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Posts Tagged ‘Cats’

Guidance regarding coronavirus and cats

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
A statement was recently issued by DEFRA who confirmed that a pet cat in England had tested positive for COVID-19 following tests at the Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA) on 22nd July. The cat only showed mild signs of the virus, and has since made a full recovery.

We appreciate that at this time pet owners may be worried about this news, but would like to reassure our clients that there is still no evidence that infected pets can pass COVID-19 directly to humans. There are only a small number of cases where COVID-19 has been diagnosed in pets worldwide, and transmission was from an infected human to the animal.

Our advice remains if you have COVID-19, or are self-isolating with symptoms, to restrict contact with your pets as a precautionary measure and to ensure good hygiene standards such as regular hand washing. The virus can potentially be present on your pets’ fur, in the same way it is on other surfaces, further highlighting the important of maintaining good hygiene at all times.
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Parasites: Endoparasites and your cat

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
The most common intestinal worms that cats can be susceptible to are roundworms and tapeworms. Your pet may not show signs of infection with mild burdens, however with heavy burdens they may experience weight loss, vomiting, diarrhoea and failure to thrive.

Some worms can also be passed onto humans and therefore it is important to regular treat your cat to prevent these parasites.

Roundworms
There are two common roundworms in cats Toxocara cati and Toxascaris leonina. Eggs are passed in the faeces and are able to remain viable in the environment for several years. Infection to other animals may either be through ingestion of eggs from contaminated ground or ingestion of an intermediate host (e.g. mouse or bird) that are infected. Toxocara cati can also be passed from queen to the kittens within the milk.

Hookworms
Hookworms (Ancylostoma tubaeforme and Uncinaria stenocephala) are more common within other countries throughout the world. These worms can cause damage to the lining of the intestine causing signs of weight loss bleeding or anaemia. Cats can become infected through the ingestion of the worm eggs from the environment or by larvae burrowing through the cat’s skin.

Heartworm
Heartworm otherwise known as Dirofilaria immitis is another parasite which is treated against. Signs of infection of heartworm may include coughing, asthma-like attacks, perioidic vomiting, lack of appetite or weight loss.

Tapeworms
These tapeworms will tend to be referred to a resembling a ‘grain of rice’. Tapeworms are long flat worms consisting of many segments and mature segment holding eggs will be released from the end of the tapeworm and passed in the faeces. These ‘grains of rice’ may be visible around the animal’s anus, in the faeces or on the pet’s bed. Cats can become infected with Taenia taeniaeformis through the ingestion of an infected intermediate host such as a mouse or bird. Dipylidium caninum has an intermediate host of the flea and your cat could become infected through the ingestion on a flea.

Our general advice regarding worming of your cat, is that kittens should be wormed every 2 weeks from 3 weeks of age until 8 weeks, then it is recommended to treat monthly until 6 months of age. After 6 months, worming will depend on certain factors such as outdoor access, hunting, and the presence of children or other vulnerable people with the household. These individuals should be treated more regularly as they will be classed as a higher risk and it is also advised to use a product to treat against fleas to minimise the risk of tapeworm.

If you have any questions regarding your cat’s parasite control, our staff would be more than happy to help.
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Guidance regarding cats and coronavirus

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
On 8th April 2020, the BBC released a statement regarding keeping your cats indoors during lockdown. We would like to clarify that this statement from the British Veterinary Association (BVA) is not advising all cats to be kept indoors. Only cats that are living within households where individuals are infected with COVID-19 are being advised to stay inside, and then only if your feline friend is happy to do so – some cats may not be able to due to stress-related medical conditions.

The reason this is advised for cats living in households with infected individuals is that the virus could be on their fur in the same way it could be present on other surfaces. Therefore it is essential to maintain good hygiene when handling your pet at this time.

As per our previous statement regarding Coronavirus and our pets, the World Health Organisation of Animal Health (OIE) have advised that: “There is no evidence that dogs (or cats) can contract or spread infection of COVID-19.” Pet owners are at no more risk from their furry friends than they are inanimate objects such as a door handle. The best approach is still to stick to good hygiene, using soap and water to wash hands regularly throughout the day.

