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Archive for May, 2021

Diarrhea in Cats a Complicated Issue

Saturday, May 8, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

Our cat Atlantis battles many different ailments including kidney disease, thyroid disease and even digestive issues. I also believe he has inflammatory bowel disease. He has bouts with vomiting and diarrhea. Now we’re in the diarrhea phase. His stools are loose but not frequent and seems like he’s in no pain when he goes. I have him on a simple diet and watch him carefully. If things change, I’ll contact my vet immediately. The Pet Health Network (pethealthnetwork.com) has put together a comprehensive article on feline diarrhea.  I’ve included it below.

 

One of the most common problems we see in veterinary medicine is gastrointestinal (GI) upset/diarrhea. Depending on your cat’s lifestyle, you may or may not be readily aware of the details of her bathroom habits. In addition, cats are very fastidious about grooming so the tell-tale (or tell-tail) signs of diarrhea may be missed—especially in the early stages. For this reason, routine veterinary visits are important.

If you do notice your cat has diarrhea between visits, what could be the cause? When should you worry and consult your veterinarian? What can you do at home? I’ll discuss these answers here.

What are the causes of cat diarrhea?
This would be an exhaustively long list if we went into everything that can cause your cat to have loose stools, but here are some of the general categories:

  • Parasites –  Parasites can definitely irritate your cat’s gastrointestinal, causing all kinds of diarrhea involving the small and/or large bowels. Significant numbers of parasites that cause diarrhea are more common in younger kittens
  • InfectionsViral or bacterial infections can also cause diarrhea and also occur more frequently in younger cats
  • Dietary indiscretion or diet change– Cats tend to be more careful about what they eat than dogs are, but sometimes they do eat inappropriate things like grass, string, etc. Even a purposeful change in diet from one food to another can cause diarrhea
  • Stress– Just like with people, stress/anxiety/excitement can result in GI upset (especially lower bowel irritation or colitis)
  • Primary inflammatory disorders– Like inflammatory bowel disease in people, inflammatory disorders can cause your cat to develop diarrhea
  • Metabolic diseases– From disorders of the pancreas or liver to thyroid imbalances, there are many other problems that upset the motility or environment in the GI tract resulting in diarrhea
  • Medications/toxins– Most know that certain antibiotics can upset the GI tract but other medications and certain toxins can also cause diarrhea
  • Constipation– Constipation may seem counterintuitive, but I mention it because older cats are prone to developing motility problems in their colons leading to constipation. In these cases, the cats often manage to only pass small amount of more liquid stools around the obstruction.

How may you be able to help stop cat diarrhea?
Because there are so many potential causes of diarrhea in cats, you should check with your veterinarian if your cat is having it regularly. Obviously some of these causes need specific therapy, but some of the others may resolve on their own with simple, supportive care. In those cases what might your veterinarian advise you can you do at home?

  • To feed or not to feed? Years ago, many vets always thought that GI upsets required some brief period of fasting to ‘rest’ the bowels. That is true with vomiting, but nowadays, we realize that your cat’s intestines need nutrition in order to heal themselves. So withholding food will not be recommended.
  • What to feed? Increasing fiber intake is an option since it is considered a great ‘equalizer’ (good for constipation but also good for diarrhea). However, I think it is best to go with multiple smaller meals (say 4 a day) of something easily digestible. That means a low fat, mostly carbohydrate diet like potatoes, pasta or rice (with a little bit of chicken), turkey, low fat cottage cheese or yoghurt. Some cats are also happy to eat meat based baby foods.
  • What about over the counter meds? You can find many references to administering kaopectate or Peptobismal® and even Imodium® to your cat for diarrhea. Peptobismal is NOT recommended for use in cats, and determining dosages for the other products can be tricky. So ask what your veterinarian recommends. [Editor’s Note: Never assume human medications are safe for cats.]

When is it time to worry about cat diarrhea?
First of all, you know your cat best. If you are concerned, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian. Remember that your veterinarian is there to advise you. But be aware that there are some aspects of diarrhea that are more alarming and some consequences that can be quite concerning.

To start with, one way to classify diarrhea is as either small bowel or large bowel diarrhea.

  • With small bowel diarrhea you are more likely to see large volumes or watery diarrhea which can quickly lead to significant dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance.
  • On the other hand, large bowel diarrheas involve the lower bowel or colon so that you more typically see a cat straining and uncomfortable, but passing only small amounts of soft/mucoid/sometimes bloody stool.

Generally, if your cat had one somewhat soft stool but is still happy, playful and eating normally, you can probably safely wait to see what the next bowel movement looks like before taking any major steps. Some of the red flags that should make you more concerned are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy/depression
  • Pain/discomfort
  • Blood in the stool (either dark, blackish stool or visible, frank, red blood)
  • Associated vomiting
  • Or if your cat is more likely to be quickly compromised by ongoing diarrhea (i.e. very young, very old, or already battling some other medical problem)

In these cases, you should consult with your veterinarian. Even if the ultimate cause of the diarrhea is not anything serious, getting that diagnosis and beginning therapy are important steps. If the diarrhea appears to be the large volume, small bowel type, your cat will likely benefit from at least some supplemental fluid and electrolyte administration and probably other anti-diarrheal medications. With large bowel diarrhea, your cat may be supremely uncomfortable and the continued straining will only make the irritation worse. In that case, your veterinarian can administer medications to ease the discomfort and to make your cat feel better more quickly.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian — they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Remember, your pets count!

