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Tales from the Pet Clinic

with Ann Hohenhaus, DVM, DACVIM

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Questions From Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

By Ann Hohenhaus, DVM

 

Vet tech holding dog

This is the last post for Tales from the Pet Clinic. The end of anything – the year, college days or a career, leads to reminiscence. I will use this final post to look back at Tales from the Pet Clinic through my experiences at the WKC show earlier this week.

Every year when the Westminster Kennel Club (WKC) dog show comes to New York City, The Animal Medical Center goes to the dogs. It sets up a vendor booth in the middle of the benching area, which was held this year at Pier 92/94 overlooking the Hudson River, instead of the usual location in the outer ring basement of Madison Square Garden.

Few Cat Questions

Not surprisingly, the majority of veterinary questions were asked about dogs. A few slightly embarrassed people walked up to the booth and sheepishly asked permission to have a cat question answered. This reluctance of cat owners to ask cat health questions mirrors one of the current feline healthcare issues: cat owners are providing less healthcare for their cats than dog owners provide for their dogs.

Food, food, food
One of the most frequent topics discussed with pet owners was pet food, which has also been a common topic here at Tales. At the dog show, several pet owners asked, “Which is better, dry or canned food?” Some cat owners had heard the myth: dry food is bad for your cat and others heard dogs should have a mixture of dry and canned food. Both of these are pet food myths.

If you have a healthy dog, cat, puppy or kitten, my guidelines for choosing a pet food include:
• Food that carries the AAFCO nutritional adequacy label
• Matching your pets life-stage and species, (i.e. puppy food for a puppy)
• Food that is easy for you to obtain
• Food that your pet likes

The choice between canned and dry belongs to you and your pet.

Where Animal and Human Health Meet

One of the visitors at our booth was a physician. We chatted a bit about the similarities between veterinary and human medicine. This too has been a common theme in my blogs over the past two years. Pets and their people share infections like Salmonella, get similar cancers, such as melanoma, and everyone gets sick with the flu. The physician was surprised to find out The AMC staff consists of 92 veterinarians, 30 who are board certified specialists and five who hold two certifications.

Thanks
Possibly the best part of staffing The AMC booth was talking with the grateful pet owners who came to say thank you to The AMC. Those kind words and smiling faces are what makes my job, and the job of every veterinarian worthwhile every day.

And on that note of thanks, I will sign off from Tales from the Pet Clinic by saying thank you to my loyal readers. This blog has been a learning experience for all of us and I have enjoyed every word I have written.

To continue to read my blogs, go to Fur the Love of Pets  or sign up for our RSS feed.

Posted by: Ann Hohenhaus, DVM at 10:16 am

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Your Pet Can Be an Organ Donor

By Ann Hohenhaus, DVM

bulldog

Last week, I gave some visitors a tour of The Animal Medical Center.  As we journeyed from floor to floor looking at high tech equipment and cute pets, one guest asked me if pets could be organ donors.  I thought for a minute and then said, “Yes!”

Saving a dog’s eyesight

Many years ago, I helped take care of an Otterhound with a melanoma on the white part of his eye: in doctors’ terms, the sclera.  The AMC’s ophthalmologist surgically removed the tumor from the eye, leaving a gap where the tumor had been.  Then, using a corneal-scleral graft, the eyeball was repaired, restoring the eye to a normal appearance.  Even better, the Otterhound’s vision remained normal.  A recent publication confirms the excellent outcome from this delicate surgery.  Without the thoughtful and generous donation of an eye from a dog of a bereaved family, my Otterhound patient would have lost his vision and his eye to cancer.

Fixing failing feline kidneys

Kidney disease occurs commonly in cats. In many cats, a good quality of life can be maintained using kidney friendly diets, supplementing potassium and fluids, and by managing high blood pressure caused by the kidney disease.  For some cats, a kidney transplant is the solution to kidney disease that is gradually worsening and having a negative impact on the cat’s quality of life.

Similar to human kidney transplants, the cat kidney donor shares its “spare kidney” with an unfortunate feline who has two bad ones.  The kidney donor cat can be one of the transplant recipient’s housemates or a cat who then joins the family of the recipient cat following the transplant.  Donor requirements include good health and a blood type match with the recipient.

