The Wet Nose Press Pet Blog

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June 17, 2016
by Lynn Merton
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How Can You Help your Arthritic Senior Cat

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Recognizing arthritis in your cat can be quite challenging. Most of the cats tend to hide their pain effectively. While you might see some of the older cats favoring one leg or limping, arthritic cats on the whole become less active with time. They spend a lot of their time resting and sleeping. They might think twice before jumping on to surfaces that were very accessible to them previously.

In fact, a lot of pet owners mistake the arthritic symptoms for those of normal aging. Quite too often, we assume that it is normal for senior cats to be less active and sleep more without wondering whether pain is responsible for it. In fact, a lot of people think that their arthritic cat is displaying better behavior or learning manners because he no longer jumps at the kitchen countertop the way he used to.

What can we do about this? First and foremost, if you doubt that your cat is hurting, assume that is the case and take the appropriate measures:
• Give him joint supplements that contain chondroitin and glucosamine to help with the joint pain.

• It is a good idea to add omega-3 fatty acids to his diet to relieve the pain caused by arthritis.

Adequan is another medication that comes in the form of an injection and is quite effective at relieving arthritic pain and is effective on most cats.

• There are many other medications that can relieve your cat’s pain and they might be necessary if none of the previous options work. These include gabapentin, tramadol, fentanyl and others. Your vet can help you decide on the best course of medication for your cat.

• For a lot of the cats, alternative therapies like hydrotherapy, acupuncture and massage can help with easing arthritic pain.

• Appropriate weight loss can help to relieve the pressure and stress on the more sensitive joints and make it more comfortable for the arthritic cats. Consult with the vet to establish an effective and safe weight loss plan if you have a cat that is overweight and arthritic.

• Exercise can also help in keeping the muscles and joints supple. It is a great way for your cat to burn some calories and shed weight, if necessary.

• Provide your cat with really soft bedding in the form of a blanket or a pet bed in which he can rest or sleep.

• Make sure that his litter box is easily accessible. Place it in a location where it is easy for him to enter and let himself out. Do not place the litter box in an attic or a basement that is far from where your cat spends most of his time during the day. You can also choose to use a litter box with a low side for easy access.

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June 16, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

How to Deal With Runny Nose in Your Cat

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The throat is at the end of the two main air passages in the mouth and begins at the nostril. Fine bone scrolls called turbinates fill the passage. They have a mucosa (pink tissue) covering, just like the lining in the mouth. As air passes through the bone scrolls, it is warmed up and filtered en route to the lungs. The mouth is separated from the nasal cavity by the hard palate, or the roof.

The sources of nasal discharges are the upper respiratory organs, like the sinuses, nasal cavities and the postnasal area. However, if your cat has a digestive tract problem or a swallowing disorder, it can force secretions into the postnasal area. If you see secretions from the eyes, it might be because of nerve damage to the middle ear.

The nasal discharge might be thick, watery and mucus-like. It might also have blood or pus in it. A nasal discharge occurs when chemical, inflammatory or infectious invaders irritate the nasal passage. It could also be due to a foreign object lodged in the nose. If your cat has a disease of the middle ear, it decreases the normal secretions and causes the body to secrete a lot of mucus. Bear in mind though that it is normal for a cat to have a nasal discharge. You only need to start worrying if it is chronic or severe.

Symptoms

  • Inflamed eyes
  • Diseases teeth
  • Reduction in air flow in the nasal cavity
  • Dried discharge or secretions on the muzzle hair or the forelimbs
  • Swelling of the hard palate or the face (due to an abscess or tumor on the fourth premolar)
  • Polyp (it might be visible on a routine ear exam, or by pushing on the soft palate during an oral exam)

Causes

  • Dental disease
  • Foreign bodies (seen mostly in outdoor animals)
  • Infectious agents (fungi, bacteria and viruses)
  • A weak immune system
  • Chronic pneumonia
  • Chronic steroid use
  • Chronic vomiting
  • Chronic ear inflammation
  • Cancer

Diagnosis

  • Rhinoscopy (examination of the nasal cavity)
  • Dental exam
  • Nasal cavity biopsy
  • Bronchoscopy, if coughing accompanies the discharge
  • Blood test, including a coagulation profile
  • Tear test to look for nerve damage due to a chronic ear infection

Treatment

Treatment for the condition depends on the cause of the nasal discharge. Bacterial infections will be treated with antibiotics. If the cause of the infection is fungal, your vet will prescribe anti-fungal medicine. He/she might also advise decongestants to clear up the block. If the upper respiratory infection is due to a virus, the doctor might recommend an anti-viral.

Dental work, including the extraction of diseased teeth, might be necessary if bad teeth are the cause. Polyps and tumors might have to be removed surgically. If foreign bodies are found, they must be removed as well.

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June 15, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

Why Do Kittens and Puppies Need a Lot of Boosters?

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Repeated vaccines (for parvovirus, canine distemper, feline viral rhinotracheitis, adenovirus, calicivirus and panleukopenia) are necessary to protect the health of kittens and puppies, but a lot of the owners misunderstand the reason behind it.

The vaccine series (cases where the same vaccine is given multiple times) does not really boost the immunity of your kitten’s body after every single shot. In most of the cases, one or at the most two vaccines given in a space of four weeks is enough to produce full immunity as long as the body is able to respond to the vaccination. It is one of the major reasons why kittens and puppies need so many shots when they are still really young.

Newborn animals usually have antibodies floating around in their circulatory system. They pick it up in utero or through the nursing colostrum from their mothers. The antibodies play a very important role in protecting kittens and puppies when their immune systems are still in development. This is a very good system because if the mother has come into contact with a particular pathogen, her child is likely to do the same.

Maternal immunity directed against the vaccines received by the mom has an unintended consequence. It can end up inactivating the vaccines that are given to the offspring.

