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Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Sore eyes?

Thursday, February 14, 2019
                                                                                                                                                                       Poor Mali has cat flu, very common in young kittens when they face a new home, new people, and travel. Stress later in life may bring on another bout - or it may not.

Herpesvirus, one of the causes of cat flu, hides in the nerve root behind the eye and comes out when kittens and some older cats are stressed. In mild cases, and particularly when the cat has been vaccinated, they only suffer a few days of a watery eye and sadness.

In severe cases the virus causes ulcers on the eye and occasionally loss of the eye. The eye is squeezed closed and the discharge thickens. The cat may go off her food and hide.

Whether the bout of flu is mild or severe the kitten or cat needs treatment. The eye is painful and the virus makes them feel unwell.

Fight wounds, Chlamydia and Mycoplasma infections, and trauma also cause sore eyes in cats. Any eye disease must be treated promptly to avoid loss of sight or the eye.

We prescribed lubrication drops for Mali's eyes, pain relief and an antibiotic because we suspected a Chlamydial as well as herpesvirus infection. If he has another bout we will consider an antiviral drug as well.

Can you help with a Cat Nutrition study?

Friday, January 18, 2019


Can you help?

Can you help support a student at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, with the aim of completing a research project into feline nutrition? It is hoped that the results obtained through this survey will help to advise pet food manufacturers, veterinarians and owners on better care of cats. 

The survey is open to all cat owners over the age of 18. There are 30 questions about feline nutrition and we estimate it should take you 15 minutes to complete.

Click here to access the survey

Anonymous data acquired from this study will be held in the USA, subject to US data protection laws, but will only be analysed by vet professionals and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh.  

By completing and submitting this questionnaire, you give permission for the data to be used for research and publication.


The identity of individual responses will remain anonymous throughout data analysis and no data will be passed onto third parties. The survey engine collects IP addresses under GPDR, however the researchers will not have access to these.

Cousin, sibling or enemy?

Thursday, December 13, 2018
                   

Today Annie allowed young Jack onto her bed while she was in it. They are not quite touching, although Jack has taken possession of Annie's tail. Annie regards him as a bit of a pest but about the equivalent of a cousin.

If she accepted him as a little brother she would allow him to cuddle up much closer and maybe even groom him. Perhaps it'll come to that over the next few weeks - or perhaps not.... After all they've only known each other for 10 days.

She plays with him but spends most of the day watching he doesn't come any closer. He is tolerated.

At home my daughter's tabby, Isabella, affectionately known as Fizzy Izzy by her staff, regards him with open hostility. He cowers when he sees her and she thinks nothing of giving him a good swipe to keep him in his place. It'll be many months, if ever, before she tolerates him in the same room.

We hope that Isabella won't show signs of anxiety. In the past she has over-groomed and urinated on the curtains when she has been unhappy. If she does we will plug in a Feliway diffuser or put some Zylkene natural calming supplement in her food.


The 12 Dangers of Christmas

Thursday, November 29, 2018

                                    Less than a month to Christmas! Watch out for these 12 Dangers of Christmas. 

  1. Pine Christmas tree fronds, tinsel, ribbon and ornaments - cause upset stomachs or blocked intestines
  2. Christmas lights are not toys!
  3. Onions and garlic - cause anaemia, but you don't see signs for a few days
  4. Chocolate - makes little hearts race, sometimes too fast for their own good
  5. Alcohol - not even in moderation, makes cats vomit, become incoordinated, have seizures, go into a coma or even die
  6. Dried fruit, especially sultanas, currants and raisins, Christmas cake and pudding, and grapes cause kidney damage
  7. Cooked turkey or chicken bones can block the intestines or pierce the stomach
  8. Liquid potpourri ulcerates and irritates the tongue and throat and if swallowed can cause muscle twitches, weakness, and collapse
  9. Flower arrangements containing lilies are deadly to cats. Lilies like Easter lilies, Tiger lilies and Day lilies damage kidneys
  10. Your medicines including Ibuprofen, Paracetamol, any heart medicine, any anti-depression pills, the morning after coffee!
  11. Xylitol - the artificial sweetener you put in that morning after coffee! Also in chewing gum, breath mints and other fun things to bat around the kitchen
  12. Lithium ion disc batteries in Christmas toys - the electric current flow in the stomach leads to perforation of the stomach wall


Sore eyes

Thursday, November 22, 2018
                        Poor Mali's eye started running within days of arriving in his new home. His carers noticed that he was squinting and sad so they brought him in for a check.
It is very common for kittens and even adult cats to get one or two sore eyes when they are stressed. Mali had left his mum and brothers and sisters as well as his first home. Despite lots of love and care his new home was strange to him and he was understandably a bit stressed. Cats don't like change!
The feline herpesvirus behaves a bit like the human herpesvirus except that it hides out in the nerve to the eye. When the cat is stressed the virus is activated and moves to the window of the eye, the cornea. Human herpesvirus usually moves to the lips causing cold sores. Both human and feline herpesvirus lesions cause a lot of pain.
The feline herpesvirus produces ulcers on the surface of the cornea. The eye becomes red and watery, and the cat squints in pain. With veterinary care the ulcers usually resolve but occasionally they may rupture the eyeball or produce brown scabs on the cornea disrupting vision.
Mali's eye responded to treatment and he settled into his new home very well. Occasionally if something new comes into his environment his eye runs again but his carers know what to do and the virus rarely gets out of hand.

Suffering in silence

Friday, November 16, 2018

Beware of snakes

Tuesday, November 06, 2018
            Molly is our Heroine of the month! She ducked under a shrub when she was outside with her Dad and came out with a Brown Snake!
The emergency centres were full of cats and dogs bitten by snakes last weekend - but Molly bucked the trend. She bit the snake! Fortunately her Dad was there to help and relocated the snake to a safer - for all - place.
Snakes like to hide in long grass, leaf litter, under low lying shrubs, in brambles, and under logs and rocks. They are particularly venomous at the beginning of the warmer weather. Keep your cat inside or under strict supervision outside.
A snake with a lot of venom at the beginning of spring can kill a cat within minutes. Once the venom load is less, cats will survive with antivenom and a drip.
Signs of snake envenomation include weakness and paralysis, a mournful cry, dilated pupils, bleeding from the bite site or in urine and faeces (with some snake species). Soon after the bite the cat may collapse, vomit, have diarrhoea, tremble, or fit. Often carers don't notice that a cat has been bitten until they become partly paralysed.
The sooner the cat presents to the vet the better the chances of complete recovery.

Silent killer - heart disease

Friday, October 26, 2018


Heart disease in cats often remains undiagnosed until the heart fails - just like in humans. If we're lucky a vet may become suspicious when a cat loses weight without any abnormalities in the annual blood tests.
A heart murmur in a cat may mean advanced heart disease - or it may mean nothing. Some cats have heart murmurs with no underlying disease. Other cats have perfectly normal sounding hearts and die of heart failure.
The most common form of heart disease is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). The walls of the heart thicken so that the volume of blood it can pump gets less and less.
Cats with Hyperthyroidism commonly have heart disease which is partially reversed when the hyperthyroidism is treated.
Echocardiography (or ultrasound) of the heart diagnoses the type of heart disease. An X-ray tells us if the lungs or the chest cavity are filling with fluid because heart is not pumping properly.
A special blood test called a ProBNP is sometimes run if a vet is worried that your cat might have heart disease and echocardiography is not available.
A cat with heart disease should be monitored with chest X-rays until fluid accumulation indicates that diuretics (fluids medication) are necessary. Once on diuretics we monitor electrolyte blood levels closely.


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

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