Cat Health

Tapeworm (Cestodes) in Cats – Symptoms and Treatment

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What are tapeworms?    Transmission   Symptoms   Diagnosis   Treatment   Prevention

What are tapeworms?

Also known as cestodes, tapeworms are flat, segmented worms which live in the small intestine of cats and other mammals.

Tapeworms have no mouth or digestive tract themselves and must obtain their food source pre-digested, they have a tough outer skin that is capable of withstanding the strong digestive juices. Tapeworms absorb the cat’s pre-disgested food through their porous skin. Continue reading

Cat Articles

Common Causes of Litter Tray Refusal

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Common causes of litter tray refusal

Litter tray refusal in cats is a common source of frustration among cat carers and a large number of cats end up in shelters due to inappropriate toileting.

There are a number of reasons why a cat may not use the litter tray which can be divided between behavioural and medical.

The first port of call is always your veterinarian to rule out a medical cause. If all is well, then you must look at possible behavioural reasons why your cat is refusing the litter tray. Below I will outline some possible behavioural and medical reasons why cats will refuse to use their litter tray.

Continue reading

Cat Care

Summer Care For Cats

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Summer care for cats

With summer fast approaching, now is a good time to look at some summertime tips which will help make life just that little bit more comfortable and safer for our feline family members.

Heat stroke and dehydration are real dangers, especially in summer. Continue reading

Cat Care

What’s Involved In Caring For A Cat?

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cat care
Cats are a popular pet for many reasons. But before you become a cat owner, it’s worthwhile looking at just what is involved in properly caring for a cat. Before you become a cat owner, please do read this article and give a great deal of thought to your long-term commitment in regards to caring for a cat. Their average lifespan is 12-15 years, so ask yourself if you are prepared to provide these necessities every day for the duration of the cat’s life.

Adequate shelter:

It is apparent that many cat owners still think it is acceptable to obtain a cat and then expect it to live outdoors permanently. This really isn’t much of a life for a cat and isn’t a socially responsible thing to do.Firstly, how do your neighbours feel about your cat roaming into their garden? They shouldn’t be expected to have to put up with neighbourhood cats on their property. Outdoor cats pose a risk to wildlife, even a well-fed cat will still hunt. Your cat is also at risk himself, there are cars, dogs and other cats. He runs the risk of bite wounds from fighting other cats and possibly catching FIV or FeLV as a result.

If you must let your cat roam, it is recommended you do so during the daylight hours, and bring your cat inside from dusk to dawn, when the native wildlife is at its most vulnerable. But bear in mind, if you have a white-nosed cat, it is at greatest danger of exposure to the sun in daylight hours. If your cat is outdoors, ensure you provide adequate shelter from rain, wind and the sun.

Food and water:

 Naturally, cats need food and water. This is a basic requirement essential to life. If you have a cat, it is your responsibility to ensure it is fed a good quality balanced diet made for cats and is given fresh, clean water daily.Kittens have different nutritional demands to adult and senior cats, so it is always advised that you feed the appropriate food for your cat’s age.


Cats are clean by nature and generally, if they are provided with a litter tray, they will use it. It is up to you to ensure the litter tray is cleaned daily and the litter changed frequently. As a rule of thumb, you should have one litter tray per cat, although you can get away with less, as long as you practice stringent hygiene and ensure it is scooped daily. Failure to provide a clean litter tray for your cat is not only cruel but may also result in your cat refusing to use the litter tray.


Generally speaking, shorthaired cats don’t need to be groomed. Regular stroking will help rid the coat of loose hairs. Many of the longhaired breeds do require daily grooming or their coats will mat. This is extremely uncomfortable and painful to your cat and may require a visit to the vet and sedation to have the mats clipped out. So, just bear in mind if you do want a longhaired cat that his coat will need to be groomed daily.


Can you afford to own a cat? Day to day expenses aren’t too bad, cat food, cat litter, flea and worming medications and a yearly health check/vaccinations. But sometimes the unexpected happens and your cat requires veterinary attention which can run into thousands. Can you afford to pay vet bills? Think about the future, will you have children and go down to one wage? If so, will you still be able to afford to properly care for your cat?

Love and attention:

Cats require mental stimulation and enjoy love and attention from their carer. So ask yourself if you are prepared to meet these needs?


