Ask the Cat Doc Cats Feline Health

Ask the Cat Doc: Respiratory Issues, Introducing a New Cat, Flea Control for Feral Cats



Welcome to our common “Ask the Cat Doc With Dr. Lynn Bahr” phase! As soon as a month, Dr. Bahr solutions as lots of your questions as she will, and you may depart new questions for her in a remark.

Dr. Bahr graduated from the College of Georgia School of Veterinary Drugs in 1991. In contrast to most veterinarians, she didn’t develop up understanding that she would grow to be a veterinarian. “It was a cat who received me within the follow and I’m eternally grateful to him,” stated Dr. Bahr. Over the course of her veterinary profession, Dr. Bahr discovered that the life-style of cats has modified dramatically. As the life-style of cats has modified, so did Dr. Bahr’s shopper schooling. Along with discovering medical options, she additionally encourages house owners to complement their house environments in order that their cats can stay lengthy, completely happy, and wholesome lives.

This new understanding led Dr. Bahr to mix her ardour for strengthening the human-animal bond together with her veterinary background and information of what animals want and need to begin her personal solution-based cat product firm, Dezi & Roo, impressed by two cats of the identical names.

For extra details about Dezi & Roo and their distinctive and progressive cat toys, please go to Dezi and Roo on Etsy.

Do you could have a query for Dr. Bahr?
Depart it in a remark and she or he’ll reply it in subsequent month’s column!

Cat with respiratory points

Hello Dr and Ingrid: my cat is 12, he’s indoors and on a uncooked food plan since we obtained him 9 years in the past. His solely challenge is respiratory , we had chest X-ray and vet stated he had calcified lungs. Over previous yr he has turn into extra congested , with slight nostril dribble. We put lysine in his meals , put some lung gold drops in his meals and take him to steam within the bathe incessantly. I used to be questioning as he will get older will it worsen and will I think about some steroid drugs I might put him on from a vet. He’s nonetheless lively , nice eater and no different medical points. Your ideas are appreciated. – Clare

Hello Clare,

Thanks for permitting me the chance that will help you together with your 12 yr previous cat and his respiratory problem.  I can’t offer you sound medical recommendation with out much more info, however I want to give you steerage on easy methods to greatest transfer ahead together with your child’s medical situation.  The most effective care is cast when there’s a trusted and powerful relationship between a guardian, the affected person, and the veterinarian.

I are likely to consider that house owners know their pets greatest. If they’re involved, then I’m too. Once they suspect one thing is amiss, I pay attention. I additionally ask one million questions to assist me start my journey of fixing their thriller and serving to make their cat really feel higher. Information is important and the extra info I’ve from an proprietor the faster I might help them. Equally as essential is info gained from the fantastic diagnostics we have now obtainable as we speak. We’d like all the proper instruments to efficiently repair the issue and having diagnostic knowledge is necessary.

On this state of affairs, listed here are some ideas that may assist you to, your cat, and your veterinarian develop a superb strong plan shifting ahead.

Start with statement at house and doc your findings.  A simple and useful method to do that is with a calendar log documenting the severity and frequency of your cat’s sickness. Decide a essential symptom like runny nostril and provides it a quantity from 1-5 on depth. Depart a calendar out the place you will notice it and provides his symptom a rating day by day a document it. Stick with it for no less than a month, extra if vital. This can be a invaluable software to find out the severity and frequency of the issue and permits a baseline to be established.  We’ve got to know our start line so as to measure our success alongside the best way. If there’s multiple symptom that’s of concern, you possibly can add it to the calendar as properly.  Hold it easy although. Share your calendar at every veterinary go to and talk about any modifications.

Respiratory points may be broadly damaged down into higher airway vs decrease airway. The dribble from the nostril is extra possible higher and the calcification within the lungs can be thought-about decrease.  On this specific state of affairs I doubt they’re associated however solely your veterinarian would know for positive.  Ask so that you’ve a transparent understanding of your cat’s state of affairs.

This can be a good alternative to do some additional remark of your personal to assist characterize the precise signs your cat is exhibiting. Residence remark is right due to the stress cats bear at a veterinary clinic.  What house owners see at house is extra correct than what we see within the examination room. Take movies of your cat respiration usually so that you simply and your veterinarian know what regular seems like and may examine later episodes that grow to be subtly irregular. Watch the movies every so often as a way to refer again and search for any modifications you’ll have missed over time.

Take note of the character of the nasal discharge. Is it clear or coloured, thick or skinny? Does it run from one nostril (in that case which one) or from each? These are essential questions that may assist your veterinarian hone in on the issue.