Bone replacement

Severe fractures, gunshot wounds and bone cancer can all damage a dog’s leg bone beyond repair.  Removal of the damaged or cancerous bone leaves the limb unsupported and nonfunctional.  One method of repair for limbs such as these is to place a piece of donor bone in the leg to close the gap.  Donated bone can be stored in a special freezer in a bone bank for animals for up to 5 years before it is used to replace a diseased section of bone.  Measurements of your dog’s injured leg bone are made from x-rays and sent to the bone bank who then chooses the replacement bone to match the size of your dog’s leg bone as closely as possible.

Resources:

Need a specially trained ophthalmologist for a tricky surgery on your dog’s eye?  Find one on the America College of Veterinary Ophthalmology website.

Learn more about kidney transplants in cats.

Investigate having your pet help other pets through organ donation.

 

Posted by: Ann Hohenhaus, DVM at 8:59 am

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dog’s Heart Takes A Lickin’ But Keeps On Tickin’

By Ann Hohenhaus, DVM

http://blogs.webmd.com/pet-tales/files/2013/02/Chad.jpg

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, February is American Heart Month. In 2012, The Animal Medical Center’s spokes-cat was Sidney, who developed fainting episodes which led to the diagnosis of a heart muscle abnormality, a condition common in cats.

This year, we have a spokes-dog who does not want to be outdone by last year’s spokes-cat. This dog has not one, but two types of heart problems at the same time!

An accidental tumor

Chad is a rescued, older male dachshund. After he found a forever home, he needed some dental work.  Because his regular veterinarian heard a heart murmur, an echocardiogram was ordered as part of the pre-dental evaluation. Echocardiograms evaluate the heart noninvasively using sound waves. The test showed Chad’s heart murmur was due to leaky valves. Leaky valves are the most common cause of a heart murmur in a dog.

In Chad’s case, the test surprisingly found a tumor near the base of the heart and he came to The Animal Medical Center in March of 2012 for further evaluation.

Magnetic resonance imaging

Heart tumors are quite uncommon; one study showed heart tumors occur in less than 0.2% of all dogs. The two most common types are often hard to distinguish using an echocardiogram. To image the heart, we use a special type of MRI. The MRI showed the tumor was located in the heart wall and could not be removed surgically. We started chemotherapy and between  treatments, when he was feeling well, his teeth were cleaned. Chemotherapy finished in November 2012 and an echocardiogram showed the tumor was smaller.

Heart problem number two

In January 2013, Chad’s leaky valves worsened causing heart failure, a buildup of fluid in his lungs. The AMC’s Emergency Service treated him with diuretics (water pills), oxygen and other medications to decrease the fluid in his lungs. The Cardiology Service prescribed medications to keep his broken heart working and the fluid from building up again in his lungs. After two days in the ICU, his heart was ticking well and he went home to his anxiously waiting family.

Is your dog coughing? It might be heart failure. Our friends at the Washington State College of Veterinary Medicine have a nice list of the causes of coughing in dogs.

Still worried your dog might have heart failure? Review the clinical signs and see your veterinarian if you think your dog has heart failure.

Posted by: Ann Hohenhaus, DVM at 10:47 am

Friday, February 1, 2013

Practical DNA Testing

By Ann Hohenhaus, DVM

vetwithowner

I suspect many of my readers think practical DNA testing is an oxymoron.  For many, DNA testing conjures up visions of sleek, shiny, sterile laboratories for solving crimes, but not day to day management of sick dogs and cats.  DNA testing can also be fun when it is used to determine the ancestry of your mixed breed dog.  This week I used DNA testing in my clinical patients to help better manage their health.

Platelet problems

Coco is one of my patients without cancer.  She came in for a routine examination.  Because she is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and screening blood tests showed her platelet count was low, she needed DNA testing.  Platelets are blood clotting cells and patients with a low platelet count may have severe hemorrhage.  Coco wasn’t sick in any way, but because certain dogs within the Cavalier breed have a genetic disorder causing a low platelet count, we tested her DNA for the known mutation.

The strange thing about Cavaliers with an inhertied low platelet count is that they are not prone to hemorrhage, but if you don’t know for sure your patient has the mutation, you cannot distinguish between a Cavalier with the inherited platelet disorder and one with a propensity to bleed.  Luckily, Coco has the mutation and we need not worry about her low platelet count.