When you go on holiday you will have to either find a friend or neighbour who is willing to care for your cat, find a professional pet sitter or board your cat. The latter two cost money. Are you prepared, and in the position to afford to pay for a sitter or boarding facility when you go away?

Veterinary care:

It is a fact of life that we all get sick from time to time and this certainly applies to cats. It is important to realise that veterinary bills can quickly run into the hundreds and even thousands of dollars.Routine veterinary care would include an annual checkup and vaccination, but do bear in mind that just like humans, cats do need medical attention and be prepared to pay for this. The best way to be ready is to either have a bank account set aside for veterinary emergencies, where you put $5-10 a week into, or take out pet insurance. But there would be nothing more heartbreaking than being faced with a huge veterinary bill you can ill afford.


Your cat will require monthly flea and worm medication.


If you can answer these questions with an honest yes, then having a cat is probably right for you. However, it is a long-term commitment which you really have to be sure about. A cat is a living creature and deserves to be in a home which will meet his needs both in the present and the future. If you are not sure you can meet his physical, emotional and financial needs then it is better not to get one.
Cat Articles

Cat Not Eating – How Can I Get My Cat To Eat?

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How do I get my cat to eat?

Loss of appetite is a common and worrying problem for cat owners. It is a common symptom of sickness and one which can quickly become life-threatening. This article looks at what you can do to get your cat to eat.
When a cat stops eating, the body begins to use fat stores as fuel. These fat stores are sent to the liver, to be broken down to supply nutrients.  Unfortunately, the liver sometimes becomes overwhelmed and is unable to process this fat as quickly as necessary, leading to a build-up of fat in the liver, which interferes with normal liver function. This condition is known as hepatic lipidosis. Continue reading

Cat Health

Cancer in Cats – Types, Symptoms and Treatment

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What is cancer?   Common cat cancers   Symptoms   Diagnosis   Treatment   Prevention


Cancer at a glance

  • Cancer is the uncontrolled division of abnormal cells within the body, they can arise from any type of cell such as skin, kidney, bladder, breast.
  • Some cancers grow slowly and don’t readily spread, other cancers increase in size rapidly and can quickly spread (metastasise) to other parts of the body.
  • Symptoms vary depending on the type of cancer but may include unexpected lumps or bumps, lesions, bleeding, unexplained weight loss and lethargy.
  • Treatment depends on the type of cancer but may include surgery to remove the growth, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and amputation.

Cancer in cats

What is cancer?

cancer in cats

Also referred to as malignant neoplasms or malignant tumours, cancer is the uncontrolled division of cells that normally should be restrictive in their growth. Tumours are split into two categories, malignant (cancerous) or benign.

  • Benign tumours grow slowly, are surrounded by a capsule and do not invade neighbouring tissue or spread to other areas.
  • Malignant tumours, on the other hand, tend to grow rapidly, invade surrounding tissue and spread to other parts of the body.

Cancers are often described by the part of the body they originate from, for example, breast, brain, liver, bile duct or pancreatic cancer. However, cancers are classified by the types of cells involved.

Cancer is a leading cause of death in senior cats.

Classification of cancers:

  • Carcinoma originates from the epithelial cells which line the inner and outer parts of the body and can be split into two types. Adenocarcinoma originates in an organ or gland and squamous cell carcinoma which originates in the squamous epithelium.
  • Leukemias cancers of the blood cells
  • Lymphoma originates from the lymphoid tissue
  • Myeloma originates from the cells in the bone marrow
  • Sarcoma originates from the connective or bone tissue

So, a cat may have skin cancer and it could be a melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma or a basal cell carcinoma for example. All skin cancers, but originating from different cell types. I have lost two cats both of whom had nasal cancer. One cat had osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and the other had squamous cell carcinoma which originated from the lining of the nose. Identical symptoms in both cats but different types of cancer.

