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Cats Have Allergies! Itching to Help Your Feline Friend?

All About Allergies in Cats

Just like humans, cats have allergies. However, unlike humans, your cat will likely not develop the same watery sinuses or tickle in their throat, so it’s good to be able to identify signs and determine the best treatment methods early in order to spare your feline friend many miserable months.

Signs of Allergies in Cats

Most commonly, cats develop allergies to their environment, food, and fleas, and you will likely see signs of these allergies on their skin and coat. While no two cats are the same and symptoms may vary, if you want to know how to tell if your cat has allergies, here are some common signs to look out for:

  • Excessive scratching
  • Increased licking
  • Chewing/biting at skin
  • Hair loss
  • Lesions
  • Scabbing 
  • Dry/flaking skin
  • Redness on chin, paws, or mouth
  • Sneezing, coughing, or wheezing
  • Head shaking/frequent ear infections
  • Runny nose

Cats with allergies to food will most often scratch at their heads and necks and experience gastrointestinal issues like vomiting or diarrhea. Frequent changes to diet can cause these reactions but ultimately, food allergies can show up in cats at any age or at any time. The cause of food allergies in small animals is the protein source, with chicken and beef being the most common allergens. Sneezing, coughing, wheezing, severe itching, and redness and swelling of the skin are common signs of environmental allergies in cats who spend a lot of time outdoors,. Flea allergies are most commonly transmitted from a flea bite directly and results in itchiness, redness, crusting, and hair loss of the head, neck, rump, dorsum, flank, and tail regions. It’s important to note that it may only require one bite to trigger 2-3 weeks of severe itchiness and discomfort. Cats can also be allergic to other types of insect bites, such as mosquitos, and can result in ulcerations and crusting lesions on the ears, nose, and less commonly, around the mouth and on the body.

What Are Cats Allergic To?

Not only is it crucial to your furry friend’s health for you to be able to recognize signs of allergies in cats, but it’s imperative that you understand what might be prompting these reactions. Here’s a list of some common triggers:

  • Various pollens (dust, tree, weed)
  • Protein source in food
  • Mold or mildew
  • Fleas/flea preventatives
  • Other insect bites
  • Perfumes
  • Cleaning products
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Prescription medications
  • Rubber or plastic materials

How to Treat Your Cat’s Allergies

Since the signs of allergies in cats vary, you’ll want to visit your primary veterinarian to best determine how to treat your cat’s allergies and develop a plan that meets his or her specific needs. Your vet may determine the source of the reaction(s) but if not, they may recommend skin or blood tests, medications, or suggest an elimination diet with the goal of narrowing down potential causes.

It’s unfortunate that even with technology today, our pets are still unable to verbalize their feelings. It’s our duty as pet parents to become aware of common triggers, avoid products or environments that over-stimulate the senses, and remain cognizant of abnormal behaviors in order to act accordingly and in a timely manner. Keeping a close eye on your feline friends and treating symptoms as soon as they arise guarantees more snuggles and less sneezing all year round. 

Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately. 

How Do Cats Get Fatty Liver Disease?

Fatty Liver Disease in Cats 101

Although cats have earned a reputation of being picky eaters, if your cat is dismissing its food, don’t ignore it. Avoidance of food is one of the many first signs of the common sickness that cats experience called hepatic lipidosis, more commonly known as fatty liver disease (FLD).

With September being Happy Cat Month, you want to ensure your cat is feeling happy and purrrrfectly healthy (pun intended). Below is everything you need to know about feline hepatic lipidosis symptoms, treatment, and more!

How do cats get fatty liver disease?

The chances of hepatic lipidosis occurring are greater if the cat was once overweight or obese. It’s very common for cats to experience fatty liver disease (FLD) if they have gone through a three to four-day time period of anorexia (meaning little to no eating). The chances of FLD are even greater if the cat was overweight before the anorexia began. 

