Health Issues in cats
Firstly I must point out I am not a vet. I do have a lot of knowledge on animal health, but I can not diagnose and I can not tell you what to do. I have made it a hobby to learn about health of animals. So this page may well be help for you.
We vaccinate our cats these days against Cat flu. But the truth is our cat can still catch cat flu. So why is this? For many reasons. Their is not one or two types of cat flu, their are hundreds of virus that is caught by contact from an infected animal, or the virus is carried on your clothing from touching a cat that has had cat flu. Most virus's have a 10 day incubation period.
If you go to cat shows, these are the worst places to go as you can come back with a nice dose of cat flu. It is advisable to put your cat in a quarantine pen for 10 days after the show. If the cat shows no signs after 10 days you can then introduce into your cattery.
The two main cat flu is the Corona Virus, and Calici Virus. But remember their are hundreds.
Why is it your cat can catch cat flu even though it is vaccinated? A lot of this is down to vaccinating at a time when the cat has not made anti bodies. This can be because vets are vaccinating too early. They will now vaccinate at 8 weeks of age. But the kitten has mothers anti bodies up to 16 weeks. Ideally go on U Tube and put in Dr Ronald Schultz in America. He is not anti vaccine as he makes vaccine. But he is telling us we are doing it all wrong. He advises 16 weeks before first vaccine is given, when mothers antibodies have worn off. Then the cat is able to make anti bodies with vaccine. But instead of vaccinating yearly for the rest of the cats life, we should blood titre test. The smallest response means their are anti bodies.
Symptoms of cat flu: Snotty nose, depressed, opens mouth to breath, runny eyes. Eyes swollen and closed.
Treatment: Anti biotics or Penecillan. Sometimes Steroid.
Is it cureable? Yes. Although some cats may carry it the rest of their lives, and when they are run down or immune comprisied it can rear its head. If your cat has cat flu, and it re occurs then it is advisable not to breed from it. Spay or neuter and re-home to a pet home is your best option.
Most catteries in their time will come across cat flu. It is unavoidable, but some flu or virus's are better than others. But you can do things to help keep your cats living quarters as clean as possible with the disinfectant called Anigene. This product kills cat flu. So put a cap full in the cats bedding when you wash it. Also wash the whole living quarters of your cats and clean cat litter trays daily.
This is not something I have come across in my cats. Although I know breeders who have had them in their cats. I have seen umbilical hernias in dogs so I have a good knowledge on hernias. An umbilical hernia is not something to worry about as it is not the same as a human hernia. Stress to the cord straight after birth determines an umbilical hernia. Important information is now coming out that the placentas should remain on the cord for as long as possible and then cut them off. The reason is important stem cells are still coming from the Placenta to give immunity to the kittens in its start in life. Once the placenta is laying their after a few minutes you can tear the placenta from the cord, but leave a long cord on. Mum may eat the placenta or she may not. If she does it helps release more oxytocin which brings on another kitten. Now if a queen chews the cords herself thats absolutely fine. I am talking about the times when they do not. I once had a queen that wouldn't eat one single placenta. Their are two different kinds of umbilical hernias. A small fat lump which causes no issue what so ever to the cat in its lifetime. Then you have an hernia which has intestine in it. A vet will determine which type it is. If it has intestine inside the vet must correct the hernia.
Blocked Tear Ducts
When we think of how quickly a kitten is formed. From mating to birth is 9 weeks roughly. So the kitten has to develop all major organs in a very short time. Sometimes the animals has to catch up. Sometimes tear ducts have not started to work properly, and can take up to 13 weeks to start. Clean any tear staining on a daily basis and keep the eye clean. Make sure the cat is not rubbing the eyes with his paws. Consult your veterinary surgeon. Their are operations they can do to flush the tear duct incase it is blocked. But often they wait to see if the face changes shape and they will not suggest operating until kitten is much older.
Kittens can get constipated if fed raw. Raw food is basically a chicken carcass put through a mincer put in a nice container. But if a cat gets too much bone, it can become constipated. The stools may build up just inside the anus, and cause a lump which the cat can not pass. The fur will become messed up and stick together and it makes the problem worse.
Symptoms: Deflated feeling poorly, straining for a poo and not passing it, blood around anus. Large build up of poo just inside anus.
Treatment: Seek your veterinary surgeon. But the way to stop this is if you feed raw, to mix water into the minces. If your cat goes to the vet they will often diagnose a relaxant and lactulose. They will also take the cat out the back and get the poo out of the anus. I would suggest your cat is bathed around its bottom with a good cat shampoo, then wash with hibiscrub. Then get some Vaseline and rub around the anus and just inside. Once fur has dried get scissors and trim neatly the fur away from the anus. Then make sure you add in other meat types, and do not give just chicken minces. Give some minced beef, or lamb into the chicken. Although raw diet is the best diet for cats you must be aware of what mixture you need to use. So check out my diet pages.