Common cancers in cats:

  • Lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system). This is the most common cancer found in cats and is responsible for 1/3rd of all cancers. It arises from lymphoid tissue, which is found throughout the body and may involve any organ or tissue. Cats with feline leukemia virus are 60 times more likely to acquire lymphosarcoma than those without. Cats living in smoking households are twice as likely to acquire lymphosarcoma. [2]
  • Skin cancer – Squamous cell carcinoma which can affect cats who spend time outdoors in the sun, especially light coloured cats. The ears and nose are most commonly affected. Other types of skin cancer may include melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and mast cell tumours.
  • Mammary cancer – The most common type of malignant mammary cancer in cats is adenocarcinoma making up 80% of mammary tumours.
  • Fibrosarcoma – An aggressive type of malignant growth (cancer) that originates in the fibrous connective tissue.

Cancer can occur in cats of any age, but it is most commonly seen in middle-aged to older cats. It is a leading cause of death in elderly cats.

What causes cancer in cats?

There are a number of causes of cancer in cats, some of which include:

  • Carcinogens (agents which can cause cancer). Examples of carcinogens include UV radiation, X-Rays, certain chemicals, environmental toxins, cigarette smoke.
  • Viruses such as feline leukemia virus.
  • Genetic predisposition.

In many cases, the cause of cancer is not known.


Cancer symptoms will vary depending on the location and part of the body affected by cancer. Some common symptoms may include:

Diagnosing cancer in cats:

Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination of your cat and obtain a medical history from you. In some cases, he may be able to make a presumptive diagnosis if there is an obvious growth, but a definitive diagnosis can not be made without a sample being sent to pathology for evaluation.

Tests he may need to perform include:

  • Baseline tests: Complete blood count, biochemical profile and urinalysis to evaluate the overall health of your cat and look for signs of infection or inflammation.
  • Biopsy: If there is an obvious growth your veterinarian will take a biopsy which will be sent to a laboratory for evaluation.
  • Imaging: X-rays and/or ultrasound may be necessary to evaluate the internal organs and look for tumours inside the body.

Treating cancer in cats:

Treatment may vary depending on the location but may include:

  • Surgery to remove a tumour and surrounding tissue if possible. Sometimes cancer may be located in a part of the body which makes it impossible to remove. In which case chemotherapy may be recommended to shrink the cancer. This isn’t curative, but it will enable your cat to live longer.
  • Chemotherapy may be recommended after surgery to remove the cancer to kill any cells left behind.
  • Radiotherapy.

Chemotherapy may be administered at a specialist veterinary centre. It doesn’t cause hair loss in cats but in my experience, did cause our cat to be lethargic and off her food for one to two days after administration.

Preventing cancer in cats:

It is not always possible to prevent cancer in cats but there are certainly things we can do to reduce the chances of some types of cancer.

Spaying and neutering

This reduces their chances of roaming and catching FeLV, which is a known factor in feline cancers. Intact females are at greater risk of developing mammary cancer than spayed females and castration eliminates a male cat’s chances of developing testicular cancer.

Household chemicals

Our cats are exposed to chemicals every day. They are at greater risk than humans because of their fastidious grooming which means anything that comes into contact with their coat is ingested. We can’t avoid the use of certain treatments to prevent parasites, nor should we, good parasite control is vital. We can reduce exposure to household chemicals by using natural products such as white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda in our day to day cleaning. Obviously, these are not effective where proper disinfection is required, or in veterinary practices or boarding catteries, but the average household often uses chemicals when natural products can do the job just as well.


There has been a lot of talk about over-vaccinating our cats over the past 10 years. Only you and your veterinarian know your cat’s individual circumstances, but it is a discussion you should have. The new recommendation by the Australian Veterinary Association as well as the American Association of Feline Practitioners (page six) is to give your low-risk, household cats their core vaccinations (F3) as a kitten. Three vaccinations spaced 4 weeks apart at 8, 12 and 16 weeks, followed by a booster at 12 months and then every three years. This can reduce the risks of injection site sarcoma. Local regulations or individual risk factors may warrant more frequent vaccination as well as the administration of some non-core vaccinations.

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) believes that in most cases, core vaccines need not be administered any more frequently than triennially and that even less frequent vaccination may be considered appropriate if an individual animal’s circumstances warrant it. However, local factors may dictate more frequent vaccination scheduling. These recommendations may be ‘off-label’ for some vaccines. AVA vaccination of dogs and cats

Reduce sun exposure

Try to keep cats indoors between the hours of 10 am – 4 pm, this is even more important if your cat is white or pale coloured. Cats should have access to shady area to get out of the sun and if you notice any redness or damaged tissue, especially around the ears, seek veterinary attention.

