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Top 10 Cat Emergencies

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Cats often become reclusive and hide when they are not feeling well, which makes knowing when they need to be seen by your veterinarian a challenge. They have unique signs of emergency conditions that often go unrecognized by owners. Some injuries are obvious, such as a cat with an open wound, while others have more subtle signs that can be equally dangerous if left untreated. Knowing signs of illness is crucial in determining when to seek emergency care for your cat. Below is a list of some of the most common cat emergencies and their signs.

 

Urethral Obstruction

This is a condition in which a cat, usually male, is unable to urinate due to a blockage in the urethra (the tube leading from the urinary bladder to the outside environment).

 

Cats will show a sudden onset of restless behavior, which includes frequent trips in and out of the litter box. They will often attempt to urinate in unusual places such as in a bath tub or on a plastic bag. You may notice a very small stream of urine that contains blood. More often than not, despite a cat’s straining, there may be no urine or even just a drop produced. In later stages of the obstruction, cats may cry loudly, vomit, and become lethargic.

 

You should consider these signs a serious emergency and seek veterinary care immediately. There are reports of cats developing kidney failure and dying within 12 hours after the onset of signs. Expect your cat to be hospitalized at least 36 hours for treatment of this condition. Veterinary treatments may include a urinary catheter, intravenous fluids, and pain management. Female cats are less likely to become obstructed due to their wider urinary tract.

 

Toxicities (Poisoning)

The combination of their curious nature and unique metabolism (the way their body breaks down chemicals) makes cats vulnerable to toxins. Owners are often unaware that their home contains multiple products that are poisonous to felines. The most common cat toxins include antifreeze, Tylenol, and rat or mouse poison.

 

The signs your cat displays depends on the type of poison he or she has encountered. Antifreeze will often cause wobbliness or a drunken appearance first, then progresses to vomiting/weakness as the kidneys fail. Tylenol may cause an unusual swelling of the head and changes the cat’s blood color from red to chocolate brown. Rat or mouse poison interferes with blood clotting so you may see weakness from internal blood loss or visible blood in the urine or stool.

 

Breathing Problems

Often, cats hide the signs of breathing problems by simply decreasing their activity. By the time an owner notices changes in the cat’s breathing, it may be late in the progression of the cat’s lung disease. There are several causes of breathing changes, but the most common are feline asthma, heart disease, or lung disease.

 

Foreign Object Ingestion

Many cats love to play with strings or string-like objects (such as dental floss, holiday tinsel, or ribbon), but those strings can be dangerous for your cat. When a string is ingested by a cat, one end may become lodged or “fixed” in place, often under the cat’s tongue, while the rest of the string passes further into the intestine. With each intestinal contraction, the string see-saws back and forth actually cutting into the intestine and damaging the blood supply.

 

Signs that your cat has eaten a foreign object may include vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea, and weakness. Occasionally owners will actually see part of a string coming from the mouth or anal area. You should never pull on any part of the string that is visible; instead, call your veterinary health care team immediately.

 

Surgery is usually necessary to remove the foreign object and any damaged sections of intestine.

 

Bite Wounds

Cats are notorious for both inflicting and suffering bite wounds during encounters with other cats. Because the tips of their canine, or “fang,” teeth are so small and pointed, bites are often not noticed until infection sets in, which is usually several days after the initial injury.

 

Cats may develop a fever and become lethargic 48 to 72 hours after experiencing a penetrating bite wound. They may be tender or painful at the site. If the wound becomes infected or abscessed, swelling and foul-smelling drainage may develop.

 

You should seek emergency care for bite wounds so your veterinarian can thoroughly clean the area and prescribe appropriate antibiotics. Occasionally, the wounds can develop large pockets called abscesses under the skin that require surgical placement of a drain to aid in healing.

 

Hit By Car

Cats that spend time outdoors are at a much greater risk for ending up in the emergency room. Being hit by a car is one of the most common causes of traumatic injuries, such as broken bones, lung injuries, and head trauma. You should always seek emergency care if your cat has been hit by a vehicle, even if he or she appears normal, because many injuries can develop or worsen over the following few hours.

