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3 COMMON COLD WEATHER DANGERS TO WATCH OUT FOR!

By Dr. Tracy McFarland, for Pets Best Pet Health Insurance
(Shared by permission)

While Fall is definitely my favorite season, it does bring certain hazards to watch for when it comes to your cat.  Knowledge of these potential dangers gives you the power to keep your cat safe. Prevention is much better than treatment! Here are three hazards you should be aware of:

1. ANTIFREEZE

Cooler weather often brings the necessity for changing or adding antifreeze to your car. If your radiator leaks, which occurs more commonly in older cars, antifreeze can end up on your garage floor, driveway, or in the gutter.

Antifreeze can contain ethylene glycol, which is extremely poisonous to cats. Because ethylene glycol has a sweet taste, cats, dogs and wildlife are attracted to it. As little as a teaspoon of antifreeze can cause irreversible kidney damage and death, if not treated within the first few hours after ingestion. Antifreeze causes harm, first by gastrointestinal irritation and then by the formation of calcium oxalate crystals that destroy a cat’s kidneys, if prompt action isn’t taken to remove as much of the toxin as possible, followed by intravenous fluids to flush the kidneys, for two to three days. Pets may display confusion, weakness, or a wobbly gait. If given soon enough, veterinary intervention can prevent severe kidney damage caused by antifreeze toxicity. Consider using one of the newer nontoxic antifreeze compounds in your car’s radiator.

[Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, says the best way
to protect your cat from winter hazards outdoors is to keep your cat indoors!]

2. HYPOTHERMIA

Cold weather itself poses a hazard. Extreme cold weather can cause life-threatening hypothermia, despite cats’ fur coats. While certain breeds such as Maine Coons have adapted to withstand harsh weather conditions, and most shorthaired cats can develop a thick undercoat when exposed to cold temperatures over time, the combination of cold and wet can be deadly. Signs of hypothermia include shivering, shaking, lethargy, and slowed or dull mental state.

3. FROSTBITE

Another cold weather hazard to cats during the winter is frostbite. This condition occurs when skin or body parts actually freeze from being exposed to extreme cold. Skin at the affected areas may look discolored, painful when touched or lack of feeling altogether, cold to the touch, and even frost or ice crystals may appear on the skin.

Common pet extremities susceptible to frostbite include:

  • Paw pads
  • Toes
  • Tail tip
  • Nose
  • Ears
  • Muzzle

If your cats live outdoors, shelter from cold, wind and damp will be very helpful, and indeed lifesaving in extreme weather conditions. If bringing your outdoor cat indoors into your home is not an option, please make sure he or she has an insulated doghouse, barn or out building to shelter in. The floor needs to be raised enough to stay dry, even in heavy rain.  Certain breeds cannot withstand severe weather, even with shelter. The “oriental” breeds, such as Siamese, Burmese, Tonkinese and Abyssinians have sleek coats with little undercoat. They love warmth and would be miserable and at risk in cold weather.

Enjoy all the pleasures of the season and with a few precautions your cat can be there to enjoy them too.

Need help identifying signs or symptoms of the hazards mentioned above? Every Pets Best Insurance policy includes access to our 24/7 Pet Helpline. Learn more about this service and how it can help keep your pets safe and potentially save a trip to the vet.

By Dr. Tracy McFarland, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best. Since 2005, Pets Best has offered pet health insurance plans to U.S. dogs and cats.

This article originally appeared on the Pets Best blog here.

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There are plenty of opportunities in June
to show your love for your pets (and wildlife).

American Humane’s Adopt-a-Cat Month®​

ASPCA’s Adopt a Shelter Cat Month

National Zoo and Aquarium Month​

National Dairy Month

Pet Appreciation Week
June 3-9
First full week in June

Hug Your Cat Day
June 4

World Oceans Day
June 8

World Pet Memorial Day
June 10
Second Sunday in June

​​National Pollinator Week​
June 18 – 24

Take Your Dog to Work Day
June 22

How will you celebrate?

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Today’s research shows that some respiratory illnesses in cats, previously believed to be feline asthma or bronchitis may actually be Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD).

Heartworm larvae (immature worms) — spread through the bite of a mosquito — migrate to the cat’s lungs where they produce inflammation, leading to breathing difficulties.

Interestingly, dying larvae can also cause inflammation. A few larvae may grow to adulthood, but the death of adult heartworms can produce an inflammatory response so severe that it can cause sudden death in a cat.