Smoke outside

Cigarette smoke is a known carcinogen to both cats and humans.

Annual check-ups

Even if you decide to go with triannual vaccinations, it is still important your cat see a veterinarian at least once a year and twice a year once he reaches 7 years of age for a health check-up.

If you notice any changes including lumps or bumps or other changes, seek veterinary attention immediately. Some cancers are very treatable if caught early.

Cat Articles

Tuxedo Cats – About, Breeds and Name Suggestions

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What are tuxedo cats?   What breed is the tuxedo cat?   Famous tuxedo cats   Cat breeds which come in the tuxedo pattern

What are tuxedo cats?

You may have heard people refer to their cat as a tuxedo cat. The word tuxedo is actually used to refer to the colour/pattern of the coat and not the breed.

Tuxedo is a form of bicolour (a cat with two colours), in the case of tuxedo, he is predominately black with white patches on the chest, throat, legs and face. Bi-colour can come in other colours such as blue and white, brown and white, tabby and white. The name tuxedo comes from the fact that the cat appears to be wearing a tuxedo.

Image Helen Haden, Flickr

The official CFA definition of a tuxedo cat is one who has white on the paws, belly, chest, throat and sometimes face. The white colour is a result of the white spotting gene (S) causing patches on the black background. Genetically the cat is black, however the white spotting gene masks the colouration on certain parts of the body. While tuxedo is one example of the effects of the white spotting gene on the coat colour, it comes in many grades from 1-10, the lower the number, the less white.

Grades 1-4  (low grade)- Less than 40% white. Cats with low grade white spotting can range from almost entirely solid coloured to tuxedo. Names are commonly used to describe the location such as mitted (paws), locked (chest)
and tuxedo cat.

Grade 5 (medium grade) – 40-60% white.

Grade 6-10 (high grade) – Over 60% white, but some cats can be almost entirely white with just a small smudge of colour. Some descriptions include van (colouration on and between the ears and tail), magpie or cow (random spotting on the body) and harlequin (random spotting on the body and a coloured tail).

Tuxedo cats are sometimes known as jellicle or billicart cats. The name jellicle comes from T S Eliot’s book “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”.

What breed is my tuxedo cat?

If your cat came from a shelter, pet shop, or a random litter, the chances are you have a domestic. The lack of pedigree or papers doesn’t make these cats any less special.  As mentioned above, a tuxedo is a black and white bi-colour cat, which describes the coat colour and pattern, not the breed.

Although most tuxedo cats are what we term domestic shorthairs or longhairs, some registered breeds of cat do come in the tuxedo pattern, which you will find listed at the end of the article.

Famous tuxedo cats

  • Socks – Owned by former president Bill Clinton and his family.
  • Sylvester – Cartoon character.
  • Felix the Cat – Cartoon character.
  • Jess – Owned by Postman Pat.
  • Kitty Softpaws from the Shrek spin-off, Puss in Boots.
  • Mittens from the movie Bolt.
  • Mr Mistoffelees from TS Eliot’s book Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and its musical, Cats.
  • Dr Seuss’s Cat in the Hat.

What breeds of cat who come in tuxedo?

Image Sam S. Flickr
Image Jason Wolff, Flickr


Cat Health

Human Medicines Toxic to Cats

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Human medications toxic to cats

Human medicines toxic to cats at a glance

With 50% of calls to the Pet Poison Hotline, we look at common human medications which are toxic to cats, these include:

  • NSAIDs – Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin)
  • Acetaminophen (Paracetamol, Tylenol
  • Antidepressants
  • ADD medication
  • Benzodiazepines
  • ACE Inhibitors
  • Beta-blockers
  • Anti-cholesterol medications
  • Thyroid hormones
  • Birth control pills
  • Topical pain cream

It’s easy to think that because a medication is safe for humans it must be safe for cats, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Many common over the counter and prescription are extremely toxic to cats and even low doses can kill them.

All medications are processed by the liver, which is the body’s detoxification factory. It is easy to assume that cats process drugs the same way humans do, but that is not the case. With many drugs, cats lack the necessary enzymes required to break them down.

50% of phone calls to the Pet Poisons hotline was in regards to human medications ingested by pets. Dogs are more indiscriminate when it comes to what they will eat, but cats still regularly become poisoned with human medications.

