Appointments: (02) 6251 1444
16-18 Purdue St, Belconnen, ACT
(Parking via Gillott Street)
Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 8:30am -12:30pm
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Canberra Cat Vet Blog

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Friday, September 07, 2018

Dangers of a dry food only diet

Thursday, August 30, 2018
                                                                                                                               Feeding dry food only to your cat, especially your male cat, is dangerous. Feeding it ad lib is particularly harmful.
Dry food is convenient and the premium diets are well-balanced with all nutrients - except water. The cat's urine becomes super-concentrated, predisposing male cats to blockage of the urethra.
If the male cat is also overweight and not very active the risk of blockage increases.
Cats on an ad lib dry food diet tend to become overweight. Dry food is like space food. A lot of calories are packed into a very small package. A tablespoon of dry food is equal to a can of wet food. Cats grazing on dry food all day and not moving around much are bound to pack on the kilos.
All cats have a poor drive to drink. In the wild most of their fluids come from their food. They avoid water sources as that is where they are most vulnerable to predators. A cat on a dry food only diet drinks more than a cat on a wet diet, but not enough to remain properly hydrated.This puts pressure on the kidneys. When they are young they can compensate to a degree but as they age it may accelerate kidney failure.

Trouble urinating?

Monday, August 20, 2018

                                                                                                                                   If you see your neutered male cat jumping in and out of the litter tray and straining to pass urine it is an emergency. He could have a blockage in the urethra, the passage from the bladder to the penis. Please call us  as soon as you notice he is having trouble urinating.
If he is not treated the bladder will continue to enlarge and he will become toxic. Urine banks up behind the blockage damaging the bladder wall and endangering the kidneys. His system soon overloads and death is likely.
We will quickly relieve the blockage with a urinary catheter and treat him with fluids and electrolytes to reverse the toxicity.
To prevent another episode feed wet food only. We may prescribe a diet which lowers the urine pH if a lot of struvite crystals are found. However, the main cause of urinary blockages in male cats is a dry food diet so avoid dry food as much as possible especially in the first few months after a blockage. 
Obesity, inactivity and anxiety are often predisposing factors, also.  Discuss a weight loss strategy or ways to reduce anxiety with us before you take your boy home.

Thyroid troubles

Thursday, August 09, 2018


Is your old cat ravenous - but losing weight no matter what you feed him? Often this is the first sign of an overactive thyroid gland. Many hyperthyroid cats are also more tetchy, demanding or restless than when they were younger. Observant carers might notice occasional vomiting or toileting outside the litter box. Some cats pant or don't look after their coats very well. Hyperthyroidism makes all body systems work harder including the heart, kidneys and bowels.

While all these signs individually might be put down to old age any one or more of them make our vets very suspicious of a thyroid nodule producing too much thyroxine - hyperthyroidism. Too much thyroxine accelerates aging and puts a strain on all the body's organs.

A capsule of Radioactive Iodine (RAI) in an otherwise healthy cat cures hyperthyroidism. To check if your cat is a candidate for RAI blood and urine is collected to confirm hyperthyroidism and check kidneys, liver and other organs.

If your cat has other problems like kidney disease then daily medication as a tablet or transdermal gel is easy and convenient.

Lumps and bumps

Thursday, July 26, 2018
   

Lumps under cats' skin can appear overnight or over a long period.
Abscesses from cat fights are soft and the skin is often inflamed. Once lanced and drained of pus most cat abscesses heal rapidly.
More worrisome are lumps that grow over a period of weeks or months or that are firm. Never ignore these types of bumps in a cat's skin. Malignant skin tumours are more prevalent in cats than in dogs or other species. We should address them as quickly as possible to prevent local spread and invasion of the body.
Point out any unusual swelling or lump to your vet. A simple check of cells under the microscope will give us some idea of what it is. We may recommend biopsy or removal and send the lump to the pathology lab as a result.
The pathologist will tell us what the lump is, how benign or malignant it is and whether the surgeon has removed all of it. Often we will also find out if it is in the lymphatic system or nearby blood vessels. 
Squamous cell carcinomas (skin cancer) are the most common skin tumour in the cat. They present more as ulceration of pale ears and noses than as lumps. Excision or freezing of the affected part or skin, and avoidance of the sun treats many of these cancers.
Sarcomas break all the rules however. While they remain encapsulated under the skin and rarely invade other organs, they frequently grow so large that they impede the cat's mobility and make life very uncomfortable. Also removing all of a sarcoma is no guarantee that it won't grow back.

