Vomiting in Cats

Vomiting is a common and frequently complex problem in cats. According to Gary Norsworthy, DVM, DABVP (feline practice), the greatest of all feline myths is that vomiting is normal. It’s not.
If one of your human family members seemed healthy but was vomiting twice a week—or twice a day—would we accept it as normal? Give up on these excuses:
> He eats too fast.
> She has a sensitive stomach.
> They’re just hairballs, and they are normal.
> That’s just the way he is; he’s a puker.

Sign of disease
Gastrointestinal diseases, renal failure, inflammatory or other liver diseases, pancreatitis and even lymphoma can cause chronic vomiting. Don’t wish away vomiting as probably a hairball—get it checked out by your veterinarian.
Sign of poisoning
Vomiting that isn’t chronic could be caused by poisoning. The following substances are the most common household toxins for cats:
> Plants: Autumn crocus, azalea, cyclamen, kalanchoe, lilies, oleander, dieffenbachia, daffodils, lily of the valley, sago palm, tulips, hyacinths, poinsettias and amaryllis
to name a few
> Over-the-counter medications: Including aspirin, acetaminophen, Advil, Aleve, Motrin, Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol
> Prescription drugs: Including antidepressant drugs, such as Prozac, Pacil, Celexa and Effexor
> Dietary supplements and vitamins
> Human food: Onions, for example
> Household cleaners: Drain cleaners, concentrated diswashing chemicals (including dishwasher tabs), lime-removal products, oven cleaners and concentrated toilet cleaners pose the biggest threat.
> Topical flea/tick treatments, flea shampoos and collars, particularly those containing pyrethrins
> Essential oils: Often found in potpourri
> Insecticides and rodenticides


source: dvm360.com

Diabetes in Dogs

What is diabetes mellitus?

There are two forms of diabetes in dogs: diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus. Diabetes insipidus is sometimes called “drinking diabetes” and diabetes mellitus is also known as “sugar diabetes”. Diabetes insipidus is a very rare disorder that results in failure to regulate body water content. Diabetes mellitus is more common in dogs, and is frequently diagnosed in dogs five years of age or older. This is also known as Type II or adult-onset diabetes. There is a congenital form that occurs in puppies called Type I or juvenile diabetes, but this is rare in dogs.

Diabetes mellitus is a disease of the pancreas. This is a small but vital organ located near the stomach. It has two significant populations of cells. One group of cells produces the enzymes necessary for proper digestion. The other group, called beta-cells, produces the hormone insulin. Simply put, diabetes mellitus is a failure of the pancreatic beta cells to regulate blood sugar.


There are four main symptoms of diabetes in dogs

  1. Weight loss
  2. Increased water consumption
  3. Increased appetite
  4. Increased urination

How is diabetes mellitus diagnosed?

The diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is based on three criteria: the four classical clinical signs, the presence of a persistently high level of glucose in the blood stream, and the presence of glucose in the urine.

The normal level of glucose in the blood is 80-120 mg/dl (4.4-6.6 mmol/L). It may rise to 250-300 mg/dl (13.6-16.5 mmol/L) following a meal. However, diabetes is the only common disease that will cause the blood glucose level to rise above 400 mg/dl (22 mmol/L).

To keep the body from losing glucose, the kidneys do not allow glucose to be filtered out of the blood stream until an excessive level is reached. This means that dogs with a normal blood glucose level will not have glucose in the urine. Diabetic dogs, however, have excessive amounts of glucose in the blood, so it will be present in the urine.

What are the implications for me and my dog?

For the diabetic dog, one reality exists: blood glucose cannot be normalized without treatment. Although the dog can go a day or so without treatment and not have a crisis, treatment should be looked upon as part of the dog’s daily routine. Treatment almost always requires some dietary changes and administration of insulin.

As for you, the owner, there are two implications: financial commitment and personal commitment.

When your dog is well regulated, the maintenance costs are minimal. The special diet, insulin, and syringes are not expensive. However, the financial commitment may be significant during the initial regulation process and if complications arise.

Your personal commitment to treating your dog is very important in maintaining regulation and preventing crises. Most diabetic dogs require insulin injections once or twice daily. They must be fed the same food in the same amount on the same schedule every day. If you are out of town, your dog must receive proper treatment while you are gone. These factors should be considered carefully when your pet has been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus.



Diabetes in Cats

What is diabetes mellitus?

Diabetes mellitus is a medical condition resulting in an excessive amount of glucose or sugar in the blood. This is caused by a deficiency of insulin, which is a hormone secreted by the pancreas.

The clinical signs seen in diabetes are largely related to the elevated concentrations of blood glucose and the inability of the body to use glucose as an energy source due to the deficiency of insulin.

Diabetes mellitus affects an estimated one in four hundred cats, and is seen more frequently in middle to old-age cats and is more common in males than females.

What are the clinical signs of diabetes mellitus?

The most common clinical signs seen in diabetic patients are an increase in water consumption and urination. Weight loss is also a common feature, and an increase in appetite may be noticed in some cats. Recognition of these signs is variable though, particularly because of the life-style of some cats. If a cat spends a lot of time outdoors, it may drink from ponds or pools of water outside rather than appearing to drink excessively from what is provided indoors. Cats that are fed canned or moist diets receive much of their water intake from their diet and increased water intake will be less easily recognized in these patients.