 

Increased Thirst and Urination

Sudden changes in your cat’s thirst and urine volume are important clues to underlying disease. The two most common causes of these changes are kidney disease and diabetes mellitus.

 

Your veterinarian will need to check blood and urine samples to determine the cause of your cat’s change in thirst and urine. Having your pet seen on an emergency basis for these signs is important because prompt treatment increases chances for recovery. Exposure to certain toxins, such as antifreeze or lilies, will show similar signs, and delaying veterinary care can be fatal.

 

Sudden Inability to Use the Hind Legs

Cats with some forms of heart disease are at risk for developing blood clots. These clots can sometimes lodge in a large blood vessel—the aorta—where they can prevent normal blood flow to the hind legs. If your cat experiences such a blood clotting episode (often called a saddle thrombus or thromboembolic episode), you will likely see a sudden loss of the use of his or her hind legs, painful crying, and breathing changes.

 

On arrival at the emergency room, your cat will receive pain management and oxygen support. Tests will be done to evaluate the cat’s heart and determine if there is any heart failure (fluid accumulation in the lungs). Sadly, such an episode is often the first clue for an owner that his or her cat has severe heart disease. In most cases, with time and support, the blood clot can resolve, but the cat’s heart disease will require lifelong treatment.

 

Upper Respiratory Infections

Cats and kittens can experience a variety of upper respiratory diseases caused by a combination of bacteria or viruses. An upper respiratory infections, or URI, can cause sneezing, runny nose, runny eyes, lack of appetite, and fever. In severe cases, it can cause ulcers in the mouth, on the tongue, and on the eyes. More often than not, severe cases are seen in cats that have recently been in multiple-cat environments, such as shelters. Small kittens, or kittens struggling to thrive, are also easily infected and may develop more severe complications, such as low blood sugar.

 

Sudden Blindness

A sudden loss of vision is most likely to occur in an older cat. The most common cause is increased blood pressure (hypertension), which may be due to changes in thyroid function (hyperthyroidism) or kidney disease. There are some cats that appear to have hypertension with no other underlying disease.

 

Sudden blindness should be treated as an emergency and your veterinarian will measure your cat’s blood pressure, check blood tests, and start medications to lower the pressure and restore vision.

 

If you notice a change in your cat’s eyes, whether he or she loses vision or not, you should consider this an emergency have your pet seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

 

 

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary-related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at cathealth.com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.

 

 

SOURCE: http://www.cathealth.com/safety/top-ten-emergencies-in-cats

Easter Pet Poisons

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The veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline receive hundreds of calls this time of year from pet owners and veterinarians concerning cats that have ingested Easter lilies.

“Unbeknownst to many pet owners, Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “All parts of the Easter lily plant are poisonous – the petals, the leaves, the stem and even the pollen. Cats that ingest as few as one or two leaves, or even a small amount of pollen while grooming their fur, can suffer severe kidney failure.”

In most situations, symptoms of poisoning will develop within six to 12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration. Symptoms worsen as kidney failure develops. Some cats will experience disorientation, staggering and seizures.

“There is no effective antidote to counteract lily poisoning, so the sooner you can get your cat to the veterinarian, the better his chances of survival will be,” said Brutlag. “If you see your cat licking or eating any part of an Easter lily, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. If left untreated, his chances of survival are low.”

Treatment includes inducing vomiting, administering drugs like activated charcoal (to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines), intravenous fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys, and monitoring of kidney function through blood testing. The prognosis and the cost – both financially and physically – to the pet owner and cat, are best when treated immediately.

There are several other types of lilies that are toxic to cats as well. They are of the Lilium and Hemerocallis species and commonly referred to as Tiger lilies, Day lilies and Asiatic lilies. Popular in many gardens and yards, they can also result in severe acute kidney failure. These lilies are commonly found in florist bouquets, so it is imperative to check for poisonous flowers before bringing bouquets into the household. Other types of lilies – such as the Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies – are usually not a problem for cats and may cause only minor drooling.

Thankfully, lily poisoning does not occur in dogs or people. However, if a large amount is ingested, it can result in mild gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Other Dangers to Pets at Easter Time

Pet Poison Helpline also receives calls concerning pets that have ingested Easter grass and chocolate.