How does poisoning occur?

There are a number of ways a cat can be poisoned with human medications.

  • If a pet owner intentionally gives non-prescribed medication to treat symptoms (such as pain).
  • Accidental poisoning, if the wrong medication is given to your cat. This highlights the importance of storing feline medications away from human medications and ALWAYS read the label before administering any drugs to your cat.
  • Accidental poisoning, when a non-prescribed medication is given to your cat and the person doesn’t realise it also contains a toxic drug. For example, cold medications containing acetaminophen.
  • If the cat eats the medication dropped on the floor, in an open cupboard, on a table.
  • If the cat is given an overdose of a prescribed medication. This may be due to not reading the label correctly, or more than one person administering the medication. When a cat is on a prescribed medication, one person should be in charge of administering it. If you are in any doubt, it is safer to skip a dose than double up.
  • Intentional poisoning, sadly some people will hide medication in food or milk to kill cats.

Common medicines which cause poisoning in cats:

According to the Pet Poisons Helpline, these are the most common medications which cause toxicity in pets.

1) Over the counter NSAIDs

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are popular medications used to reduce inflammation, pain and fevers. Common types include:

  • Ibuprofen (brand names Nurofen, Motrin)
  • Naproxen (brand names Aleve, Naprosen)
  • Acetylsalicylic acid (brand name Aspirin)

Ibuprofen and Naproxen inhibit the production of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase, which produces prostaglandins. Prostaglandins perform a number of roles including promoting inflammation, pain, fever, regulating glomerular filtration rate in the kidneys as well as producing a layer of mucus which protects the inner lining of the intestinal tract.

Acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin) may be prescribed to treat certain diseases, but only in very low doses, due to the risks associated with this drug, close veterinary monitoring is necessary. The drug is broken down by an enzyme known as UGT1A6 which cats only produce in small amounts. Ingestion causes inflammation, bleeding, ulceration, perforation of the stomach, metabolic acidosis, kidney and liver damage.

Symptoms of NSAID toxicosis

Gastrointestinal disturbances

  • Vomiting, which may contain blood
  • Black tarry stools
  • Diarrhea

Other symptoms:

  • Pale gums
  • Loss of coordination
  • Rapid breathing
  • Decreased urine production (due to kidney failure)

2) Acetaminophen

Brand names Paracetamol, Panadol, Tylenol

This over the counter medication is used to treat mild pain and inflammation. Cats lack the enzyme glucuronyl transferase to break the medication down in the liver. The medication can cause a life-threatening condition known as methemoglobinemia (metHb) which is an increase in the production of methemoglobin, a form of haemoglobin which is unable to function as an oxygen carrier, resulting in a lack of oxygen to the organs and tissues.

Toxic wastes known as metabolites build up in the bloodstream resulting in liver failure.

Heinz bodies form on the red blood cells leading to their destruction.

Symptoms of acetaminophen toxicosis

  • Brown tongue and gums due to the build-up of methemoglobin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Brown coloured urine
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Facial and paw swelling
  • Ataxia (unsteady gait)
  • Vomiting
  • Increased heart rate

As the liver becomes damaged, neurological disturbances and jaundice (yellowing of the gums and whites of the eyes) develop.

3) Antidepressants

These prescription medications are used primarily to treat depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, compulsive disorders in both humans and cats. While some are used to treat disorders in cats, the dosage is much lower than that prescribed to humans and any cats who have been prescribed antidepressants by their veterinarian should be closely monitored.

The toxic dose varies depending on the type of antidepressant ingested.

Antidepressants come in several classes, which include:

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

  • Isocarboxazid (Marplan)
  • Nialamide (Niamid)
  • Phenelzine (Nardil, Nardelzine)
  • Tranylcypromine (Parnate, Jatrosom)
  • Bifemelane (Alnert, Celeport)
  • Moclobemide (Aurorix, Manerix)
  • Rasagiline (Azilect)
  • Selegiline (Deprenyl, Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar)


