Posts in Cats

How to tell if your dog, or cat, is pale?

How to tell if your dog, or cat, is pale?

December 3, 2018 Posted by Cats, Diagnosis, Dogs, Pet Health 0 thoughts on “How to tell if your dog, or cat, is pale?”

How to tell if your dog, or cat, is pale?

The following is a guest post from veterinary nurse Ellen Herrlin.

We can easily tell when a person may be ill because their skin looks a little paler than usual. For obvious reasons we can’t apply the same basic logic to our furry dogs and cats. Or can we? Actually, we can. All we have to do is look at the mucous membranes to check that blood circulation is good throughout the body. If this is the case it will be shown by a nice pink color, not pale or dark red. The normal color is that of pink salmon. As a pet owner, it’s good to know how to check the mucous membranes, and know how they look when healthy so you can notice any abnormalities.

How to check your pet’s mucous membranes

The most common way is to do this is to lift the lip and look at the color. It is best to look high up or on the underside of the lip so that you will not be misled by an inflamed gum due to poor dental health. As you can see above, the membrane is smooth and pink throughout.

It’s important to remember that some animals have pigmented gums, as you can see in the image of Harry below. This means that the gums can be black, or dark, but this is completely harmless and quite normal. For Harry, however, it is possible to see a sufficiently large area of ​​mucous membrane to determine that it is normal color. Some toxins result in a black edge to the gum, so it may be helpful to know if the animal has pigmentation on the gum in general to detect any abnormalities.

In some cases, you may not see the mucosa in your pet’s mouth. Your dog, or cat, may have very many pigments, or is a being a little difficult, making you afraid for your fingers. In this case you can look at the mucous membrane inside the lower eyelid.

Pale mucous membranes

If the mucous membranes are pale, they often look almost white/gray. This may indicate poor circulation or internal bleeding.

Red/Dark red mucous membranes

It may also be helpful to know how the animal usually looks in the mouth and how the colour usually presents when the patient is feeling well. It is then easier to see when the color of the mucous membrane begins to deviate and go cross over from pink salmon to the red/dark red tone. This may indicate stress and severe infection.

CRT – Capillary Refill Time

Capillary refill refers to the time it takes for the capillaries to regain circulation after pressure. It can be very helpful to stimulate the pet’s blood circulation, and it is very easy to check. Push your finger against your pet’s gum so that the color disappears. Count how long it takes for the area to regain its colour. You can time it to see how long it takes for the colour to reappear, but the most important thing is to know if it takes more than 3 seconds. In this case, the circulation is affected and you should contact your vet.

Ellen is a veterinary nurse who also runs a fantastic blog which is full of great advice for pet owners. You can find it here: http://nursedolittle.se/. If you like what you read don’t forget to share this article and subscribe for more!

Do’s and Don'ts When Clipping Your Cat’s Claws

Do’s and Don’ts When Clipping Your Cat’s Claws

October 29, 2018 Posted by Cats, Grooming 0 thoughts on “Do’s and Don’ts When Clipping Your Cat’s Claws”

 Do’s and Don’ts When Clipping Your Cat’s Claws 

The following is a guest post from veterinary nurse Ellen Herrlin.

A few weeks ago I contributed a blog post on clipping dog nails. Today I’m discussing how to do the same for cats, which can be far less obedient than dogs. For the demonstration here I’m using Harry, our own house cat.

This frisky feline is Harry.
As you can see, he's a little anxious and it takes him a while to settle down.

Cats’ claws perform important functions, especially those of outdoor cats. The claws allow cats to climb and hunt, natural elements in an outdoor cat’s life. Therefore, I do not recommend cutting the claws on your outdoor cat. However, I do recommend keeping them trimmed on a regular basis. Bear in mind that a damaged claw can be painful and upsetting to your cat.

Older cats tend to use their claws less and less, so it is important to make sure they’re kept trimmed. Claws don’t stop growing and unfortunately it is common to see cats whose claws have grown too much. This can be extremely painful for the cat. It is our job as pet owners to make sure that it never gets so bad.

The pulp

Like dogs, cats have a tissue inside the claw that contains blood vessels and nerve endings.  This tissue is called the pulp and, in transparent claws, it looks like a pink strip.

Where cats are concerned the pulp is quite far back and is not as easy to hit when trimming claws as they are with dogs. But if you do hit the pulp it will hurt your cat, so it is good to know its approximate location.

Before you begin

It’s good to get cats used to having their claws trimmed from early age. You will need to do this regularly to keep them neat and tidy. The positive is that this is quite a straightforward task as long as your cat is fairly amenable.

