Cancer Therapy in Cats

May 13, 2012 :: Posted by - kittyluver :: Category - Health

The cats are lovely pets. There are so many health issues in cats just like the human beings. The cancer problem is very common in cats. Let us discuss here about the treatment options available, the expected prognosis and the cat owners role etc.

The cancer treatments are in general time consuming and expensive. The cat owner must clear all his doubts before deciding about the treatment option. Of late the cancer treatment is very effective and there are very minimal side effects due to the advancement in the field of cancer treatment. The pain management and the nutritional support plays vital role in the out come of the cancer treatment.  Many cancer types can be cured completely if treated early. The lovely pet cats can live longer now days. The pet owner is also a part of health care team and hence the pet owner should under stand more about the cancer treatment options.

One should be aware that there is no single treatment for cancer. The cancer treatment plan varies from case to case and the treatment option needs to be customized. Cancer treatment is always a combination of treatment. This way the cancer can be treated quickly and the side effects can be minimized to a great extend.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy requires special equipment and not every hospital will have this. Hence it is the duty of the owner to enquire about the hospital before selecting the place of treatment. There are side effects in radiation therapy also. The side effects are because of the burn of the tissues that are located in the vicinity of the affected part. If the tumour is located near very sensitive tissue, then the radiation treatment is bit complicated.  The sensitive tissues will be damaged badly due to radiation and the side effect will be more severe. In general the affected good tissue will regenerate in due course and the normal function can be restored.

In radiation therapy the tumour cells are targeted and the radiation renders the tumour cells unable to multiply and as the result the tumour shrinks in size. Over the period of time the tumour cells will be completely destroyed and the tumour will disappear completely. The tumours that can not be removed by way of operation are treated with radiation. The cats are given anaesthesia while treating them with radiation in order to restrict the movement of the animal for better focussing of the targeted tissue.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is nothing but treating the tumour with chemicals. The chemotherapy is very effective but the side effects are very intimidating. At present different chemicals are used at very low frequency and dosage along with anti cancer agents to improve the efficiency of the treatment as well as reducing the side effects. The treatment is carried out in such a way that there is sufficient time gap between each administration. This will help the cat to cope up with the side effects. The possible side effects are poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, low white cell count, irritation at the sight of the injection, lethargy, poor immune function etc.

The chemicals that are used in the cancer treatment destroy the cells that are dividing faster. The cancer cells multiply faster and hence are targeted by the injected chemicals.  The side effects are because the normal cells that divide also get affected by the chemical used to destroy the cancer cells. The cells in the gut and immune system divide faster and hence are affected more during the chemotherapy as they are caught in the cross fire.

Surgery

Surgical removal of the tumour is very common practice. The external tumours are removed using the surgery. There are so many surgical techniques such as laser surgery, cryosurgery, radiosurgery and traditional scalpel surgery. The most difficult aspect of the surgical treatment is removing the tumour cells completely leaving nothing in the body. In general the surgeon will remove not only the tumour but also the tissue surrounding the tumour in order to ensure the cancer cells are completely removed from the body. The removed tissue will be sent to pathology lab for histopathological study to confirm the diagnosis. As it is not possible to remove the cancer cells completely using surgical technique, this treatment option will be combined with chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Adjunctive care

The cancer patient should be given best nutrition. But extra nutrition needs to be avoided.  The food provided should be digested easily and ingredient provided should be of high quality. The cat should be hand fed to increase the appetite. At times the appetite stimulant also needs to be provided.

Cat Heart Worm Disease – An Overview

August 30, 2011 :: Posted by - kittyluver :: Category - Diseases

Heartworm disease is more common in dogs than in cats but still it is extremely dangerous to the cats. The symptoms of cat heart worm disease may range from mild to severe. The disease will be fatal if cardiac and respiratory complications set in. The male cats are more prone to heart worm infestation than the female cats as they roam about more. The cats that spend their most of the time out doors and the cats that live in mosquito infested area are at high risk,

Life cycle of the parasite

Cat Heart worm is a parasite and the size of the same will not be more than a piece of spaghetti. This parasite can survive in the right side of the heart as well as the blood vessels. The adult worm produces young ones and keeps growing in size.