  • Butriptyline (Evadyne)
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil/Clomicalm)
  • Imipramine (Tofranil, Janimine, Praminil)
  • Trimipramine (Surmontil)
  • Desipramine (Norpramin, Pertofrane)
  • Dibenzepin (Noveril, Victoril)
  • Lofepramine (Lomont, Gamanil)
  • Maprotiline (Ludiomil)
  • Nortriptyline (Pamelor, Aventyl, Norpress)
  • Protriptyline (Vicactil)
  • Amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep)
  • Amitriptylinoxide (Amioxid, Ambivalon, Equilibrin)
  • Amoxapine (Asendin)
  • Demexiptiline (Deparon, Tinoran)
  • Dimetacrine (Istonil, Istonyl, Miroistonil)
  • Dosulepin (Prothiaden)
  • Doxepin (Adapin, Sineqan)

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)

Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

  • Venlafaxinen (Efexor, Effexor)
  • Sibutramine (Meridia, Reductil)
  • Atomoxetine (Strattera)
  • Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta, Ariclaim, Xeristar, Yentreve)
  • Levomilnacipran (Fetzima)
  • Milnacipran (Savella, Ixel, Dalcipran, Toledomin)

Symptoms of antidepressant toxicosis

Common symptoms of antidepressent poisoning can include the following:

  • Disorientation
  • Sedation
  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Agitation
  • Aggression
  • Increased heart rate
  • Tremors
  • Change in body temperature
  • Incoordination
  • Seizures

4) ADD medications

These medications are used to treat attention deficit disorder in people and to treat hyperactivity in dogs but are not used in cats. ADD medications contain powerful stimulants such as amphetamines and methylphenidate which stimulate the release of norepinephrine which in turn stimulates the central nervous system.

Common ADD medications include:

  • Adderall, the most commonly prescribed medication
  • Methylphenidate (Concerta, Ritalin)
  • Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin)
  • Atomoxetine (Strattera)
  • Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse)

Symptoms of ADD medication toxicity

  • Restlessness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Increased body temperature
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Increased heart rate
  • Panting
  • Dilated pupils

5) Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are a class of drug commonly used to treat anxiety, sleep disorders, epilepsy and are muscle relaxants. These drugs are used in both human and veterinary medicine, including cats. While these drugs can help to reduce anxiety in people, they often have the opposite effect in cats. In addition, some types of benzodiazepines can cause liver failure.

Common benzodiazepines include the following drugs:

  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Temazepam (Restoril)

Symptoms of benzodiazepine toxicity

  • CNS depression (decreased reflexes, confusion, coma)
  • Sedation
  • Incoordination
  • Slow breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Anxiety
  • Low blood pressure

Liver failure symptoms may include:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the mucus membranes and whites of the eyes)
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal effusion (build-up of fluid in the abdomen)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

7) ACE Inhibitors

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are medications used to manage heart disease and hypertension (high blood pressure) in humans and in veterinary medicine. They work by relaxing and dilating (widening) the blood vessels. These drugs aren’t as toxic as many listed on this page and when an overdose occurs, ACE inhibitors cause low blood pressure (hypotension). It is also possible for hyperkalemia and renal failure can occur.

Common ACE Inhibitors include the following medications:

  • Ramipril (Altace)
  • Benazepril (Lotensin)
  • Lisinopril (Prinivil/Zestril)
  • Enalapril (Vasotec)

Symptoms of ACE inhibitor toxicosis

  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Wobbly gait

8) Beta-blockers

Beta-blockers are drugs which are also used to treat high blood pressure and certain heart diseases in both human and a few of these drugs are used in veterinary medicine. However, unlike ACE inhibitors listed above, beta-blockers are extremely toxic to cats even in small doses.

Common Beta-blockers include the following:

  • Carvedilol (Coreg)
  • Acebutolol (Sectral)
  • Atenolol (Tenormin)
  • Metoprolol (Toprol)
  • Bisoprolol (Zebeta)

Symptoms of beta-blocker toxicosis

Symptoms of beta-blocker toxicosis can develop within 20 minutes although more commonly they appear within 1-2 hours of ingestion and as long as 6 hours.

  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Bradycardia (slow heart rate)
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures

Other human medications toxic to cats:

There are too many medications to include in this article, so I have covered the most common ones which cause poisoning in cats (and dogs). In addition, other common medications include:

  • Anti-cholesterol medications
  • Thyroid hormones
  • Birth control pills
  • Topical pain relief (this has become such an issue it warrants an article of its own, which I will write in the near future)

What should you do if your cat has ingested a human medication?