We vaccinate against Leukaemia. When we think of Leukaemia in humans we question why are we vaccinating animals yet humans do not get a vaccine. It is because the type in cats is viral. The cat will be very depressed, and die.
It is caught by contact only. So if your cat goes in your garden and meets another cat and has a fight, it can be passed by blood and saliva. But also if an infected cat drinks from the water bowl and your cat drinks from same bowl then again it can be passed by saliva. So ideally do not leave water bowls outside, do not have cat flaps where a cat can come into your house.
It is advisable to let your cat be older before that first Leukaemia vaccine as it can cause health problems in cats. For example, swelling at the injection site, hair loss at injection site. Kidney failure, inflamed joints which can even present itself 6 months after the vaccine. Fitting and sickness or diarrhoea.
Treatment: Seek your veterinary surgeon. They will advise on best course of treatment. Be aware that many vets do not want to admit to vaccine reactions.
FIP (Feline Infectious Peridontus)
FIP is often the cause of pedigree breeders to give up breeding, as vets tell owners that they should immediately stop breeding. But FIP is not necessarily the adult cats fault. The Corona virus (Cat flu) mutates into FIP. So your cat may of contracted cat flu mild or severe and it then mutates. It has not been disproved yet that the actual cat flu vaccine is not responsible for starting FIP with in the cat. The truth is the people who should know don't like to say why cats get FIP. Vets really do not have the information as to why it appears in many cats. The key of course could be it was given Corona Virus as a vaccine, and then it mutated in some animals. Of course I can not prove this, but I have read extensively to widen my knowledge.
Often cats die before 9 months of age if they have FIP. It does not mean the breeding pair have had corona virus. It can even be the kitten has picked this up after leaving breeder premises. So before you contact a breeder to complain, really do your research and do not take the parts you want to believe. Read it all!
Prevention of FIP is done with a strict quarantine rules. Keeping litter boxes clean with Anigene. Anigene kills Corona Virus and Calici virus, and so much more. Keeping bedding clean by also putting Anigene in the washing machine. Also washing down run ways, pens, and walkways.
If your cat has Corona virus then it may indeed be better to neuter the cat. I would not use the parents in a breeding program in the future if it was confirmed from 13 weeks the kitten had Corona Virus. If someone gets back to you years later you can not confirm where the cat picked up Corona Virus from. So a wide area of ifs and butts.
FE vaccine is normally given with cat flu when kittens are 9 and 12 weeks old. This disease affects the bowels. The symptoms are profuse watery and bloody discharge. The cat may be depressed, have dehydration and sick. If you suspect your cat has FE it is best to contact your veterinary surgeon immediately for treatment. It is highly infections and if you own other cats they may also catch it. Keeping clean is very important with all infections disease and quarantine must be undertaken.
So how come if its called Leukaemia can it be caught from other cats? Human Leukaemia is not something caught. Apparently they can not be classified as the same thing. Although they are both cancer. The cat strain is viral. The human one is not. Leukaemia means unfortunately a bad outcome for your cat. So from the time you notice your cat is not well it is already on the slippery slope downwards, Im sorry to say. A vet will treat as best as they can do. It is caught by blood or saliva. So contact. So if you let your cat in the garden and it drinks from a water bowl in the garden that an infected cat has done, your cat could then get Leukaemia.
Their is a vaccine for Leukaemia and its done at kitten vaccines with a lot of vets. We ask the vet not to do this, and my vets agree totally that waiting at least a month and splitting this vaccine is the way forward. Vaccines all together can cause a poorly kitten or even death. Its just not worthy doing to any small baby. Although at some point you must get the kitten vaccinated. Keeping your cat in the house until the vet gives you the okay after vaccinating it. Until then keep the cat inside. Follow your vets instructions.
This is a common problem in breeding cats in England. If any kitten presents runny nose, coughing and depressed the parents maybe carrying chlamydia. The treatment is antibiotic which is designed to control chlamydia. Kittens born at a young age may die for no known reason but its chlamydia. A test on the parents can be done but unless they are shedding on that very day the result will be negative. It is advisable not to hold cats at OPEN stud, as you could be brining in your worst nightmare. Because swabs have to be positive before a vet can confirm Chlamydia it is rather difficult because cats do not shed the disease all the time. So even if the cats eyes are running it doesn't mean its shedding the virus at that moment. Its a hard one to capture.
Polycystic Kidney Disease is a hereditary disease of the kidneys which can be eradicated through breeding cats. A test for PKD can be submitted by a swab of cheek cells DNA and sent to any UK Laboratory. You will get either a result which states Clear on both genes, or may carry. You should never breed together two carriers together however.
