Archive for August, 2012

A single heartworm can be fatal in cats

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Veterinarian John Kaya reminds owners that cats are susceptible to heartworm disease and should be on a monthly prevention medication because even a single adult worm can lead to the untimely death of a cat. Dr. Kaya relates the story of 4-year-old Chisai, a cat who died of heart failure caused by one heartworm that had become wrapped around a heart valve. MidWeek (Kaneohe, Hawaii)/MidWeek Kauai (8/29)


Feline Heartworm Can Be Fatal

By on Aug 29, 2012 in Lifestyle, The Wild Side

This story is about Fumiko and her beloved cat Chisai, and their story must be told.

It was a brisk morning in December, and I arrived at the office early to check on a hospital patient. Walking through our parking lot, I noticed a car parked with someone sitting inside.

As I peered in I noticed Fumiko clutching a towel in her lap. I could tell she was distraught, and asked if she would like to come in to the office.

Once inside, I noticed a limp tail peeking through the towel folds and ushered Fumiko into an exam room.

Fumiko complied and gently laid the towel with its contents onto the exam table. With tears in her eyes, she tried to tell me what happened.

“Dr. Kaya, I woke up this morning and found Chisai lying under the dining room table.”

Her voice cracked as tears came rolling down her face.

“I called out to my little girl but she did not move. She just laid there.”

At this point Fumiko began sobbing.

“It’s OK,” I told her, “let me take a look.”

As I opened the towel, I saw Fumiko’s cat lying peacefully, as if asleep. Reaching down, I held Chisai’s cold body and found no pulse.

Fumiko looked at me as I slowly shook my head.

“Look at my baby … Chisai…” cried Fumiko. She then leaned over and cradled Chisai in her arms.

After a few minutes we talked about the events prior to this morning. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Chisai was a happy, healthy 4-year-old indoor cat. I asked Fumiko if I could perform a necropsy to determine the reason for Chisai’s mysterious death.

Culturally, Fumiko had a difficult time making a decision, but in the end consented to the postmortem exam.

Carefully looking through Chisai’s organs, I eventually found the reason for her death. A single heartworm was wrapped around one of her heart valves, which led to heart failure. Although sudden and unexpected, Chisai died quickly and with very little suffering.

Heartworm disease is more commonly thought of as a disease afflicting dogs.

The worms are transmitted by mosquitos and can live up to eight years. These worms take up residence in the heart and can grow up to 12 inches in length.

Single worm infections are tolerated by the dog, but can be deadly in cats.

In a cat, their presence can lead to lung and kidney damage as well as sudden death, as in Chisai’s case.

Like dogs, cats should be given a monthly heart-worm preventive.

I called Fumiko and shared my findings with her. Although saddened by her loss, she appreciated knowing why Chisai died.

“Maybe Chisai’s story can save the lives of other cats,” whispered Fumiko.

“I’m sure it will.”

Does your pet favor the right or left paw? Tests can tell

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Veterinarian Stefanie Schwartz of the Veterinary Neurology Center in Tustin, Calif., developed a method of testing pets to determine whether they are right- or left-paw dominant. It is a series of dexterity tests that can determine which paw is dominant. A previous study suggested that 50% of cats are right-paw dominant, 40% left-pawed, and 10% ambidextrous, while another study showed dogs were equally right- and left-pawed. The Daily Mail (London) (8/28)


Is your pet right or left-handed? The DIY test that uses cheese, sofas and  the backdoor to find out… but you have to do it 100 times

Ever wondered which paw your pet would clutch  a pen with, should it develop opposable thumbs?

Quite possibly not. But if you have, this  could be just the thing you’ve been waiting for.

Dr. Stefanie Schwartz of the Veterinary  Neurology Center in Tustin, Calififornia, claims to  have developed a test to figure out whether a dog or cat is right or  left-handed.

Paw preference won’t make a dog or cat walk,  talk or wink like a human. You won’t even get a high-five or a fist pump out of  it. But vets and owners reckons the  curiosity factor will have pet owners clamoring to find out if theirs is a  leftie or a rightie.

Results are in: Veterinarian Christina Thompson performs  a right-handed-left-handed test with a Chihuahua dog

Researchers are studying things like right  brain-left brain connections, genetics and sexual orientation that may one day  change the way dogs and cats are bred, raised, trained and used, said  Schwartz.