You talked about your cat suffers from congestion however didn’t specify the place it originates from.  Congestion within the higher airways could be very totally different than when it impacts the decrease airways. We will cope with a snotty nostril however pneumonia is critical and life-threatening. It will be useful to know which one is extra probably on this specific state of affairs, higher vs decrease. In case you are listening to irregular sounds out of your cat attempt to determine the place they’re coming from and let your vet know of your findings.

Calcification within the lungs is a standard asymptomatic discovering found on routine chest x-rays.  Nevertheless, there are a number of totally different causes for why calcium is deposited there. Additional diagnostics which are useful in figuring out underlying causes of lung lesions embrace trans tracheal wash, CT, MRI, and biopsies. These would all help in serving to to find out if the lesions are malignant or benign and the way greatest to deal with. If these are choices you’d think about then be certain that your veterinarian is aware of you need extra info on pursuing a analysis.

You requested if this will get worse, would I like to recommend remedy, and the reply is a powerful YES.  Nevertheless, I might not bounce to steroids as my first remedy choice. Whereas they’re very useful in lots of medical circumstances, until I do know what I’m treating, (or a minimum of have an clever guess,) I might be reluctant to make use of any medicine (steroids, antibiotics, and so forth) willy nilly.  I’ve to have a superb purpose to offer a medicine to a cat if I’m going to prescribe it. It’s a choice that’s cast along with the proprietor and finally the affected person.

Be told, do your personal analysis, and ask questions if you find yourself in search of solutions. Be observant and pay shut consideration to your non-verbal companion. These are all issues that may assist you develop a very good plan for the longer term care of the one that you love pet.

Whereas I wasn’t capable of offer you a definitive reply to your drawback, I hope the knowledge was useful to you. Thanks once more for writing in.

Introducing a brand new cat

Hey Dr. Bahr, I’ve four cats and need to introduce my foster cat Ana to the household. She has been in our spare room for 3 months as a result of she had been dwelling on the streets and wanted to really feel protected to cease eradicating her hair. She takes Gabapentin day by day and she or he is doing nice. Nevertheless our mini-introductions throughout feeding and play time via a display door aren’t going nice. Typically she is ok and others she costs and hisses. My cats all have a unique response from avoiding, to ignoring, and one hisses again. Are they only not prepared? Any ideas?  – Kathryn Copeland

Hello Kathryn,

You’re a fantastic individual for serving to get Ana off the streets.  Bless you!

As you at the moment are nicely conscious, profitable cat introductions may be difficult. Whereas some occur seamlessly, many don’t, particularly when there are a number of cats to cope with in a single family. It is likely one of the commonest issues that many cat house owners expertise and I thanks for writing in about it. You aren’t alone.

My experience lies in feline drugs and whereas I do know cat conduct higher than most, I might advocate you get a one-on-one session with somebody like Dr. Marci Koski, a feline behaviorist, who helps house owners with this similar drawback each day.  Did I point out it’s a widespread drawback? You possibly can even discover a few of her concepts on learn how to assist combine new cats into the house from her column on Acutely aware Cat.

Listed here are some issues you possibly can attempt (until you’ve gotten already accomplished them) earlier than reaching out to a behaviorist. Use the Feliway plug in diffusers all through the home however particularly in Ana’s room. Don’t anticipate it to unravel your drawback, however it could actually assist deliver the strain down a notch or two. Have you ever been permitting Ana to discover the whole home whereas the resident cats are safely secured away? If not, you must begin doing that now. It’s time to make her really feel extra inclusive by permitting her entry to discover outdoors of her confinement. Some cats within the clinic get cage aggressive, and it’s my perception some cats confined to rooms in houses really feel the identical means.

Is there a specific cat she lunges at? Are there different cats that she doesn’t appear to thoughts in any respect? Maybe you possibly can provide you with a protected and strategic plan to slowly assimilate her to cats she exhibits a liking to as an alternative of your complete clowder. However first, let her get accustomed to your complete residence by herself.

Many behaviorists advocate rubbing the cats with the identical towel to combine their scents and Pam Johnson-Bennett has a tried and true technique she makes use of right here. Whereas your state of affairs could also be a bit tougher than most, it might be useful so that you can learn Jackson Galaxy’s visitor publish on The Acutely aware Cat about cat to cat introductions.

The love you’ve gotten for cats is clear and I do know you’re doing the whole lot you possibly can to make all of yours comfortable. It’s no straightforward process however I do know you bought this.  Let me know the way it goes and in case you provide you with any concepts of your personal that may assist others in your similar state of affairs.

Flea management for a feral cat colony

Bernadette DeLamar

Pricey Dr Bahr, I too look after and feed a TNR colony with a gaggle of devoted individuals. We usher in gallon jugs of water to every feeding station. We’ve got heard that one capful of apple cider vinegar per gallon jug helps hold fleas away. Is that this right — or simply one other fantasy. I assume it will probably do no hurt. Thanks! – Bernadette DeLamar

Hello Bernadette,

I simply need to say thanks on behalf of the cats in your care. You make this world a greater place for them and they’re fortunate to have somebody such as you searching for them.

