Posts Tagged ‘cat parasites’

What is That in the Litterbox? Dealing With Diarrhea in Cats

Cat staring at camera

Is your cat trying to tell you something? (Photo by Immortal Shots, via Pexels)

By Morris Animal Foundation

Cats’ fastidious behavior when it comes to poop makes it easy to clean up, but also can mask changes in stool that would signal a potential health problem. Although diarrhea is less of a problem in cats than dogs, there are some similarities between the two species when it comes to underlying causes – as well as a few differences.

As a rule, veterinarians divide diarrhea into two broad categories based on where in the intestinal tract the diarrhea originates – small bowel (originating in the small intestine) and large bowel (originating in the large intestine). Although unpleasant, paying attention to stool quality of your pet can give your family veterinarian valuable clues to point them toward a diagnosis and best treatment.

Characteristics of small-bowel diarrhea include:
*Large volume
*Usually watery
*Frequency might or might not be increased

Diseases that cause small-bowel diarrhea in cats include intestinal viruses, intestinal parasites, cancer, hyperthyroidism and chronic enteropathy (inflammatory bowel disease)

Characteristics of large-bowel diarrhea include:
*Small volume
*Usually semi-formed or cow-patty consistency
*Increased frequency of defecation with straining
*Often contains mucus

Diseases that cause large-bowel diarrhea include stress colitis, intestinal parasites and megacolon (more on this condition later).

Sometimes, we can see characteristics of both small- and large-bowel diarrhea in a cat. This can occur when a disease process involves both the small and large bowel. We also can see this pattern when a patient starts with small-bowel diarrhea that causes secondary irritation of the large bowel.

Blood in the stool can be noted in both small- and large-bowel diarrhea.

Blood in the stool can take several forms:
*Digested blood from the stomach or small intestine results in black, tarry stools. This can be a challenge to diagnose in cats since their stools tend to normally be dark in color.

*Fresh streaks of blood mixed in the stool or coating the stool usually indicate a large-bowel problem

Concurrent vomiting is more common with small intestinal diseases although some studies suggest that vomiting occurs in 30% of cats suffering from large-bowel problems.

Hyperthyroidism in cats frequently causes diarrhea and can be easily overlooked in a diagnostic work-up for diarrhea. Many routine bloodwork panels for cats have a screening test for this disease.

Another disease seen almost exclusively in cats is megacolon. This disease begins when cats become constipated. The large intestine stretches but loses tone which leads to more constipation. Cats will often leak a little loose stool around the hard feces which can be interpreted by a cat owner as diarrhea. Megacolon is easily diagnosed on a physical examination and via X-ray.

If your cat has diarrhea, call your family veterinarian for guidance. In some cases, the loose stools will resolve without treatment. Your family veterinarian is the best person to help decide if and when further diagnostics or treatment is needed.

Morris Animal Foundation has funded more than 50 studies and invested $1.2 million dollars in studies focused on gastrointestinal tract problems. We’re on the cutting edge of gastrointestinal research, from the use of probiotics to studies looking at the gut microbiome. Check out all our studies and learn how you can help cats everywhere have longer, healthier lives.

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True or False: Indoor-only cats don’t need parasite prevention

FALSE.

Even cats that stay indoors their entire lives are at risk for parasitic infections. Why?

Because mosquitos, which transmit heartworm disease, often sneak into our homes.

Because fleas, which transmit tapeworms, often reside in our homes.

Because flies, which transmit roundworms, often buzz around inside our homes.

And if your cat is anything like mine, it loves to chase, catch, and eat bugs!

These are just some of the reasons your cat’s feces should be checked by the veterinarian, one or more times a year, for parasites.

It’s also why Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, recommends Revolution for indoor and outdoor cats. Revolution protects your cat against fleas, heartworms, roundworms, (and ear mites!)

Double-click the graphic below to learn more about cats and parasites — then Contact Us about protecting your indoor cat from heartworms, tapeworms, and roundworms.

Infographic on cats and parasites

Double-click to enlarge.

 

Originally published on April 16, 2015.