Drug intolerance

Gus has a different genetic problem.  He is a flashy, blue merle Australian shepherd.  Dogs of this and other collie-like breeds have a genetic mutation leading to poor tolerance of certain drugs which, in Gus’s case, are chemotherapy agents he desperately needs for the treatment of his lymphoma.  For us to safely treat him with chemotherapy drugs, we tested his DNA to determine if he carried this mutation before choosing the drugs in his treatment protocol.  Fortunately for Gus, his DNA is just fine and he can be treated with our standard multidrug regimen.  Additionally, affected dogs are also sensitive to common heartworm preventatives and diarrhea medications.

Anemia and DNA

Aby-Doux is an Abyssinian cat with a decreased number of red blood cells, also known as anemia.  Once again I used DNA testing to help elucidate the cause of his anemia.  Some Abyssinian cats have a genetic mutation affecting their red blood cells.

The mutation weakens the robust normal red blood cells and causes them to rupture inside the blood stream.  When this occurs, the affected cat becomes lethargic and sometimes is jaundiced.  Genetic testing did not find the mutation in Aby-Doux.  Further investigation found his anemia was due to blood loss from an intestinal tumor which was then surgically removed.­

Additional information

Does your dog’s breed have a predisposition to a genetic disease?  The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals has a listing by breed.

Are you an international reader?  Find a listing of genetic testing laboratories worldwide on the University of Pennsylvania Medical Genetics website.

Photo: Brand X Pictures

Posted by: Ann Hohenhaus, DVM at 8:48 am

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Get Well Tuxedo Stan: Political Cat Suffers from Renal Lymphoma

By Ann Hohenhaus, DVM

Tuxedo Stan

Disclamer:  I am not Stan’s veterinarian and I have not reviewed his medical information nor talked to his doctors.  Since lymphoma is the most common tumor of cats, all veterinary oncologists have a good deal of experience in managing this disease.

There are many talented cats who blog.  Because I am partial to black and white “tuxedo” cats, Tuxedo Stan from Halifax, Nova Scotia is one of my favorites.  Stan believes in taking a political stand.  He based his 2012 mayoral campaign platform on the plight of stray cats in Halifax.  His politics garnered him endorsements from Ellen DeGeneres and Anderson Cooper.

Early last week Stan announced he was hospitalized at the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) on Prince Edward Island for the treatment of the most common type of feline kidney cancer, lymphoma.  His most recent tweets indicate he has been released and has returned home.

Lymphoma

Lymphoma is the most common type of cancer seen in cats, approximately one third of all tumors in cats are lymphoma.  Stan’s case is a bit unusual since these days most cats with lymphoma suffer from the intestinal form of the disease and, based on his tweets, Stan’s tumor affects his kidneys.  During an examination, veterinarians can palpate (feel) large and irregular kidneys.  Some, but not all cats with lymphoma of the kidneys have increased values on their kidney blood tests because the tumor cells disrupt normal kidney function.  Successful treatment can bring the blood test levels back to normal.

Shaved tummy

In one of his tweets, Stan asked for a sweater because his tummy was cold.  He does live in Canada after all.  Stan’s abdominal organs were most likely evaluated using abdominal ultrasound.  An abdominal x-ray shows the outlines of organs, but an ultrasound lets veterinarians see both the outline and the internal structure of organs as well.  Stan’s tummy was cold because we need to shave the fur in order for the ultrasound probe to contact the skin and produce a clear image of the abdominal organs.

Diagnostic test

When oncologists at The Animal Medical Center find a kidney tumor using ultrasound we typically perform a fine needle aspirate to determine the type of kidney tumor, and I suspect Stan had the same or a similar procedure.  The radiologist uses the ultrasound images to guide a very thin needle into the tumor.  A syringe attached to the needle is used to aspirate (suction) some of the cells out of the tumor.  Once the cells are in the needle, the syringe is detached and air is put into the syringe.  The syringe and needle are reattached and the air is used to push the cells onto a microscope slide.  The slide is stained and evaluated by a specially trained veterinarian called a pathologist.  Sometimes these tests are sent to a central laboratory, but because the diagnosis was so rapid, I suspect Stan’s tumor cells were evaluated by a staff pathologist who works at AVC.