If you have a clear cat and a carrying cat you can breed them as the offspring will never develop it, they can only carry it. So you would then on test all the kittens and do not sell on the carrying kitten especially on active. If breeders do not use carriers at all the gene pool will become small. However I must say their is actually enough clear cats in the UK so that carriers do not have to be used. You also do not use effected cats in your breeding program.
For the cat itself symptoms are usually fatally by the age of 2. Cysts form around the kidneys which cause death eventually and no operation can give the cat a better life span.
So breeders health test your breeding cats before breeding. If you go out to stud request a copy of the PKD certificate so you can show your kitten buyers. Do not just believe that its been done, make sure its been done.
FOOD NOT SUITING
Cats are not designed to eat any grain. This is something the western world has created and although a cat can live on dried foods containing grain, they do not do as well. Some animals are more sensitive to Gluten. If your cat stool is firm, doesn't smell and is small then the food is suiting your cat. If however the stools are loose, foul smelling, then most likely the diet you are giving is not suiting. I have noted myself that cats that have continued onto raw have much better healthier fur than the ones kibble fed. Kibble fed cats fur is dull, lifeless, and you can get dandruff close to the fur. I would try your cat on Applaws tinned foods first to see how it adapts to that. If you can feed raw with bone then do so as this will firm up the stools. I find some well known dried food makes just upset cats stomachs too much.
You can not get away from fur balls. This is common during the moulting season as the cat licks fur and digests fur. This accumulates inside the stomach and then comes up as sick. You can not do an awful lot about this, except groom your cat more regular. Some foods state they dissolve some of the cat hair in the stomach. What ever food you give the only thing you can do is groom your cat. Cleaning up the fur balls as you go. It is natural for cats to groom themselves and the tongue has little hooks on it which gathers loose hair. If swallowed it passes through the stomach and into the intestines with out much problem, but sometimes it is not passed and then it is sick bringing it up. The word fur balls we would assume them to be round, but actually they are more like long and tubular. Sometimes cats may become constipated and lethargic due to the fur being lodged in stomach. The cat usually does vomit up the hair balls, but some extreme cases have not passed it, and has had to be surgically removed. But this is rare.
All cats can in their time have ear mites, but some seem prone to them. If your cat is a house cat it can still catch them. Any parasite is crafty in its survival. If your cat is scratching his ears and making them bleed? Most likely your cats got ear mites. You will need not only a good ear cleaner but you will need ear mite drops which will kill the mites. Ear mites do not just live in ears, they also live under armpits, and groins, anywhere its nice and warm to multiply. So vets prescribe Advocate for the skin also.
Cats are prone to injury as they leap and jump from high surfaces. Sometimes it is the cause of vaccine damage. Lameness can be mild to severe. If your cat is slightly lame, and showing no signs of pain, most likely the lameness will go away after 2-4 weeks. If the lameness is severe you must go to the vets. They will firstly check by X-ray the bones, and if this is not conclusive they will treat with anti inflammatory pills. They will take good care of you so its best to get a veterinary opinion. If you own more than one cat it can even be they are playing too hard and it has caused muscle soreness. Do not be afraid to seek practitioners called Mc Timothy as they will manipulate your cats body and help relieve pain.
If you let your cat outside it may come across a dominant cat, ferrel or domesticated. If your cat has holes or tears you must seek your vets advice. Antibiotics are needed for the bacteria that may enter the blood stream. They may have to shave fur and wash the skin. They can not close fully a bite mark as it will close in bacteria and this can be detrimental. If the tears are large, then they can leave a small drain in the cat but stitch up around it. Your vet will advise you what to do.
All animals teeth can get dirty over the years, cats loose teeth in their older years and you may have to change their diet to a softer food to eat. It is impossible to clean cats teeth ourselves, so you will have to rely on your vet to do it for you. It is always advisable to have a yearly health check. Rotten teeth cause bad breath. In rarer cases some cats may get mouth cancer.
Cancer is on the increase in humans and animals. Their is a whole range of ideas as to why. Pollution is one major factor of cancer, chemicals also. Do not over use flea and worming treatments. Do not over vaccinate your animals. One of the biggest increase in dog cancer has now been proven to be early neutering, or neutering at all. This is of great concern. A female cat will start to call anything from 6 months to 18 months. Once they start this is the change of their life. They call every couple of weeks until mated, and if left can develop infections as cats instinct is to be bred all the time. It is near impossible to leave a female cat entire as it is not fair, but I must mention the fact of cancer increase. Smoking is also another cause of animal cancer. Cats inhale the smoke in the house from humans.