March 15, 2013

Kidney Disease Awareness for Cats and Dogs

Did you know that it is National Kidney Awareness Month? Similar to how kidney disease can affect humans, it can also develop in pets. As a matter of fact, kidney disease is the second leading cause of death in cats. This is pretty scary if you’re a cat owner, right?

What do kidneys even do? Well, they are organs that have two main jobs:

1. Remove waste/toxins from the blood
2. Maintain bodily fluids

The job that kidneys perform is just as important as the job of our hearts. Without kidneys, animals, as well as humans, would die.

The problem with kidney disease is that it is hard to detect until it is too late. When you begin to see symptoms of the disease in your cat or dog, it is likely that 75% of their kidneys are already damaged. Such symptoms include:

• Increased thirst
• Increased urination
• Cloudy urine
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss
• Bad breath
• Ulcers in the mouth and on the tongue
• Dull coats with heavy shedding

Since kidney disease is hard to detect until most of the damage is done, you have to take care of your pet’s kidney health (and all aspects of their health) the moment you become a pet owner. In order to do this, make sure that you take your furry friend for yearly check-ups with your vet, and ensure that your vet is doing yearly blood work. It is easier to detect illnesses, like kidney disease, through blood tests than relying on symptoms.

If your cat, dog, or any other pet has kidney disease, it is likely that your doctor will recommend the following treatment options:

1. Diet change
2. Fluid therapy
3. Various medications

Make sure you do the research regarding the pros and cons of all treatments. There are even natural options to help with kidney disease that you may find more suitable for your pet.

Below is a list of cat and dog breeds that are the most susceptible to kidney disease:

Cats

• Abyssinian
• Persian
• Siamese

Dogs

• Beagles
• Bull and Cairn Terriers
• Chow Chows
• Dalmations
• Doberman Pinchers
• English Cocker Spaniels
• German Sheperds
• Minature Schnauzers
• Poodles
• Shar-Peis
• Samoyeds
• Shih Tzus

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June 14, 2010

Does my cat have rabies?

Filed under: Cat Diseases,rabies — Dr. Amber Reed @ 4:52 pm

rabies in catsDespite the fact that rabies is one of the most well known viruses affecting animals, vaccination programs have virtually eliminated rabies infections in humans.  In 2006, there were nearly 45,000 cases of exposure to rabies but only 3 cases of human infection.  Nevertheless, rabies is a serious virus that has no treatment.  In fact, once the disease begins to develop death is a near certainty as it is very rare for animals or humans to survive the virus even with intensive medical care.

Cats are at higher risk of rabies, especially outdoor cats, because they are more likely to come in contact with an infected animal.  Rabies is transmitted when an infected animal bites another animal.  Skunks, foxes, raccoons, coyotes, and bats commonly carry the virus and are the most likely suspects when it comes to transmitting the virus.  Most veterinarians will tell you that being bitten by a rabies-infected animal doesn’t ensure that your cat will develop rabies.  In fact, it has been estimated that only about 15% of cats exposed to rabies will contract the illness.

There are several symptoms associated with rabies in cats and they generally appear in a series of stages.  As the virus moves through the nerves from the location of the bite to the brain, few symptoms are apparent.  Generally speaking, rabies in cats will have an incubation period between 2 and 6 weeks and in some cases as long as 6 months.  The first phase of infection is called the prodromal phase and it is associated with symptoms such as anxiety, nervousness, isolation and even fever.  During the next phase, the furious phase, cats with rabies become restless, irritable, and sometimes vicious.  Some cats with rabies will die during this phase.  The final phase of rabies in cats is the paralytic phase.  Cats have more saliva and cannot swallow.  Breathing becomes labored and facial muscles become paralyzed.

If you suspect your cat has come in contact with a rabid animal or if you notice bite or scratch marks, visit your veterinarian immediately.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.