Monthly Newsletter of The Cat Hospital of Orlando

Veterinary Newsletter of The Cat Hospital of Orlando

Cat Hospital of Orlando Medical Services The veterinarians and staff at the The Cat Hospital of Orlando are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

10 Fun Facts About Cats

Ten Fun Facts About Cats

  1. Cats "paw" or "knead" to mark their territory. Cats sweat through the bottom of their paws and rub off the sweat as a marking mechanism.
  2. Cat urine glows in the dark when a black light shines on it. If you think your cat or kitten has had an accident in your home, use a black light to find the mishap.
  3. If your cat is near you, and her tail is quivering, this is the greatest expression of love your cat can give you, but if your cat is thrashing its tail, she is in a bad mood, so keep your distance!
  4. During her productive life, one female cat could have more than 100 kittens. A single pair of cats and their kittens can produce as many as 420,000 kittens in just seven years.
  5. Sir Isaac Newton invented the cat door.
  6. Cats spend 30 percent of their waking hours grooming themselves.
  7. Ancient Egyptians shaved their eyebrows in mourning when their cats died. And if someone killed a cat, he or she could get the death penalty.
  8. According to the Guinness Book of World records, the oldest cat was Crème Puff from Austin, Texas who died in 2005 at 38 years old.
  9. When cats are happy, they may squeeze their eyes shut.
  10. The reason for the lack of mouse-flavored cat food is due to the fact that the cat test subjects did not like it.
Cats and Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition caused by a relative resistance to or deficiency of insulin which results in elevated blood glucose levels and glucose in the urine. Diabetes mellitus is most common in older cats; however, obese cats are at an increased risk of developing this condition. Evidence has shown that genetics may play a role in the development of diabetes in cats. In particular, the Burmese breed has been identified as being predisposed to diabetes, and analysis of pedigrees has suggested that this is an inherited trait.

Insulin is produced by the pancreas and is released into the bloodstream where it travels to all the tissues of the body. Its main role is to enable cells to take up glucose (sugar) which is needed as an energy source. In diabetes, there is a relative or absolute deficiency of insulin. An absolute insulin deficiency may arise as a direct failure of the pancreas to produce this hormone. In most diabetic cats, there is both an absolute insulin deficiency and a situation whereby cells of the body fail to respond effectively to the insulin produced. This results in a decreased amount of glucose taken up by the cells and an increase of glucose in the blood (called hyperglycemia). As the cells are starved of glucose, the body begins to break down stored fats and proteins for sources of energy. This process results in weight loss and the accumulation of toxic waste products, which can cause a diabetic crisis known as ketoacidosis.

The symptoms of diabetes may be severe or mild. Due to the increased amount of glucose in the blood, it is excreted into the urine. Glucose that is passed into the urine takes water with it, so an increased volume of urine is produced. To compensate for the water lost into the urine, diabetic cats develop an increased thirst. Weight loss and an increased appetite are also frequently seen.

The cat owner often reports one or several of the following symptoms:

• Weight loss

• Increased appetite

• Increased urination

• Increased water consumption

These signs are not always present or may pass unnoticed. If a cat spends most of his or her time outdoors, the increased thirst and increased urination may not be noticed by the owner.

There are other clinical signs that may be observed. These include:

• Straining to pass urine or passing bloody urine (associated with a urinary tract infection)

• Poor coat

• Cataracts and retinal abnormalities causing vision problems

• Weakness in hind legs or dropped hocks

Some cats develop ketoacidosis, a complication in uncontrolled diabetes. In this situation, the cat may become extremely depressed, with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, complete loss of appetite, dehydration, collapse and coma. If any of these signs are seen in a diabetic cat, it is an emergency condition and he or she should be taken to a veterinary hospital immediately.

Diabetes mellitus is usually a treatable condition, but requires considerable dedication and commitment from the cat’s owner. Owners of a diabetic cat need to be aware that a strict routine must be followed. The timing of insulin injections is important; however, they can be altered to suit the lifestyle of the owner. Once the insulin injections have begun, they need to be given at regular intervals. Knowledge on correct insulin storage, handling and administration is also required. The dose of insulin given should never be changed without consulting your veterinarian. One of the most common reasons for poor stabilization at home is problems with insulin storage and/or administration.

