Cat Health: May 2009 Archives

Article by Thomas Hapka

pictures_cats_FIV.jpegEach year, scores of pet owners receive the shocking news that their beloved cats have been diagnosed with FIV (also known as the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus). But there are many things veterinarians typically don't tell these pet owners about the realities of this disease and the available treatment options. Here are a few examples.

1. A diagnosis of FIV is NOT an automatic death sentence: Cats with FIV can live for many years and enjoy a good quality of life. Even those felines showing symptoms often bounce back with proper treatment.

2. FIV can be treated: Veterinarians often tell pet owners there are no treatment options available for cats with FIV. This is simply NOT true. Natural treatments have proven remarkably effective in the treatment of the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. Holistic modalities like homeopathy and herbal medicine, used in concert with nutritional supplements and a quality diet, can support and revitalize a faltering immune system. Such therapies work well as preventative measures for cats not yet showing symptoms, and they can also be lifesaving for those in the advanced stages of the disease.

pictures_cats_healthy_cat.jpeg3. Cats with FIV do NOT always have to be isolated: Unlike other feline diseases, FIV is not wildly contagious. It is typically spread through deep, penetrating bite wounds like those exchanged by unneutered males during violent street fights. FIV is not spread through mutual grooming, shared bedding, food dishes, water bowls, or litter pans. FIV is rarely spread amongst cats living in the same house, and the isolation strategy recommended by so many vets is generally misguided.

The bottom line is that FIV+ cats can live long and healthy lives, and pet owners can adopt and keep these animals, secure in the knowledge that they've chosen well.

Thomas Hapka is the award-winning author of Feline AIDS: A Pet Owner's Guide, a book outlining natural treatments for the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). He has served as a consultant to pet owners from more than eleven countries, including the cathouses of two U.S. zoos. To schedule an interview with Thomas, call 920.285.8055, email felineaids@hotmail.com, or visit http://felineaids.org/

Article by Dr. Peters

pictures_cats_colds.jpegWhen we catch a cold, we are usually plagued with watery eyes, runny nose, congestion, coughing and sneezing. Anyone who has had cats for any length of time has seen these same symptoms from time to time. But did the cat actually have a cold?

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If we go by the definition of a cold as an upper respiratory infection, then yes, cats can catch colds, and the mechanism and course of infection are similar to ours. Usually, the immune system must be diminished to allow it, as healthy individuals will not be debilitated by an assault of the causative agents.

The causes include viruses and bacteria, primarily. Often, a virus will appear first and weaken the tissues in the respiratory tract, at which point, certain bacteria may gain a foothold, creating symptoms as a secondary infection.

pictures_cats_hiding.jpegThe various "cat colds" include FVR (feline viral rhinotracheitis), which is caused by a herpes virus; FCV (feline calicivirus), an RNA virus which is most similar to the human cold viruses; and feline chlamydia, or pneumonitis, caused by a bacterium, chlamydia psittaci. This is the infection that leads to the eye infections that may accompany respiratory symptoms.

Those caused by bacteria are arguably the easiest to fight, as they can be treated with antibiotics, but there are no antibiotics that specifically target viruses. The best approach, then, is to treat the symptoms while supporting the cat's physiology with remedies that promote health and strengthen the immune system.

Those "treatments" involve common sense approaches, such as proper diet and reducing stress in the environment. When these are part of the cat's everyday lifestyle anyway, colds and other illnesses are much less likely to appear in the first place.

This information was obtained from The Cornell (University) Book of Cats. For additional general information about cat health, visit Dr. Peters' website:http://www.theproblemcat.com/articles/cathealth.html

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Author: Dilani Mallikarachchi

pictures_cats_stressed.jpegAlthough cats don't have to deal with rush hour traffic, exams, paying bills or missing deadlines, which causes stress in we humans, they also get stressed with their own problems in life.

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A new member in family can make a cat stressed. That member can be another cat, a new dog or simply a new person. Cats are animals of habit. So, sudden changes in their schedules can easily make them stressed. So when you are doing changes in your house, do them smoothly as possible, giving your cat a little time to adjust to the new surrounding.

pictures_cats_playful.jpegCats treat your furniture as their own. They mark them, so they can identify them with the scent. Sometimes they scratch them to visually make item their own. So sometimes, new furniture can make them stressed. Now think about rearranging your furniture. You can't let your pet know that you are rearranging the place, when your cat arrives; he would be shocked as he just can't recognize the things with smell or anything. The places he knew very well have suddenly become unknown. It will easily put him in tension. So, when you are rearranging the house, always leave a little space for your cat which contains his toys and most familiar things, when he get use to new arrangements you can slowly change that space too(if you wish to).

Moving to a new house will also put him in stress because he doesn't know the reason to be in a new house. You better keep and eye on him as sometimes otherwise he will try to go to old house and get lost in unknown land.

Fear can also make a cat stressed. A mean dog in household or fireworks in holidays are few things that cat may get afraid of.

Whatever the reason your cat get stressed you can lower it simply by showing much love and sympathy to him. Time he spend with you is the most valuable time he got, so play with him, give praise and kind words, spend little more time with him and enjoy the moment.

Dilani is really interested in cats and their behavior. She writes with the inspiration she got from her two cats' behavior and the books she read. You can read more at Understanding your cat

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Article by Dr. Peters

pictures_cats_cuddling.jpegCats are vulnerable to certain viruses, but generally, they are not the same ones that afflict us. For example, the flu viruses come in different "strains," basically A, B, or C. And they affect different species in different ways.

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Anyone who has watched the news recently may have noticed that public health authorities have given the Swine Flu a new name: H1N1. As for the strain that affects cats, it's called H5N1... a different form of it altogether.

Since the Swine Flu is considered more likely to be found in swine, and not cats or dogs, that's probably how it got its name. But more importantly, because it's transmissible to humans, it became a huge health issue for the first time in 1976. However, at that time, more people became ill or died from the vaccine rather than the disease, which is now remembered as the "swine flu fiasco." However, this time around, not even swine are infected. Only people.

The biggest lesson learned from the 1976 episode is that it's useful to prepare for an epidemic but without committing to it prematurely.

cat-napped_pictures_of_cats.jpgThe same lesson should apply to how we manage ourselves in relation to our pets within the potential crisis. And that is, not to panic and begin treatments that do not apply and could be harmful in themselves, either to us or to our pets. However, it is extremely important to monitor everyone in the household and to exercise good hygiene.

Even if your cat becomes ill, and it turns out to be a cat version of the flu, or H5N1, there is absolutely no reason to believe you will be infected. For this virus, there is no evidence of a trans-species infectiousness in either direction. In other words, if you fall ill, you can't pass it on to the cat, either.

Public health officials have announced that cats and dogs seem to be safe and that there is no evidence anywhere that these pets can contract the infection.

For now, it appears that pigs are in more danger from us than the other way around.

Dr. R.J. Peters established a rescue facility in 2002 and has worked with more than 1,000 cats and dogs. Visit her website, http://www.theproblemcat.com for more articles and information about pets.

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