Have you noticed your cat drinking more than usual? Increased thirst and urination can be the first sign of serious kidney problems in your cat. Sadly it is common for kidney function to progressively reduce as cats get older. Also known as renal failure, other signs include weight loss, smelly breath and a poor appetite. Affected cats can become dehydrated, lethargic and may vomit. To investigate for kidney disease your vet can perform a clinical exam and collect blood and urine samples. These tests will rule out other causes of excessive thirst in cats including diabetes and hyperthyroid disease. Early diagnosis can aid in the treatment of kidney failure however unfortunately the condition is not curable. Severely affected cats may need to be hospitalised on intravenous fluids to correct dehydration and reduce levels of the toxic kidney by-products. After this special renal food from your vet is the only proven form of ongoing treatment. These diets come in wet and dry varieties, different flavours and need to be fed as the sole diet to be effective. Remember to help your cat stay healthy in their older years with a regular check up with your vet. This is Claude the kitten at our clinic for his checkup.
While many of us may have a friend or family member with Diabetes Mellitus, it is less commonly known that dogs and cats can also develop this disease. Diabetes is associated with the poor production or uptake of the hormone insulin which controls blood sugar levels. In pets the disease is typically seen in middle aged to older pets that are overweight and so is most similar to Type 2 diabetes in humans. The clinical signs are initially increased thirst and urination. Pets then tend to lose weight and become lethargic. Cataracts may form in the eyes causing blindness. Without medical intervention pets will deteriorate and may lapse into a diabetic coma. Your vet can perform simple blood and urine tests to check for high levels of the sugar glucose and rule out other illnesses. Diabetes in dogs is not a curable disease, but is generally well managed with twice daily insulin injections, a strict diabetic dog food and regular blood and urine monitoring. Older overweight cats are at very high risk of developing diabetes. Treatment is commenced with twice daily insulin injections and diabetic cat food. Some cats can then actually go into remission and then be managed with a diabetic diet alone. Hopefully a cure for diabetes for both people and pets will be found in the near future but in the meantime ensure your pet is a healthy weight to reduce the risk of disease. This is 11 year old McIvor whose diabetes is being successfully managed by our clinic.
Fears and phobias are a prevalent behavior problem in our family pets. This distressing state can be brought on by different stimuli, with fireworks and thunderstorms the most common causes. Other phobias include being scared of visitors to the home or even going to the vet clinic. Dogs and cats can express their fear in different ways ranging from being timid, barking, showing aggression or becoming destructive. While there is no simple cure for behavior problems, your vet can certainly help with advice and medication. Short term anti-anxiety medication can be prescribed by your vet for known events that cause stress. Longer term your pet may benefit from behavioural modifications such as crate training and desensitization. Pets can be taught to sleep and eat in a large crate which becomes their safe den where they can feel secure at times of stress. Repeated gentle exposure to a phobia while receiving positive rewards such as food treats or praise can also be helpful over time. Your vet may also suggest consulting a behavioural specialist in certain cases to help your pet live a less stressed-out life. This is 16 year old Frazer who has no fears or phobias making him the perfect cat to live at our vet clinic.
Hyperthyroidism is a disease of cats, usually ten years of age or older, caused by excessive production of the thyroid hormone. The role of thyroid hormone in the body is to control metabolism and iodine storage. In cats it is typically a benign overactive thyroid gland tumour located in the neck area that leads to hyperthyroidism. The condition is rare in dogs which instead tend to suffer from the opposite condition of hypothyroidism. After diabetes, hyperthyroidism is the second most common hormonal disease seen in cats. Signs of this condition include hyperactivity, weight loss despite a ravenous appetite and increased thirst and urination. Cats may cry frequently, show poor grooming and have a rapid heartbeat. If left untreated cats become emaciated and can develop fatal heart failure. The good news is that diagnosis involves a simple blood test performed by your vet and there are several good treatment options. The ideal form of treatment is a single dose of radioactive-iodine given as an oral capsule. This is given by a veterinary specialist during a stay in hospital but is safe and has excellent permanent results. An alternative treatment is twice daily anti-thyroid tablet or in cats that are very difficult to pill, a cream applied to their ears. Regular blood and urine tests are required lifelong to monitor this ongoing treatment. Speak to your vet if your older cat has any of these clinical signs so they can offer tests and treatment suitable for your pet. This is Bluebell the 5 year old British Short Hair who was very healthy at her yearly check up and vaccination.