Compromise With Your Cat on Scratching

The claws are the primary weapon in the feline arsenal. In addition to providing an iron grip for climbing, a cat's claws can be lethal—quickly un-holstered to slash at an enemy or rip open a soft underbelly. Although the claws are often described as retractable, a cat's claws are, in fact, hidden until the paw is extended. Safely sheathed when the cat is relaxed, even while it is walking, the claws remain sharp and ready for action. During a post-nap stretch or an angry swipe, the tendons controlling the claws are pulled taut, thrusting the nails outward.

Though seemingly incorrigible scratchers, cats rake their claws over rough surfaces to both clean and hone them. The raking motion also helps shed the claws' dead and dulled outer layers, and helps exercise the leg muscles. Just as importantly, scratching allows the cat to leave its calling card—a territory marking scent released from the paw pads.

So now that you know the biology behind it and that scratching is a natural behavior for cats, how are you going to convince your cat that your sofa is nicer UN-shredded? Start off on the right foot (or paw) with universal advice from Mark Twain, "Never try to teach a pig how to sing; it frustrates you and annoys the pig." Keep in mind that cats like to scratch and generally need to scratch, so you are never going to be able to stop the behavior completely. Your job as protector of your furniture is to re-direct your cat's scratching to an area that is acceptable to both of you.

Three Cat-Scratching Compromises

• A scratching post - Cats like rough surfaces that they can shred to pieces. The scratching post with the most aesthetic appeal to your cat is often a tree stump, though this can be a bit unwieldy. Whatever you and your cat choose, it has to be tall enough for her to fully extend her body, and most importantly, secure enough to withstand the push and pull of her claws. If it topples over right from the start, chances are your cat will not go back to it. A sisal post or a carpet remnant (make sure it's secured) are always good choices.

If your cat is reluctant to give up her old scratching areas, you may have to employ discouraging tactics. Using lemon-scented sprays or potpourri of lemon and orange peels on or near her old haunts may work. Cats have a natural aversion to citrus smells. If this doesn't work, try squirting her with a water gun or spray bottle or blowing a whistle or other noise maker every time you catch her scratching. You must use these deterrents while she is scratching, in order for them to be effective.

• Trimming its nails or applying protective guards - Though trimming your cat's nails may defray some of your cat's potential for destruction, it does not stop her from scratching. By keeping them short, it makes them less sharp. The longer they get, the sharper they become as a result of scratching. If you are unable to trim your cat's nails by yourself, many groomers or veterinarians provide the service at a minimal cost. Even if your cat uses a scratching post regularly, it is wise to keep her nails trim to help her avoid getting stuck to the carpet or your sweater while the both of your are snuggling.

Soft Paws are another great option. These are lightweight vinyl caps that are applied over your cat's own claws. They have rounded edges so your cat's scratching doesn't damage your home and furnishings. They last for approximately six weeks or however long it takes for your cat's nails to grow out of them. They are generally applied only to the front paws since those are the most destructive of the four. Soft Paws come in a kit and are easy to apply using the cap and adhesive. If you find it difficult to apply them to your cat, at least initially, your veterinarian or groomer may be able to do it for you for a nominal fee.

• Declawing - A surgical procedure, de-clawing involves the total removal of your cat's nails. It is a non-reversible procedure, but is extremely effective in protecting your furniture. Though an effective option, it is not recommended for cats that go outside regularly as they lose their ability to defend themselves with their claws. Since it is a surgical procedure requiring anesthesia, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss the procedure.

Ultimately, your cat chooses her favorite place to scratch. However, it is up to you to give her suggestions and persuade her to use an area you have chosen. Training your cat to do what you want takes a lot of patience. Remember to reinforce good and wanted behavior and deter unwanted behavior. Once you and your cat have found a suitable solution, your house and furniture are going to thank you for your perseverance.

July 15th is National Pet Fire Safety Day

We all remember doing fire drills in elementary school. Once a month every month for the entire school year. When we were children we may have thought they were totally pointless, in the event of a fire all those practice drills could have been life-saving. Having a plan and being prepared for emergencies doesn’t only apply to us humans. Animals need to be prepared in case of a fire or other disaster, and so it is crucial to take the necessary steps to minimize your house and your pet’s susceptibility to fire-related dangers.