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Detecting Heart Problems In Your Pets

Friday, May 7, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

If you notice that your cat or dog has shortness of breath, sudden weakness or an extended abdomen don’t take it lightly. It could be a sign of heart disease.  Many times, there are no symptoms. My dog had no symptoms until one day I noticed that he would cough. The coughing and wheezing got worst and when I took him to the vet, it was determined that he had a heart defect from birth which is now threatening his life!  Jonathan Abbot, a cardiologist at the Virginia, Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine says that there are a number of ways that they could diagnose heart disease before your pet shows any signs. Some of these ways are x rays of the chest, electrocardiography, and cardiac ultrasound.  Your vet will also check for a heart murmur and use a blood test to check for heart worm. Once this is diagnosed, there are treatments and pet medication that will enhance both the quality and length of your pets life. So don’t hesitate, have your pet checked now. I waited and although the pet medication worked for about six months, my little dog eventually passed away.

Remember, your pets count!

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An Older Animal Deserves a Chance Too!

Wednesday, May 5, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

Local animal shelters are filled with cats and dogs abandoned due to various reasons. It really bothers me how many people got rid of their pets for financial reasons yet maintain an unlimited cellphone plan and mindlessly text all day! The fact is that many people will not adopt an older cat or dog for fear that it only has a few years to live. Remember cats can live as long as 20 years, so if you adopt a twelve year old cat and if it’s in good health, you can have eight good years with it. Giving a second chance to an abandoned older cat or dog is a very rewarding experience. Perhaps, as the holiday season comes to an end, we can bring in 2015 by  really helping the animal shelters and adopting a needy animal. If you cannot adopt a pet due to allergies or financial reasons, animal shelters could use old blankets, food or anything else that you can donate. Spend your money on cat toys or a pet carrier instead of paying for minutes to mindlessly texting and playing with social media  all day. Now that’s really making a difference!

Remember, your pets count!

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Pets, Camping and Snakes

Tuesday, May 4, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

Even though your pet enjoys the outdoors, he may tread on dangerous ground.  You decide to take your dog camping with you. He loves being out in the woods or field but poisonous snakes can go with the territory. Dr. Fred Omi, a Veterinarian at Kansas State University says that not all snake bites are alike.  He says that only half of the bites given to dogs or cats by snakes are injections of venim. The rest are called “dry” bites where the snake bites but does not inject the venum into the dog or cat.  Don’t overreact but never ignore your pets snakebite. Don’t attempt to administer pet medication yourself. See your veterinarian right away, he will determine whether the bite needs further treatment.

Remember, your pets count!

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Well I fell into this trap over the weekend. I’ve mentioned to you many times that my cat Atlantis has digestive problems and I have him eating food that is specially made for sensitive stomachs. On Saturday, I bought a roasted whole chicken at the supermarket. Atlantis picked up that delicious scent as soon as I walked in the door. As I was carving the chicken I decided to give Atlantis a small piece from the inner breast figuring that any seasoning wouldn’t have penetrated that far while the chicken was roasting. Atlantis loved it and wanted more. I gave him another little piece then another later in the day. Sunday morning he was sitting by the fridge waiting for another piece of chicken. So I gave in and gave him another small piece.

Later in the day while we were entertaining some guests, I went into our bathroom and found a disaster. Atlantis pooped all over the floor. It was everywhere like an explosion! I cleaned the mess up.  He had a diarrhea most of the day  and into the overnight. Even though normally chicken is a good thing for a cat. I made a few big mistakes, the chicken was roasted and I had no idea what herbs they used and second, I gave into Atlantis’s meows for more chicken.

Be very careful when giving your cat anything different from the food that they’re already eating especially if your cat has a sensitive stomach. Our challenging cat Atlantis has taught me many valuable lessons!

Remember, your pets count!

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Appetizer Enhancers for Cats

Saturday, May 1, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

As your cat gets older, his appetite may diminish and you may begin to worry. If a cat has been diagnosed with thyroid or kidney disease loss of appetite is a common occurence.  Our cat Atlantis has been diagnosed with both and while sometimes his appetite is ok, there are times where we really struggle to get him to eat. He does have digestive issues but it’s important to keep him eating consistently. Our vet has recommended an appetite enhancer. It’s a transdermal medication that is applied once a day in his ear. This medication really helps to enhance his appetite. Yesterday Atlantis ate more than he usually does and his appetite seems to be improving.

It’s always a struggle to keep our fur babies happy and healthy especially as they get older. If your cat is not eating as much and does not have a stomach virus or another temporary issue that can cause him to stop eating, speak to your vet about putting him on an appetite enhancer, it could be just what he needs!

Remember, your pets count!

Enjoy your weekend with the best oldies playing all the time on Edgewater Gold Radio! Ask Alexa to “play Edgewater Gold Radio” or listen from our website Edgewater Gold Radio.com.

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