Some horses have to be ambidextrous, said Dr.  Sharon Crowell-Davis, a behavior and anatomy professor in the College of  Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia.

In U.S. racing, horses only have to lean left  because all races are run  counterclockwise on tracks, but in some competitions  and in some other  countries, horses have to race and canter both ways.

‘They have to be able to circle right and  left. If not, they can trip,’  Crowell-Davis said. ‘You have to work to get them  to take the lead they  prefer less.’

 Leftie: A cat lifts his left leg during a  right-handed-left-handed test

She has never seen an advertisement promoting  right or left-pawed dogs or  cats. ‘The only time you see it used in advertising  is with horses. If a horse if being offered for sale, because of issues on the  lead, it may  say ‘Works well on both leads’ to emphasize the horse has had  training.’

For dogs and  cats their well-being doesn’t  depend on preference.

A 1991 study at Ataturk University in Turkey  showed 50 per cent of cats were right-pawed, 40 per cent were left-pawed and 10  per cent were ambidextrous. That study might be out-of-date, Schwartz said, but  it does provide percentages.

A 2006 study from the University of  Manchester in England showed dogs were split half-and-half.

About 90 per cent of humans are right-handed  and 10 per cent are left-handed.

Here kitty kitty: Dangle a toy in front of a cat and see  which paw it uses to bat it

Laterality — the textbook term meaning one  side of the brain is dominant over the other — may someday help breeders predict  which puppies will make the best military, service and therapy dogs, Schwartz  said, and that could be lifesaving.

But for now, if you care enought, Schwartz  has a series of tests that she says will determine the paw preference of your  pet, when performed 100 times.

She suggests filling  a toy with something delicious and  putting it in the center of the dog’s visual  field. Which paw does it use to touch the toy first? Which paw does the dog use  to hold the toy?

Coy: When a cat really wants something, tests show it  uses its dominant paw, but when it’s just fooling around, it may use either or  both

Or you could put  something sticky on a dog or cat’s nose and take note of which paw it uses to  remove it? Place a treat or a piece of  cheese under a sofa, just beyond a dog or cat’s reach, she says. Which paw does  it use to try and get it out?

Other indicators include which paw a dog  offers to shake when asked or knock the backdoor with when it wants to be let  in. Similarly for cats you can track which paw it uses to bat a dangled toy or  to reach a treat lurking under a bowl.

 Who’s a good boy? Ask a dog to shake hands and see which  paw it raises

Schwartz said there are a few things that  might alter test results, including that if a dog has arthritis or an injury in a shoulder or  leg, it could use the other to compensate.

When a cat really wants something, she said,  tests show it uses its dominant paw, but when it’s just fooling around it may  use either or both.

And it is also possible that handedness in  dogs, and maybe cats, will change over time as the animal’s motivation  changes.

Robin A.F. Olson, founder and president of  rescue organisation Kitten Associates Inc, said her cats are always reaching for  toys or treats with one paw or another.

‘I try not to be judgmental of my cats’  abilities or lack thereof. We will never worry about the anti-paw.’

It appears that Nora, an internationally  acclaimed 8-year-old piano-playing tabby from Philadelphia, owned by piano  teacher Betsy Alexander and her artist-photographer husband, Burnell Yow, is  right-pawed.

Yow studied her videos and ‘determined that  she appears to lead with her right paw, then follow with her left,’ Alexander  said.

But she has her ambidextrous, headstrong  moments.

‘She uses both paws to reach for specific  notes, even black notes … and she uses her head to roll a series of multiple  notes.’

Burning question or a waste of  time? How to find out if your pet is a leftie or rightie

If you teach a dog to shake, which paw does  it offer you first and most often?

Fill a toy with something delicious and put  it in the center of the dog’s visual field. Which paw does it use to touch the  toy first? Which paw does the dog use to hold the toy?

Put something sticky on a dog or cat’s nose.  Which paw does the animal use to remove it?

Place a treat or a piece of cheese under a  sofa, just beyond a dog or cat’s reach. Which paw does it use to try and get it  out?

Dangle a toy over a cat’s head. Which paw  does it lift to bat it?

Put a treat under a bowl. Which paw does the  cat or dog use to move it?

When a dog wants in the backdoor, which paw  does it ‘knock’ with?

