Archive from November, 2013

Could My Cat be Allergic to His Food??

Nov 15, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion, Tips & Advice

Recently one of our clinic kitties, “O’Malley”, began vomiting and losing weight. In addition to blood work and fecal testing, we started a food trial on him. We initially saw improvement in both his weight and vomiting, but after 6 months, he began to show signs again which caused us to investigate his “compliance”. Below is a discussion of food trials, including reasons and pitfalls.

Cats can have reactions to food causing gastrointestinal signs (vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, weight loss), sometimes skin signs (excessive licking or scratching, hair loss, skin irritations and lesions on the skin, lips, paw pads or ears), and even respiratory signs (coughing , wheezing, trouble breathing, asthma signs). Interestingly, allergies are not typically associated with sneezing or runny eyes in cats the way we think about it in people.

The reactions can be true allergies (involving an immunologic response) or non-immunologic (food poisoning, reactions to toxins or additives in the food).

Diet trails are recommended by your veterinarian to see if your cat’s clinical signs improve or resolve once the diet is changed. Trials can take anywhere from 2-12 weeks to see response. Blood testing for allergies measures levels of immunoglobulin E (Ig E) and is not accurate for food allergies or sensitivities because not all allergic reactions are mediated by IgE, nor or all food reactions mediated by the immune system.

The diets that are recommended may be single source protein and carbohydrate diets that your cat has never eaten or hydrolyzed protein diets (where the proteins are broken down so tiny as to not cause a reaction). A veterinary therapeutic diet is recommended because over the counter diets are often not pure and can still contain protein sources to which your cat has previously been exposed.

Pitfalls include supplementing your cat with treats or other food sources to which he is still sensitive or allergic to, feeding over the counter diets, cats not wanting the new food, or cross reaction between the protein in the recommended diet and a protein to which your cat is sensitive. Examples might be turkey cross-reacting with a chicken allergy.

You may need to keep your cat indoor to ensure he is not scavenging food at the neighbors’ and you may need to use dry kibble or baked canned of the prescription diet as treats so that visitors will not be tempted to feed your cat non-prescription treats. All medications should be checked to make sure they do not contain proteins in the liquid or capsule that could create reaction. This includes heartworm and flea medications.

In some cases you may chose to cook a homemade diet for your kitty. If so, it is recommended you consult with a board certified veterinary nutritionist to formulate your cat’s diet. Check the website to find a nutritionist in your area.

So, what happened to O’Malley? Well, we ruled out clients and staff members as a source for “supplementation” of his diet and performed an abdominal ultrasound on him. The findings indicate some intestinal and liver disease that did not show up on blood work and is worsening despite the food trial. He is scheduled to have biopsies of his in the next week and we will keep you posted on his case!

Dr Cindy McManis

Dr. Cynthia McManis received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M University in 1985. She developed her interest in cats during her first year post-graduation. She began to actively pursue more education and information regarding feline health care and joined the Academy of Feline Medicine in 1989. When the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners approved feline practice as a specialty board in 1995, she was in the first class to sit for the exam. She is 1 of 90 board certified feline practitioners in the country at this time. Dr. McManis founded Just Cats Veterinary Services in 1994.

Outside of her clinic cases, she is a feline internal medicine consultant for Veterinary Information Network, a web based resource for veterinarians all over the world. She has also served on several committees within the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP). She established an ABVP residency site at Just Cats in 2008 and mentors new graduates as well as seasoned practitioners who are interested in achieving ABVP certification.

Dr. McManis is an avid triathlete and is constantly training for races. She completed her first Iron Man in May of 2012. She is owned by 2 home kitties- Amante (“Monty”) and La Mariquita (“Mari”), and 2 hospital kitties- Momma Kitty and O’Malley.

Just Cats Veterinary Services
1015 Evergreen Circle
The Woodlands, TX 77380

Phone: (281) 367-2287

Directions: Google | MapQuest | Yahoo!

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Your Cat’s Holiday Wish List

Nov 7, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Behavior

Satisfying the inner Grumpy Cat:

  1. Holiday parties – Grumpy Cat says “Bah, humbug”!
    Many cats find visitors to the house, especially children or large parties, very stressful. Make sure that you put an extra litter box, food and water in a quiet area that your cat can reach without having to go past the visitors. Leave the current litter boxes and food and water where they typically are located.
  2. Christmas trees – Grumpy Cat says “Christmas trees are for climbing, and if possible, destruction”.
    Cats tend to think both real and artificial trees make great climbing and hiding places. Secure trees to ceilings or stair rails to save Grandma’s priceless ornaments from destruction when the tree is scaled, hidden in, or otherwise investigated. Keep breakable ornaments on upper branches and use unbreakable ornaments on lower branches. Cover the water reservoir for real trees, as your cat’s inner Grumpy Cat requires he drink it and have diarrhea on the carpet just before guests arrive.
  3. Tinsel and Christmas ribbon – Grumpy Cat says: “Thanks for the appetizers, I will have the turkey for my entrée”.
    Many cats love the texture of tinsel and Christmas ribbon. They starts chewing on it and because of the little spines on their tongues, they cannot spit it out. They swallow the tinsel or ribbon and it gets stuck in the intestinal tract. This can be fatal and usually requires surgery. Use stick on bows and avoid tinsel on the tree.
  4. Holiday travel – Grumpy Cat says, “Fish and relatives stink in 3 days- or much less!”
    Cats thrive on routine. Visiting other people’s home is stressful, especially if there are other resident pets. When taking your cat to a different home, keep it confined in one room with food, water and litter boxes. Your cat will not make friends with the other pets during a short visit. Even without other pets, getting used to multiple rooms takes a fair amount of time.
  5. Festive greenery – Grumpy cat says, “The only good plant is a dead plant”.
    Many plants are toxic to cats. The poinsettia is irritating to the cat’s intestinal tract and causes vomiting and diarrhea, but lilies and mistletoe are extremely poisonous and usually fatal when eaten.
  6. Favorite present – Grumpy Cat says “You!!!”
    Holidays are hectic times and pets often miss out on their usual attention. 10 minutes of TLC 1-2 times a day may be all your cat needs to feel like King of the Household. Of course, laser pointers, feeding ball toys, heated beds (especially for older cats), anything with catnip, cat trees placed by the window, and a very clean litter box are also much appreciated. Daily canned food is also on most cats’ wish lists. May your cat’s inner Grumpy Cat be stunned by how you anticipated and filled his Christmas list!

Dr Tammy Sadek

Dr Tammy Sadek is board certified in Feline Practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. Dr Sadek graduated at the top of her veterinary class at the University Of Minnesota College Of Veterinary Medicine. She has practiced feline medicine and surgery for over 25 years. Dr Sadek is the owner and founder of two cat hospitals in the Grand Rapids, MI area, the Kentwood Cat Clinic and the Cat Clinic North.

In addition to her cat hospitals, Dr Sadek hosts a website dedicated to helping cat owners prevent and correct litter box issues along with other behavioral issues with their pets.

Dr Sadek is the author of several chapters in the book Feline Internal Medicine Secrets. Her professional interests include senior cat care, internal medicine, feline behavior, and dermatology.

Dr Sadek is currently owned by 5 cats. In addition to caring for all her feline friends, Dr Sadek enjoys traveling, jewelry making, reading fantasy and science fiction, and gardening. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two soon to fledge children.

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