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Cats + Emergency Situations

  • Frostbite is the damage that is caused to the skin and other tissues due to extreme cold. The paws, ears and tail are the most common tissues to be affected. Diagnosis is usually based on the cat's medical history and physical examination. If you suspect your cat has frostbite, you should seek medical attention immediately. Mild cases of frostbite usually resolve with little permanent damage while more severe frostbite may result in permanent disfiguration or alteration of the affected tissues. In severe cases, some cats require surgical removal of the necrotic tissue or amputation.

  • Hepatic lipidosis, also known as fatty liver syndrome, is unique to cats and is one of the most common liver diseases seen in cats. Usually a cat with hepatic lipidosis has recently gone through a period of anorexia. When fat is broken down rapidly to supply energy and nutrients to the anorectic cat, it can overwhelm the ability of the liver to process and the fat becomes stored in and around the liver cells, further compromising liver function. Diagnosis of hepatic lipidosis is made from blood tests that demonstrate poor liver function and from a liver biopsy or aspirate. This disease is treatable with aggressive nutritional support until a normal appetite returns.

  • During times of celebration, friends and family often gather in our homes. At these times, it is easy to overlook potential hazards to your cat's health and safety. In order to prevent mishaps for your cuddly companions, it is important that you recognize these hidden dangers.

  • Many think that because cats are finicky eaters they are poisoned less often than dogs. However, with their curiosity and fastidious grooming, intoxication is, unfortunately, not uncommon. Several factors predispose cats to becoming ill once they have been exposed to even a small amount of a poisonous substance.

  • If you saw a person have a seizure or fall down the stairs or wreck a car, what would you do? You'd call 911. But what should you do when the crisis involves your pet? You call a pet emergency number. Ask your veterinary hospital how they handle after-hour emergencies.

  • Hypertension, or high blood pressure, in cats can be a debilitating condition if not treated promptly. Hypertension may be caused by kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Your veterinarian will recommend the best treatment options for your cat based on her specific needs. Prognosis is variable depending on how well these other conditions are controlled.

  • Ibuprofen is a commonly used NSAID and is used to treat fever, pain, and inflammation in humans. Ibuprofen poisoning occurs when a cat ingests a toxic dose of ibuprofen, either through misuse or by accident. Ibuprofen poisoning causes many different clinical signs because many different organ systems can be affected. Most commonly, cats show signs related to kidney problems.

  • Cats are curious by nature. They love to investigate new sights, smells, and tastes. Unfortunately, this curiosity can lead them into trouble. Cats are notorious for ingesting thread, wool, paper, rubber bands, plant materials, and small toys. Not all foreign objects pass through the digestive tract without complication.

  • Meningitis refers to inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Causes include bacterial infection, viral infection, fungal infection, protozoal infection, aberrant parasite migration, or immune-mediated disease. A CSF tap is the most accurate way to diagnose meningitis, though CT and MRI may also be beneficial. Treatment and prognosis vary, depending upon the underlying cause.

  • Metaldehyde toxicity occurs when a dog (or, less commonly, a cat) eats slug bait that contains metaldehyde. The signs of metaldehyde toxicity include vomiting, anxiety, ataxia (due to muscle incoordination), stiffness, muscle tremors, elevated heart rate and respiratory rate, increased salivation, and increased sensitivity to touch. These signs often progress to continuous muscle tremors and seizures. Diagnosis is based on clinical signs and history. There is no antidote to metaldehyde; treatment is centered upon decontamination and supportive care. Prognosis is good, with aggressive treatment.