Claw Scissor

Before starting, make sure you have a small, smooth and sharp claw-scissor. If you are worried about damaging the pulp and causing bleeding, you can invest in a product called “Blood Stop” which helps blood to clot rapidly. Without this it may take some time to stop bleeding if you cut the pulp, so let’s try to avoid this!

Clipping

Some cats submit voluntarily to having their claws clipped while others are a little more difficult. One tip is to start clipping the cat’s claws while it is sleeping. Squeeze the paws and be quick, but calm, with the claw scissors.

It can be easier to do this while the cat is relaxing in on the lap or in the knee. Practice often by squeezing and feeling the paws. Remember to keep calm all the time so you don’t disturb the cat.

To access the claws, lightly push your fingers under/behind the paddles.

When both you and your cat are calm it’s time to start. Lightly and methodically cut one claw at a time. If you can see the pulp, it will be quite fast and easy. If the cat’s claws are darker in colour you can use a flashlight to locate the pulp so you don’t hit it. Don’t worry so much about the narrow, pointed part of the claw as it does not contain any pulp.

You and your cat need to be calm so it does not result in a stressful situation for either of you.

For some cats it’s a good idea to get them a treat so they’re get in a good mood. Then they pay less attention to what you are doing and focus on the tasty treat.

Pretty soon you’ll be trimming your cat’s claws, making your cat comfortable and happy, and making you feel very pleased with yourself.

Ellen is a veterinary nurse who also runs a fantastic blog which is full of great advice for pet owners. You can find it here: http://nursedolittle.se/. If you like what you read don’t forget to share this article and subscribe for more!

Cats Need Kidneys! Part 2

Cats Need Kidneys! Part 2

October 15, 2018 Posted by Cats, Chronic Kidney Disease 0 thoughts on “Cats Need Kidneys! Part 2”

Cats Need Kidneys! Part 2

In our last blog post we began discussing Chronic Kidney Disease and how it can affect your cat. We also covered the symptoms you should be looking out for. This time we’re going to discuss what you should do if you suspect your cat is suffering from CKD and how you can help your cat’s quality of life if it is confirmed.

If you suspect your cat has CKD

Your vet should begin with a clinical examination so they can, amongst other things:

  • – Assess your cat’s level of dehydration.
  • – Perform an oral examination and assess the colour of the gums.
  • – Feel the abdomen to assess the size and structure of the kidneys and signs of constipation.
  • – Perform an ocular (retinal) examination.
  • – Take your cat’s blood pressure. This is particularly important and should be done when your cat is relatively relaxed, at the beginning of the consultation.

Pro Tip 1! It’s good practice for your vet to use IRIS. The International Renal Interest Society (IRIS), is a staging system for CKD in cats and dogs. The system is intended to facilitate communication between vets (and vets to owners) about the diagnosis, treatment and outcome of CKD. It accurately assesses the severity of your cat’s CKD by measuring the following:

  • – creatinine levels in the blood
  • – blood pressure
  • – the amount of protein lost in the urine

The blood concentrations of other components, such as BUN, electrolytes (sodium, potassium), phosphorus, calcium, red blood cells, and proteins are also important to evaluate when CKD is suspected.

An examination of a sterile urine sample (often taken directly with a needle through the abdominal wall into the bladder, usually the cats do not react at all and it is considered safe) is also important to assess the ability to concentrate urine, pH, presence of protein, blood cells and bacteria. It is also important to examine the urine to rule out the possibility of a urinary tract infection.

Diagnostic imaging tools such as radiographs and abdominal ultrasound can also be useful in the evaluation of CKD.

Provide your cat with plenty of free access to water, even if your cat drinks a lot!

Quality of life with CKD

When a cat has developed CKD, there is unfortunately no cure for the disease. But there are many treatment options that can prolong and improve the quality of life.

Remember to always provide your cat with plenty of free access to water, even if your cat drinks a lot! Cats shouldn’t be without food for long, so if your pet refuses the new diet don’t persist! It’s better to just give your cat the old diet if that is what will make them happy.

Pro Tip 2! Studies show that therapeutic kidney diets that are low in protein, phosphorus and sodium content, but high in vitamins, fibre and antioxidants may prolong life and improve the quality of life for cats with CKD.

With both wet and dry food options it’s up to the cat to decide what they prefer. If you’re changing your cat’s diet it is a good idea to gradually introduce the new menu to make your furry friend more accepting, and also avoid any bad reactions to the sudden change. Anti-nausea and appetite stimulating medications are available to help your pet feel better.