Seek veterinary advice immediately and/or call the pet poisons hotline. Do not attempt to induce vomiting unless you have been told to do so by a medical professional.

They may give you advice on emergency care for your cat. In most cases, it will be necessary to bring your cat to the veterinary surgery for medical treatment.

The United States and Canada has a dedicated 24/7 Pet Poison Helpline which can be reached on 855-764-7661 or 800-213-6680, there is a fee to use this service.

How is poisoning treated?

If you believe your cat has ingested a human medication, seek veterinary attention immediately.

Treatment will vary depending on the medication your cat has ingested. I’ve covered this topic in much more detail here but will list the basics.

If the cat ingested the medication within the previous two hours, gastric decontamination can be attempted. This may include inducing vomiting or pumping the stomach.

Administration of activated charcoal to bind to the toxins.

Supportive care such as intravenous fluids to treat dehydration and help the body flush out the toxin, anti-nausea medication, anti-seizure medication, muscle relaxants to control tremors, oxygen therapy for cats who are experiencing breathing difficulty.

Preventing poisoning in cats:

  • Never administer a medication to your cat unless your veterinarian has prescribed it and always follow their instructions.
  • Keep your cat’s medications in a separate container to your own. It is too easy to pick up the wrong packet.
  • Store all medications safely out of reach of your cat.
  • Always hang up your handbag if it contains medication.
  • If your cat is receiving medication, have one person in charge of administering it, that way, the chances of him receiving a double dose are reduced.
Cat Health

Poisoning in Cats – Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

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poisoning in cats

Poisoning at a glance

  • Poisoning is a life-threatening emergency which requires immediate veterinary care.
  • Common poisons include human medications, insecticides, household cleaners, plants and rodenticides.
  • Symptoms can vary but may include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, confusion, lethargy, unsteady gait.
  • Treatment depends on the type of poisoning but may include gastric decontamination (induce vomiting/pump the stomach), activated charcoal to prevent further absorption, toxin-specific antidotes, fluid therapy and supportive care. The earlier your cat receives treatment, the better the outcome.

Continue reading

Cat Articles

Caring For A Blind Cat

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Caring for a blind cat

Blindness is a condition which may be with a cat from birth or may be the result of disease or accident.

Cats are extremely adaptable and can live a perfectly happy and content life without vision. As your cat’s carer, there are things you can do to make your cat’s life as easy as possible. They can do almost as much as a cat with vision can do, but you will have to make some changes in order to accommodate a blind cat.

If you are new to being the carer of a blind cat, don’t worry about your cat. If the blindness has come on suddenly, it may take your cat a little while to adapt but it will do so given time and patience.

Keeping your blind cat safe

A blind cat should not be permitted outside unless in the safety of a cat enclosure or on a harness and leash. There are just too many dangers for cats, but blind cats are especially vulnerable.

Make sure your cat has permanent identification. If your blind cat does accidentally end up outside, it will be harder for him to find his way home. Identification will, therefore, increase his chances of being reunited with you. Provide your cat with a collar and ID tag which states that your cat is blind.

Block off access to windows and balconies which have a long drop to the ground.

Keep things familiar for your cat

It is very important to your cat to have consistency in his life. This means keeping his environment as familiar as possible. Some tips include:

  • Don’t move around furniture, litter trays, food bowls etc.
  • Feed your cat at the same time every day.
  • If you do move something, move it back immediately.
  • Keep the house clutter free
  • Avoid startling your cat with sudden noises. If there is a sudden noise, such as a pot being dropped, gently assure your cat.

Stimulating the other senses

Your cat’s other senses will be heightened and it is advised to encourage your cat to use them. Provide toys which make a noise or catnip toys which your cat can smell.

Whiskers are used by cats to help them feel around in narrow spaces, especially on a night time. Therefore a cat’s whiskers should never be trimmed, this is especially true in the blind cat.

Blind cat care

As your cat has lost his vision, his hearing and sense of smell are especially important. You should take your cat to the vet for routine veterinary checks regularly and if you notice anything unusual, seek veterinary advice immediately.

When you approach your cat, do so while talking soothingly to him. Be careful not to startle him suddenly.