KnowHeartworms.org has identified 13 signs that may indicate the presence of heartworms in a cat:

  • anorexia
  • blindness
  • collapse
  • convulsions
  • coughing
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty breathing
  • fainting
  • lethargy
  • rapid heart rate
  • sudden death
  • vomiting
  • weight loss

Other health problems (including kidney disease, Feline Leukemia, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes, among others) may cause some of the same symptoms listed above.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that heartworm disease is difficult to diagnose in cats — as compared to dogs, in which a simple blood test can detect the presence of worms.

And as previously mentioned, heartworm disease in cats is not curable.

However, heartworm disease and HARD are preventable, through the use of products like Revolution. The best time to start your cat on Revolution is before it develops symptoms of HARD

Healthy Dose of Savings 004

Revolution is designed to be safe for use in cats that may already be infected with heartworms, and it can prevent further infections. Revolution also protects cats from fleas, roundworms, hookworms, and ear mites.

If your cat is currently on a flea-only treatment, it is easy to switch to Revolution – just ask!

***********************************************************************************

Originally posted on April 18, 2013.

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New research shows that some respiratory illnesses in cats, previously believed to be feline asthma or bronchitis may actually be Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD).

Heartworm larvae (immature worms) — spread through the bite of a mosquito — migrate to the cat’s lungs where they produce inflammation, leading to breathing difficulties.

Interestingly, dying larvae can also cause inflammation. A few larvae may grow to adulthood, but the death of adult heartworms can produce an inflammatory response so severe that it can cause sudden death in a cat.

KnowHeartworms.org has identified 13 signs that may indicate the presence of heartworms in a cat:

  • anorexia
  • blindness
  • collapse
  • convulsions
  • coughing
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty breathing
  • fainting
  • lethargy
  • rapid heart rate
  • sudden death
  • vomiting
  • weight loss

Other health problems (including kidney disease, Feline Leukemia, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes, among others) may cause some of the same symptoms listed above.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that heartworm disease is difficult to diagnose in cats — as compared to dogs, in which a simple blood test can detect the presence of worms.

And as previously mentioned, heartworm disease in cats is not curable.

However, heartworm disease and HARD are preventable, through the use of products like Revolution. The best time to start your cat on Revolution is before it develops symptoms of HARD

Healthy Dose of Savings 004

Revolution is designed to be safe for use in cats that may already be infected with heartworms, and it can prevent further infections. Revolution also protects cats from fleas, roundworms, hookworms, and ear mites.

If your cat is currently on a flea-only treatment, it is easy to switch to Revolution – just ask!

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     Recipe by Jen Fortman of Tender Care Animal Hospital, Prairie Du Chien, WI.  Reprinted from Protector, a Merial publication.


Kitty Catfish Pie

Ingredients
For crust, mix:

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup soy flour
  • 1/2 cup bran
  • 1/8 cup corn oil

You’ll also need:

  • 1/2 pound catfish
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon spinach
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon kelp

     Mix crust and press into a small pie dish.  Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

     Cut catfish into small pieces and arrange onto crust.  Mix the milk in blender with eggs, spinach, parsley and kelp. 

     Pour mixture over catfish and bake 30 minutes at 350° Fahrenheit. 

     Cool and serve upside down.  May serve several cats or keep refrigerated for a couple of days.
**********************************************************************

This recipe is intended for cats which are not allergic to the ingredients listed.

 

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     Weather experts warn that the extreme high temperatures and humidity we’ve been experiencing will continue over the weekend.

     You may have noticed that stepping outside is like opening the door to a blast furnace.  And according to the weather report at WVEC Channel 13, Friday’s temperature will feel like 110° Fahrenheit.  Now imagine living outdoors wearing a fur coat all day – that’s what it’s like for our pets.

     Please keep pets indoors and provide fans or air conditioning during these days of extreme heat and humidity.  Provide cool water, as well.  Pets should not be exercised outdoors and bathroom break time should be limited, if possible. 

     Remember, pug-nosed dogs such as Pekingese, Lhasa Apsos, Chinese Pugs, and Boston Terriers (to name a few) have greater difficulty cooling the air they breathe in, due to a shortened snout.  For this reason, they are very susceptible to heat stroke.

     To learn more about the signs of heat stroke or heat stress in pets, see our blog post here.

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Coax your cat out of hiding and schedule her check-up today.

     If it’s been a year or more since your cat had a check-up, it’s time to get her to the vet.  Here are some tips to make the veterinary visits more pleasant for you and your cat:

  • 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.

     These tips are available at our office in the Pet Owner Guide “Have We Seen Your Cat Lately?” from BI Vetmedica.

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