How is diabetes mellitus diagnosed?

The diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is made based on clinical signs, persistently elevated blood glucose concentration and the presence of glucose in the urine. However, a diagnosis of diabetes cannot be made on a single blood and urine sample as other conditions, in particular stress, may also cause a transient rise in glucose levels. Confirmation of diabetes may therefore require more than one blood sample collected over a period of one to five days.

How is diabetes mellitus treated?

Diabetes mellitus is a treatable condition. Although long-term treatment requires commitment and dedication, it can be rewarding to successfully manage this condition in a beloved pet.

Initial steps in treating a diabetic cat may involve removal of any predisposing causes for the diabetes. For example, obese cats are more prone to develop diabetes and weight reduction can lead to resolution of the signs in some cats.

If there are no predisposing causes, or if correction of the predisposing causes does not lead to resolution of the diabetes, specific treatment is required.  Most cats will require insulin injections to control the diabetes.

During the initial stages of treatment, your cat will require several hospital visits until an appropriate insulin dosage is determined. Most cats will achieve initial stabilization within a few days to a few weeks. Most cats will require once or twice daily injection of a small dose of insulin. Very small needles are available which cause no pain to the cat, and within a short period of time the procedure becomes routine. Administration times, dosages and type of insulin will be determined by your veterinarian.


You should never change the dose of insulin without first discussing it with your veterinarian.

What happens if my cat receives too much insulin?

If a cat receives too much insulin, it is possible for the blood sugar level to drop dangerously low. For this reason it is important to be very careful in ensuring the cat receives the correct dose of insulin.

The typical signs displayed y a cat with a very low blood sugar level are weakness and lethargy, shaking, unsteadiness and even convulsions. If a diabetic cat shows any of these signs it is important to seek immediate veterinary advice or attention. In mild cases of hypoglycemia, you may observe “wobbling” or “drunken” walk or appearance and the cat may not arouse when you call or pet them. In cases of mild or early hypoglycemia, you should administer approximately a tablespoon of corn syrup, honey or sugar solution by mouth. If more severe signs are displayed such as ataxia or severe incoordination and unsteadiness during walking, or convulsions, you should seek immediate veterinary care. Your veterinarian can advise you on specific emergency treatment of low blood sugar in your cat.

© Copyright 2005 Lifelearn Inc. Used with permission under license.

Snakebite Poisoning

My dog has been bitten by a snake. Will he die?

It depends on a variety of things, including the species of snake, the amount of venom injected, and the size of the pet. There are approximately three thousand species of snakes in the world with less than five hundred venomous species. In North America, there are about twenty-five species of venomous snakes.  The most common venomous species of snakes in North America include:

  • Rattlesnakes
  • Copperheads
  • Cottonmouths or water moccasins
  • Coral snakes

Rattlesnakes account for most venomous snakebites and for almost all deaths. Most other venomous snakebites are by copperheads and, to a lesser extent, cottonmouths (water moccasins). Coral snakes account for less than one percent of all bites.

What are the signs of a snakebite?

The clinical signs associated with a venomous snakebite vary based on the species of snake. As a general rule, there is extensive swelling that often spreads rapidly. Bleeding or a bloody discharge often occurs at the site of the bite. The fang wounds may not be visible due to either the rapid swelling or the small mouth size of young or small snakes.



How is a diagnosis of snakebite envenomization made?

Diagnosis is primarily made on medical history and clinical signs. If the type of snake is unknown, diagnosis and treatment will be directed at the presenting clinical signs.

What first aid treatment should I do on my way to the veterinarian?

  • First aid is aimed at reducing rapid spread of venom in the body.
  • If possible carry rather than allow the dog to walk.
  • Remove the dog’s collar if the neck is swelling in any way, use a loose slip leash for walking to the car or vet’s office.
  • Keep your pet quiet and warm on the journey to vet.

What is the treatment for snakebite envenomization?

Venomous snakebites are medical emergencies requiring immediate attention. Before treatment is begun, it must be determined whether the snake is venomous and whether envenomization occurred. Fortunately, a venomous snake may bite and not inject venom (“dry bites” occur in about twenty to thirty percent of pit viper bites and in about half of all of coral snakebites). When no envenomization occurs, or if the bite is inflicted by a nonvenomous snake, the bite should be treated as a puncture wound. Nonvenomous snake bites are generally treated with wound cleaning, antibiotics, anti-histamines and anti-inflammatory medications as indicated.

Venomous snakebites are treated based on the type of snakebite.  Rattlesnake envenomization involves treatment for shock and administering appropriate antivenom. Rattlesnake envenomization is an immediately life-threatening situation and prompt medical assistance must be sought.  Treatment to counter shock, low blood pressure, infection and respiratory distress is indicated in most cases of venomous snakebites.

What is the prognosis for a dog bitten by a snake?

The prognosis depends several factors, including: the size and species of the snake; the amount of venom injected; the number of bites; the location and depth of the bite (bites to the head and body tend to be more severe than bites to the legs or paws); the age, size, and health of the dog; the time elapsed before treatment; and the dog’s individual susceptibility to the venom. The site of the bite is important.  Swelling from bites around the muzzle and face can lead to breathing difficulties due to obstruction of the airway.

© Copyright 2005 Lifelearn Inc. Used with permission under license.