Usually green or yellow in color, Easter grass is the fake grass that often accompanies Easter baskets. When your cat or dog ingests something “stringy” like Easter grass, it can become anchored around the base of the tongue or stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. It can result in a linear foreign body and cause severe damage to the intestinal tract, often requiring expensive abdominal surgery.

Lastly, during the week of Easter, calls to Pet Poison Helpline concerning dogs that have been poisoned by chocolate increase by nearly 200 percent. While the occasional chocolate chip in one cookie may not be an issue, certain types of chocolate are very toxic to dogs. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the danger. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The chemical toxicity is due to methylxanthines (a relative of caffeine) and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possibly death. Other sources include chewable chocolate flavored multi-vitamins, baked goods, or chocolate-covered espresso beans. If you suspect that your dog ate chocolate, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately.

Spring is in the air and Easter is a wonderful holiday. Remember that your pets will be curious about new items you bring into your household like Easter lilies, Easter grass and chocolate. Keep them a safe distance away from your pets’ reach and enjoy the holiday and the season.

 

SOURCE: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/seasons/easter/

Importance of wellness exams

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Veterinarians recommend regular wellness exams for the same reason your physician and dentist recommend them – if you can detect a problem in its early stages, it’s more likely to be treated and resolved with less expense, less difficulty and better success.

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Vaccinations, heartworm prevention and routine deworming are important components of wellness care and can prevent diseases that are not only life-threatening, but very expensive to treat.

 

SOURCE: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/wellness-exams.aspx

Your Pets Can Be “Santa Paws” and “Santa Claws”

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Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic is holding their annual Pinal County Holiday Shelter Drive to support Pinal County Animal Care and Control, a caring, compassionate shelter for lost and homeless pets. Their staff works tirelessly all year round in an effort to make a difference in the lives of the animals they care for. Now, during the holiday season, your pet can help a homeless cat or dog too, by donating the following items to their less fortunate four-legged friends:

  •             Canned dog and cat food
  •             Cat litter
  •             Pet beds of all sizes for both dogs and cats
  •             “Off the floor” small pet beds made with PVC pipe or similarand mesh, cleanable bed mats.
  •             Blankets
  •             Gift certificates in any amount for Walmart or Sam’s Club  (to buy food and supplies for the animals).

From now through January, bring one or more of the items listed above to Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic during regular business hours. We’ll thank your pet with a little gift. You can also have your pet’s picture taken with Santa Claus.

Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic is located at 270 E Hunt Hwy, suite 4, at the corner of Bella Vista and Hunt Highway

Hours:           

Monday           8 am to 5 pm

Tuesday           8 am to 5 pm

Wednesday     4 pm to 8 pm

Thursday         8 am to 5 pm

Friday              8 am to 5 pm

For more information call 480-987-4555 or visit our website at www.santanvalleyvets.com

When Pets Eat Like Pigs on Turkey Day

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With Thanksgiving fast approaching, pet owners should be reminded that festive foods and four legged friends don’t mix.

It’s a time for sharing but don’t share the holiday meal with your pets.

Feeding pets table scraps can be a recipe for trouble.

-A pet with a turkey bone lodged in his system may not show symptoms for 1 or 2 days.

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-Turkey bones are hollow and break easily, splintering into sharp pieces, which, when chewed, can cause blockage and perforate the intestinal tract. If symptoms do occur they may include loss of appetite, depression, diarrhea or vomiting. While the bone may pass by itself, sometimes it must be surgically removed.

-Even if you don’t feed your pets from the table, it’s possible they might help themselves to untended food when no one is looking.

-Besides the dangers associated with overeating, turkey sitting out too long at room temperature can cause salmonella organisms to multiply, poisoning the pet.

One year, the day after Thanksgiving, two dachshunds came into the clinic after snatching the leftover holiday turkey off a coffee table in the middle of the night.  Another year a beagle ate a whole ham that was left lying around. It was never determined how these pets with their short legs could reach all this food or why hams and turkeys are being left untended but the result was three sick puppies

So be aware of your pet’s abilities. Several years back, someone’s pet pig learned how to open the refrigerator door and ended up eating everything inside, making a proverbial “pig of itself” and subsequently changing the expression “sick as a dog” to “sick as a pig.”

