Tuesday 15 July 2014

Is Lyme Disease Keeping Cats inside?

Lyme Disease in Cats (reinforcing an indoor lifestyle)

Is the fear that their cat might get Lyme disease from the deer tick encouraging people to keep their cats indoors all the time, in America and in some parts of the UK?

Lyme disease is found in the north-east of America and much less commonly down the eastern half of America and also on the West Coast.

Sources:American Lyme Disease Foundation & Yale School of Public Health – 2012

So the risk is quite high in the north-east of America. Lyme disease affects people and pets who go outside and walk in woodlands and grasslands where the deer tick sits and waits before jumping onto a host and then in sucking on the blood of the host they inject into the host a bacteria creating a bacterial infection in the host which causes quite severe symptoms.

Although the symptoms are rather vague and sometimes non-existent making diagnosis more difficult. A loss of appetite, fatigue, tiredness and fever are some of the symptoms but the most prominent is stiff and painful joints which cause the cat to walk stiffly. The cat is lame and surely this must be a predominant symptom which helps cat owner and veterinarian alike to diagnose this disease.

It is possible that veterinarians sometimes fail to diagnose this disease and quite possibly simply prescribe a course of antibiotics as a general treatment; in other words they treat the symptoms. On other occasions they may inadvertently create a fear of lyme disease in cats which encourages people to keep their cats inside, full-time. I'm not sure how prevalent it is. You can tell from the map that across a large swathe of America, lyme disease is non-existent and very rare in the whole of the eastern part of the country except for in the North on either side of the great Lakes.

The map is obviously very important because if a veterinarian is going to warn their client to keep their cat in, it should relate directly to where they live. In any event I've always believed that a well constructed cat enclosure or catio is an excellent compromise in allowing a cat to sense the outdoors while remaining safe. If a cat is carrying a tick, if it is removed in the right manner within about 10 to 18 hours of the tick feeding on the cat then the transmission of the disease is prevented.

On that basis, it makes sense to check a cat when he or she returns from the outside if they are roaming in high-risk areas. This page deals with removing a tick. Ticks should be removed with care and it may be necessary for a veterinarian to do it.

Monday 14 July 2014

Have You Given Human Medicine To Your Cat?

I have never given human medicine to my cat.  It has never occurred to me, in fact, because it is too dangerous but that does not mean it is dangerous for the few people who have the sufficient knowledge and skills regarding feline medications. However, a well-known book on cat illness and treatment, Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook, third edition, lists on page 561 over-the-counter drugs for home veterinary use.  The authors state that the medicines listed are not labelled for use in cat.  

They make it abundantly clear that these medicines should not be administered without guidance from a veterinarian.  That is absolutely critical and cannot be stress strongly enough. Dosages are critical and some of these contain salicylates and  acetaminophen (to be avoided).

Here is the list. It is a USA list by the way.

  • Afrin Children's Strength Nose Drops
  • Aspirin (buffered; enteric coating) ***. I stress again please see a vet
  • Betadine solution
  • Charcoal
  • Chlorhexidine solution
  • Dulcolax
  • Flatulex
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Kaolin and pectin
  • Loperamide
  • Metamucil
  • Milk of Magnesia, Mylanta Maalox
  • Mineral oil
  • Pepcid
  • Robitussin
  • Robitussin-DM, Benylin Expectorant

I have deliberately not provided dosage details and what they are used for (although for some it is obvious) to force cat owners to ask their vet before using them.

Cutest Kitten Voice You Heard

We know about cute kitten faces but what about kitten voices? They certainly push the button; the maternal button. This kitten is like a baby but with a voice that is much better than a baby! I think this kitten has one of the cutest voices around. The voice almost sounds like a piece of finely tuned machinery especially at the end of each meow.

148,000 FB Likes - Mother Cat Cuddles her Kittens ...

Best Pictures of Cats and More: 148,000 FB Likes - Mother Cat Cuddles her Kittens ...: This photo is oriented upside down on Facebook! Perhaps it is better upside down. Perhaps it was deliberately twisted upside down (180%) to...This is a cross-post. The picture is right-side up on this page.

The photo has 148,000 likes on Facebook. That is a lot and it just reinforces what we already know that we like kittens, we like mothers with kittens and we like them because we are subliminally anthropomorphising cats. Kittens with their mother pushes the baby button in women especially when mom hugs her kittens like this.

Total protection. It looks very uncomfortable though I must say -- hard floor and the little kitten on the bottom is squashed a bit but in a very loving way.

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