Pet Talk
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Pet Talk

July 29, 2020

In this week’s Pet Talk, Maneka gives tips on keeping cats healthy and disease-free

By Maneka Gandhi

Is a post abdominal surgery lump normal in cats?

Surgery involves cutting into healthy tissues, it obviously requires some healing afterward. Some swelling at the incision is to be expected as the body heals. However, major swelling is not normal and requires immediate attention.

What are the causes of diarrhoea in a kitten?

 Diarrhoea should never be ignored if it lasts more than a couple of days.

Dietary changes: Any change in food, whether it is the main diet, treats, a medication, nutritional supplement, or edible toy, can cause a kitten to get diarrhoea, but it is usually only temporary.

Medication side effects: While sometimes necessary, pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics and pain medications often have side effects. Diarrhoea is, unfortunately, a common side effect of several medications.

Intestinal parasites: More often referred to as worms, intestinal parasites make their homes in the intestinal tracts of kittens and other animals.

Environmental stress: Just like people, kittens can get stressed in life. When a kitten is brought into a new home or is frightened by something in its environment like a dog or child, it may develop diarrhoea as part of its body’s “fight or flight” response.

Toxicities: Kittens are curious and tend to eat and chew things they shouldn’t. Sometimes these items that kittens consume are unfortunately toxic and can cause a variety of symptoms including diarrhoea.

Digestive disorders and disease: A variety of diseases and problems with the digestive tract, including absorption problems, low vitamin levels, and more, can cause diarrhoea.

What are the symptoms of diarrhoea in cats or kittens?

 Diarrhoea by definition is frequent and liquid stool. Diarrhoea will cause a kitten to become severely dehydrated due to the loss of fluid in its stool and therefore cause them to be weak. Some kittens may not make it to the litter box and have accidents when they have diarrhoea. They may also get messy paws if they step in diarrhoea or have diarrhoea stuck on their tails and rear ends.


What is Gingivitis in cats? 

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gingiva which is the gum surrounding the tooth. Gingivitis can be mild to severe. Mild gingivitis is very common in cats of all ages and is considered the earliest stage of periodontal disease. 

With moderate gingivitis, as time advances, plaque will accumulate on the teeth and the gingiva will become more inflamed and gum recession may begin at this stage. If left untreated, the gingivitis will worsen and become severe. In severe cases, cats can have difficulty eating, be very pained, and a dental cleaning under anaesthesia will be needed. 

How to prevent Gingivitis in cats?

The most effective ways to prevent gingivitis is to establish a daily dental care routine, feed an appropriate diet and schedule annual veterinary visits. It’s important to introduce the concept of brushing to cats slowly, and always to use toothbrushes and toothpastes specifically designed for them. Cat toothpastes, for example, have been formulated to be palatable to them. They don’t foam, don’t need to be rinsed away and don’t contain fluoride which is toxic to cats.

 What is Stomatitis in cats?

 Feline Stomatitis is a severe, painful inflammation of a cat’s mouth and gums. Gingivitis is a medical term that refers to inflammation of the gums and is one of the earlier signs of dental disease. Stomatitis refers to a more generalised inflammation of the mucous membranes within the mouth. In most cases, the condition causes painful ulcers and lesions to form in the mouth; these ulcers can involve the lips, tongue, gums, and back of the throat.

 What are the signs of Stomatitis in cats?

 Signs of Stomatitis in Cats are Drooling; Bad breath; Weight loss; Pawing at face or mouth; Decreased appetite; Unkept coat due to grooming being too painful; Red and inflamed gums; Pain when their faces are touched; Lethargy due to pain.

How to tell if your cat is losing weight?

 It is hard to tell if your cat is really losing weight if it happens gradually. If your cat has a lot of hair, or used to be slightly overweight, then it can be harder to tell when weight loss has occurred. To assess your cat’s body condition, start by looking at your cat’s body from above. At an ideal weight, there should be a tuck at the waist that is noticeable but not extreme. Next, run your hands along your cat’s sides. The ribs should be palpable with a thin covering of fat. If the ribs feel very prominent and are visible, your cat is likely underweight.


 What are the signs that your cat has roundworms?

 Roundworms can produce any of the following symptoms, although symptoms may only appear with heavy infections:

Failure to gain weight or weight loss; Dull hair coat; Pot-bellied appearance; Adult worms in vomit or stool (usually in kittens); Diarrhoea; Coughing due to the larval migration through the lungs. Rarely, very heavy infections can lead to blockage of the intestines, which will make a kitten very ill with vomiting and lethargy being the major symptoms.

How can you keep your cats healthy and disease free?

  Groom your cat regularly.  Provide fresh water daily.  Make sure you have enough litter boxes.  Notice if your cat starts urinating outside its litter box. Train your cat to use a scratching post.  Use a cat carrier in the car.

 What is a Neurological Disorder in cats?

 Neurological disorders result from a disruption to your cat’s nervous system. If the issue is in the brain, seizures may be present. However, an infection in the spinal cord may result in an unsteady gait, problems with limb functioning, or complete paralysis. 

A disruption of nerves can affect almost any part of your cat’s body, including its face, mouth, legs, or paws. And, since the nervous system affects most of your cat’s major bodily functions, issues with balance, speech (meowing), eating, urinating, and defecating can also be present if there is a neurological issue present.


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