Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Case of the Week - Puddin'

Puddin' is an Exotic Short Hair, basically a short-hair Persian. When we first met him a year ago, he weighed less than one pound. He and his buddy Rafe had just been adopted into a new home and were brought in for a check-up. They both had the typical Persian face, but Puddin's nose was very small and he had some difficulty breathing through it. Dr. Karnia talked to his new mom about a procedure that could be done when he was older to help him breathe more easily. Both kittens thrived and grew well, but Puddin' was always less active and his mom could hear him breathing from across the room.

When Puddin' was close to a year old, he came into the clinic to have surgery on his nose. After he was anesthetized, Dr. Karnia used the surgical laser to cut away a small piece on either side of his nose. The amount of tissue removed was only a few millimeters wide but was enough to open up his nasal openings. The laser seals all nerves and blood vessels as it cuts so that there is no bleeding and very little discomfort. The day after surgery, his mom reported that he was active and eating well and breathing much better.

Two months later, Puddin' was in the clinic for his Rabies vaccine and physical exam. His mom now calls him "my crazy cat". She says he is so much more active than he was before, and she can't hear him breathing at all anymore. His nose has healed very well and looks great.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Case of the Week - Buddy

Congratulations to April on her adoption of a new kitten, Buddy! He did develop some problems due to an upper respiratory infection but recovered well and is now home with his new family. Knowing that young kittens are especially susceptible to intestinal parasites and wanting to make sure Buddy is completely healthy, April brought us our most prized gift from a new kitten - a poop sample. Buddy has been eating well and his bowel movements have appeared completely normal, but we ran a fecal test to be sure everything was fine. Looking at his sample under the microscope, Katrina soon found a large number of Coccidia eggs.

Coccidia is a one-celled parasitic organism called a protozoan. It lives in the intestinal wall lining and can cause diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss, especially in young kittens. Buddy was probably exposed to the coccidian in the feces of his mother or another cat at the shelter, or even before he went to the shelter. Even though Buddy was not showing outward signs like diarrhea, the coccidia could have caused problems later. Coccidia can be difficult to completely resolve, but a course of antibiotics and strict hygiene in the litter box will usually clear it.

Since kittens are more susceptible to parasitic infections, it is even more important to have fecal tests done. It is also important that all young cats and any cats that go outdoors - even for brief periods - should have fecal tests done every 6-12 months. See the articles in our LifeLearn library for more information about parasites in cats.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Case of the Week - Choco

Choco is an eighteen and a half year old domestic long hair. His dad became concerned when Choco was not eating very well. When he stopped eating completely, his dad brought him into the clinic to see if there was anything to be done for him. On exam, Choco was very quiet, but looked good for his age with a good weight and a shiny, long, dark brown fur coat. Just below his tail though, a soft, painful mass could be felt under his skin. Choco had developed an infection in his anal sac causing an abscess to the side of his hind end.

Anal sacs are scent glands that produce a very strong odor. Cats will express them when marking their territory, when they are scared, or when they defecate. In some cats, the secretion does not get expressed and begins to build up and thicken in the sacs. If they become infected, an abscess can form causing pain and fever. The affected cat may lick at his hind end, react to touch of the area, become lethargic and stop eating. The abscess needs to be drained and flushed under anesthesia and antibiotics begun.

Due to Choco's age, anesthesia was a concern. A complete blood panel run in the clinic showed within minutes that Choco's overall health was very good. Dr. Karnia safely anesthetized him and his hind end was clipped of hair and scrubbed with surgical disinfectant. After the abscess was punctured with a scalpel, a large amount of infected fluid was removed. A small part of the skin was so badly affected that Dr. Karnia needed to cut it away and suture the skin closed. The ascessed area was thoroughly flushed and a drain was sutured in place.

Choco felt much better as early as that evening, acting normally and starting to eat. His skin healed very well. He was doing so well that when his sutures were ready to be removed, we anesthetized him again for a complete dental exam and cleaning. Choco bounced right back from that as well. He is a true example that you are as young as you feel.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Case of the Week - Lilly

One of the great aspects of a veterinary clinic is the interesting cases that come through our doors. In a new blog series, we will be presenting a case of the week.

Lilly is a two-year-old grey tabby that likes to play with ribbon. On a recent Friday, she actually swallowed some and started to vomiting it up, and not eating anything else. By Monday, she was still not eating so her mom brought her into the clinic. A radiograph (x-ray) of her abdomen showed an abnormal air pocket that could be an indication of an obstruction in her i
ntestine. We fed her a contrast liquid and took periodic radiographs to watch it move through her stomach and intestines.

In a normal cat, the contrast liquid should pass through the entire intestinal tract in three hours. In Lilly, after four hours, the contrast had traveled through her small intestine but was not yet moving into her colon. We gave her a little food which she ate then vomited up. The vomiting and the slow transit of the contrast liquid were a good indication that Lilly had an obstruction and needed surgery.

As soon as we finished our afternoon appointments, we anesthetized Lilly and prepared her for surgery. A four-inch incision was made into her abdomen and the stomach and intestines were evaluated. Her stomach appeared normal but there was something firm in both ends of her small intestines. After making a one-centimeter incision into the beginning of the small intestine, a black ribbon was removed. It had frayed at the end and a thin thread went further into the intestine.

A thread or string th
at enters the small intestine is called a linear foreign body. Typically, part of the linear foreign body will get stuck at the start of the small intestine or in the stomach but the rest will continue passing through the intestines. This can create an accordion of the intestines, even leading to tearing of the intestines. Multiple incisions are needed to cut and remove the foreign body while minimizing the trauma and pulling on the intestines themselves. Lilly needed five incisions to completely remove all of the thread. Her intestines did show some evidence of trauma from the thread pulling but fortunately it was only light bruising.

Lilly did very well through the surgery and recovery period. She was transferred to an emergency clinic for continued monitoring throughout the night. By the next afternoon she was lively and eating small amounts. Eight days after surgery, she is eating well and back to her normal self.
Her family is now very vigilant about any thread or string-like objects in the house, having learned how quickly something of that nature can be swallowed. Be sure to keep any thread, ribbon, string, yarn or floss out of your cat's reach.