Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Managing Chronic Renal Failure

Now that your cat has been diagnosed with CRD I'm sure you have many questions like how to manage it effectively. We can help you with diet, fluids, medications and dosing. Visit Scottsdale Cat Clinic for more information.

1. Kidney friendly food ~ A low-protein diet is key. The protein in the food must be broken down by the body to be used for energy. One of the byproducts is blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and as it builds up in the blood stream, the cat feels nauseous. Talk to your veterinarian about a high-quality low protein diet. Here at the Scottsdale Cat Clinic we carry 3 different high quality food brands for finicky kitties: Hill's, Royal Canin and Purina.

2. Keep your cat hydrated ~ Subcutaneous fluids under the skin and access to fresh water are a must. This can help flush out toxins and prevent dehydration. Talk to your veterinarian to formulate a plan and determine how many times per week your cat will need subcutaneous fluids.

3. Restrict dietary phosphorous ~ Phosphorus levels in the blood climb with kidney failure, so it's important to make sure the food you're feeding has low levels of phosphorus. Low protein diets are low in phosphorus. You can also give your cat a phosphate binder medication - liquid, tablet or powder form - that binds to phosphorus in food and prevents it from being absorbed in the bloodstream. The binders need to be given with a meal in order to work effectively. Talk to your veterinarian about the phosphate dose your cat would need.

4. Additional therapies for anemic pets ~ It's common for a cat in kidney failure to also have anemia (low red blood cell count). The kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin that tells the bone marrow to make new red blood cells to replace older ones. When the kidneys start to fail they stop making adequate amounts of this hormone. Over time the cat could appear weak or unwilling to eat. Blood transfusions and hormone replacement shots are available for treatment.

5. Protect the stomach ~ It's common for toxins to build up in the blood and produce stomach ulcers. The ulcers can cause nausea, vomiting, and a decreased appetite. Anti-ulcer medications are available to reduce the stomach acid. Talk with your veterinarian to answer questions about the best medications and dosing schedules for your pet.

To view the full article visit DVM360.

What is Chronic Renal Disease?

Chronic Renal Disease

(chronic renal disease) is one of the most common feline diseases we see here at the Scottsdale Cat Clinic, especially in cats ages 7 years and older.
Chronic Renal Disease, Chronic Renal Failure and Chronic Renal Insufficiency all pertain to the same disfunction in the kidneys.

There are about 200,000 tiny structures (nephrons) in the kidneys that eliminate waste products and regulate electrolytes. CRF forms when the nephrons die off and the waste products and electrolytes cannot be processed through. Waste products begin to accumulate in the cat’s body and the cat begins to become poisoned by its own waste products.

The kidneys have 5 main functions: to filter waste from the body (specifically urea and creatinine), regulate electrolytes (potassium, calcium, phosphorus and sodium), The production of erythropoietin (helps stimulate bone marrow to produce red blood cells), produce renin (enzyme that controls blood pressure) and the production and concentration of urine. There are two types of renal failure that exist, chronic or acute. CRF is a progressive and irreversible deterioration of the kidneys functions. Acute renal failure (ARF) is described as a quick shut down of kidney function. Causes of ARF in cats are: urinary blockages, other infectious diseases, trauma and the ingestion of toxins. ARF is just as serious as CRF and can quickly become fatal.


Symptoms of CRF are increased thirst (polydipsia) and excessive urination (polyuria). With progression of the disease may also come loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, poor hair coat and emaciation. The kidneys only need to be working at 30% for normal functioning, which is why no symptoms will be evident until 70% of kidney function is lost. Cats are uncanny at hiding their illnesses and the very early signs are subtle.


CRF can be caused by two or more contributing factors such as age, genetics, environment and other diseases. In more recent years, more attention has been focused on high blood pressure, low potassium levels, acidified diets and dental disease as a culprit of renal failure.


A diagnosis of CRF can be made through a urine test to determine if the cat is concentrating its urine. A low specific gravity of urine means the kidneys are not functioning properly and are not passing the body's waste the way they should be.

A blood panel can determine the levels of creatinine and BUN (blood urea nitrogen) which can give some indication of the progression of the disease. An elevated level of creatinine is a clear sign of lost kidney function. The blood panel also helps to determine any related abnormalities involving other organs, changes in the electrolytes and minerals, and signs of anemia. Other tests can help to determine the severity of the disease.