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Bil-Jac limited product withdrawal

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

We have requested that a select number of retailers withdraw one small batch (256 cases) of 6 LB Adult Select Formula Dog Food from their warehouses and stores. We have had a few reports of mold in bags from this batch that was caused by higher moisture content in the food. We know the entire batch has not been affected, but have requested the entire small batch to be removed from warehouses and stores. Only batch number 1792-02 (Expiration 27 DEC 13) is affected, all in only 6 LB bags. Your Dog’s health is of paramount importance to us, and you can continue to trust Bil-Jac for the absolute best nutrition.

If you have any questions, please call us toll free at 800-321-1002 x 239, and ask for Shannon, during business hours, M-F, EST.

Veterinarians help baby bobcat burned in forest fire

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Crews found a bobcat kitten listless and circling near the stump of a tree in the wake of fires that have burned some 73,000 acres in Northern California. Veterinarians at the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care shelter are treating her for an eye infection and burns on all four paws. The bobcat, named Chips by her rescuers, is expected to recover and will be returned into the wild. San Francisco Chronicle/SF Gate blog (8/28)


Crews battling and cleaning up after Chips Fire, the wildfire that has blazed through almost 73,000 acres in Plumas and Lassen national forests, have come to be ready for anything — but nobody was prepared for the helpless bundle of fur they stumbled upon this weekend.

Members of the Mad River Hand Crew were patrolling and conducting mop-up operations near the north end of the fire on Saturday when they found a baby bobcat puttering along the side of the road.

Crew superintendent Tad Hair said the tiny female bobcat, which was about the size of a domestic kitten, seemed dazed and had trouble seeing. She was walking in circles near a stump, he said.

Not wanting to disrupt a wild animal from nature, the crew did a quick assessment of the kit and tried to walk away. But she began to follow the sound of their footsteps, and would curl up on Hair’s boots every time they would stop.

They brought her back to the incident command post after finding no grown bobcat tracks  in the area. They contacted Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, a nonprofit that  rehabilitates injured and orphaned wildlife and returns them to the  wild, and then began to care for her and prepare her for the trip to the shelter, said Laurie Pearson, a public information officer for the Chips Fire.

By then, they had taken to calling her Chips, after the fire.

Public information officer Clare Delaney said Chips was making tiny bobcat yowls as they cared for her, giving her ice chips and special kitten formula, and wiping some of the soot and ash from her fur.

“When I wiped her little face off and Laurie was holding her, she just fell right back to sleep,” she said. “[She reacted like] it was her mom licking her face.”

A firefighter transporting her to the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care shelter flushed Chips eyes out on the way over, Pearson said. A veterinarian at the shelter found that Chips had an infection in her eyes, and after flushing them out again, and administered some ointment.

Veterinarians found that Chips also suffered second-degree burns on all four of her tiny paws, Pearson said. Until her paws are fully healed, Chips will rest on a soft bed, fattening up on six pulverized mice and more kitten formula.

Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care executive director and co-founder Cheryl Millham said she is confident Chips will  regain full vision in both eyes once the infection is cleared. She said Chips is thriving and recovering nicely at the shelter.

Chips will eventually socialize with other bobcats before she is returned to the wild for good, Millham said.

Delaney said the crew became very attached to Chips.

“She was so sooty and dirty when they found her and they were worried because she was just walking in circles and was probably dehydrated,” she said. “But I think she’s got a really good start.”

Dog calms witnesses and legal staff in CA DA’s office

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
 A specially trained 2-year-old golden retriever-Labrador mix named Malvern has begun work calming witnesses in court cases in Santa Barbara, Calif. Just one week into his new job, Malvern has helped at least one witness relax enough to testify. “This dog was raised to love — Malvern has a calming effect on not only the victims but also on our staff of secretaries and attorneys alike,” said Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley, who was responsible for the program and is considering expanding it to other offices. Santa Barbara Independent (Calif.)

Canine Consoler Warms the Hearts of Victims

Newest Member of the District Attorney’s Office Provides Puppy Love

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

District Attorney Joyce Dudley recently launched a program to provide emotional support to victims and witnesses of Santa Barbara crimes. Malvern, a two-year-old Labrador and Golden Retriever mix, is now available full-time in Dudley’s Santa Barbara office to comfort those dealing with the emotional, psychological, or physical effects of crime.