There also exist medications for controlling hypertension, decreasing urinary protein loss, supplement potassium and bind phosphorus. Cats with CKD may produce less erythropoietin in the kidneys, which leads to anemia, and there is some evidence that replacement therapy can increase red blood cell counts. In some severe cases, blood transfusions may be necessary to restore normal red blood cell concentration.

More advanced therapy, such as hemodialysis (removal of toxic waste products from the bloodstream) and kidney transplants, are available in certain countries.

Studies suggest that the earlier CKD is diagnosed, and treatment is initiated, the better the outcome. So keep an eye on the symptoms we mentioned in our previous blog post, Cats Need Kidneys Part 1, and track your cat’s drinking habits to keep an eye on their health.

I’m a veterinarian with almost 10 years experience in small animal practice. I’m originally from Sweden but moved to Copenhagen to fulfil my dream of becoming a vet. I’ve worked in Denmark and the United Kingdom, and now I am back home in Sweden. Animals, especially dogs, have always been a big part of my life. Being a vet and helping animals, and their owners, feels more like a privilege than a job.
Alvin, my beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniel follows me anywhere I go.

Caroline Edvinsson

DVM, GPCertSAM, CEO @ TERST
Read our blog post: Cats Need Kidneys! Part 1

Cats Need Kidneys!

October 8, 2018 Posted by Cats 0 thoughts on “Cats Need Kidneys!”

Cats Need Kidneys! Part 1

Continuing our series of blog posts covering the different conditions that our beloved furry friends face during the course of their lives, this week we are discussing Chronic kidney disease.

CKD? What’s that?

Your cat’s kidneys are vital organs which perform many different functions, but one of the most important is to filter waste products from the blood and excrete it via the urine. In some cases the kidneys’ ability to excrete these waste products is reduced and this leads to a toxic build-up of waste in the blood over time. This condition is known as Chronic kidney disease (CKD).

CKD is more common in older cats but is a condition that can afflict cats no matter their age. The underlying cause is not always immediately obvious, even to your vet, but the following are just a few examples of what can contribute to its development:

  • – previous acute kidney injury
  • – specific infections
  • – tumors
  • – hereditary diseases

When it comes to hereditary diseases there are some breeds that are particularly predisposed to them:

  • – Persian
  • – Abyssinian
  • – Siamese
  • – Ragdoll
  • – Burmese
  • – Russian Blue
  • – Maine Coon

 

Acute kidney injury can be caused by intoxication and this is a lot more common in outdoor cats. Many of us, especially during winter, will have bottles of motor fluids sitting around, in or outside of the house. Believe it or not, cats are attracted to these and find the sweet taste of antifreeze (Ethylene glycol) particularly tasty. However, even a tiny amount is potentially lethal, so it’s important to keep the bottles well sealed and out of the reach of your pets.

If you suspect that your cat has been in contact with antifreeze you need to take them to the vet immediately!

If you suspect that your cat has been in contact with antifreeze you need to take them to the vet immediately!

What are the symptoms?

As the kidneys become unable to filter the waste as effectively as they should, the rising level of waste will cause your cat to feel unwell. Often this will result in your cat drinking and urinating more than normal because of the kidneys inability to concentrate the urine.

There are, of course, other effects that you should look out for that may indicate that the kidney disease is getting worse. These include:

  • – having a decreased appetite
  • – experiencing weight loss
  • – vomiting and experiencing diarrhea
  • – very rarely, ceasing to produce urine altogether

Hypertension is a complication that can cause damage to the brain, eyes and heart. Your vet will examine the eyes and measure the blood pressure, often with the Doppler method, to diagnose hypertension.

Chronic kidney disease can also lead to anemia (reduced concentration of red blood cells in the blood) and this will make your cat’s gums appear pale pink, and in severe cases white, so this is another way for you to track your pet’s health at home. Bad breath and ulcers are something else to look out for.

Additionally cats with CKD can easily become constipated, so it is important that your cat always has access to water and wet food is recommended.

Remember that the sooner you spot the signs the sooner your vet can confirm the diagnosis and your cat can have the help it needs. In our next blog post we’ll discuss what to do if you suspect your cat is suffering from CKD, and how it can affect your pet’s quality of life, so check in with us again next Monday!

I’m a veterinarian with almost 10 years experience in small animal practice. I’m originally from Sweden but moved to Copenhagen to fulfill my dream of becoming a vet. I’ve been working in Denmark, United Kingdom and back home in Sweden. Animals, especially dogs, has always been a big part of my life. Being a vet and helping animals and their owners, feels more like a privilege than a job.
Alvin, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel follows me anywhere I go.

Caroline Edvinsson

DVM, GPCertSAM, CEO @ TERST

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