Home Care

There is no cure for CRF but with supportive care at home, the disease can be managed for a significant amount of time. The key to CRF management is to control the amount of waste products being filtered through the kidneys. In order to control this process it is extremely important to feed the proper diet and give all prescribed medications and fluid therapy at home. If your cat is 7 years or older please have them see their veterinarian every 6 months to ensure proper care. With early testing and early detection of this disease, cats can live happy and active lives for years to come.

We found a great website in regards to all forms of renal disease. To view the full article and related articles please visit Feline CRF Information Center.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Recent cases that would have benefited from a Pet Health Insurance Plan or Pet Health Savings Account

Pet Health Insurance: Does your cat need it?

At the Scottsdale Cat Clinic we have recently seen a few cases that reinforce how helpful it can be to have pet insurance: a one-year-old cat with a broken leg requiring a $3000 surgery to repair it, a two-year-old cat with a urethral blockage (he couldn’t urinate) and needed extensive treatment to unblock his urethra and treat the complications, a ten-year-old cat with cancer (his dad couldn’t afford to pay for all the diagnostics and treatment needed). This is just a snapshot of the cases we see daily and age wasn't as much of a factor as many might think. Health complications can strike at any age. Most of them are never expected, foreseen or planned for, leaving the cat vulnerable and the owner feeling helpless if they don't have the funds necessary for treatment.

How does it work?

Pet insurance usually works by paying a percentage of the cost of veterinary care after a deductible is paid. The insurance reimburses you for the costs that you have paid to the veterinarian. There are many different insurance companies in the market today offering a wide variety of plans. Therefore you can choose the amount of coverage and size of the deductible, which determines the monthly cost of the premiums. There are plans which cover wellness care such as vaccines and exams. There are also plans that only cover illness or injury. These plans are less expensive and help you provide the care your cat needs when extensive testing or treatment are unexpectedly needed. Much like catastrophic coverage, you may not ever need it, but it will be there for you if and when you ever do.

Most insurance companies have an upper age limit determining which new cats they will accept under their plans. They also will not cover many pre-existing conditions. So it is best to start the insurance when your cat is young and healthy.

Visit our website at Scottsdale Cat Clinic to view a few of the pet health care companies we recommend.

Start a Savings Account $$

An alternative to pet insurance is to start a savings account for your cat. It might sound challenging but if you put a small amount every month into a separate savings account, the money will accumulate and be available for when your cat is ill. Some banks are even marketing a Pet Savings Account. If you're weighing your options visit the Pet Connection Blog for more insight and to help determine what works best for your household.

"I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become it's visible soul."
~ Jean Cocteau

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Are Flea and Tick Products Safe For Your Cat?

Disease risks far outweigh adverse flea product concerns according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC).

The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) issued a statement citing low safety risks for topical spot-on flea and tick products. The action follows a recent advisory from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cautioning consumers about an increase in adverse events (up to 40,000).

Mike Paul, DVM, executive director of CAPC, says in a written statement, "While these (adverse-reaction) figures are concerning, they must be interpreted in light of information that is absent from the report. An adverse event that is reported may be anything from disappointing results, unacceptable odors or temporary changes to the hair coat, to more significant events such as gastrointestinal upsets, respiratory signs like coughing or sneezing or skin irritations at the point of application. On rare occasions,
serious and life-threatening symptoms and even death may occur."

Paul chides the report for not clarifying the nature or frequency of adverse events.

"The range of products used is amazingly broad," Paul adds. "Not only are these products specifically labeled for indication by species, they are also clearly labeled for frequency of application and dosage. There is no reference in the EPA report to adherence to these labeled restrictions."

The source of these products and handling directions is another area of concern, CAPC says.

Some are available over-the-counter, and some are illegally imported or not appropriately manufactured, Paul says. "Products dispensed by veterinarians with a client/patient relationship are the most completely supervised with regard to species application, dose and frequency of application, but even these products can be mishandled," he adds.

"It is important to consider this number in light of the total doses administered from veterinary sources, Internet sources and retail sources, a figure that is simply not available," Paul explains.

"We do have information on veterinary-dispensed products, and even in light of that number the percentage of adverse events is extremely low, and the percentage of major adverse events is miniscule. The incidence of adverse events should always be of concern, but must be interpreted in light of the above realities."