Dudley is pleased with the service Malvern has been able to provide so far. Since his official introduction to the office last Tuesday, the service dog has already been of assistance in a court case. Dudley recalls how a young woman, nervous about recounting the events of a recent crime, was presented with the dog, played with him for a few minutes, and soon felt calm enough to approach the stand and give her testimony.

Malvern was provided by Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit organization that trains and supplies service dogs to those in need. Equipping the office with this positive presence was a long and involved process spanning three years. In the end, Dudley and her staff were able to find a facility, make their way through the wait list, and train a dog for their needs at no cost to the county.

Volunteer attorney Donna Crawford is Malvern’s caretaker, after going through two weeks of training and screenings herself.  Malvern was trained in several commands intended to bring a smile to those around him. Among his tricks are sit, visit, and lap.

Regarding the newest addition to her staff, Dudley said, “This dog was raised to love — Malvern has a calming effect on not only the victims but also on our staff of secretaries and attorneys alike.”

Depending on the success of the current program, Dudley will consider adding canine programs in her Lompoc and Santa Maria offices as well.

Foods that can poison pets

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Veterinarian Tanya Karlecke explains that some staple foods are dangerous and potentially deadly for pets, including raisins and grapes, chocolate and even raw bread dough. Xylitol, a component of many household items such as sugar-free candies and human toothpaste, can also harm pets, writes Dr. Karlecke, who points out the importance of seeking immediate veterinary advice for pets that may have ingested a poisonous substance. The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)


There are several food items that are toxic to pets and should be avoided at all costs:

* Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia (elevated body temperature).

* Grapes and raisins can result in acute kidney failure, which may be fatal even with prompt medical treatment.

* Onions and onion powder can cause damage to red blood cells, which can lead to anemia in dogs and cats.

* There are several sugar-free products and candies that contain xylitol (a sugar-free substitute), which can result in a life-threatening drop in blood sugar. At high doses, xylitol toxicity can also result in acute liver failure. Xylitol is found in many products, one of which is human toothpaste. It is very important to always brush your dog or cat’s teeth using only pet toothpaste.

* Chocolate ingestion can lead to hyperactivity, increased heart rate, tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, increased urination and lethargy. At high enough doses, although rare, chocolate toxicity can be fatal.

* Raw bread dough made with yeast can be hazardous. Upon ingestion, the dough is activated by the animal’s body heat, which causes it to rise in the stomach. During this process, alcohol is produced, leading to signs of abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, depression and ataxia (lack of coordination).

If your pet has ingested any of these items, it is imperative that you speak to a veterinary professional to determine what type of treatment is warranted, if any. If your veterinarian is unavailable or unfamiliar with a particular toxin, he/she will refer you to the animal poison control hotline (888-426-4435). A veterinary toxicologist will gather additional information from you (e.g., amount of toxin ingestion, the body weight of your pet, information on current clinical signs), and will advise as to what the next best course of action is.

Time is of the essence with any type of toxin ingestion, so it’s important to call your veterinarian as soon as possible.

— Tanya Karlecke, DVM

Identifying, treating and preventing heatstroke in pets

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Amid the heat of summer, veterinarian Kathy Gagliardi reminds owners that heatstroke can be prevented by ensuring proper shade and cool water for all pets. If signs of heatstroke such as breathing problems, lethargy and vomiting occur, owners should start cooling measures and bring the pet to a veterinarian from immediate care, writes Dr. Gagliardi. Daily Camera (Boulder, Colo.)


As we rush toward the comfort of air conditioning during hot weather, we should not forget our pets and their sensitivity to heat — not only for their comfort, but for their health. Heat stroke is a very serious and often fatal disease that occurs when an animal’s cooling mechanisms cannot keep up and their body temperature elevates beyond 105-106 degrees. Cells and proteins in the body are sensitive to excess heat. When they are damaged, they can lead to conditions that include kidney failure, brain damage, heart arrhythmias, liver failure, muscle damage, systemic inflammation and excessive blood clotting.

Since animals do not sweat (except to a minor degree through their foot pads), they do not tolerate high environmental temperatures as well as humans do. Dogs depend upon panting to exchange warm air for cool air. When the air temperature is close to body temperature, cooling by panting is not an efficient process. Cats differ from dogs in that cats that are open mouth breathing or panting are showing signs of serious stress and need immediate veterinary care. With a cat, panting is never a sign of the animal just trying to cool down.