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Does your cat have itchy ears? The Number One cause of itchy ears in cats is ear mites, according to Dr. Lynette Cole of Ohio State University.

At a recent lecture attended by Norfolk veterinarians and their staff, Dr. Cole listed the top three most common causes of itchy, inflamed ears in cats: parasites, polyps, and allergies.

Ear mites, which are a type of parasite, appear to be tiny white specks that move around, when seen through a magnifier such as an otoscope

Veterinary otoscope, used to examine ears.

 

Looking through an otoscope at a model cat ear.

Seen under a microscope, however, the situation becomes much more clear. Ear mites, known also as Otodectes cynotis, have eight legs and are very active crawlers. And if that weren’t enough Ick Factor — ear mites are arachnids, putting them in the same class as spiders and ticks.

Ear mite removed from a kitten. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Ear mite removed from a kitten. (2) Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

What’s the first sign of ear mites? Since you can’t see the mites with your naked eye, the first visible sign of a problem may be a layer of crusty, black debris in your pet’s ear. Sometimes it looks like coffee grounds. By the time this debris appears, your cat is probably scratching her ears, which may be what prompts you to look inside the ears.

Since there may be other causes of “crud” in the ears, you’ll want your cat’s veterinarian to examine the ears to find out if ear mites are present. Then, the veterinarian will devise an appropriate treatment plan.

Ear mites can be transmitted from one pet to another, so the veterinarian may advise treating all pets in the household at the same time.

Check out these videos we’ve uploaded to our You Tube channel, featuring the ear mites shown in the photos above. One mite is mired in mineral oil, while the other mite speeds out of view!

Does your cat have itchy ears or suspicious-looking debris inside? Contact Us to schedule an appointment today!

[Our doctor cannot diagnose your pet over the phone or the Internet, so please schedule an appointment today.]

Bonus: Our cat patients that are treated with Revolution to protect against fleas, heartworms, and intestinal worms are also receiving protection from ear mites!

Revolution Rewards details here.

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Attention Users of Feline Revolution: The free dose program has ended and has been replaced with a new purchase rewards program.

For every 3 doses purchased, you can earn points which convert to dollars, which are loaded onto a prepaid VISA card, once you’ve reached a minimum of 100 points (= $10). See program FAQs here.

Buy 6 doses, earn $15

Buy 9 doses, earn $25 

Buy 12 doses, earn $35

Registration is FREE. Sign up here:  https://www.zoetispetcare.com/rewards/offers/revolution

 

Why Revolution? We asked Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic:

Revolution is safe to use on cats and is especially recommended for those that venture outdoors. Your “outdoor” cat is exposed to more natural pests than a cat that stays inside.

But remember: certain pests, like mosquitoes and fleas, can easily migrate indoors, exposing your “indoor” cats to heartworms and tapeworms. And certain pests, like houseflies and cockroaches, can carry roundworms, exposing any pet that likes to eat bugs.

Also, cats that go outside can bring ear mites and intestinal worms indoors and share them with the homebodies.

Revolution protects your indoor and outdoor cats against:

Revolution is available to your 5-15 lb cat by prescription only. To schedule an appointment, Contact Us today.

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Previously, on the Little Creek Veterinary Clinic blog, we discussed the importance of yearly check-ups for cats. Cats benefit from wellness care and from early intervention when you notice signs of trouble. [Click the link above to review the list.]

However, we have heard from owners who would rather avoid bringing their cat to the doctor, if the cat appears healthy. Common sticking points for owners are that their cat puts up a fuss at going into the carrier, leaving the house, going for a car ride, or being handled by the veterinary team (whom the cat sees infrequently.)

But since you know that yearly health check-ups and preventative care, such as vaccinations and parasite control, are important components of pet care, you’ll want to find a way to make getting your cat to the vet easier and less stressful — for you and your pet.