It’s not just gorging on the main course that causes problems. Many of the foods involved with the Thanksgiving dinner are dangerous, even fatal, to dogs. Here’s a list of the most common substances:

  • Chocolate– especially baking chocolate, can be lethal
  • Onions – can destroy a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia.
  • Rich, fatty foods– such as turkey skin or gravy can cause pancreatitis, and inflammation of a digestive gland, and can be very painful and serious.
  • Coffee– watch out for grounds and whole beans.
  • Alcohol-behavioral changes, staggering, excitement, decreased reflexes even death
  • Xylitol-a common artificial sweetener in desserts and sugarless chewing gum, is showing up more frequently in all kinds of food products, even peanut butter.

And it’s not just food that can cause problems during the holiday. You may be thankful for family and friends but your pet may be wary, even frightened of a lot of strange, new people coming in the house.  If your pet is not comfortable around new faces keep them in a separate room while guests arrive. Make introductions slowly and one at a time.

And make sure while you’re welcoming people inside the house your pet is not running outside taking advantage of a frequently open door.

Thanksgiving is just the first act in the annual holiday show. Christmas and New Years Eve, with their own pet pitfalls and hazards are just around the corner. More about that next month!

 

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Welcome to “Snake-tember” and “Snake-tober”

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Summer is winding down, fall is approaching and just as the warm days and cooler nights are ideal for people to be out and about, so too are the rattlesnakes who are busy looking for the perfect spot to bed down for their winter’s nap. Sooner or later there are bound to be inter-species encounters and when it comes to rattlesnakes biting pets, the victim is usually a curious dog. Cats can get bitten too but seem to be more wary (cat lovers would say “smarter”) around snakes.  Rattlesnake bites can take a heavy toll on a pet’s health as well as an owner’s wallet. The venom destroys tissue and affects the nervous system. It can even result in death. And antivenin doesn’t come cheap and a bitten animal may need more than one vial.

The best treatment is prevention. Don’t let pets and snakes meet. Check your yard, even if it is walled, for snakes. Supervise your dog on walks; don’t let your pet run on ahead of you where he might “sniff out” a snake hiding in a crevice or under a rock. If your pet does get bitten, it is a medical emergency so go to a veterinarian as soon as possible. There is no first aid for snakebites.

And know your snakes- not everything slithering by is a rattler. Snakes are very beneficial in keeping the rodent population in check.

Can you identify which of the following snakes are dangerous? Visit our Facebook Page today, and give us your answers!

A) 100_0253 B) FL000034 C) rattler

D) 295

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Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

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It’s monsoon season and it just rained. They let Sassy outside and when she didn’t come when called they found her staggering around in the backyard. Was it

-Vestibular syndrome

-Stroke

-Muscle cramp

-Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

While the first three are possibilities, during monsoon season, a toad could be the right answer.

WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT SONORAN DESERT TOADS? aka Colorado River Toads 

Last seen: at night, just before or during monsoon season. These large amphibians are out and about this time of year looking to mate and your dog may come in contact with them.

Danger: these toads secrete a powerful neurotoxin from a skin gland behind the eye. This  causes seizure-like symptoms if a curious or aggressive dog licks, bites or plays with the toad or drinks from a water bowl where toad was sitting. The neurotoxin is rapidly absorbed through the lining of the dog’s mouth and can quickly cause this adverse effect on your pet.

Symptoms: may include staggering, incoordination, drooling, panting, anxiety and disorientation.

Treatment:  If your pet shows any of these symptom after being outside consider that a toad could be the culprit. Immediately take a garden hose and gently rinse the mouth out, squirting the water sideways so as not to drown your pet. Afterwards, call your veterinarian for additional instructions because while these symptoms may start to subside shortly, in some pets the symptoms will progress to seizures and possible death.

Contact the Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic team at  (480) 458-5331 anytime during regular business hours with any questions you may have or for more information.

Contact Us

270 East Hunt Hwy, Ste. #4
San Tan Valley, AZ 85143
480-987-4555