Essentially, what happens is when there aren’t calories coming in to support the body’s functions, the body rapidly breaks down fat to use it for an energy source. The cat’s liver becomes overwhelmed and rather than processing it properly, the fat stores itself in and around liver cells, which compromises the natural function of the cat’s liver.

There are easy identifiers to spot if the cat has FLD. One of the first things to look for is yellow in the white areas of the eyes and/or skin. Other feline hepatic lipidosis symptoms include weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, muscle wasting, depression, drooling, and downward bending of head and neck. To see if your cat has this illness, blood tests will be taken to identify if the liver is functioning normally or not. Your vet may recommend an ultrasound be done to help evaluate your cat’s liver. Samples of the liver tissue, called aspirates, can be obtained during the ultrasound which help to give your vet more information about the liver’s health.  However, in some cases, veterinarians may be able to presume a diagnosis of FLD without liver tissue aspirates.

How to treat and recover?

Feline hepatic lipidosis treatment consists of aggressive nutritional support until the cat begins to form a normal appetite again. Typically, the cat fatty liver disease recovery process is about six to seven weeks, so it’s important that the owners are consistent and aware of their feeding methods and schedules for the cat. Along with strong nutritional support, many cats are also treated with medications and if hospitalized, an IV for fluids and/or a feeding tube may be surgically implanted to help physically feed the cat and provide the nutrients they need to get healthy.

Although the disease can be life-threatening if the cat receives treatment immediately the survival rate of fatty liver disease is promising. According to Cat Watch, 85 percent of cats who survive the first 96 hours of feline hepatic lipidosis treatment will go on to a full recovery. However, with that being said, FLD is also commonly known as secondary to many underlying health conditions so it’s important to explore further testing to ensure your cat is completely healthy.

How to prevent fatty liver disease?

Because the disease is stimulated by a cat being overweight and then having a lack of food, it’s important to maintain control of your cat’s food consumption. Regulating how much they are eating will help prevent the infection from taking over the cat’s liver. Therefore, if you plan to travel or be away from your home for multiple days, task a nearby friend or family member to check in on your cat to ensure normal eating habits continue while you’re gone.

Now that you know what the disease is and how to spot feline hepatic lipidosis symptoms, be sure to immediately visit the nearest AZPetVet location if you begin to see signs of infection. To find a hospital near you, visit our website at AZPetVet.com

 

DISCLAIMER – Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week – September 20-26, 2020

Why You Should Consider Special Needs Animals for Adoption

 

Shelters and rescues are packed with homeless pets. At AZPetVet, we work with many rescue groups and organizations around the Valley, such as LovePup, to help as many animals in need of adoption as we possibly can. The ASPCA estimates that around 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year – approximately 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats. Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats). Special needs animals are consistently overlooked for adoption simply because so many people prefer to adopt cute puppies and kittens.

If you search ‘animals up for adoption near me’, you’ll get a huge string of results from all sorts of shelter and rescue organizations vying for your attention. All of them have pets that have been waiting weeks, months, and sometimes years to find their fur-ever homes. Typically, ‘less adoptable’ refers to animals in some unique categories including special needs and even hair color. While the term ‘special needs’ might sound intimidating, it’s a category term for pets who may need a little extra care. Physical disability, behavior, chronic illness, or medical conditions can all put an animal into this category, reducing their chance of finding a home. That’s why PetFinder.com created ‘Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week’ – to help raise awareness of these wonderful animals who are too often overlooked. Here, we’ll highlight the most common types of special needs pets and the reasons you may want to consider them.

Older Dogs

Senior pets end up in shelters for a variety of reasons. Some may have health conditions that can be managed with diet and medications, others are perfectly healthy. Sometimes, the owner can no longer afford to care for them, becomes ill, moves, or just doesn’t want a pet anymore. Given the chance, older dogs can adapt to a new home and family, and become wonderful companion animals for families. Older dogs are especially great for individuals that enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle, as they require a lot less exercise, and are often just happy to curl up next to their beloved person. Many people prefer to skip the rambunctiousness, potty training, and additional training that comes with adopting a puppy or kitten. Older pets usually know basic commands and tend to be more mellow, so they’re ideal for senior citizens. And yes, old dogs can learn new tricks – it’s just a matter of working with them to develop new habits. Positive reinforcement is the best approach. The Arizona Humane Society even offers a Senior to Senior adoption program with discounted fees. Like people, older pets will require regular wellness checks to keep them healthy and happy for life, so this should also be considered when adopting a senior animal.

