Blog News

July 26, 2018

Lumps and bumps

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.
June 14, 2018

Your kitten’s first vet visit

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!
March 22, 2018

Calicivirus outbreak halted

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!