Appointments: (02) 6251 1444
16-18 Purdue St, Belconnen, ACT
(Parking via Gillott Street)
Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 8:30am - 1:00pm
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Canberra Cat Vet Blog

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.

Calicivirus outbreak

Thursday, February 15, 2018


A virulent and atypical form of calicivirus has infected some cats in Canberra. Only 2 other outbreaks have ever occurred in Australia - in Sydney and in Ipswich, Queensland. Vaccination against the usual strains of calicivirus does not seem to protect cats
Affected cats go off their food, seem lame or sore, and hide. Most get over it with pain medication and TLC. Some go onto develop swollen noses, faces and paws, and need intensive care. If you suspect your cat is ill please phone us before coming down and then when you arrive.
To protect your cat from becoming infected wash your hands for at least 30 seconds when you get home from anywhere and before touching your cat.
We have instituted very strict disinfection procedures at Canberra Cat Vet. Do not be offended if we ask you to be a lot more careful with carriers, and in touching anything at the hospital! We have your cats' health as our top priority.

Diabetes in cats

Thursday, January 18, 2018
   

Diabetes mellitus in cats is much the same as type 2 diabetes in humans - overweight, sedentary individuals are most at risk.

Cleo came to see us for her annual check a few months ago and we were concerned to find that she had shed nearly a kilo since we had last met. That's 10% of her bodyweight! Her carers told us that her appetite was greater than ever and they'd noticed that she was up at the sink looking for water much more often. Burmese are more at risk for diabetes than other breeds so we were immediately suspicious that Cleo had developed diabetes.

Because we were anxious to confirm our suspicions and to rule out other diseases we ran her blood tests in our lab at Canberra Cat Vet. While her kidneys, liver, blood count and electrolytes were normal her blood glucose was high. She also had a urinary tract infection, which is very common in cats with diabetes because bacteria thrive in the sugary urine.

Cleo started on insulin that night. Although her carers had never given injections before they were soon experts. They waited until she was eating her special high protein diet and slipped the tiny needle under her skin. Cleo didn't bat an eyelid.

Once they were all in the routine and the urinary infection had cleared we retested her blood glucose levels and adjusted the dose. If diabetes in cats is caught early and the diet adjusted many go into remission. The remission is more durable if the cat is back to a healthy lean weight.

No lilies please!

Thursday, January 04, 2018

 

We have had a sad start to the New Year with the death of a kitten who ate Christmas lilies. Despite intensive treatment for kidney failure and neurological signs she didn't respond.

All species of lilies are toxic to cats. Kittens and indoor cats with little choice in plant munching material are most at risk as they will try any cut flower that comes into the house.  Any part of the plant – flowers, leaves or stems - is dangerous. Even lily pollen licked off the coat destroys cats’ kidney tubules.

Lilies proven to poison cats include: Easter Lily, Tiger Lily, Day Lily, Glory Lily, Stargazer Lily, Rubrum Lily, Asian Lily and the Japanese Show Lily.

If you see your cat with lily on her coat, in her mouth or in her vomit don’t wait for signs of poisoning. The sooner we get it out of her system and start treatment to protect the kidneys the greater her chance of survival.

Affected cats vomit and are depressed within hours of ingesting lily. Some then seem to recover before starting to show signs of severe kidney failure a day or so later. Others continue vomiting, go off their food and get more and more depressed.

If emptying the stomach and medications to prevent absorption of the toxin are effective, the chance of recovery is excellent. If your cat absorbs enough toxin to cause damage to her kidneys then her outlook is poor. It is essential to seek emergency care immediately after ingestion of the lily plant. 

November Canberra Cat Vet eNews

Friday, November 03, 2017


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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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