When your pets are around:
-Put out open flames. Animals are naturally curious and clumsy and will accidentally knock over candles or greasy pans, both of which can lead to big trouble.
-Remove knobs from the stove. When you turn around your pet may accidentally turn on your stove.
-Securing young animals when you leave can help avoid potential fire hazards. Using a kennel or a completely ‘pet-proofed’ room are both good ways to avoid problems.

Minimizing Risks:
-Consider flameless candles for ambiance and backup lighting for when the power goes out. Fumbling around with candles in the dark is a sure way to start a fire when pets are around.
-Replace glass water bowls with plastic or metal bowls. When you have a glass bowl on a wooden deck outside, the glass can act as a magnifying glass and actually singe the wood or start a fire.
-Have a plan. Designate which members of your family will be responsible for which pets in case of an emergency.
Not just fires:
Having a disaster preparedness plan does not only apply to fires. Natural disasters are not uncommon and so it is important to know what the plan is in any situation. Make sure to ID all of your pets and always keep them with you. Make sure to take all necessary steps to make sure your pet's environment is safe and disaster proof. Read here to get some more tips from the Humane Society on disaster preparedness plans just in time for hurricane season.

Lyme Disease Is the New (Bad) Summer Trend

Along with the heat, it looks like Lyme Disease is also expected to be on the rise this summer. A disease once attributed to deer is now shifting its blame to the decline of foxes, who lunch on mice, which in turn lunch on ticks before they’re able to lunch on us and our pets.

Studies reveal that young dogs appear to be more susceptible to the disease than older ones. The infection typically develops after the deer tick has been attached to the dog for 18 hours or more.

Here are a few signs that your dog may be infected:

  • Stiff and inflamed joints (producing lameness)
  • Sensitive to the touch
  • Lack of appetite
  • Depressed behavior
  • Kidney damage (producing vomiting, diarrhea, increased urination)

If you see signs of Lyme Disease, bring your dog to a veterinarian for an examination. Treatment typically consists of an antibiotic that can be taken from home. Your veterinarian can also recommend different collars and sprays that work to repel ticks in the first place.

Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe and Cool This Summer

This summer is forecasted to be one of the hottest on record. This could make for some great family beach days and cook-outs. However, our four-legged counterparts have a different experience with temperature than we do. During the summer, pets can easily become overheated. So, while we like all of the warm weather activities summer can bring us, our pets can be in danger. Here are some tips to keep your pet cool this summer:

Hot Dogs are for Barbeques, Not Cars When it’s 70 degrees outside, the inside of a parked car heats to 90 degrees in about 10 minutes and 110 in about an hour. So, if you are thinking that you should leave your dog in the car while you run into Urban Outfitters, think again. Responsible bystanders should report if they see an animal trapped in a car on a warm day to their local animal control or local law enforcement. If you leave your dog in the car, don’t expect him to be waiting for you when you get back.

Limit Outdoor Exposure to Hot Temperatures Even for the most active of pets, it is important to adjust exercise schedules during the summer months. Most animals rely on panting and limited sweating abilities to cool themselves when they’re hot. So if you’re going to take your dog out for some exercise, try to do it in the morning or late evening when the temperature outside is a bit cooler. Make sure to avoid those mid-day oven-like conditions.

If your pet is just outside to hang out, make sure that they have access to shade and fresh water AT ALL TIMES. You never know how long it might feel to them to be outside so ensure they always have shelter and something to drink to cool them off.

Be aware of the signs of heat stroke According to American Humane: “Signs of heat stroke include excessive panting, dark or bright red tongue and gums, lethargy, stumbling, seizures, bloody diarrhea or vomiting, and coma. If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, you should seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible. You can provide some immediate treatment using cool (but not icy) water to lower your pet’s temperature by submerging the pet in a tub of water, wetting him with a hose or sponging him down. If your pet showed signs of heat stroke but has been cooled and now appears fine, do not assume that all is well. Internal organs, such as the liver, kidneys and the brain, are all affected by extreme body temperature elevation. It is best to have a veterinarian examine your pet to assess potential health complications and ensure that other risks are not overlooked.”

The summer is a great time for pets and owners to spend time together outside. Just remember it is crucial to be safe during the summer months. Using these tips you and your furry friend should stay safe and cool all summer long.