we would like to remind you that the first step to protecting your family from rabies is getting your pets vaccinated. Not only is it required by law, but it is an easy and nearly painless way to stop the spread of this deadly virus. Make sure your pet is up-to-date with his or her rabies vaccine. If your pet’s rabies vaccination is overdue, please call our hospital so we can schedule a vaccination appointment!
Along with vaccines, it is important to educate yourself about the rabies virus. The more you know, the better you can protect your family, yourself, and your beloved pets from this deadly virus.
Rabies is carried by warm blooded animals and is typically fatal. Rabies is one of the oldest diseases known to man. Aristotle in 300 B.C. described this disease as being caused by the bite or tooth scratch of an infected animal. He further stated that once the symptoms of the disease appeared in man or animal, death occurred in a few days. This is as true today as it was in ancient times.
Rabies is transmitted through bites and less commonly, scratches. If you are bitten by any wild animal or a pet with no rabies vaccination history or out of date vaccine, you should go directly to the hospital for treatment. If possible, you should try to contain the animal that has bitten you or contact your local animal control officer to assist with the capture of the animal. If you work with wild animals regularly, you should speak to your doctor about getting vaccinated for rabies to prevent infection should you be exposed to the virus.

Keep Away From Wildlife and Unfamiliar Animals

Photo: RaccoonMore than 90% of all animal rabies cases reported to CDC each year occur in wild animals. The main animals that get rabies include raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes.
One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family is to avoid contact with wild animals. Do not feed or handle them, even if they seem friendly.
Unfamiliar animals that are often thought of as pets, such as dogs and cats, should also be avoided. These animals are often in contact with wildlife and can also transmit rabies to humans.
If you see an animal acting strangely, report it to animal control. Some things to look for are:

  • General sickness
  • Problems swallowing
  • Lots of drool or saliva
  • An animal that appears more tame than you would expect
  • An animal that bites at everything
  • An animal that’s having trouble moving or may even be paralyzed

If a wild animal is in or near your home, do not panic! Clear your family from the area and open doors and windows to allow the animal to escape on its own. If the animal doesn’t leave, call your police department or animal control officer. DO NOT try to pick up a wild animal, particularly one that is either cornered or injured. A cornered animal has the instinct to bite. One easy way to prevent wild animals from coming too close to your home is to cover and secure your garbage cans.
Some of the human rabies cases in the United States have been caused by rabies virus transmitted by bats. Awareness of the facts about bats and rabies can help people protect themselves, their families, and their pets. This information may also help clear up misunderstandings about bats. When people think about bats, they often imagine things that are not true. Bats are not blind. They are neither rodents nor birds — and most do not have rabies. And while bats have an evil reputation for sucking blood, only three out of the thousand or so species of bat actually feed on blood. These vampire bats are found only in tropical Central America, and usually feed on livestock blood.
Bats are incredibly beneficial animals and play key roles in ecosystems around the globe, from rain forests to deserts. Bats eat insects, including agricultural pests and mosquitoes. One large brown bat can consume up to 6,000 mosquitoes in one night. The best protection we can offer these unique mammals is to learn more about their habits and recognize the value of living safely with them.
Most pets that have died from rabies were either never vaccinated against rabies or never received booster vaccines. Most people that have died from rabies did not understand how to prevent rabies or the necessary post exposure protocols that needed to be taken.
On September 28th please take the time to educate your family on this serious threat and check to make sure that your companions are protected.
If you have any questions about rabies, the status of your pet’s vaccination, or any other issue, please feel free to contact us.
For complete information about rabies, visit the US Centers for Disease Control’s Rabies Website

From https://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/urinary/feline_idiopathic_lower_urinary_tract_disease#.UkM0x4asjgt