Treatment = Chemotherapy

The mainstay of treatment for lymphoma is chemotherapy.  At The Animal Medical Center, we typically use a multidrug treatment protocol and rotate drugs on a weekly basis.  This protocol attacks tumors using chemotherapy drugs with different mechanisms of action and different toxicity profiles.  Administration of chemotherapy drugs to cats requires them to cooperate while the treatment is given intravenously as an outpatient.  I hope Stan will give us an update about his ongoing treatments.

Here is more information on signs of cancer in cats.

If you prefer feline social media in 140 characters or less, you might want to use this list to find tweeting cats.

Photo: @TuxedoStan

Posted by: Ann Hohenhaus, DVM at 10:06 am

Friday, January 25, 2013

Willa: A Dog Helping Dogs and Humans Through Research

By Ann Hohenhaus, DVM

Willa the Wire Fox Terrier

I lost one of my favorite patients last week.  She was a fifteen pound willful Wire Fox Terrier aptly named Willa.  Because she was a terrier, she defined the word tenacity.  She nearly died several summers ago when her pancreas failed and a severe infection caused her skin and footpads to peel and crust.  Despite the simultaneous occurrence of two serious diseases, she persevered, recovered and continued to patrol the woods for doggie delicacies such as goose poop.   But maybe what I admired the most about this dog was her commitment to scientific research.

Contributing to kidney research

As part of Willa’s annual examination early last year, a blood test known as a senior profile was submitted to the laboratory.  Although her physical examination was normal and her family reported she was doing well, we found mild changes in her kidney tests.  Additional testing revealed protein loss in her urine and high blood pressure.  Home blood pressure monitoring, blood pressure medications and a kidney-friendly diet kept these problems in check.

Dogs with kidney disease tend to develop blood clots, often in their lungs.  Veterinarians do not have a quick, easy test to determine which dogs will develop this catastrophic complication, and veterinary clinician researchers at The AMC received a grant from the Morris Animal Foundation to identify dogs at risk for developing blood clots using a special machine called a thromboelastograph.  If we can identify dogs at risk for blood clots, then we can target those dogs for treatment with blood thinners.  The thromboelastograph tests blood clotting differently than traditional tests and the hypothesis was that this test would identify dogs with an increased risk to form blood clots.  Though a process called “informed consent” Willa’s family agreed to the use of a half teaspoon of her blood to be tested using thromboelastography.  Willa’s test was normal, and results of this study’s data are still undergoing analysis prior to publication.

Investigating infectious disease

Willa’s next research project was in the area of infectious disease.  She became acutely ill after spending part of the Christmas holiday in the country.  Leptospirosis is an infectious disease carried in the urine of wildlife and often found in puddles of water.  Because she had been in the country and because her illness affected her liver, her family again agreed to allow additional testing of her blood for another ongoing AMC study.  First described in 1886 and a frequent cause of death during both world wars, leptospirosis is not a new disease.  But because this disease can infect humans as well as dogs, any improvements we can make in diagnosis and treatment benefits both dogs and humans. Testing confirmed the diagnosis of leptospirosis in Willa.  We alerted her owners and checked out the other dog in the family.  Sadly, the combination pancreatic failure, kidney disease and now a liver problem was too much for Willa and she crossed the Rainbow Bridge, restored to health and vigor.

What Willa taught me

  • Annual examinations and screening blood tests are critical to early identification and management of chronic diseases like kidney disease.
  • More research is needed in all areas of veterinary medicine, including kidney disease and infectious disease.
  • Even a small, willful terrier can make a meaningful contribution to research benefitting both dogs and humans.
Photo: Courtesy of Willa’s Family

Posted by: Ann Hohenhaus, DVM at 9:53 am

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Neutering: Not Just Doggie Birth Control

By Ann Hohenhaus, DVM

vetwithowner

Dexter, a new dachshund patient of mine, was in last week for another round of puppy shots.  He will soon be six months old and it was time for me to discuss the next step in his preventive health care plan:  neutering.

Neutering meets the guidelines

The American Veterinary Medical Association has developed guidelines for responsible pet ownership.  One of the guidelines obligates pet owners to control their pet’s reproduction through spaying and neutering; subsequently helping to control pet overpopulation in their community.  Neutering is the common term for castration of a male dog or cat and spaying refers to removal of the ovaries and uterus, or in some cases just the uterus, of a female pet.

Lifesaving responsibility

Pet overpopulation is a serious issue in the United States today.  According to the Humane Society of the United States, over 4 million unwanted pets are destroyed annually.  For every puppy or kitten prevented by neutering an adult pet, there is one less homeless and unwanted puppy or kitten euthanized in an animal shelter.

