Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ouch! Abscesses Explained...

An abscess is a sensitive swelling of infection, usually resulting from a bite wound or other penetrating injury. Abscesses are seen most commonly in cats with outdoor access – usually from a bite from another cat, since the bacteria that cause infection are normal inhabitants of the feline mouth. We see more bite wound abscesses in the spring and summer months when outdoor cats are more active and territorial.

An abscess will usually develop about 3 days after a cat has been bitten or otherwise wounded. Although abscesses may appear anywhere on an animal’s body, they are most frequently located on the limbs, face, base of the tail and back. An owner that frequently interacts with their cat is likely to see or feel the lump – especially since it is painful and the cat will react when touched in that area. The cat will also usually feel under the weather and have a fever.

Treating an abscess involves draining, flushing, and cleaning the area – then keeping the area open and clean while the rest of the infection drains out over the next few days. The initial treatment of draining and flushing the abscess should be left to a veterinarian, since sometimes the opening needs to be surgically made bigger to let it drain, and antibiotics should be started to prevent the cat from becoming sick from the circulating infection.

If you suspect your cat has an abscess, the cat should be seen by a veterinarian the same day since they are painful and antibiotics are needed.

Coyotes in Michigan: What You Should Know

Coyotes pose a serious threat to domestic pets in certain residential and urban areas. We have documented reports of many attacks on outdoor cats by coyotes – most of which occurring in populated areas such as Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills.

Studies have been done in other parts of the country on coyote hunting behavior in residential areas, and domestic cats were found to be at high risk of attack. The majority of interactions occurred in residential areas between sunset and sunrise during the pup rearing season (spring and summer months).

Here is a link from the website outlining more information on Coyotes in Michigan:

Coyotes in Michigan >>

CATegorical Care: An Owner’s Guide To America’s #1 Companion

This helpful guide outlines many interesting aspects of cat care including kitten behavior and socialization, enriching indoor environments, nutrition, and senior/geriatric care - and much more. Approved by the American Humane Association, CATalyst Council, Society of Animal Welfare Administrators, and Winn Feline Foundation.

CATegorical Care: An Owner's Guide To America's #1 Companion

Cats are Seen Less by Vets Than Dogs? Why..?

Veterinarians are seeing fewer cats than dogs. However, cat ownership has increased dramatically in recent years, with cats now ranked as the nation’s #1 companion animal. There are about 88.3 million owned cats in the country and 74.8 million owned dogs, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA) 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey.

Also, we learned from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) 2007 U.S. Pet Ownership and demographics Sourcebook, that cat visits had decline 11% from 2001 to 2006, even though the number of owned cats increased.

So why is this?

Experts and veterinarians believe the discrepancy stems from simple convenience. Cats are less accustomed to transport and travel than dogs. Therefore, its typically more of a hassle to bring a cat to the veterinarian than to bring a dog. People are used to taking their dogs with them on excursions in their car – so it’s not as stressful to take the dog to the vet as it is to take the cat in. So it’s easier for the client when they get the reminder postcard just to throw their dog in the car and run to the vet.

Because veterinary visits often are more difficult and traumatic for cats, owners may be less inclined to make the effort unless their cat is visibly suffering or sick – increasing the likelihood of skipped routine check-ups.

Another factor may be the perception that cat are independent, and self-reliant creatures. But ironically, it is precisely that self-reliant nature that warrents more caution on the part of the cat owner. Cats are extremely good at hiding illness. They don’t show major outwards signs even when something is wrong. So for a lot of people, the perception is, “Why go through all the trouble and spend all that money when they seem fine?”

But any change in a cat’s activity or habits warrants attention. For example, in its early stages, chronic kidney disease begins with nothing more than a subtle increase in water consumption, or a subtle increase in urination frequency. And diabetes – a common but serious condition in cats – begins with symptoms like small weight loss and changes in water consumption.

In today’s recession, keeping a cat healthy actually is more cost-effective than treating a problem once it is under way.

Another factor that may impact cat care is the homeopathic movement. After it was discovered about 15 years ago that some cats developed injection-site sarcomas after vaccinations, many owners and some veterinarians concluded that routine vaccinations were not worth the risk of cancer.

However, while the final decision to vaccinate is up to owners, veterinarians caution against letting fear of vaccinations stand in the way of basic veterinary care.

Other owners may assume that if their cat stays indoors, it is not at risk of contracting the diseases vaccinations are meant to prevent. But even indoor cats risk contracting a respiratory virus. Unvaccinated cats can and will be exposed to the viruses these vaccines prevent. Cat owners should discuss their concerns with their veterinarians to make well-informed choices.