Common situations that can set the stage for heat stroke in animals include:


Being left in a car in hot weather, even with cracked windows and in the shade

Exercising strenuously in hot, humid weather

Suffering from a heart or lung disease that interferes with efficient breathing

Suffering from a high fever or seizures

Being confined on concrete or asphalt surfaces

Being confined without shade and fresh water in hot weather

Having a history of heat stroke

Overweight animals, long-haired breeds, brachycephalic breeds (short faced dogs or cats) and older animals are at increased risk of heat stroke.


Signs: Signs of heat stroke include excessive panting or trouble breathing, bright red gums, lethargy, behavior changes, muscle tremors, bruising, decreased urination, bloody stools, vomiting and unconsciousness.

Treatment: Emergency measures to cool the animal must begin at once. Move the dog out of the source of heat, preferably into an air-conditioned place and call your veterinarian immediately. Successful treatment for most heat stroke animals requires intensive emergency care at a veterinary clinic. Most affected animals will require inpatient hospitalization and intensive care for at least 24 hours, until their temperature and clinical signs are stabilized. Common nursing care protocols that can be done on your way to the veterinary clinic include spraying the animal with cool water; using convection cooling with fans or cooling pads, and using evaporative cooling with rubbing alcohol on the foot pads. Animals should not be immersed in ice or ice-cold water. Cooling a hyperthermic animal too quickly can cause its blood vessels to constrict (peripheral vasoconstriction), which will make it harder for their body to cool down.

Prevention: Some ways to help protect your pet on hot days include limiting exercise during the hottest part of the day, exercising in the cool early morning hours, providing shade and fresh clean water at all times, and NEVER leaving an animal in a car when it is 60 degrees or more outside, even if only for a few minutes.

Early recognition and treatment of heat stroke can mean the difference between life and death. So if you think your animal is suffering from heat stroke call your veterinarian.


Boy to receive Costa Rica’s first therapy dog for autism

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

In an effort to help people with disabilities better integrate into the community, Spain’s Association of Dog-Assisted Therapies provided and trained the first therapy dog for a child with autism in Costa Rica. “The project is very much a novelty in Costa Rica because up to now, no assistance dog of this kind has been trained for that country or delivered there,” said Miguel Angel Signes, who helped train the dog.

From FOX News Latino

Xena, a 4-month-old Labrador, will be the first assistance dog in Costa Rica  to help a 7-year-old autistic boy named Aaron adapt better to his surroundings,  thanks to a solidarity project undertaken by Spain’s Association of Dog-Assisted  Therapies, or AIAP.

Miguel Angel Signes is one of the instructors in charge of training the  canine, and since early this year he has been in Costa Rica with AIAP President  Nuria Luengo promoting this kind of treatment to aid the integration of people  with disabilities or special needs into society.

Such therapies can help with the education and general treatment of children  suffering some disability like cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism and more,  Signes told Efe.

Aaron is suffering an autistic disorder and thanks to Xena will be able to  lower his stress and anxiety levels, since “the simple act of hugging, brushing  or walking the dog is enough to reduce both symptoms,” Signes said.

“The dog will also teach him to walk down the street correctly and will  direct his steps in the right areas, as far away from the edge of the sidewalk  as possible,” Signes said.

The animals are used in such cases as motivational agents to reduce attention  disorder, boost self-esteem, memory, concentration and even improve emotional  relationships.

“The boy’s disruptive behavior will be calmed down by the dog’s presence,  since he’ll be bound to it at all times,” Signes said.

Training an assistance dog can cost as much as 16,500 euros ($20,300), but in  this case Xena’s training will be free thanks to an agreement between AIAP and  Aaron’s parents.

“The project is very much a novelty in Costa Rica because up to now no  assistance dog of this kind has been trained for that country or delivered  there. But best of all, the boy is already having therapy sessions with Xena,  which later on will help his adaptation,” Signes said.

Therapies with animals are based on sound science. According to Signes, it  has been proved that sessions with dogs and other animals are effective in  working on the patient’s behavior, communication and sociability.

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Boy creates “bucket list” for his dying service dog

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Cole Hein, an 11-year-old boy who has a condition that randomly stops his breathing, created a “lick-it list” for his dog, Bingo, who developed canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome. Bingo, a 13-year-old Jack Russell terrier, sounds an alert when Cole stops breathing and needs CPR, and she has saved the boy’s life several times. The list, a canine “bucket list,” includes dog-friendly ideas such as sampling dog treats shared from around the world.