In cats, these heart worms can live for 2 years. These worms will b freely floating in the blood of the right ventricle of the heart. The pulmonary blood vessels are connected to the right ventricle of the heart and play a major role in the respiration. These parasites will disturb the function of the pulmonary blood vessels and as the result the oxygen supply will be reduced. This reduced level of oxygen will result in breathing difficulty.

If the number of worms is more they can even completely block the pulmonary blood vessel. The parasites can migrate into the other parts of the body thus disturbing their function too.

Symptoms

Acute

The symptoms of the cat heart worm infestation can be chronic or acute in nature. In acute condition there can be nervous or pulmonary problems. The cat may be coughing consistently all of a sudden. There can be vomiting and anorexia and the cat will lose weight gradually. The cat will be very weak and will have severe depression. The depression will be so severe that the cat will have sudden mood swings and in some worst case the cat may die all of a sudden.

Chronic

In chronic cases, there can be pulmonary disorders of episodic nature. Gastrointestinal problems can also be noticed at times. There can also be congestive heart failure. The affected cats must be attended to as early as possible because the disease may take the life out of the cat. In case of breathing difficulty, the cat needs to be rushed to the nearby vet hospital.

Diagnosis

The heart worm disease of cats can be diagnosed by heart worm antigen test, called as knotts test. This test will detect the specific protein released by the sexually mature female heart worm. The test is good but it may miss to detect the protein if only few female parasites are present. The affected cat’s blood is drawn and treated with few chemicals and the blood cells are broken and centrifuged. The sediment is examined for the presence of parasite particles and protein to confirm the heart worm infestation.

Treatment

The treatment for this cat heart worm infestation is very controversial and hence the veterinarian should be approached for help if the symptoms suggest the cat heart worm infestation.

Understanding Feline Miliary Dermatitis

August 27, 2011 :: Posted by - kittyluver :: Category - Diseases

Feline miliary dermatitis as many think is not at all a specific disease. It is a disease complex means that this disease is caused by myriad  factors.  The causative factor may be genetic, environmental or diet. This disease has so many names and few that are worth mentioning are feline eczema, military eczema, scabby cat disease and blotch in cat.

The affected cats suffer very much as this is a very serious skin problem.  The affected portion of the skin becomes red and crusty rash.  The skin around the back, head and neck of the cat is affected very much. The lesion thus formed on the skin will look like millet which is why this condition is called as military dermatitis.   

Causes

As discussed earlier the underlying cause is so many and this poses great challenge for the treatrment. the causes could be food allergy, pollen grain allergy, bacterial infection,  viral infection or yeast infection. The external parasites such as mites and lices can cause the military dermatitis. This condition could also be due to the hyper sensitivity reaction to the internal parasite of the cat. The causes don’t stop here, one should remember. Hormonal abnormality, auto immune diseases, nutritional disorders, ring worms etc also can cause military dermatitis.   

Symptoms

Though the causes are numerous, the symptoms are just the same. Small crusty bumps appear on the skin which resembles the grain millet. The lesion can be confined to one part of the skin or can be seen all over the body.  The bumps will be itchy. As the lesion grows all over the body, the itching also will be severe. The cats will start scratching which will result in further inflammation, infection and hair loss. 

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of the feline military dermatitis is very important for the proper treatment. As the causes are many, one has to rule out the causes one by one to pin point the right one. Location of the lesion will give an idea. If the rash is located near the tail or near the back of the cat, then it could be because of flea bite. If the location of the rash is near the head and the possible cause could be mite trouble. It is advisable to take the cat to the vet. The vet will find out the flea trouble with the help of flea comb. The vet will examine the hair of the cat and the stool to find out the possible cause, whether it is mite or parasite. If these are not the cause then it could be either diet deficiency or food allergy. 