Read full BVA statement here – www.bva.co.uk/news-and-blog/news-article/bva-statement-on-cats-and-covid-19
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Chronic Kidney Disease in cats

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is thought to affect a third of all cats over 10 years of age. As time goes on we have more and more to offer animals diagnosed with this condition, and we hope to give cats with chronic kidney disease a good quality of life for as long as possible. The prognosis for cats diagnosed with chronic kidney disease can be excellent, and some cats will go on to lead happy lives for many months or even several years.

Usually once CKD is diagnosed, we cannot identify the original cause, as it most likely happened earlier in the cat’s life. The kidney is an organ that cannot regenerate (regrow) and so CKD is not a disease that can be cured. The disease will usually progress over time and, unfortunately, in a lot of cases, the end stage is kidney failure. However, with treatment we aim to support the function of the kidneys for as long as possible, and also to minimise any complications.

Most cats diagnosed with CKD will have vague symptoms including weight loss, reduced appetite, drinking more and urinating more and vomiting intermittently. If you notice any of these signs at home do book your cat in for check with a vet as it is likely that we would recommend a blood test and a urine test. Often though these signs are difficult to notice as they come on gradually, and so it can be at a yearly booster or other check up that weight loss or other symptoms are found.

Once CKD has been diagnosed, if your cat is otherwise well and eating well, the vet will discuss the best way to manage the disease. If your cat is unwell when they are first diagnosed, they may initially need more intensive treatment which might involve a stay in hospital.

We will often recommend a change of diet to a prescription diet, and there is evidence to show that this is one of the most important factors in slowing down the progression of CKD. We do know however that a lot of cats will struggle to change their diet, and it is always more important that they are eating well and are happy, so we will always discuss with you whether this is right for your cat.

Monitoring your cat with regular blood and urine tests and blood pressure measurements is very important as it allows us to pick up changes early so that medication can be added if required and any complications picked up. We hope that by picking up CKD as early as possible we can prolong your cat’s good quality life as long as possible.

Our free senior cat checks are a perfect chance to discuss any concerns you may have about any of the symptoms of CKD, or any other worries. Please call us at the cat clinic to book your cat in.
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Are you Lungworm Aware?

WHAT IS LUNGWORM?

Lungworm otherwise known as Angiostrongylus Vasorum in dogs, and Aelurpstrongylus Abstrusus in cats. This parasite resides in the heart and pulmonary arteries and can therefore be fatal. There has been an increase in recorded canine Lungworm cases, but it is still less common than other dog parasites such as flea, ticks and worms. Feline lungworm cases are currently rare, but more cases are confirmed each year.

HOW CAN YOUR PET GET LUNGWORM?

Dogs become infected by this parasite through the ingestion of infected slugs and snails. You may not necessary see your pet ingest any slugs or snails, as they may do it accidently when eating grass or drinking from outdoor water bowls. Cats who hunt birds and rodents will be at a higher risk of ingesting this parasite.

HOW CAN IT BE DIAGNOSED?

Lungworm can be diagnosed by:
  • Blood test
  • Faecal test
  • X-ray
  • Bronchoscopy

HOW WILL YOUR PET BE AFFECTED BY LUNGWORM?

Canine symptoms can vary between cases, the most common signs are: coughing, lethargy, weight loss, poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, excess bleeding from minor wounds and seizures.
Felines may never show signs that they are affected by Lungworm, however if symptoms do occur they can include coughing, difficulty breathing and poor body condition.

WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR LUNGWORM?

Treatment is available for Lungworm cases in the form of a monthly prescription only treatment, which kills the L4 Lungworm larvae as well as other intestinal worms and fleas. However, in severe cases, this condition may be hard to treat.

PREVENTION IS KEY with Lungworm.

Here are some tips to help
  • Pick up the poop – Lungworm larvae is passed out in your pets faeces and therefore picking up after our pets prevents spread of the parasites
  • Pick up their toys – toys that left outdoors will be exposed to slugs and snails, increasing the risk of parasite spread
  • Don’t leave their food and water bowls outside – these will be exposed to slugs and snails increasing risk to your pet.
  • Monthly prescription only worming treatment will protect your pet against Lungworm and reduce its spread. Not all spot on treatments treat against Lungworm, so please contact us for advice. Unfortunately at present, there is no licensed preventive treatment for cat lungworm. Lungworm prevention for dog is included in our Pet Health Care plans.
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