Top 10 Cat Emergencies

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Cats often become reclusive and hide when they are not feeling well, which makes knowing when they need to be seen by your veterinarian a challenge. They have unique signs of emergency conditions that often go unrecognized by owners. Some injuries are obvious, such as a cat with an open wound, while others have more subtle signs that can be equally dangerous if left untreated. Knowing signs of illness is crucial in determining when to seek emergency care for your cat. Below is a list of some of the most common cat emergencies and their signs.

Urethral Obstruction

This is a condition in which a cat, usually male, is unable to urinate due to a blockage in the urethra (the tube leading from the urinary bladder to the outside environment).

Cats will show a sudden onset of restless behavior, which includes frequent trips in and out of the litter box. They will often attempt to urinate in unusual places such as in a bath tub or on a plastic bag. You may notice a very small stream of urine that contains blood. More often than not, despite a cat’s straining, there may be no urine or even just a drop produced. In later stages of the obstruction, cats may cry loudly, vomit, and become lethargic.

You should consider these signs a serious emergency and seek veterinary care immediately. There are reports of cats developing kidney failure and dying within 12 hours after the onset of signs. Expect your cat to be hospitalized at least 36 hours for treatment of this condition. Veterinary treatments may include a urinary catheter, intravenous fluids, and pain management. Female cats are less likely to become obstructed due to their wider urinary tract.

Toxicities (Poisoning)

The combination of their curious nature and unique metabolism (the way their body breaks down chemicals) makes cats vulnerable to toxins. Owners are often unaware that their home contains multiple products that are poisonous to felines. The most common cat toxins include antifreeze, Tylenol, and rat or mouse poison.

The signs your cat displays depends on the type of poison he or she has encountered. Antifreeze will often cause wobbliness or a drunken appearance first, then progresses to vomiting/weakness as the kidneys fail. Tylenol may cause an unusual swelling of the head and changes the cat’s blood color from red to chocolate brown. Rat or mouse poison interferes with blood clotting so you may see weakness from internal blood loss or visible blood in the urine or stool.

Breathing Problems

Often, cats hide the signs of breathing problems by simply decreasing their activity. By the time an owner notices changes in the cat’s breathing, it may be late in the progression of the cat’s lung disease. There are several causes of breathing changes, but the most common are feline asthma, heart disease, or lung disease.

Foreign Object Ingestion

Many cats love to play with strings or string-like objects (such as dental floss, holiday tinsel, or ribbon), but those strings can be dangerous for your cat. When a string is ingested by a cat, one end may become lodged or “fixed” in place, often under the cat’s tongue, while the rest of the string passes further into the intestine. With each intestinal contraction, the string see-saws back and forth actually cutting into the intestine and damaging the blood supply.

Signs that your cat has eaten a foreign object may include vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea, and weakness. Occasionally owners will actually see part of a string coming from the mouth or anal area. You should never pull on any part of the string that is visible; instead, call your veterinary health care team immediately.

Surgery is usually necessary to remove the foreign object and any damaged sections of intestine.

Bite Wounds

Cats are notorious for both inflicting and suffering bite wounds during encounters with other cats. Because the tips of their canine, or “fang,” teeth are so small and pointed, bites are often not noticed until infection sets in, which is usually several days after the initial injury.

Cats may develop a fever and become lethargic 48 to 72 hours after experiencing a penetrating bite wound. They may be tender or painful at the site. If the wound becomes infected or abscessed, swelling and foul-smelling drainage may develop.

You should seek emergency care for bite wounds so your veterinarian can thoroughly clean the area and prescribe appropriate antibiotics. Occasionally, the wounds can develop large pockets called abscesses under the skin that require surgical placement of a drain to aid in healing.

Hit By Car

Cats that spend time outdoors are at a much greater risk for ending up in the emergency room. Being hit by a car is one of the most common causes of traumatic injuries, such as broken bones, lung injuries, and head trauma. You should always seek emergency care if your cat has been hit by a vehicle, even if he or she appears normal, because many injuries can develop or worsen over the following few hours.

Increased Thirst and Urination

Sudden changes in your cat’s thirst and urine volume are important clues to underlying disease. The two most common causes of these changes are kidney disease and diabetes mellitus.

Your veterinarian will need to check blood and urine samples to determine the cause of your cat’s change in thirst and urine. Having your pet seen on an emergency basis for these signs is important because prompt treatment increases chances for recovery. Exposure to certain toxins, such as antifreeze or lilies, will show similar signs, and delaying veterinary care can be fatal.

Sudden Inability to Use the Hind Legs

Cats with some forms of heart disease are at risk for developing blood clots. These clots can sometimes lodge in a large blood vessel—the aorta—where they can prevent normal blood flow to the hind legs. If your cat experiences such a blood clotting episode (often called a saddle thrombus or thromboembolic episode), you will likely see a sudden loss of the use of his or her hind legs, painful crying, and breathing changes.

On arrival at the emergency room, your cat will receive pain management and oxygen support. Tests will be done to evaluate the cat’s heart and determine if there is any heart failure (fluid accumulation in the lungs). Sadly, such an episode is often the first clue for an owner that his or her cat has severe heart disease. In most cases, with time and support, the blood clot can resolve, but the cat’s heart disease will require lifelong treatment.

Upper Respiratory Infections

Cats and kittens can experience a variety of upper respiratory diseases caused by a combination of bacteria or viruses. An upper respiratory infections, or URI, can cause sneezing, runny nose, runny eyes, lack of appetite, and fever. In severe cases, it can cause ulcers in the mouth, on the tongue, and on the eyes. More often than not, severe cases are seen in cats that have recently been in multiple-cat environments, such as shelters. Small kittens, or kittens struggling to thrive, are also easily infected and may develop more severe complications, such as low blood sugar.

