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Archive for the ‘Feline nutrition and health’ Category

Poison!

Unfortunately, I’ve had a few conversations with friends recently about substances toxic to cats. One general rule of thumb – if you don’t know for a fact that something is NOT toxic to cats – assume it is!

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A friend recently adopted a kitten from a local rescue organization.  (Yay!  Adopt don’t buy!)  She’s been listening to my lectures on feline nutrition for years now, but checked in to make sure there wasn’t anything “else” she needed to know regarding feeding  a kitten.

In short, there isn’t.

All cats need high protein wet diets, including kittens. 

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The new AAFP-AAHA feline life stage guidelines are published.

My initial thoughts, after a quick review:

I like that they recognize that the efficacy of dental treats/food is debatable.  One more “mark” against the myth that dry food benefits cats’ dental health! 

The use of dental treats and chews may be a realistic, practical alternative to daily tooth brushing, although data about their comparative efficacy is lacking.

 

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When a caregiver contacts me regarding a cat having difficulty breathing, coughing fits, and/or wheezing – my first guess is asthma.  My second guess would be heart disease.  Then again, it could be as simple as an upper respiratory infection (the cat’s version of the common cold.) There’s not a lot you can do for a cold – but if it’s progressed to bronchitis/pneumonia, an antibiotic would be appropriate.  Obviously, the first step is to get the cat to a vet.  Any cat having difficulty breathing should see a vet IMMEDIATELY!  I’d start with a chest x-ray.

In the case of  asthma, treatment is generally two-fold. 
1)  A preventative medication/corticosteroid such as fluticasone (Flovent)
2)  A short-acting (emergency) medication/bronchodilator such as albuterol
Inhaled medications are VASTLY preferable to injected (or oral).  Inhaled medications obviously target the respiratory system.  Therefore, they have fewer systematic side effects.  Injected or oral steroids can cause diabetes and attacks of acute pancreatitis.

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Feline triaditis is actually three conditions occurring simultaneously:  pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), cholongiohepatitis (inflammation of the liver), and inflammatory bowel disease or IBD (inflammation of the intestines).

There may be no known “cure” for triaditis, though I would argue that proper nutrition is the absolute BEST method of treatment and prevention.  By proper nutrition, I mean a raw diet or a canned diet – and most definitely no dry food/kibble of any kind.

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Apparently they are giving out free samples of Hills’ “Nature’s Best” dry dog and cat food somewhere near work. Someone left a sample on the table at work yesterday and today there was a woman on the elevator holding three samples. I could NOT hold my tongue in the elevator – and simply told her “You know, that is NOT very good pet food.” She said “it’s not?” and I said “No, read the ingredients. Mostly grains, little meat. I used that exact pet food as an example of BAD pet foods in a recent talk I gave on the subject, and why reading labels is important.”

If you’ve read anything on my blog, you probably know I do NOT think feeding dry pet food is a good idea. I also DETEST Hills’ pet foods – they use horrible quality ingredients and were among the last to stop using carcinogens as preservatives… all under the guise of being “veterinarian recommended”. Recommended by vets because they give free food to vet students and fund vet courses on animal nutrition and market themselves HEAVILY to vets! NOT because they make good pet food!

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I’ve generally used a U-40 insulin (PZI-Vet) with U-100 syringes.  The advantages being that U-100 syringes are more widely available, and by using U-100 syringes with U-40 insulin I was able to make smaller dose adjustments.  (Before Meow Meow went off insulin, she was getting 0.2 units (two-tenths of a unit) of insulin!  NOT TWO UNITS – two-tenths of a unit!  No way I could measure that amount using a standard match of syringe to insulin.

Many find converting insulin to a different syringe confusing – and if, for that reason, you want to match – GREAT!  I recommend ALWAYS checking to make sure you KNOW which syringe and which insulin you’re using.  I’ve seen disasterous results when people don’t, and aren’t working with what they think they are.  Some insulins come in different strengths (like compounded PZI) and syringes obviously come in various markings – and there have even been cases where syringes were in the wrong box!  ALSO – make sure you understand whether your syringe is marked only for whole units, or also half units!  I’ve seen people advise others to count “lines” – well, whether you have lines only for whole units or whole and half units can DOUBLE YOUR DOSE!

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