CAT HEALTH & MEDICINE

Joint Disorders in Cats

The feline skeleton, comprised of nearly 250 individual bones, supports 500 or so muscles and other soft tissues that enable a cats movement. Among all feline musculoskeletal disorders, the most commonly observed are conditions that affect the joints - the areas in which the ends of two or more bones reside in close proximity.

Using Cytology for Diagnosis

Discovering a lump or sore on your cat certainly does raise concern for the average cat owner. For one thing, nobody wants to worry for days to find out if it signifies a serious health problem. Cytology is a painless procedure that can provide a quick, inexpensive answer.

The Threat of Feline Rabies

Among all threats to feline health, none is more fatal than rabies. The threat also applies to cat owners who are bitten or scratched by an infected animal. Rabies is caused by a bullet-shaped virus called a lyssavirus, appropriately named after Lyssa, the Greek goddess of rage, madness, fury and frenzy. This microorganism occurs naturally in many warm-blooded animals, most commonly in skunks, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, bobcats and bats. However, notes Orla Mahony, MVB, a clinical assistant professor in the department of clinical sciences at Tufts, the virus can affect all warm-blooded animals, including domestic dogs and cats that have not been vaccinated.

What About Indoor-Only Cats and Rabies?

Except for her routine checkup at the veterinary clinic, your cat never, ever leaves the comfortable confines of your home. All of the creature comforts that she could possibly want are just a hop, skip and jump away. So why in the world would she have to be vaccinated against rabies?

Diagnosis: Lenticular Sclerosis

By the time your cat celebrates her eighth or ninth birthday, you can expect to see several age-related changes taking place in her physical condition and behavior. After all, the feline age of nine is roughly equivalent to age of 52 or 53 in humans, and your pet will inevitably start showing signs of aging. Some of these signs will be inconsequential -- while others will call for your serious attention and prompt consultation with your veterinarian.

Understanding Feline Cataracts

A cataract is a condition in which the lens becomes cloudy or totally opaque. When this occurs, incoming light is impeded, if not totally prevented, from passing through to the retina. In some cases, the opaque area of the lens is tiny and without consequence. In others, the entire lens may be opaque, in which case total blindness will result.

Dear Doctor

Help for a cat with hairballsQI have a five-year-old female longhaired cat who I adopted from the local humane society about two years ago. Recently, she has been having hairballs almost on a daily basis.

Claw Disorders in Cats

Feline claws were designed by nature to serve many purposes. They enable a cat to scale a tree trunk, for example, or to maintain her grip on a slender branch, or to seize prey. An outdoor cat will use her claws to conceal her scent from predators by scratching dirt over a spot where she has urinated or defecated. Even an indoor cat who doesnt rely on her claws for hunting and climbing will devote time each day to keeping them clean and in good condition.

When Lymph Nodes Are Enlarged

As a feline veterinarian, I perform dozens of physical examinations every week. Every veterinarian performs the physical exam in his or her own style, making sure to evaluate all body systems thoroughly. Assessment of the lymph nodes is unquestionably a part of every veterinarians physical exam.

Feline Lymph Nodes

Inflammation and enlargement of the lymph nodes is a common finding in companion animals. Infection is a common cause of lymph node enlargement. Cancer is also a common reason for lymph node enlargement. Below are the names and locations of the more common feline lymph nodes.

Feline Nasal Disorders

Every so often, one of your cats comes down with a bout of the sniffles. In most cases, you have nothing to worry about. The sneezing and runny nose should simply fade away within a few days. But if the signs persist for longer than that - especially if the cat is not eating and not behaving normally, or the discharge from her nose thickens and becomes darker in color - a visit to your veterinarian is in order.

Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage

Discovery of blood in the feces when cleaning the litter box is one of the more common reasons for concerned cat owners to bring their cat to the veterinarian. When cats bleed from the large intestine or colon, it is beyond the point where digestion occurs, and any blood associated with the feces appears red.