The traditional surgery

Surgical removal of the testicles is the current standard of care in both dogs and cats.  This surgery renders a male dog or cat unable to reproduce and also removes the major source of the male hormone, testosterone.  Removing the source of testosterone eliminates mating behavior in males and also plays a role in eliminating other unwanted dog behaviors.  In both the dog and cat, neutering involves a small skin incision through which the testicles are removed.  Cats typically go home the same day, but dogs may stay overnight to recover from anesthesia and for incisional monitoring.

My recommendation

Dexter’s owners were concerned about the surgery.  They asked if he could just have a vasectomy instead of the traditional neutering surgery.  Because my job is to make the best medical recommendations for the specific health concerns of each of my patients, I recommended the traditional surgery for Dexter.  It provides him with the greatest number of health benefits.  The surgery prevents unwanted litters of puppies and also prevents prostatic disease, testosterone-induced tumors and behaviors linked to testosterone production.

Photo: Brand X Pictures

Posted by: Ann Hohenhaus, DVM at 9:47 am

Friday, January 18, 2013

You Can Help Prevent Hip Dysplasia in your Dog

By Ann Hohenhaus, DVM

Severe hip arthritis as a result of hip dysplasia in a dog. Red circles highlight the hip joints.

Today, I received a call from a pet owner whose dog I had taken care of several years ago.  I remember how heartbroken she was when I euthanized Stormy, her rescued Labrador.  Stormy was not sick, his liver and kidneys were fine and he didn’t have cancer.  But Stormy could no longer walk due to the lifelong effects of hip dysplasia.  Nursing a large dog with limited mobility in a New York City apartment without an elevator is nearly impossible.  After a Herculean effort to keep Stormy going, this loving pet owner realized his time had come.

She called today because she was thinking about getting a new dog.  She hoped not to repeat the scenario she had experienced with Stormy and asked for advice on how she might help prevent hip dysplasia in her new dog.

What is hip dysplasia?

The end result of hip dysplasia is hip arthritis, but the problem starts much earlier.  Hip dysplasia is an incurable developmental disorder.  While the exact mechanism is unknown, one theory suggests loose hips in young dogs change the maturation of the hip joint, resulting in abnormally formed hip joints, which later lead to hip arthritis.  A competing hypothesis proposes dogs with hip dysplasia have abnormal cartilage and bone formation in their hips as the cause of arthritis.  Regardless of the cause, as the arthritis worsens, dogs become stiff, less active and lose strength in their hind legs.  In the worst cases, they lose the ability to walk without assistance.

How do dogs get hip dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia starts with the genetic make-up of a dog.  Certain genes have been identified that occur in dogs with hip dysplasia.

Someday, veterinarians hope to be able to screen dogs’ DNA through a simple blood test and determine their risk for hip dysplasia.

Dogs without hip dysplasia

No one can promise with total certainty that your new dog will not have bad hips.  Purchasing a dog born to parents with certified hips may decrease the risk.  Two well-known organizations are Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and PennHip.

We know small breed dogs are less likely to have hip dysplasia than large breed dogs, but some small breed dogs still suffer from this disease.

Preventing hip dysplasia

Obesity is a hip dysplasia risk factor you can control.  Scientific research has shown that thin dogs are less likely to develop hip dysplasia, and if your dog has bad hips and is overweight or obese, losing weight will improve his ability to walk.

A recently published study of Norwegian dogs including Newfoundlands, Leonbergers, Labradors and Irish Wolfhounds, found an association between daily use of stairs in puppies less than three months of age and development of hip dysplasia.  For puppies less than three months of age, exercising in an area with soft ground and park-like terrain protected puppies against developing hip dysplasia.

Photo: AMC Radiology Department

Posted by: Ann Hohenhaus, DVM at 10:05 am

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Plan Ahead for International Pet Travel

By Ann Hohenhaus, DVM

Dog in Convertible

With the holidays over and summer not yet here, now is a good time to think about advanced planning for the upcoming trip you and your pet will be taking.  If you haven’t thought about taking a trip with your pet, think again.  Millions of Americans travel with their pets both locally and internationally and according to an August 2012 TripAdvisor.com survey, 49% of the pet owning public have plans to travel with their pets.