Feline Idiopathic Lower Urinary Tract Disease in Cats


Idiopathic Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (IFLUTD) is a general term for disorders characterized by blood in the urine, difficult or painful urination, abnormal, frequent passage of urine, urinating in inappropriate locations (ie., bath tub), and partial or complete blockage of the urethra. Also known as Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC), Feline Urologic Syndrome (FUS), or Interstitial Cystitis, this treatable condition occurs in the bladder and urethra of the lower urinary tract; that is, the tube from the bladder to the outside, through which urine flows out of the body.
Idiopathic feline urinary tract disease, and inflammation of the bladder for unknown reasons, are diagnosed only after known causes such as kidney stones or urinary tract infection have been eliminated. Any of the above symptoms or combination of these symptoms may be associated with feline lower urinary tract disease. The same symptoms may apply to diversely different infections, and pinpointing the exact cause for the condition can be complicated, since the feline urinary tract responds to various outside influences in a limited and predictable fashion.
This disease occurs in both male and female cats. The incidence of blood in the urine, difficult or painful urination, and/or blockage of the urethra in domestic cats in the U.S. and U.K. has been reported at approximately 0.5 percent to 1 percent per year. While it can occur at any age, it is found most commonly cats between the ages of one and four-years-old. It is uncommon in cats less than one year of age and in cats greater than 10 years of age.

Symptoms and Types

  • Difficult or painful urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Abnormal, frequent passage of urine
  • Urinating in inappropriate locations
  • Blockage of urine flow through the urethra to outside the body
  • Thickened, firm, contracted bladder wall, felt by the veterinarian during physical examination
  • Some cats with lower urinary tract diseases exhibit similar symptoms to those observed in humans with interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome)

Causes

By definition, this is a disease that arises spontaneously, or for which the cause is unknown. There are many possible causes, including noninfectious diseases likeinterstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome); viruses, such as a calicivirus, a feline syncytium-forming virus, or a gamma herpesvirus can be some of the potential causes for an infection. Frequently, idiopathic lower urinary tract diseases will occur without the presence of a significant amount of bacteria or white blood cells in the urine (white blood cells spilling into the urine would show that an infection is being fought off by the body); studies of male and female cats with and without blockage of the urethra found bacterial urinary tract infections in less than three percent of young-to-middle-age adult cats, and approximately ten percent of senior cats. Stress may play a role in the cause of the condition (due to lowered resistance), or in making the condition worse, but it is unlikely to be a primary cause of the urinary infection.

Diagnosis

Your veterinarian will rule out a range of disorders in arriving at a diagnosis. Some possibilities are metabolic disorders including various types of kidney stones and obstructions. A urinalysis will be ordered, as well as blood tests to determine whether a bacterial, fungal, or parasitic disease is causing the symptoms. A detailed physical examination will determine whether physical trauma, disorders of the nervous system, anatomical abnormalities, or something as simple as constipation, could be the factors behind the symptoms.
X-rays are useful in locating kidney stones if they are suspected, and your veterinarian may want to conduct a cystocopy to determine whether there might be cysts, stones, or polyps in the urinary tract.

Treatment

If your cat does not have blockage of the urethra, it will probably be managed on an outpatient basis, although diagnostic evaluation may require brief hospitalization. If your cat does have blockage of the urethra, it will most likely be hospitalized for diagnosis and management.
For cats with persistent presence of crystals in the urine associated with plugs in the urethra that are causing blockage of the urethra, appropriate dietary management will be recommended. Observations suggest that feeding moist rather than dry foods may minimize recurrence of signs. The goal is to promote flushing of the bladder and urethra by increasing urine volume, thereby diluting the concentrations of toxins, chemical irritants, and substances that can add to the components that produce urinary tract stones and lead to inflammation of the bladder and urinary tract. Whether prescriptions medications are used will depend upon the diagnosis.

Living and Management

Your veterinarian will want to continue to monitor blood in the urine by urinalysis, and will recommend a diet that will help with healing and prevent recurrence. It is wise to keep stress as low as possible for your cat, and you will need to be diligent in giving medications on the schedule prescribed by your veterinarian.
If catheters have been used to retrieve urine from the bladders, there may be some trauma that could lead to infection. You will need to be aware of this possibility and watch for symptoms. Surgery can sometimes also increase the likelihood of infection, and scarring from surgery may narrow the urethra, making urination more difficult. Signs of urinary tract infection generally subside within four to seven days following treatment. If they do not subside, you will need to return to your veterinarian for further treatment.

Prevention

The means of preventing recurrence will depend upon diagnosis. If there is something in your pet’s environment that is found to have brought the condition on, you will, of course, be advised to make changes.
 

