Ask The Vet - Dr. Anne Pierce, DVM

Nasal Polyps

A few weeks ago I was scheduled to perform a euthanasia on a feral cat that concerned neighbor was bringing in.  When she arrived she told me that the cat had belonged to a man who had lived near her, but he had died, and his family members had decided that the best thing to do with his cats was to kick them outside and move away.   She had been providing food for the cats, but this one was having some noticeable trouble breathing.  She had given him antibiotics, but he was only getting worse.  He seemed to be eating and drinking well and feeling otherwise normal, but the respiratory difficulty was becoming so pronounced that she was very concerned that he might suffocate and she didn’t want him to have a terrible demise.

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String Caused Foreign Bodies

This time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is an important time in the world of feline sporting events.  All across the country and the world families are erecting decorative cat jungle gyms, which for some unknown reason they stubbornly refer to as "Christmas Trees", and the international feline entropy games begin.  In the competition cats are scored on number of takedowns, degree of difficulty, number and quality of ornaments broken, and minor consideration is given for collateral damage incurred as well.

During this season there is a sneaky danger lurking for many cats--tinsel.  Although cats are not as commonly prone to ingest non-food items as dogs,  there seems to be some appeal to shiny, string-like objects.  For many cats tinsel ingestion may not be due to consciously trying to eat the stuff, but more accidental.  I watched my cat get a piece of fluff stuck on his tongue while playing with it.  He licked the air, flicked his tongue, scraped it on the roof of his mouth, but in the long run he couldn’t get it dislodged until he just swallowed it.  Tinsel can be similarly tenacious, whether caught on the tongue during play or perhaps when a cat is grooming off the pieces that clung to him as he passed by the tree in all his staticky fabulousness.

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The Big Four in Cats

Sometimes as I contemplate a subject for an article I really have to struggle to keep it from being completely dog-centric. It is not that I don’t like cats and exotics, my fuzzy black and orange assistant editors are beloved family members to me. It just seems that dogs have a wider variety of things that happen to them throughout their entire life span, and with the exception of dental disease, indoor cats are not as frequently troubled by so many different things.

 That dynamic starts to shift, however, around the age of 13 to 15 years in most cats. As they start becoming older many cats will develop one of the “Big Four” diseases: diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism, kidney failure, and cancer.

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The Dangers of Outside

O.B is my little orange cat.  Whenever I go outside to work in the garden he stands up on his hind legs, stretches his front legs up as high as he can, and mouths a pitiful meow that clearly says "Please, please, please can I go outside too? All the other  neighborhood  cats get to come to our yard, drink out of the pond, chase the birds, and relieve themselves in the strawberry bed."  Yet like the evil mom of a teenager who can’t understand why he can’t party all night with his friends, I say no every time.

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Ask Dr. Anne Pierce, DVM