When eleven-year old Cole Hein found out that his Jack Russell Terrier had only weeks to live, he created the “Lick It List,” a canine bucket list to honor his pup Bingo. For five years, Bingo has been taking care of Cole, who has a medical condition that can stop his breathing. The thirteen-year old dog is trained to alert adults if the boy needs CPR.

In the first six months the two were together, Bingo saved Cole’s life three times, leading to her induction into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame in 2010. Now it’s Cole’s turn to help Bingo make the most of her time left as the pup battles Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.

Here is Cole and Bingo’s Lick It List:

1) Let Bingo “taste” the world by getting him dog treats from around the globe

2) Take Bingo for one last “public” outing to Ruckers (a favorite game-and-pizza place)

3) Walk around the block twice with Bingo

4) Do a photo shoot with just Bingo and Cole (which has already been arranged)

To help Cole achieve Bingo’s Lick It List, he’s asking people around the world to send treats. No monetary donations will be accepted (Bingo’s medical care is taken care of). Any treats that Bingo can’t consume will be donated to the local animal shelter. Likewise, if you’re not able to send treats, Cole asks that you make a donation to your favorite animal rescue in Bingo’s name.

Dog treats can be sent to:

Cole Hein/Bingo Hein P.O. Box 413 Shilo, MB Canada R0K 2A0

If my dogs had a bucket list, treats would certainly be number one! What would be on your dog’s Lick It List?


What to make of a cat who is drinking and urinating more

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

The two most common causes of increased drinking and urinating in cats are diabetes mellitus and renal disease, writes veterinarian Jeff Kahler. In the case of diabetes, treatment usually involves insulin injections, which are generally well-tolerated by both owners and cats, Dr. Kahler notes.

Sandra is worried that her cat Chia might have diabetes. Over the past month or so, she has noticed Chia at the water bowl with ever-increasing frequency, and the results of the water intake in his litter box. Having done research on the Internet, Sandra picked diabetes as the likely diagnosis for Chia’s increased thirst.

Increased thirst when associated with increased urination is indeed a hallmark symptom for diabetes mellitus in cats, and dogs. But diabetes is not the only possible cause. In cats, renal disease also is a common cause of these symptoms.

I want to emphasize that cats do not drink for fun or enjoyment. If there is an increase in water intake, there is an underlying reason.

Chia will need to visit his veterinarian for a blood panel, urinalysis and a spot check of his blood sugar level. With these results, we can determine if he is a diabetic or if he has renal disease. While diabetes is manageable with insulin therapy, renal disease is managed in an entirely different way, depending on the extent of the disease at the time of diagnosis. Realize, of course, these are not the only possible causes for Chia’s symptoms. They are, however, the two most likely possibilities.

Let’s assume Sandra is correct and Chia has diabetes. Blood work will show an elevated sugar level because Chia does not have enough insulin in his body to drive sugar in his blood into his cells, where it is used as an energy source. As the blood sugar elevates, it increases what is known as the oncotic pressure within the blood. This increased oncotic pressure is perceived by the brain and the brain tells the cat to drink more water, in essence trying to dilute the blood. This increased fluid within the blood is then filtered by the kidneys, which produce excess urine as a result.

Treatment for diabetes involves the use of insulin to replace the lack of it from the pancreas. There are cases of diabetes that occur in hugely obese cats that can be controlled long term without insulin as long as the weight problem is addressed. Most cases, however, require insulin therapy.

Insulin is given by injection, usually twice daily. This can be daunting for some caretakers. But with proper demonstration in technique, it can be quite simple. In fact, for the vast majority of people with diabetic pets I have dealt with over the years, insulin injections have become as routine as feeding their pets.

Early in the course of therapy, we like to monitor the patient’s response to the insulin by checking blood sugar values throughout the day. This will allow fine tuning of the dosing to fit the individual patient. I have many caretakers who even learn to check their cat’s blood sugar.

There are cats that will not allow insulin treatment and, as a result, successful treatment becomes unlikely. These cats face a grave prognosis. If Chia is diabetic and is amenable to insulin therapy, he’ll have a good quality of life.

(Jeff Kahler is a veterinarian in Modesto, Calif. Questions can be submitted to Your Pet in care of LifeStyles, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto CA 95352.)

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