MY OLD(ER) CAT IS LOOKING THIN …
As they get older, some cats can start to look very thin and dishevelled. Whilst this can be a natural process, it is not always just “a sign of old age”. Losing weight, taking less care of their appearance and drinking more water can be signs of treatable problems. If you are concerned that this may be happening to your cat, make an appointment for us to examine them. A blood test may be required to investigate matters.
The two most common diseases in thin older cats are Kidney disease and Hyperthyroidism. Both of these can cause a cat to look increasingly thin and unwell, but happily both can be treated to minimise the effects on your cat. As we focused on Hyperthyroidism in a previous newsletter, we thought we would offer some information about Kidney disease below.
The kidneys have an important function in regulating water balance in the blood and in removing waste products from the body. As cats get older, and their kidneys stop working as well as they used to, the waste products can build-up leading to feelings of nausea and a loss of appetite. Additionally the water balance is upset, leading to your cat drinking and passing urine more often or in greater quantities. The first sign to be noticed can be your cat seeming to be always at the water bowl.
Whilst this could be seen as a sign of natural ageing, there are some things which can be done to keep your cat feeling happy and healthy for longer.
- FOOD: There are diets specifically designed to reduce the load on the kidneys and slow progression of the disease. This alone can help in milder cases, or at the early stages.
- FOOD ADDITIVES: Products can be added to the diet to help your cat retain important nutrients and eliminate damaging substances.
- TABLETS: Tablets can be prescribed which act to support kidney function and reduce the negative effects on your cat, in many cases reducing drinking and improving appetite.
- TRANSPLANT: Kidney transplants are technically feasible, but the Royal College guidance is that use of living donors is not allowed in the UK. This treatment is unlikely to be available.
Hopefully this gives you a quick overview and, if you have an older cat which is losing weight, gives you hope that there is something which can be done to manage the problem, and keep your cat happier for longer.
WORLD ANTIBIOTIC AWARENESS WEEK - 12th to 18th November 2018
Antibiotic resistance is a growing and very serious problem in the world, with some bacteria becoming to resistant to all but one, or even all, current antibiotics. As vets we are trying to minimise any contribution to this problem from usage in pets. Whilst it may seem that antibiotics will always be needed when your pet is poorly, they must be used carefully and only in specific circumstances.
The British Veterinary Association is operating a campaign called “Trust Your Vet”. This explains some of the reasons why we say and do the things we do when it comes to antibiotics.
- Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections, so they are not required where the condition is caused by a virus.
- Different antibiotics work against different bacteria, so sometimes tests are needed to determine which antibiotic is required. In cases where the initial treatment is not working, another antibiotic may be required which is not necessarily “stronger”.
- The instructions about giving antibiotics are important: they work best when given in the correct dose, at the right time, and for the full duration of the course prescribed.
- Keeping your pet healthy through a balanced diet, regular exercise, and regular check-ups and vaccinations can help prevent the development of illness.
- We strongly discourage starting antibiotic treatment yourself using tablets from an earlier condition or another pet. They may not be appropriate for your pet’s current condition, or they may be toxic for certain animals, out of date or contaminated. Also, never give human medicines to your pet, except under veterinary advice, as they could be dangerous.
Any use of an antibiotic can contribute towards antibiotic resistance. To keep antibiotics working for animals and people they should only be used when absolutely necessary.
CREEPY CRAWLIES ….
FLEAS are the most common and well known parasite of domestic pets, and most pets will get fleas at some point during their lives. Fleas are a year round problem, and as the weather gets colder they can still live happily in the carpets and furnishings of our warm houses.
The best way to protect from fleas is prevention. Once fleas get into your home, it will take a minimum of three months to get rid of them properly because of the way that their life cycle works. It is important to remember that if you see fleas on your pet only 5% are on the animal – the other 95% are in the environment! This means that it is essential to treat not only the pet that you have seen the fleas on, but all other pets in the house, and the house itself.
There are many products available to both prevent and treat flea infestation, including spot on treatments, tablets, collars and sprays. We also offer free flea clinics with one of the nurses where we can discuss how best to protect or treat your pets.
Also, remember that we offer a 10% discount on flea (and worm) treatment bought at the same time as you have your pet vaccinated.