Pets With Medical Conditions

Many shelter dogs and cats have some form of short- or long-term medical condition, especially older animals. Younger animals with less developed immune systems, or that haven’t received the required vaccination series can contract diseases, like parvovirus, distemper, kennel cough, or Valley Fever. With the right family or individual, plus regular veterinary care, many health conditions can be managed through medications, lifestyle and dietary modifications, and some good old fashioned TLC. With the right treatment and care, most pets will enjoy a good quality of life for years to come with their new families.

Hearing loss or deafness is another reason people will overlook adoptable pets. Congenital deafness often occurs in predominantly white or merle-coated breeds like Dalmatians, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, English Setters, white Boxers, and white Bull Terriers. While they may not be able to hear, most of these pets can learn simple sign language commands. Aside from the hearing loss, they’re still the same wonderful, loving creatures – they just need the chance to show it.

Behavior Problems

Just like people, no pet is perfect. Behavior problems are a common reason for people surrendering animals to a shelter or rescue. Pets with behavior problems have special needs, and require consistent, specialized training from a professional to get them back on track. Behavior issues can range from poor potty training, separation anxiety, or not getting along with other animals/children, to aggression. Many issues can be resolved with stability, consistent training, regular exercise and play, and of course, love.

Black Dogs & Cats

Research studies consistently show that black dogs and cats have a more difficult time getting adopted than others. Black dogs and cats are often left behind in shelters and rescues due to centuries of ingrained superstitions and old wives’ tales. The reality is that black dogs and cats are just as loveable as any other pet. While it may be harder to capture their cuteness and features in a photo without proper lighting, no matter what, black cats and dogs bring the same brand of goofy, unconditional love as other pets.

Remember, loving pets come in all shapes and sizes, colors, and breeds. Take some time to get to know one another when you’re looking for a new pet. You never know, it could be a loving match for life. Good luck in your search!

Need a good vet for your new pet? AZPetVet has 21 locations around the Valley. Click here to find a location near you.

Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

 

 

 

Adopt a Homeless Animal on International Homeless Animals Day

Young woman with worker choosing which dog to adopt from a shelter.

The Benefits of Adopting vs. Buying a Pet

When you are ready to bring a loving, sweet, and loyal companion into your home, there are a lot of factors to consider. With International Homeless Animals Day on August 15, this provides the perfect opportunity for individuals to learn and understand the value of adopting your next pet and giving that animal a second chance at life in a new, forever home.

Benefits of Adopting a Homeless Animal

There are countless benefits to adopting your next pet. One of the biggest benefits is knowing that you are potentially saving a life. Although no-kill shelters are on the rise, there are still thousands of animals that are euthanized each year due to lack of resources, space, and funding. By choosing to adopt, you are providing this animal with a new and better life by bringing them into your loving home.

In addition, adopting a dog or cat is often less expensive. Although costs vary state-by-state and depending on the shelter, adopting will likely still cost significantly less than purchasing a pet from a store or breeder. Shelters often will also spay and neuter the animals, as well as even provide you with microchips. All of this saves you a lot of money when it comes to adding a furry friend to your household.

Where to Adopt a Pet

If you are ready to start the search for your next best friend, there are plenty of great shelters in the Valley for you to choose from. One organization to consider is Helping Hands for Homeless Hounds (HHfHH). This non-profit provides support and resources to homeless pet owners so they can properly care for their furry companions. If they become unable to care for their animals themselves, HHfHH can also take in any surrendered pets and help them find a great home. Another great Valley organization to consider adopting through is LovePup. This mission-driven group takes the homeless dogs into their own home, allowing them to socialize with their pups and family. This socialization helps to prepare the dogs for adoption, ensuring they are ready to be a loving friend and new family member in their forever home. Their effective and simple adoption process also helps to ensure the pup’s overall success in their new home.