Your kitten's first vet visit

Thursday, June 14, 2018
Your kitten's first visit to the vet is a big occasion for your kitten and for you. Make sure the carrier is a familiar and secure place for the kitten by leaving it out in the kitten's space for a week or so beforehand. Put some treats in there and let the kitten play around and in it. Line it with a fluffy towel so that if the kitten toilets on the journey in she isn't sitting in it.

In the waiting room place the carrier on the table or the reception desk and cover it with one of our Feliway-soaked blankets. In the consulting room your vet will leave the carrier door ajar while the kitten gets used to the sounds of the clinic and the voices around her.

The vet will discuss diet with you and make some suggestions on the variety of foods you might like to try. Avoiding obesity is a perennial problem especially in cats kept indoors so you will also find out how to check your kitten's waist line. If you have had any trouble with diarrhoea or vomiting then discuss it with your vet. Often diet or changes of diet cause tummy upsets in kittens.

Your vet will design a vaccination programme for your kitten depending on age, whether indoor or outdoor, and if boarding or grooming are likely in the future.

The risk of worms, fleas and other parasites will also be assessed and your kitten treated as necessary.

We also like to discuss any behaviour problems particularly around the litter tray, or with other pets, cats or dogs, at this visit. Inappropriate play behaviour or aggression issues can be addressed also.

Your vet will discuss the best time to desex your kitten and to microchip her if this hasn't already been done. Often this is around the time of the final vaccination. If your kitten has already been desexed we will schedule an adolescent check at about 8 months of age to discuss weight, diet, behaviour and any other concerns you might have as she matures.

Any vaccination follows a discussion of your kitten's general health and environment, as well as a full physical examination. We are as gentle and calm as possible so that we make this first visit pleasant and relaxed. Your kitten's attitude to vet visits depends on a good first impression! 


Calicivirus outbreak halted

Thursday, March 22, 2018


The virulent feline calicivirus outbreak has been halted. It was a very nasty strain of calicivirus, which our vets rapidly identified. It caused facial swelling, high fever, mouth ulcers and pain.
We are very happy that unlike other outbreaks in Queensland, Sydney and the United States we didn't lose any patients.
Dr Georgia was in touch with the experts at Sydney University for advice and we halted the spread of the virus and treated affected patients successfully. We also advised other ACT and southern NSW veterinarians and catteries on eradication and treatment.
We suspect that one of 3 possible cats introduced it into the ACT but won't know for certain until the virologists have analysed the viruses we have sent them.
Virologists at the University of Sydney are working on a vaccine for this calicivirus strain. We certainly hope we never see it again in our lifetime!

Kitten deaths in Canberra

Thursday, March 01, 2018


Panleukopenia, also known as Feline Enteritis, has swept through the homeless and rescued kitten population of Canberra in the last month. Kittens died from dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhoea, and massive secondary infection. Aggressive support with intravenous fluids and broad spectrum antibiotics helped some but a high proportion of affected cats died.
Infection with the parvovirus which causes Panleukopenia is highly preventable. Mass vaccination prevents outbreaks. When less than 70 per cent of the population is vaccinated, the situation is perfect for the emergence of a disease epidemic. The current outbreak is a timely reminder that maintaining immunity in populations of animals with effective vaccines is essential.
The usual F3 vaccine is highly effective in protecting against Panleukopenia.
If you are unsure of your cats' vaccination status please phone us on 6251 1444 and we will check our records for you. Cats less than 12 months of age are most vulnerable and must have had an F3 booster after 16 weeks of age to be fully protected.


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A calm, quiet haven for cats and their carers staffed by experienced, cat loving vets and nurses.

Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

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