Treatment

The treatment will depend of the cause which is for sure, but the exact cause needs to be ascertained. The shampoos will be used if the cause is mite, or flea or lice. If the lesions are very severe, then serious of dips should be tried. Rings worms can be treated with either tropical or oral medications. Antifungal treatment will be attempted for fungal infection and antibiotics will be tried for bacterial infection. For allergic reactions, steroid or antihistaminic treatment will be attempted.

Cat’s Rippling Skin Disease

August 18, 2011 :: Posted by - kittyluver :: Category - Uncategorized

Cats rippling skin disease is mysterious disease condition for sure. Experts call this disease as feline epilepsy, twitchy cat disease, self mutilation etc and some experts call this as a phenomenon. There are so many causes for this disease. Most commonly this disease is called as feline hyperesthesia syndrome. The cats affected show very wide range of conditions such as seizures, chest pain, brain damage, mild depression etc. the cat affected will look like the one that has gone crazy.

Cats rippling skin disease is more common in Siamese breed of cat. The breeds that are closely related to Siamese breed too are equally prone. As mentioned earlier the cats that suffers from cats rippling skin disease look like the one that had gone crazy for some reason.

Most of the cats will show this kind of abnormal behavior for short period of time especially the young cats. The young cats will start chasing their lines or will do something like this when are in playful mood. But the cat that is suffering from feline hyperesthesia syndrome is in absolute distress. Some thing seems to be disturbing the cats and the cat can not handle that disturbance or pain. No one has actually understood this disease clearly. Whether it is physical problem or psychological problem, no body knows. Whether it is an obsessive disorder or compulsive disorder no body knows. No body knows whether it is a form of epileptic seizure.

Symptoms

Rippling skin is the first sign to be noted. The skin on the lower back of the cat will ripple. The moment the lower back of the affected cat is touched, the cat will start scratching or biting the lower back closer to the tail very aggressively. The cat will then start meowing for no apparent reason. The cat will actually be crying. This excessive meowing will be more pronounced during the late evening or night. The cat will start moving in circles or will start running back and forth. There won’t be any direction or meaning in the movement of the cat. The pupil in the eye of the cat will be very much dilated. The cat will look at something for long time.

Causes

Nobody knows what causes this rippling skin disease of cat. But the veterinarian needs to rule out few causes. Severe allergic reaction to flea dips, flea collors, aerosol sprays, toxins, hair sprays, smoke, scented candles could be the reason for the pain that troubles the cat. Flea allergy is the next thing that needs to be ruled out. Flea bite can result in symptoms that are similar to rippling skin disease. Tumors, infection of the brain etc can cause seizures which need to be ruled out.

Treatment

As there is no clear treatment solution for the disease as such, symptomatic treatment is the best option. In case the cats have seizures anti convulsing medication can be administered. The stress on the cat must be attended to provide a kind of temporary relief to the cat.

Fatty Liver Disease in Cats

June 28, 2011 :: Posted by - kittyluver :: Category - Diseases

Diseased cat

Fatty liver disease also known as hepatic lipidosis is very among cats. You can suspect this condition when an over weight cats reduces the food intake all of a sudden. The loss of appetite can be due numerous factors, hence rule out other causes before confirming the diagnosis. No harm in seeking the veterinarian assistance as the fatty liver disease is very harmful and endangers the very survival of the lovely pet.

Fatty Liver Disease –Clinical Sign

The first tell tale sign is decreased food intake and reduced energy level in otherwise active cat. The cat will be very lethargic and will not play as much it used to. In most cases these early warning signs go unnoticed as they are very subtle. As the days pass, the clinical signs will be more pronounced crying for the attention of the owners. Soon the cat will refuse to eat even a bit. The cat will start vomiting and can develop jaundice. At this stage the liver is completely down. But the cat can be saved if proper medical care is provided but the prognosis is guarded to poor.