"The improved control of fleas and ticks has done much to improve the comfort level and quality of life of dogs and cats. Further, particularly in view of increased geographic ranges of external parasites and the diseases they carry, flea and tick control have significant implications in protecting human health. Ectoparasites and their control is a genuine zoonotic concern with very real public health implications."

As first reported in DVM Newsmagazine, flea and tick product makers were slated to meet with EPA officials in mid-May.

For the complete article and video detailing how Frontline flea and tick control works click here.

If you have questions or are interested in starting your cat on flea and tick control feel free to contact the Scottsdale Cat Clinic at (480) 329-2202 for an appointment.

May 13, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Beating the Odds, Baby Mack's Story

Meet Baby Mack, a fuzzy black haired little kitten with a lot of luck on his side!

Baby Mack has proven time and time again to be a survivor rising above all the challenges he's been faced with.

About 3 weeks ago he was spotted by a little neighbor girl as he lay all alone under a bush. Since his eyes were not even open yet, her mom thought he was a dead rat and called pest control. When they arrived they delivered the news that this was far from a rat but a little kitten that was still alive. That's when Safe Haven for Animals was called, a local rescue group. Hearing the story, they happily welcomed Baby Mack into their rescue facility and immediately started caring for him around the clock as his momma would have. Baby Mack started receiving bottle feedings every 2 to 3 hours, stimulated with a warm cloth to help him urinate and defecate, was kept warm at all times on a heating pad and given lots of love!

The next step would be a health check-up at the Scottsdale Cat Clinic where Dr. Karnia treats many of Safe Haven's kitties. Laura, his foster mom at Safe Haven, had noticed a small lesion on his hind quarters that didn't seem to be getting any better. The day of her vet appointment the lesion had gotten much worse and then split open. What we found next was startling. Maggots had found their way into Baby Mack's wound and were feeding on his tissues. Fortunately Baby Mack didn't seem to be too uncomfortable and the medical team went to work flushing out the wound and disposing of the invaders. Really all Baby Mack seemed to care about was when was he getting his next bottle! He wasn't out of the woods yet though. A few days later Laura noticed his bottom looking red and inflamed and he was struggling to defecate. Another trip back to the Scottsdale Cat Clinic where Dr. Karnia diagnosed a rectal prolapse. This can be commonly due to poor nutrition, worms or severe diarrhea forcing the animal to continually strain to defecate. The straining then forces the insides to come out of the anus. After putting things back in their proper place, Dr. Karnia placed a stitch to prevent it from happening again.

In a few days and after close watch by Laura around the clock and many re-checks at the vet things were starting to look good.

Today Baby Mack is a growing, purring, bouncing, curious healthy kitten! He also has shiny grayish hair growing in as an undercoat to his soft black fuzz. He looks absolutely adorable.

He continues to be doted on by Laura at Safe Haven and anyone else who comes in contact with him! Safe Haven for Animals is a no kill, non-profit animal shelter in the Phoenix area. They provide foster care and adoption services for any animal that needs them. Please visit their website or contact them at 602-926-8454 if you're interested in adopting a furry companion into your home or helping out in any other way.

Good luck to you Baby Mack! All of us here at the clinic enjoy receiving the pictures and updates from Baby Mack so much and we know he will lead a happy healthy life with his lucky new owner.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Is Your Pet Considered a Member of the Family?

A new survey reveals the strong bond between people and their pets.

Did you ever wonder if you were the only one that spoiled your pet, sang to them or talked to them in a 'special' voice? Don't be embarrassed. The Pet Owner Survey indicates 87% include Fido and Fluffy in their holiday celebrations. Pet birthdays are an event in 67% of households (with pets). Of those, 11% throw a birthday pet bash, 43% wrap a gift for their pet (no comments on what a lizard or fish gift may be), 41% play their pets' favorite game, and 45% are singing their pets' praises, belting out their renditions of "Happy Birthday." (The numbers add to more than 100% since owners may participate in more than one activity).

However, pet love isn't restricted to special occasions. According to the survey, an overwhelming 78% greet their pet at the door before their spouse or significant other. Of course, the pets themselves are in part responsible. After all, they dash to the door before even a track-star spouse can make it.

For more great statistics and to view the entire article visit Goodfornewspets.com.