The antibodies that the youngsters get from their mothers fade away in the first few months of their life, but the speed at which this happens tends to vary between individuals. There is no sure fire way of telling when exactly a kitten or puppy’s maternal immunity will wane, making him susceptible to disease and responsive to the vaccine.

Research has shown that most of the kittens and puppies have a strong maternal immunity till they are eight weeks of age. This is one of the reasons veterinarians do not recommend administering the vaccination series before this point.

Not only are most of the kittens and puppies adequately protected by their maternal immunity (assuming that their mothers are vaccinated), but vaccines that are administered before they are eight weeks of age are inactivated.

Research has also demonstrated that maternal immunity wanes to the point where most of the youngsters are capable of responding to vaccination by the time they become 16 weeks old, which explains why they are given the last shots around this time.

However, the two months between the eighth and the sixteenth week are highly problematical. Some youngsters who have a weak maternal immunity are highly susceptible to disease and start responding to vaccines any time between the eighth and the twelfth week. That is why vaccines are administered in 3 week intervals starting from the eighth week. It works as a good rule of thumb irrespective of when the pets’ natural maternal immunity fades.

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June 15, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

Understanding Feline Hyperthyroidism

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Presence of excess thyroid hormone can lead to a number of undesirable effects on the body of your cat. Some of the most common symptoms that are seen in cats with excess thyroid hormone include:

  • Increased appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Increased urination
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Hyperactivity/restlessness

Besides these common symptoms, there are a number of other complications in cats that suffer from hyperthyroidism. The toxic effect of ll the circulating thyroid hormones can lead to heart disease. Hypertension is also another common complication. Some of the cats who are diagnosed with hyperthyroidism also develop kidney disease. If you cat has a kidney ailment due to excess thyroid, he will need treatment for both and kidney disease can affect the prognosis of his thyroid condition. There are a number of treatment options for cats suffering from hyperthyroidism:

  1. I131 or Radio-iodine treatment uses radioactive iodine to remove all the diseased tissue in the thyroid gland. Most of the cats that undergo the treatment are cured of the condition. However, they must be closely monitored for recurring signs of hyperthyroidism after the treatment is over.
  2. The doctor might also recommend surgically removing the diseased tissue in the thyroid gland. Just like the I131 treatment, it is curative, and the cat must be monitored for recurring signs afterward.
  3. Another common treatment option is treating the cat with methimazole. It can be formulated into a transdermal (through the skin) gel that is applied to the ear of your cat or can also be administered through the mouth. It has been shown to be effective in controlling the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. However, it doesn’t cure the disease and if you decide to go this route, your cat will have to be on medication for the rest of his life.

Cats that undergo curative treatments like I131 or surgical treatments have much longer survival times than the cats that undergo dietary or medical therapy alone. This is particularly significant for cats that are diagnosed with hyperthyroidism at a very young age. Compensatory hyperthyroidism is also more common in cats that have undergone treatment than was believed previously. Correcting such cases can improve the function of the kidneys and help resolve the cases of kidney disease, prolonging the life of the cats and also giving them a higher quality of life while they are alive.

There have been some cases where sarcomas, a particularly aggressive form of cancer, has been responsible for feline hyperthyroidism. Although it needs further study and validation, it cannot be ignored completely. A sarcoma in the thyroid gland of your cat can be much more difficult to treat. It also poses a serious threat to the survival rates for cats that have this type of cancer. If you have any doubts about your cat’s physical condition, consult with the vet immediately.

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June 13, 2016
by Lynn Merton
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Tips to Prevent Cancer in Cats

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Cats are susceptible to a lot of the diseases that affect humans. Cancer is no exception, although they do not get it as commonly as humans and dogs. However, if they do, it is much more aggressive because of their smaller size. It goes without saying that not all incidences of cancer can be prevented completely. There are genetic components that make some cats more susceptible than others. However, there are certain steps that a cat owner can take to prevent cancer. Let us look at some of the effective preventative measures:

  1. Neutering/spaying – It is recommended that you spay or neuter cats which are not used for breeding. For one, it helps keeping the cat population under control. If you spay your female cat at a young age, it will significantly decrease the chances of her developing breast tumors or mammary cancers. It is best to spay her before the first heat cycle. Doing that will completely eradicate the possibility of her contracting breast cancer.
  2. High quality diet – Make sure that your cat gets a nutritious and well-balanced diet. It will improve his health and strengthen his immune system. Fatty acids like DHA and EPA are helpful in preventing cancer as well as feeding cats that have cancer.
  3. Avoid overfeeding – While a balanced and complete diet is essential, you should avoid feeding excess food to your cat. According to endocrinologists, fat is a very important part of the endocrine system and it secretes hormones and other substances that have a number of disagreeable effects on the human body, including an uptake in the body’s inflammatory response. If your cat is obese, it makes him prone to many types of cancer.
  4. Avoid secondhand smoke – If you smoke around your cat frequently, it can affect his lungs. It has been implicated as a contributing factor towards lung cancer. The risks smoking poses to your pet and the other members of your family might even provide you with the encouragement you need to stop smoking altogether.
  5. Use chemicals carefully – Use lawn and household chemicals with caution. Your cat should not go out unsupervised and even if he does, he should be in a catio or a leash. Or else, he will be exposed to the lawn chemicals, especially if they are used in the area frequented by him regularly. Don’t use pesticides and other cancer causing agents in your home and on your lawn. Consult with the vet to choose a good parasite prevention program for your feline friend, and ensure that the medications have a track record for efficacy and safety.
  6. Virus testing – Viruses like the feline immunodeficiency virus and the feline leukemia virus are also potential cancer-causing pathogens. Test your cat for these regularly. It is easy and takes just a few drops of blood.