Vomiting, Chronic in Cats

Article From PetMD https://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/digestive/c_ct_vomiting_chronic?
Vomiting is characterized by the contents of the stomach being ejected. Chronic vomiting, meanwhile, is marked by the long duration or frequent recurrence of said vomiting. Diseases of the stomach and upper intestinal tract are the primary cause for this type of vomiting. Secondary implications are diseases of other organs, which bring about an accumulation of toxic substances in the blood, stimulating the vomiting center in the cat’s brain.
Severe complications can occur when a cat is not getting the nutrients it needs, or when food is inhaled into the airways, which can lead to coughing, and even pneumonia.
Chronic vomiting can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this condition affects dogs please visit this page in the petMD pet health library.

Symptoms

Symptoms of vomiting include heaving, retching, and the expulsion of partially digested food. The contents being expelled by the cat may be in predigested form, tubular in shape, and often covered with a slimy mucus or bile.
A symptom that may be indicative of a more serious condition is blood in the vomit, which can signal an ulcer or cancer.

Causes

The biggest problem with determining the cause of vomiting, and devising a treatment plan, is that there are so many possibilities. Some of the possible causes for chronic vomiting include:

  • Ulcer
  • Cancer
  • Gastritis
  • Liver failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pancreatic tumors
  • Inner ear diseases
  • Addison’s disease
  • Heartworm disease
  • Elevated thyroid function
  • Ingestion of foreign object
  • Bladder obstruction or rupture
  • Feline panleukopenia virus
  • Ketoacidosis (a form of diabetes)
  • Uterine infection (more common as the cat reaches middle age)

Diagnosis

There are so many possibilities for this condition that determining a cause for chronic vomiting may take some time. You will need to cooperate with your veterinarian in trying to pinpoint if there is anything related to your cat’s background or habits that might account for it.
Your veterinarian will begin by determining whether your cat is actually vomiting or just regurgitating (i.e., whether it is based in the stomach, or not). You will want to pay close attention to the pattern of your cat’s vomiting so you can give a thorough description of the symptoms, as well as how soon after eating the vomiting occurs. Your veterinarian will ask you to describe the appearance of the vomit, and what your cat looks like when it vomits.
If your cat is retching, and heaving from the belly, it is probably vomiting. The food that is in the vomit will be partially digested and somewhat liquid. A yellow fluid called bile will normally be present along with the expelled stomach contents.
If the cat is regurgitating, it will lower its head and the food will be expelled without a lot of effort. The food will be undigested and probably will be tubular in shape, more often solid and covered with slimy mucus than not.
Your cat may try to re-eat the regurgitated food. It is a good idea to keep a sample of the expelled content, so that when you take your cat to see the veterinarian, an examination can be made to determine whether the material is vomit or regurgitation, and what might be present in the contents.
Your veterinarian will need to know about your cat’s activities, habits, and surrounding environment, as well as what medicines your pet may be taking. Factors that are significant and must be followed-up on immediately are instances when the vomit has granule-like granules in it (may appear like coffee grounds). These granules are indicative of blood being present in the vomit. Fresh blood in the vomit will often indicate stomach ulcers or cancer.
If your cat has a fever, a stomachache, jaundice, anemia, or masses in the stomach, your veterinarian will be able to make a more specific diagnosis.
Sometimes, something as simple as coughing will cause a cat to vomit. If this appears to be the case, the cause of the coughing will need to be investigated. Your doctor will look into your cat’s mouth to see if a foreign object has become caught in the esophageal opening (back of the mouth), or, if indicated, X-rays may be used to determine if there is an object deeper in the esophagus, or in the stomach.

Treatment

Treatment is dependent on the underlying cause of the vomiting; some of the veterinarian’s possible suggestions include:

  • Dietary changes
  • Medication to control the vomiting (e.g., cimetidine, anti-emetic)
  • Antibiotics, in the case of bacterial ulcers
  • Corticosteroids to treat inflammatory bowel disease
  • Surgery, in the case of tumor-caused vomiting
  • Special medications for treating chemotherapy induced vomiting

Living and Management

Always follow the recommended treatment plan from your veterinarian. Do not experiment with medications or food. Pay close attention to your cat and if it does not improve, return to your veterinarian for a follow-up evaluation.
 

cushings-disease-in-dogs

From Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Original link: https://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/cliented/cushings.aspx

