CAT HEALTH & MEDICINE

How Often Does Your Cat Really Need Blood Work?

There is no dispute about how often a cat should have a physical exam. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) all agree that every pet cat should have a wellness visit once a year, twice yearly if the cat is older. (The AAFP says twice a year is the correct frequency once a cat turns 11.) What’s not set in stone is how often blood tests should be done as part of those exams.

Regurgitation versus vomiting

Q: When a cat regurgitates, is that the same thing as vomiting? I often see the two terms used interchangeably.

Caregiver Burden for People with Sick Cats

The term “caregiver burden” is often applied to people taking care of human loved ones who are very sick and possibly dying. Such caretakers experience greater stress, depression, and anxiety than those in the general population as well as a reduced quality of life. But researchers have also found that those who care for chronically ill or dying cats experience the same levels of distress.

Why Cats Stick Out Their Tongues

Some cats sit around sticking out their tongue from time to time. It’s nothing to be concerned about. A slightly protruding tongue is just one of the ways in which a cat can look adorable. However, if your cat has not had a prior habit of letting her tongue hang out and has started to do so, it could be a sign of a health problem.

No Cure for Heartworm Disease in Cats

Dogs are a natural host for heartworms. A single dog may harbor hundreds of them, which can cause lasting damage to the heart, lungs, and arteries if the heartworm disease is left untreated. Therein lies the rub. The drug used to combat heartworm disease in dogs cannot be used in cats. In felines, the disease must be left untreated by default. Only supportive care is available to manage symptoms without getting to the root cause.

Over-the-Counter Antimicrobials Now Available By Prescription Only

Certain antimicrobial medicines used in cats and other animals have been available over the counter. That ends now. As of June 11th, all antimicrobial medicines for animals that are also important in human medicine must be prescribed by a veterinarian, says the Food and Drug Administration. The move is aimed to ensure judicious use of these drugs and retain their effectiveness in both our cats and us.

Fungal Disease Spreading 
from Cats to People

In the United States, a fungal infection called sporotrichosis has been known as rose gardener’s disease. The fungus that causes it, Sporothrix, lives in soil and on plant matter that includes rose bushes and usually manifests as one or more open sores or deep skin ulcers when it enters the body through a small cut or scrape. But in South America, the disease has become an epidemic by spreading from cats to people via bites and scratches. It started in Brazil and has now spread to Chile, Argentina, and most recently, the United Kingdom.

Updated Guidelines Should Make Vet Visits Less Stressful for Cats

In any given year, more than half of all people with cats do not bring them to the veterinarian, surveys suggest. If you’re like most people who love a cat, you know why. They hate going.

When the Margins Are “Clean But Close” After Tumor Removal

When a veterinarian removes a possible malignant tumor, she also removes a cuff of surrounding normal-appearing tissue to improve the chances that the tumor will not grow back. A pathologist then looks at the perimeter (or “margins”) of the resected tumor under a microscope to see whether it appears to have been fully removed. The margins are categorized as complete (no residual cancer seen) or incomplete (residual cancer seen).

When a Cat Dies Suddenly for an Unknown Reason, Should You Request a Necropsy?

Most often, people with cats have to make a decision about euthanasia when a disease overtakes the animal’s health to the point that his life is no longer worth living. It’s probably the hardest decision anyone who loves a cat ever has to make. But sometimes, a cat dies unexpectedly. He hasn’t appeared sick and may not even be old, but one day a human family member comes home and finds him gone. Or a cat dies while in the hospital but not because of the condition for which he has been admitted. Or he has been admitted with a number of ailments, but it’s not clear which one took his life. It’s a misery — and a shock — of a different kind.

Dear Doctor June 2023

Baby teeth and adult teeth at the same time

If Your Cat Won’t Take the Medicine, Can It Be Compounded?

To compound a medicine is to alter it in some way so that it’s tailored to the needs of a particular patient who wouldn’t...