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Cats + Medical Conditions

  • Antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections are bacterial infections that are minimally or no longer responsive to commonly used antibiotics. Although these bacterial infections occur naturally, the frequent and/or inappropriate use of antibiotics accelerates the process. Cats with certain medical conditions may also be predisposed.

  • Anticoagulant rodenticides are poisons used to kill mice, rats, and other rodents by preventing blood clotting. Poisoning occurs when a cat ingests rodenticide. Anticoagulant rodenticides cause excessive bleeding by interfering with vitamin K1 recycling in the body. Vitamin K1 is needed for the body to make certain clotting factors which enable blood to clot and help to control bleeding.

  • Aortic stenosis is a heart disease that is present at birth. Cats affected with aortic stenosis have a narrowing at the aortic valve of the heart. This narrowing forces the heart to work abnormally hard to force blood through the narrowed valve. The clinical signs of aortic stenosis vary depending on how severe the stenosis is; some cats remain asymptomatic throughout their life, while other cats begin showing clinical signs at an early age and can experience sudden death. The treatment of aortic stenosis depends upon the severity of the condition.

  • An aortic thromboembolism results when a blood clot is dislodged and travels through the aorta, becoming lodged in a distant location. This causes severely reduced blood flow to the tissues receiving blood from that particular part of the aorta, leading to decreased oxygen in the tissues. Mixed breed cats, Abyssinian, Ragdoll, and Birmans are the most commonly affected. Sudden paralysis and pain, usually in the rear legs, are the most common clinical signs of aortic thromboembolism, although weakness and lameness may be seen. Other signs may include decreased or absent pulses in the femoral arteries of the rear legs, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing, vocalization from pain, vomiting, and the nailbeds and footpads may be pale or bluish. Initially, cats may need to be treated as inpatients. Drugs to prevent platelets from clumping together will be prescribed. The expected course of this disorder is days to weeks for full recovery of function to the legs, but the prognosis in general is very poor.

  • Approximately 20% of cats across all ages suffer from painful osteoarthritis in one or more joints, and 90% of cats over 12 years of age show evidence of arthritis on radiographs. Because cats are living longer, every cat owner will face the issue of osteoarthritis at some point. This handout discusses the use of nutrition and nutritional supplements to aid in the management of your cat's osteoarthritis. Weight loss, omega fatty acids, and various chondroprotective supplements are discussed.

  • Osteoarthritis is a common condition affecting bones and joints in many older cats. It is a disease of management and cannot be cured. Medications, physical therapy, nutrition, and surgery may all be considered to help alleviate the pain. Cats can live a normal life with a tailored care plan.

  • Asthma or bronchitis is a fairly common condition affecting cats. It occurs as a result of the airway being hypersensitive to certain stimuli, resulting in airway constriction, excess mucus production, and air trapping. Diagnostics include a physical exam, blood tests, x-rays, bronchoscopy, and bronchial or tracheal lavage. As asthma cannot be cured, treatment is aimed at the management of the disease using a combination of steroids and bronchodilators. Adjunct treatments include modifying the environment to reduce exposure to the noxious stimulus, hypoallergenic diet trials, and acupuncture.

  • If your cat has been diagnosed with feline asthma, it is important that you follow the treatment instructions that have been determined specifically for your cat. This handout is to be filled in by your veterinary team.

  • The word ataxia means incoordination within the nervous system. There are several different forms of ataxia, depending upon where in the nervous system the abnormality occurs. The most common sign of ataxia, regardless of the cause, is an abnormal gait in which the cat is very unsteady on her feet. Treatment of ataxia will be influenced by the root cause. Pain management, supportive care, and creating a safe environment (e.g., preventing access to stairs) are cornerstones of ataxia treatment.

  • This handout summarizes atlantoaxial (AA) luxation, a condition in which instability or excessive movement is present between the first two vertebrae within the neck. Atlantoaxial luxation can be caused by trauma, hereditary factors, or a combination of these two factors. The most common sign of AA luxation is neck pain, though severely affected dogs may lose their ability to breathe due to paralysis of the diaphragm.