Try these tips from BI-Vetmedica, available in a brochure at our office:

  • Start with a carrier that is easy to take your cat in and out of (top-loading carriers work best.)
  • Help your cat be more comfortable in the car by using the carrier and taking shorter rides to places other than the veterinary clinic.
  • Avoid feeding your cat for several hours before riding in the car (cats travel better on an empty stomach.)
  • Bring your cat’s favorite treats and toys with you to the veterinary clinic.
  • Practice regular care routines at home, like grooming, nail trimming and teeth brushing.
  • Pretend to do routine veterinary procedures with your cat, like touching the cat’s face, ears, feet and tail.
  • Give your cat and the veterinary healthcare team a chance to interact in a less stressful situation by taking your cat to the clinic for a weight check, rather than only for exams and procedures.

Bonus Tip 1: Leave the cat carrier out where your cat can access and explore it. Put a blanket and toy or treats in the carrier, and allow your cat to nap in its comfy little nest. Encourage your cat to become accustomed to the carrier as a “happy place.”

Bonus Tip 2: Spritz the inside of the carrier with Feliway synthetic calming pheromone 15 minutes before you place your cat in it for the ride to the vet. Then spray Feliway on a towel and place the towel over the carrier in the car and at the veterinary clinic. 

Check out these extra ideas from Catster.com.

Angell Animal Medical Center has produced this video as a guide to placing your cat in its carrier.

Ready to make your cat’s veterinary appointment? Contact Us to let us know!

 

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Cats can be such quiet, independent creatures that it is easy to forget they need regular doctor visits, just like dogs.

Cats should receive a yearly check-up, fecal analysis, and vaccine boosters. And remember to pick up their flea and heartworm preventatives (such as Revolution)!

Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, says the good news is, certain conditions viral diseases and parasite infestation can be prevented or quickly treated — but aging brings its own problems, and you can’t stop the sands of time. That’s why it’s important to combine careful observation with annual veterinary check-ups.

Cats are notorious for hiding pain and illness, but you can use your detective skills to know when there’s a problem.

Look for these signs — and Contact Us at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic to request a brochure with detailed information on each:

  • Peeing or pooping outside the litterbox
  • Becoming less social
  • Decrease in activity
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Increase or decrease in food and water consumption
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Over-grooming or under-grooming
  • Howling; increased vocalization
  • Bad breath

Remember: you don’t have to wait for your cat to be sick before scheduling a visit with the veterinarian!

Coming up next: What you can do to prepare your cat for veterinary visits.

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We published this post last year, but it’s as true now as it was then: tick populations are on the rise across the US, even in the southern states.

According to a recent interview with leading parasitologists, published by Veterinary Practice Newswe can expect to see more ticks this year for the following reasons:

  • Warmer winters
  • Suburbanization, which brings together people, wildlife and ticks
  • An increase in white-tailed deer
  • Migratory birds that carry ticks to new areas
  • A movement toward the preservation of open space and the replanting of trees
  • The use of fewer insecticides

This news is cause for concern for everyone. Those of us who have dogs and cats that venture outdoors must not ignore the risk to our pets. That means protecting our pets, as well as ourselves.

Ticks are carriers for the following six diseases:

  • Lyme Disease
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Tularemia
Baked bean? Nope – it’s an engorged, dead tick, thoughtfully preserved for the enlightenment of future generations of pet owners. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Baked bean? Nope – it’s an engorged, dead tick, thoughtfully preserved for the enlightenment of future generations of pet owners. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Get links to articles on each disease here and learn how to protect yourself and your family.

We can help protect your pet with a Lyme Disease vaccination and a Seresto collar, so let us know if you and your pet will be doing any of the following activities:

  • hiking, especially in wooded or grassy areas, such as state and public parks
  • camping
  • travelling
  • hunting

Of course, ticks can be found right in your own backyard, so keep an eye out for these pests – and if you see one on your dog or cat, tell us!

In fact, we’ve begun hearing from more clients who are finding ticks on their cats — and those cats are not going hiking with their owners. That means ticks are very much a backyard problem in this area.

Found a tick on your pet?
Watch this video from About.com that explains the Do’s and Don’t’s of tick removal.

Need a tick removal device?
I searched Amazon.com and came up with this list of tick removal devices, including the crow-bar type shown in the video.

Other resource on the pending tick explosion:
Companion Animal Parasite Council

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Originally published April 9, 2013.

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