Fleas are disgusting creatures that not solely trigger cats discomfort however are dangerous to them as nicely. I perceive your want to get rid of them from the colony nevertheless I might not advocate placing vinegar of their water.  It has a style and should trigger some cats to keep away from consuming the water you’re generously offering them. We wouldn’t need that to occur and since there isn’t a clear proof that vinegar helps repel fleas the tradeoff shouldn’t be value it. Protecting their water clear and recent is a greater concept.

Is it potential to deal with the areas the place the cats sleep with “meals grade” diatomaceous earth or the setting with useful nematodes? These are two protected choices which were proven to assist battle flea infestations.  Ensuring the colony is wholesome and nicely fed will go a great distance in serving to them deal with flea burdens too.  Fortuitously, you might have that coated. Until you’ll be able to bodily contact these cats so as to administer flea medicine serving to them keep wholesome is the most effective you are able to do.

As soon as once more, thanks a lot for serving to cats much less lucky than your personal. It’s a blessing that they have you ever and the others who look after them and I do know they respect the meals, water, and love you present.

Tips on how to use diatomaceous earth and useful nematodes to regulate fleas in feral cats

Hello Dr. Relating to what you stated about ““meals grade” diatomaceous earth and useful nematodes as two attainable choices,” is that one thing I might unfold across the space the place I feed the cats? As for the brewer’s yeast you talked about, it’s okay so as to add that to cat’s meals? How a lot can I be added and the way typically ought to it’s given? – Abby C Abanes

Hello Abby,

Moderately than reply your query myself I’m going to refer you to Bernadette’s reply (see under) which appeared within the remark part on final month’s Ask the Vet. There’s not rather more info I can add to the knowledge she graciously shared.

Thanks a lot on your efforts in serving to the cats you feed and look after.  We’d like extra individuals such as you on this world.

The next reply is offered by Bernadette Kazamarski:

I don’t have a feral colony however help many others with their colonies. I’m additionally a Grasp Gardener and have used DE and useful nematodes in my backyard and yard for many years and extremely advocate. I’ve a couple of extra recommendations on utilization.

Utilizing DE inside their shelters winter and summer time helps hold populations down, as does treating any sleeping areas even outdoors of shelters–underneath decks or on porch furnishings or only a random field. Some veterinarians, farmers and others who work with livestock swear it additionally helps to maintain inner parasites beneath management once they ingest some whereas bathing. I’ve by no means seen a research on this, however within the backyard it’s used to maintain soft-bodied bugs and different creatures beneath management so it might work to a sure extent. It’s also possible to sprinkle it anyplace cats spend time, underneath shrubs, out within the grass, or different areas, nevertheless it washes away with one rain so treating unprotected areas is type of a waste of cash if you’re already spending to care in your colony.

Deal with these bigger areas, particularly grassy areas, with useful nematodes, which colonize and infest flea eggs within the grass in order that they by no means get to turn into biting grownup fleas. Additionally, in the event you keep the world your self (somewhat than a public place), you are able to do a couple of issues together with your panorama to stop fleas from settling in outside. Reduce the grass somewhat taller, three to four inches, to encourage different flea predators to inhabit the grass and eat eggs, larvae and grownup fleas. Rake up mulched areas and restack woodpiles every now and then to show flea eggs, particularly in damp areas.

I’ve given my cats brewer’s yeast since method again within the 80s, earlier than spot-on flea merchandise, when individuals swore by the garlic and yeast mixture. As soon as I discovered concerning the risks of garlic for cats I obtained solely brewer’s yeast tablets and nonetheless give every cat one pill earlier than every meal, not due to fleas, however as a result of it’s a good way to quiet down a big family of cats and allow them to know that their meals is prepared. It might assist with repelling a couple of fleas, however it additionally accommodates B nutritional vitamins that assist their pores and skin and coat usually, and are good for his or her common well being. Human brewer’s yeast dietary supplements are all the time debittered and infrequently include another elements, however it’s all the time greatest to verify. I exploit the tablets, however it additionally is available in a powdered type that some people swear style like cheese topping on popcorn, and cats appear to adore it on their meals, moist or dry. All that may solely assist a feral cat keep wholesome. A bottle of 500 tablets is often underneath $10.00, and a bottle of an equal quantity of powder just isn’t far more.

Thanks for caring for group cats, particularly attending to TNR! Stopping extra kittens is the easiest way to deal with outside cat populations.

Sorry for the mini lecture, it’s one I’ve obtained memorized in any case these years.”

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