Canine Cushing’s Disease

This information is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Always follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian.
Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism) is the overproduction of the hormone cortisol by the adrenal glands that are located in the belly near the kidneys. Cushing’s disease occurs commonly in dogs, but is rare in cats. Most dogs with Cushing’s disease are about 6 years old or older but sometimes Cushing’s disease occurs in younger dogs. Cortisol affects the function of many organs in the body, so the signs of Cushing’s disease may be varied. Some of the more common signs of Cushing’s disease include hair loss, pot-bellied appearance, increased appetite, and increased drinking and urination called polydipsia and polyuria (PU/PD). Hair loss caused by Cushing’s disease occurs primarily on the body, sparing the head and legs. The skin is not usually itchy as it is with other skin diseases. If you pick up a fold of skin on a dog with Cushing’s disease, you may notice that the skin is thinner than normal. The pet may have fragile blood vessels and may bruise easily.
Less common signs of Cushing’s disease are weakness, panting, and an abnormal way of walking (stiff or standing or walking with the paws knuckled over). Some dogs with Cushing’s disease develop a blood clot to the lungs and show a rapid onset of difficulty breathing.
Dogs that are given prednisone or similar drugs can develop signs that look like Cushing’s disease (called iatrogenic Cushing’s).
There are two types of Cushing’s disease that are treated differently. The most common form of Cushing’s disease is caused by the overproduction of a hormone by the pituitary gland in the brain that in turn controls the amount of cortisol produced by the adrenal glands. This is called pituitary-dependent Cushing’s. A small percentage of dogs with Cushing’s disease have a tumor of one of the adrenal glands which is called adrenal-dependent Cushing’s.
There is no single test to diagnose Cushing’s disease. The history, physical exam, and results of initial blood and urine tests often provide a strong suspicion for the presence of Cushing’s disease. Laboratory tests that are most commonly altered by Cushing’s disease are an increase in white blood cell count, increase in the liver enzyme ALP (also called SAP or serum alkaline phosphatase), increased blood sugar (although not as high as the blood sugar levels of diabetic patients), increased cholesterol and dilute urine. See What Do Those Lab Tests Mean? for additional information about laboratory tests.
The large amount of cortisol in the body suppresses the immune system and allows the pet with Cushing’s disease to get bacterial infections. The most common location for infection is the bladder. Pets with Cushing’s disease may have a silent bladder infection meaning they don’t show signs of having the infection such as straining to urinate.  A culture of the urine may be necessary to diagnose the infection.
X-rays of the belly often show a large liver. Occasionally the x-ray will show calcium in the area of one of the adrenal glands that is suggestive of an adrenal tumor. Ultrasound of the belly may show enlargement of both adrenal glands in pets with pituitary-dependent Cushing’s or enlargement of just one of the adrenal glands in pets with an adrenal tumor. The adrenal glands are NOT always seen during an ultrasound exam in pets with Cushing’s. In some pets with an adrenal tumor, the tumor can be seen growing into large blood vessels close to the adrenal gland or spread from the tumor may be seen in the liver.
Specific tests for Cushing’s disease are performed to confirm the diagnosis and to determine the type of Cushing’s disease that is present, pituitary-dependent, or adrenal-dependent. Specific tests for Cushing’s disease have varied results. In some cases the results are clear cut and the diagnosis is made, but in other cases the test results are not clear cut and a series of tests must be performed. Some of the specific tests for Cushing’s disease include urine cortisol/creatinine ratio, low dose dexamethasone suppression test, high dose dexamethasone suppression test, and an ACTH stimulation test.
The treatment of the most common type of Cushing’s disease (pituitary-dependent) is lifelong oral medication. The most common drugs used to treat Cushing’s disease are  o, p’-DDD (also called Lysodren or mitotane) and Trilostane.  Occasionally ketoconazole or L-Deprenyl  are used to treat Cushing’s disease but are less effective than Trilostane or Mitotane.  o, p’-DDD is initially given daily or twice daily for about a week (sometimes more, sometimes less). The initial treatment is called induction. o, p’-DDD can have serious side effects, so pets being treated for Cushing’s disease must be closely watched. After induction o, p’-DDD is given less often, usually once or twice weekly for the life of the pet. Some pets will have a recurrence of signs of Cushing’s disease later in life, even though they are receiving o, p’-DDD. Trilostane tends to have fewer side effects than o, p’-DDD but is more expensive. Discuss with your veterinarian which treatment is best for your pet.
Treatment of adrenal dependent Cushing’s disease is by surgical removal of the cancerous adrenal gland. Adrenal gland tumors can spread to other parts of the body in which case all the cancer cannot be removed by surgery. Medical treatment may be given before surgery to reduce hormone levels before surgery. o, p’-DDD is not as effective in reducing signs in pets with adrenal-dependent Cushing’s disease as it is in pets with pituitary-dependent Cushing’s disease. Trilostane may be effective in controlling the signs of Cushing’s in some dogs with adrenal tumors.
The prognosis for pituitary-dependent Cushing’s disease with treatment is usually good. Some signs will disappear quickly and others gradually. Appetite and water consumption usually return to normal in a few weeks where as full return of the fur may take several months.