Sudden Blindness

A sudden loss of vision is most likely to occur in an older cat. The most common cause is increased blood pressure (hypertension), which may be due to changes in thyroid function (hyperthyroidism) or kidney disease. There are some cats that appear to have hypertension with no other underlying disease.

Sudden blindness should be treated as an emergency and your veterinarian will measure your cat’s blood pressure, check blood tests, and start medications to lower the pressure and restore vision.

If you notice a change in your cat’s eyes, whether he or she loses vision or not, you should consider this an emergency have your pet seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

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Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary-related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at cathealth.com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.

SOURCE: http://www.cathealth.com/safety/top-ten-emergencies-in-cats

Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Most pets do not tolerate spicy seasonings very well or large quantities of food. Avoid giving pets a sampling of everything on the human menu.

 

On the morning of the holiday, exercise the dog to try to wear it out before guests arrive.

 

Make sure to dispose of turkey bones where the pet cannot get to it. These bones will splinter when chewed. Bones can get caught in a pet’s esophagus or intestinal track and could be life threatening.

 

Rancid food is full of bacteria and can make a pet very sick, so make sure garbage is not accessible to the pet.

 

Turkeystuffing may contain onions, garlic, or raisins—all toxic to dogs, so resist the urge to feed your dog human food.

 

Remind guests not to offer table scraps or appetizers to the dog.

 

If the family pet is skittish around people, noises, sudden movement then containing the dog away from the stimulation is recommended.

 

Offer special chew toys during the time people are buzzing around.

 

An open door or open garage may be an invitation for your pet to bolt. Keep your pet contained while guests are coming or going.

 

Make sure your pet has ID and license on a collar just in case it bolts out an open door.

 

Source: http://veterinaryteam.dvm360.com/10-thanksgiving-safety-tips-clients-and-pets

Sentinel Spectrum

Northside Animal Hospital offers Sentinel Spectrum! In addition to providing heartworm protection, you’ll also be protecting your dog against fleas and the most common intestinal parasites — roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. Contact us today if you have questions about Sentinel Spectrum and how these chewable tablets can protect your canine this fall season.

Pets & Camping Safety

Camping just isn’t the same without the dog, but make sure that you’re prepared for a pet-friendly campsite before you go. Be sure your pet is up-to-date on all flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives, and that he or she has plenty of their own food packed for the trip. Don’t forget to bring some toys for your dog, like a ball to throw around at the campsite! Does your dog like to go camping with the family?

Over-the-Counter Medications & Pets

It’s important to keep your medicines out of your pet’s reach at all times, because human medication can be toxic to your pets! When your pet feels sick or is acting under the weather, never give them a human medicine, but bring them in for veterinary care instead. Even if you mean well, a dose of human medicine could be fatal to your pet.

Snake Bite Safety & Prevention Tips

If you frequently hike or otherwise enjoy the great outdoors with your pet, please take care to prevent painful encounters with snakes. Bites occur most often in between March and October when snakes are most active. According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), a snake bite is always considered an emergency—a venomous snake bite can be fatal if not treated immediately, and even a bite from a nonvenomous snake can be dangerous for your pets.

The APCC would like to offer the following tips for snake bite safety around pets:

Avoid chance encounters with snakes:

  • Keep your yard tidy by clearing away undergrowth, toys and tools that make great hiding places for snakes.
  • Keep walkways clear of brush, flowers and shrubs.
  • Clean up any spilled food, fruit or bird seed, which can attract rodents—and therefore snakes—to your yard.
  • When walking your pet, keep him on a leash.
  • Steer your pet clear of long grasses, bushes and rocks.
  • Snakes can strike across a distance equal to about half their body length. If you see a snake, head back the way you came.
  • Familiarize yourself with snakes who are common in your area. In the event of a bite, identifying the type of snake may help with your pet’s treatment.

Recognize snake bite symptoms:

  • Local or general swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Intense pain
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dead tissue around the wound
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Renal failure

What to do if you think your pet’s been bitten:

  • Remember to stay calm.
  • Keep your pet calm, too, by limiting his activity.
  • If your pet was bitten on the neck, remove his collar.
  • If possible, keep the location of the bite below heart level.
  • Seek veterinary care for your pet immediately.
  • Treatment options such as cold packs, ice, tourniquets, alcohol, bleeding the wound and trying to suck out venom should not be attempted in place of getting your pet to the vet—they may just waste precious time.
  • Always keep your personal safety in mind and do not try to catch or kill a snake yourself.
  • Even if you think a snake is dead, never handle him. Some dead snakes are capable of inflicting a bite by muscle contractions.

Purina Veterinary Diet Food

Does your pet struggle with weight management problems? Summer can be a difficult time for overweight pets, because they may be even more uncomfortable in the heat than a pet of a healthy weight would be. At Northside Animal Hospital, we offer Purina Veterinary Diets® OM Overweight Management® food, which offers dietary benefits that provide optimal nutrition while meeting your adult dog’s special needs. We can help you get your pet start on a proper nutritional diet as well as a daily exercise regiment.

Pets & Heatstroke

Summer is almost here, and that means the weather is going to start getting hot! Remember to keep your pet nice and cool this summer to avoid the dangers of heatstroke. Animals and people are susceptible to heatstroke, and it can be caused by overexertion and lack of proper hydration in hot weather. We recommend giving your pet a cool place to relax—with plenty of breezes, or even a/c—and plenty of fresh water to drink. And don’t forget: never, ever leave your pet in the car in the summer! Just leave them home where they’ll be more comfortable.