At AZPeVet, we understand the power of the human-animal bond and have partnered with many rescues and adoption organizations throughout the valley. If your new pet was adopted through one of our approved rescue partners, be sure to reach out to the AZPetVet nearest you to schedule your *FREE Post Adoption Health Exam and Fecal Testing.

Making the decision to bring a furry friend into your home is a big choice to make. When you know that you are ready and can provide a comfortable, warm, and welcoming environment for your next companion, consider the option of adopting a homeless animal. This International Homeless Animals Day, as well as throughout the year, you can help homeless animals in need in more ways than one. If you are unable to adopt at this time but still want to find a way to give back, be sure to visit your local animal shelter’s website for volunteering opportunities and donations.

[Disclaimer] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

4th of July: Fireworks Safety for Pets

How to Keep Pets Calm and Safe During Fireworks

The 4th of July is a time for being outdoors, enjoying barbecues, red, white, and blue, and of course, fireworks. The biggest problem? Pets and fireworks don’t mix. Cats and dogs have very keen senses of hearing, so they’re naturally predisposed to be scared of loud noises. In fact, most pets are terrified of the thundering booms, bangs, and crackles of fireworks, and the light flashes simply add to the panic and distress pets are feeling. That’s why the 5th of July is the busiest day of the year for most animal shelters. The staff will spend their day trying to find the owners of companion animals that fled or escaped their homes, only to be found exhausted, disoriented, or even injured. With a little preparation the night before the 4th of July, you can keep pets calm during fireworks.

The Night Before the 4th of July

Don’t lose your pet in a fireworks panic. Be prepared. Take a few minutes to create a safe sanctuary for your pets; one that’s away from exterior doors and windows. Keep all windows and doors closed, and draperies and shades drawn. Include a few favorite toys and a familiar blanket or bed for your pet in a sheltered area of the room. Playing soft music can also help soothe your pet’s nerves. For very anxious cats and dogs, try a Thundershirt or a snug-fitting harness. For pets that cannot be soothed naturally, a sedative type medication may be necessary – speak to your veterinarian to discuss options. 

How to Find a Lost Pet With a Microchip

Fireworks are just one reason why it’s so important for all pets to be microchipped. A microchip is a form of permanent ID for a pet that can’t get lost like a collar or tags. Lost pets that have a microchip are far more likely to find their family than animals that are unchipped. For more on the benefits of microchips, see our blog. Of course, if the owner’s information registered to the chip is out of date, the microchip isn’t much help. Make sure your pet’s chip registry and collar tags are up to date and have all the most recent address and contact information. Not sure how? Read on.

How to Update a Dog’s Microchip

Lots of rescues in the area routinely microchip their pets prior to adoption. When adopting a pet from a shelter, you should be provided the chip information, the specific chip number along with any relevant health history records. It’s important to contact the corresponding registry to update your contact information accordingly. Not sure which pet chip registry site was used to register your pet? If you have your pet’s microchip number but have forgotten where you registered your contact information, you may find the original registry here. Call the phone number listed or visit the appropriate registry website to have the information updated. If you don’t have the microchip number, ask your vet to check your pet’s record or have them scan your pet for the chip number and any other information. 

Have a lost pet or need to find a specific pet rescue or shelter? There are many around the Valley, from large organizations like the Maricopa County Animal Control, Arizona Humane Society, and Arizona Animal Welfare League to smaller rescues dedicated to a particular breed or pet type. Google or Yelp can be helpful in searching for local pet shelters and rescues. Social media pages such as Straydar and Lost Dogs of Phoenix can also be helpful for locating a lost pet.

Happy 4th of July from your AZPV family! Be safe, remember to maintain social distance from others, and have fun.

[DISCLAIMER] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.