Canine Parvovirus Infection in Dogs

 

 
From Pet MD  https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/infectious-parasitic/c_dg_canine_parvovirus_infection
The canine parvovirus (CPV) infection is a highly contagious viral illness that affects dogs. The virus manifests itself in two different forms. The more common form is the intestinal form, which is characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and lack of appetite (anorexia). The less common form is the cardiac form, which attacks the heart muscles of very young puppies, often leading to death. The majority of cases are seen in puppies that are between six weeks and six months old. The incidence of canine parvovirus infections has been reduced radically by early vaccination in young puppies.

Symptoms and Types

The major symptoms associated with the intestinal form of a canine parvovirus infection include severe, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, anorexia, fever, vomiting, and severe weight loss. The intestinal form of CPV affects the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, and an affected animal will quickly become dehydrated and weak from lack of protein and fluid absorption. The wet tissue of the mouth and eyes may become noticeably red and the heart may beat too rapidly. When your veterinarian palpates (examine by touch) your dog’s abdominal area, your dog may respond with pain or discomfort. Dogs that have contracted CPV may also have a low body temperature (hypothermia), rather than a fever.

Causes

Most cases of CPV infections are caused by a genetic alteration of the original canine parvovirus: the canine parvovirus type 2b. There are a variety of risk factors that can increase a dog’s susceptibility to the disease, but mainly, the virus is transmitted either by direct contact with an infected dog, or indirectly, by the fecal-oral route. Heavy concentrations of the virus are found in an infected dog’s stool, so when a healthy dog sniffs an infected dog’s stool, it will contract the disease. The virus can also be brought into a dog’s environment by way of shoes that have come into contact with infected feces. There is evidence that the virus can live in ground soil for up to a year. It is resistant to most cleaning products, or even to weather changes. If you suspect that you have come into contact with feces at all, you will need to wash the affected area with household bleach, the only disinfectant known to kill the virus.
Improper vaccination protocol and vaccination failure can also lead to a CPV infection. Breeding kennels and dog shelters that hold a large number of inadequately vaccinated puppies are particularly hazardous places. For unknown reasons, certain dog breeds, such as Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Pit Bulls, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, English Springer Spaniels, and Alaskan sled dogs, are particularly vulnerable to the disease. Diseases or drug therapies that suppress the normal response of the immune system may also increase the likelihood of infection.

Diagnosis

CPV is diagnosed with a physical examination, biochemical tests, urine analysis, abdominal radiographs, and abdominal ultrasounds. A chemical blood profile and a complete blood cell count will also be performed. Low white blood cell levels are indicative of CPV infection, especially in association with bloody stools. Biochemical and urine analysis may reveal elevated liver enzymes, lymphopenia, and electrolyte imbalances. Abdominal radiograph imaging may show intestinal obstruction, while an abdominal ultrasound may reveal enlarged lymph nodes in the groin, or throughout the body, and fluid-filled intestinal segments.
You will need to give a thorough history of your pet’s health, recent activities, and onset of symptoms. If you can gather a sample of your dog’s stool, or vomit, your veterinarian will be able to use these samples for microscopic detection of the virus.