Fatty Liver Disease –Diagnosis

The clinical symptoms can not confirm that the cat is suffering from fatty liver disease. Only physical examination, cytology of liver, ultra sound technique, and blood sample analysis can confirm the disease. Fine needle aspirate technique is very simple procedure where there is no need for aesthesia or sedation. The liver cells are extracted using fine needle and are analyzed to confirm the fatty liver disease. Biopsy of liver is the other technique that can confirm the disease, but it is more complicated as it requires anaesthesia. At times there can be life threatening bleeding.

Fatty liver disease -Treatment

Food is the primary treatment tool for the fatty liver disease.  The appetite stimulant and other liver medications don’t bring about desired result in fatty liver disease. Temporary feeding tube is the only treatment option available. Esophagostomy tube and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube are the two most common temporary feeding tube used in the treatment of fatty liver disease. These tubes help the cat to get enough calories without disturbing the liver, thus bringing about changes in metabolic process which helps in the speedy recovery. The cat will start eating in two weeks time from the time we start using the temporary feeding tube in cat and start recovering gradually.

Alopecia in Cats

May 06, 2009 :: Posted by - kittyluver :: Category - Diseases

Alopecia is nothing but complete or partial hair loss. Cat Alopecia can be noticed in any part of the body. Like the human being, the alopecia is a trouble in cats too. Alopecia can be due to various reasons. One common factor is self trauma caused by scratching or chewing. Hair follicle disease can also be a reason. In addition to giving unpleasant look to the pet cat, Alopecia can cause damage to the other organs systems, hence can never be ignored.

Reasons

Allergy – the alopecia can be an allergic reaction to the allergens such as molds, pollens, and food allergens. This kind of alopecia can be noticed on feet, ears, face and other parts of the cat.

Flea- the cats that are allergic to fleas can show allergic reactions in the form of alopecia.

Scabies- sarcoptes scabi also known as mange mite can result in itching which in turn results in alopecia.

Parasites-
parasites such as cheyletiella can cause pruritis which can lead to alopecia.

Pyoderma- pyoderma is nothing but infection of skin caused by bacteria. There are so many species of bacteria that cause pustules in cat which results in pyoderma. The pyoderma that affects the hair follicle can lead to alopecia.

Fungi infection-
dermatophyte is a fungus which damages the hair shaft. This can lead to pruritis or non-pruritis alopecia. The fungi that are seen attached with the fallen hair can transmit the infection to other cats.
 
Diagnosis

The best way to treat alopecia is by eliminating the underlying cause. For this diagnosis of the disease is of prime importance. Here are the discussions about few diagnostic tests.

Skin scrapping- the skin is scrapped using blade and the scrapings are examined for the presence of mite or other parasites.

Trichogram- here a skin is examined through microscope to find out whether the skin fell on its own or by plucking.

Fungal culture examination-
this is done to find out the presence of ringworm.

Skin biopsy-
skin biopsy is nothing but a procedure in which a portion of skin is removed for pathological examination to find out the nature of the alopecia, which helps in identifying the cause. 

Home Care

The cats must be free of flea problem.  In case the hair loss is very severe, the pet owner should take care of the cat by providing sweater to the cat to protect it from winter. The casts must be kept in doors in summer as the possibility and severity of sun burn will be more. For flea control it is better to consult the veterinarian at the earliest for effective flea control program.

Treatment

The best way to treat alopecia is by neutralizing the underlying cause and by offering treatment to cure the symptoms. If Alopecia and Pruritis are noticed together, and then symptomatic treatments such as antipruritis shampoo, antihistamines, corticosteroids or fatty acid supplements are effective. If Pyoderma is noticed with alopecia, then antibiotic treatment is the best.

As discussed earlier pyoderma is secondary to many reasons, hence treating the underlying cause is very essential for complete cure. Matted and dead hair needs to be brushed regularly which will minimize the cat alopecia problem.