Get some ID

Entrance into many countries requires your pet to have a permanent form of identification.  The best form is a microchip placed by your veterinarian.  Even if you don’t plan to travel anytime soon, every pet should have a microchip to help get them back home if they are lost.  If your pet already has a microchip, double check and make sure the registration information is paid and up to date.  Inaccurate information in the microchip database prevents animal rescue groups from contacting you when they find your pet.

Do your homework

Research the pet entry requirements for your destination. Every country is different.  As a start, review the information provided by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Their website contains both general information and some country-specific information about pet travel.

You should also locate information on pet travel on the website of the country you plan to visit.  Although you and your pet are simply going on vacation, the information about pet entry requirements may be found under import/export regulations.  If you cannot find the information or you need further clarification, call the country’s consulate or embassy.  The United States Department of State has a listing.

If you find conflicting information about entry requirements, the destination country holds the trump card, so rely on their website and embassy.

Pack the paper

Not newspaper, but your pet’s papers.  According to TripAdvisor.com, only 45% of pet owners travel with health certificates and rabies documentation.  I find this surprising.  Keeping your pet’s vaccinations up to date and keeping their vaccination certificates on file will help streamline obtaining critical travel documents.  Bring copies with you and ask your veterinarian for a summary of your pet’s medical conditions and medications.

Important reminders

  • Start early. Some countries require your pet to have a special rabies blood test performed.  Only certain laboratories perform this test and timing is critical.
  • Even though you may have started preparing early for your trip, certain travel documents must be signed only days before departure.  Allow time in your schedule to finalize any of your pet’s travel documents.
  • Some countries require your pet’s health papers be signed by a USDA accredited veterinarian.  Not all veterinarians are accredited, so check with your veterinarian well in advance of your trip to make sure you have an appointment with one who can sign the travel papers.

 

Photo: Digital Vision

Posted by: Ann Hohenhaus, DVM at 10:27 am

Friday, January 11, 2013

Constipation in Cats

By Ann Hohenhaus, DVM

Topaz The Cat

Topaz’s family called me from his Christmas vacation in Florida.  They were concerned because they found this older gentleman of a cat straining in his litter box, but not producing any stool.  Since I was here at The Animal Medical Center and he was 1,000 miles away, I suggested a safe treatment of canned pumpkin mixed into his food until he returned home and could come visit me a couple of days later.

Complicated constipation

I was anxious to see Topaz when he returned because cats with constipation can be difficult to manage, and there is often an underlying problem causing constipation. I thought the problem might be as simple as dehydration from traveling and being in a strange environment.  But Topaz’s family said he was drinking water, in fact, drinking a lot of water.

Too much water

Excessive water consumption in a patient gives some very specific clues to the underlying problem, which may include kidney problems or diabetes.

I checked Topaz’s urine, but it did not contain sugar like a typical diabetic patient.  The urine sample was submitted to the laboratory and they reported white blood cells were present, suggesting an infection.  Based on this finding, I asked the laboratory to test the urine for the presence of bacteria.

A blockage?

Sometimes constipation is not a medical problem but due to an intestinal blockage.   A fractured pelvis, tumors of the colon, or pelvis impinging on the pelvic canal can all prevent normal fecal passage.  This possibility forced me to perform a rectal examination, much to Topaz’s chagrin.  He was happy since it was normal and because I promised not to do that to him again.

Blood tests tell the story

In addition to testing the urine, I also submitted blood to the laboratory.  Routine blood tests screen for a wide variety of common conditions such as anemia, infection, liver problems and kidney disease.

Topaz’s tests showed a mild anemia and elevations in tests indicating a kidney problem.  Kidney disease is common in older cats and often leads to dehydration and constipation.  Because of the white blood cells in his urine, I was suspicious that the cause of Topaz’s kidney problem was an infection.

Treatment

Topaz got an injection of a long-acting antibiotic, and since his family is experienced with sick cats, they already know how to give fluids under the skin to keep him hydrated and help flush any infection out of his kidneys.

After a few days of home health care, Topaz has fully recovered.

Topaz’s story demonstrates how early intervention can help achieve a positive outcome for your pet and highlights some important reasons to take your cat (or dog) to the veterinarian, including:

  • Increased water consumption
  • Increased urination
  • Constipation
Photo: Dr. Philip Fox

Posted by: Ann Hohenhaus, DVM at 6:00 am

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