Treatment

Since the disease is a viral infection, there is no real cure for it. Treatment is focused on curing the symptoms and preventing secondary bacterial infections, preferably in a hospital environment. Intensive therapy and system support are the key to recovery. Intravenous fluid and nutrition therapy is crucial in maintaining a dog’s normal body fluid after severe diarrhea and dehydration, and protein and electrolyte levels will be monitored and regulated as necessary. Medications that may be used in the treatment include drugs to curb vomiting (antiemetics), H2 Blockers to reduce nausea, antibiotics, and anthelmintics to fight parasites. The survival rate in dogs is about 70 percent, but death may sometimes result from severe dehydration, a severe secondary bacterial infection, bacterial toxins in the blood, or a severe intestinal hemorrhage. Prognosis is lower for puppies, since they have a less developed immune system. It is common for a puppy that is infected with CPV to suffer shock, and sudden death.

Living and Management

Even after your dog has recovered from a CPV infection, it will still have a weakened immune system, and will be susceptible to other illnesses. Talk to your veterinarian about ways by which you can boost your dog’s immune system, and otherwise protect your dog from situations that may make it ill. A diet that is easily digested will be best for your dog while it is recovering.
Your dog will also continue to be a contagion risk to other dogs for at least two months after the initial recovery. You will need to isolate your dog from other dogs for a period of time, and you may want to tell neighbors who have dogs that they will need to have their own pets tested. Wash all of the objects your dog uses (e.g., dishes, crate, kennel, toys) with non-toxic cleaners. Recovery comes with long-term immunity against the parvovirus, but it is no guarantee that your pet will not be infected with the virus again.

Prevention

The best prevention you can take against CPV infection is to follow the correct protocol for vaccination. Young puppies should be vaccinated at six, nine, and twelve weeks, and should not be socialized with outside dogs until at least two weeks after their last vaccinations. High-risk breeds may require a longer initial vaccination period of up to 22 weeks.
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Radioiodine Therapy – The Best Treatment for Feline Hyperthyroidism

What is hyperthyroidism?

The Thyroid glands sit on either side of the voice box. They produce hormones that control the body’s metabolism (e.g., how fast food calories are burned, how much inhaled oxygen is used, and how rapidly the heart beats). In other words, how fast your cat’s “engine is revving” depends on how much thyroid hormone is produced. Older cats often develop a benign growth in one or both thyroid glands, resulting in excessive hormone production.

What are the signs of hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroid cats tend to lose weight despite a ravenous appetite. They may drink excessive amounts of water, have diarrhea, vomit intermittently, and become hyperactive or irritable. The heart rate is elevated and sometimes irregular. Your veterinarian may be able to hear a heart murmur and feel an abnormal nodule in the thyroid region.

Diagnosing hyperthyroidism

Your veterinarian can do a blood test to measure the thyroid hormone level. Confirming hyperthyroidism is very important because other problems such as diabetes, heart disease and inflammatory bowel disease can mimic the signs of hyperthyroidism. Older cats may have multiple health problems, so a complete physical examination, blood work and urine screening are always indicated prior to treatment.

What is the treatment procedure?

A recent physical examination, blood work and urine testing are required to rule out concurrent diseases. If a heart problem is suspected, chest x-rays and an echocardiogram are recommended. Any unrelated health issues should be stabilized prior to admission; if necessary a consultation with Dr. Franklin can be arranged. After the radioiodine injection, your cat is boarded in a shielded medical ward until the radioactivity level fades (four days). All cats have their own oversized cage facing large windows to the outside so they can indulge in one of their favorite activities. They are given fresh food and water twice daily. You are welcome to provide favorite foods as well as any medication or nutritional supplements. Because bedding and toys could become contaminated during hospitalization, they cannot be returned to you if you provide them. You can call everyday for an update of your cat’s condition.

Will my cat be radioactive?

Yes, but only temporarily because the iodine is eliminated in the urine and feces. Once your cat is released, there are some limitations on your interaction with your cat and special handling procedures of his/her litter. Detailed instructions will be provided.

Can I visit my cat during hospitalization?

We are sorry but State regulations do not permit visitors in the radioiodine therapy room.

Are there any complications?

Radioiodine therapy does not have any of the risks associated with surgical or medical treatment.  In about five percent of cats, the hormone level may stay high and require re-treatment, which is done at no extra cost. Occasionally hormone levels do become too low after radioiodine treatment. If this should occur,  your cat would require supplementation with oral thyroid hormone.

What follow-up is necessary?

Thyroid levels and Urine Specific Gravity should be measured at 1, 3 and 12 months post-treatment by your regular veterinarian.
 
If you have any questions about this information or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital at 503.292.3001.