Tag Archives: cat

Common Signs of Pain in Animals

How to recognize the common signs of pain in animals

It’s not uncommon for pets to get injured. With all the outdoor activities and rough-and-tumble play throughout the day, accidents are certainly unavoidable. While injuries are a source of pain for many animals, health ailments are also responsible for pain and discomfort in pets. Pain commonly causes changes in an animal’s demeanor and often indicates that they are experiencing discomfort. Behaviors like whimpering, anxiety, and other changes are the ways our animals communicate to us that there is something wrong and they need our help.

Dogs and cats have different ways of showing pain, but there is some overlap in the behaviors that these animals display if they’re feeling under the weather. Some of these shared behaviors may include:

  • Decrease or loss of appetite
  • Quiet or submissive behavior
  • Hissing, howling, whimpering or growling
  • Increased and excessive grooming, licking self, biting self, etc.

While there are many similar pain-related behaviors among dogs and cats, here are some symptoms that can often be unique to each animal.

Signs of Dog Pain

Unique to dogs, these indicators can signal that a trip to the vet is in order:

    • Increased aggression. Unlike cats, dogs can display aggression if they aren’t feeling well. Don’t take this behavior personally. Aggression when sick is known as a defense mechanism used to protect against unwanted bothering.

 

  • Restlessness. A dog in pain may not be able to settle down comfortably. If your dog seems agitated and stiff, watch for a limp and lethargy – these can be important clues for recognizing hip pain or arthritis. A dog that arches their back or tends to stretch more than usual may also be indicating back pain or spinal issues.

 

  • Squinting. Dogs with eye pain may react by squinting. Smaller pupils can also be an indication of pain. Corneal ulcers and other eye diseases should be treated immediately to reduce the chances of permanent damage.

Signs of Cat Pain

Often quiet and lackadaisical, it can be hard to know when these creatures are hurting. So how exactly do you know if a cat is in pain? Keep a lookout for these behaviors:

 

  • Hiding. Hiding is one way that cats can ensure that they won’t be bothered. Typically social creatures, a cat that’s in hiding for long periods of time may be a sign of something awry.
  • Hunching posture. A change in posture can signal a cat in pain. Sitting with their paws underneath them, showing disinterest in their surroundings or sitting alone could indicate a number of different health ailments, including abdominal pain, constipation, urinary infections and in some cases an abscess, cancer, pancreatitis, feline panleukopenia, or gastrointestinal obstruction.
  • Trouble using the litter box. Back or hip pain can prevent a cat from crouching in the right position to use the litter box. Feces and urine on the sides of the box may hint that your cat is having some mobility issues.

 

What to do when your dog or cat shows signs of pain

If your pet is exhibiting one or more of these behaviors, it’s best to take them in for a visit with your veterinarian. Even though animals can be masters at masking their injury or ailments, it’s important that you still take your pet to the vet for further examination. There are many options available to treat pain in animals including analgesic medications, physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, laser therapy, and therapeutic massage. Your vet can provide insight into what’s happening with your pet, and discuss treatment options. If you suspect your pet may be experiencing pain and discomfort, make an appointment with your vet right away. The team at AZPetVet is available 7 days a week to help you ensure your pet is living their best life, pain free.

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.

 

How Do You Brush a Cat’s Teeth?

The Best Ways To Care For Your Feline’s Adult Cat Teeth

How Many Teeth Do Domestic Cats Have?

Cats have 30 adult teeth and 26 baby teeth. Regular brushing at home combined with dental cleanings at the vet help to reduce the presence of plaque and tartar, both which kickstart inflammation and potential diseases. So how can you tell when your cat needs a good clean? 

As gross as it may seem, the smell of your cat’s breath is either a good indication of proper oral hygiene or prospective disease. Feline halitosis (as bad breath is scientifically referred to) can be caused by many different things. Most common is periodontal disease, a build-up of plaque that irritates the gums and can lead to infection. If plaque is not removed, it can harden into tartar, serving as a formidable base on which more plaque builds up. 

Is Bad Breath an Indication of a Bigger Problem? 

Although bad breath in cats doesn’t always mean something’s awry, bad breath can sometimes serve as a warning symptom for a much more significant health problem. If the root of the (tooth) problem is caused by oral cancers, this can severely impact both the comfort and life span of your cat.  

The smell of your cat’s breath can also predict conditions that extend beyond the surface of the mouth. A urine or ammonia smell coming from your cat’s mouth may signal kidney disease which requires professional care, so it’s best to take your cat into your local veterinary clinic as soon as possible.

Brushing Habits

So, how often should you brush your cat’s teeth? Ideally, to prevent decay and infection a cat’s teeth should be brushed just as often as human teeth. We understand that daily brushing can seem unattainable and unrealistic – especially if you want to avoid invading your cat’s personal space and risking their wrath every night before bed! So, as a supplement to regular brushing, you can consider dental cleansing treats; just be sure to discuss these with your veterinarian to ensure they are an acceptable part of your pet’s individual diet.  

Preventative Care

During a cat’s annual health check-up, veterinarians will check your pet’s teeth and gums for signs of disease. Looking at their gums for redness, yellow tinting, swelling, bleeding, and inflammation can help your veterinarian rule out gingivitis, liver disease, and poor oral care. Many domestic cats don’t get regular veterinary care until they are injured, or they show definite signs of being sick, so be sure to help keep your pet in good health with once-a-year wellness exams. Remember, your pet can’t tell you their teeth hurt, and cats are notorious for hiding pain. Don’t wait until your pet is clearly in pain or distress before bringing them in!

Know the Signs of Heat Stroke in Your Pet, How to Avoid, and Steps of Recovery

Preventing and Recognizing Heat Stroke in Your Pets

Heat stroke, or hyperthermia, is a real danger for pets and people.
Hyperthermia occurs when your pet’s body temperature rises dangerously
above normal, putting them at risk for multiple organ failure or death.
Unlike humans, who have sweat glands all over our bodies, cats and dogs
have very few sweat glands – they’re located in places such as their feet and
noses. As summer rolls around and temperatures continue to rise, you’ll
notice your pets panting more to regulate their body heat.

Since our beloved pets are more susceptible to heat stroke than us, we need
to be aware of the signs and symptoms so we can keep our furry friends safe.
Early recognition, and treatment of heat stroke can improve your pet’s
chances of making a quick recovery. Symptoms of heat stroke in pets include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive drooling
  • Reddened gums
  • Reduced or no urine production
  • Rapid/irregular heart rate
  • Vomiting blood/black, tarry stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in mental status (i.e., confusion and dizziness)
  • Seizures/muscle tremors
  • Wobbly, uncoordinated/drunken gait or movement
  • Unconsciousness/Cardiopulmonary Arrest (heart and breathing stop)

Seek Treatment for A Full Recovery

At the first sign of overheating, it’s essential to take steps to cool your pet
down gradually. Do NOT use ice or frigid water as it can cause shock and
other undesirable reactions. Here are some measures to take if you suspect
your animal is suffering from heat stroke:
1. Remove your animal from the heat immediately. Take your animal
inside or find some shade to allow them to cool off.

2. Spray your pet with cool water or wrap them in cold, wet towels and
use a fan for convection cooling.

3. Evaporative cooling can also be used by swabbing isopropyl alcohol on
foot pads, groin and under the forelegs.

4. MOST importantly, seek veterinary care and guidance as soon as
possible!

Even if your furry friend seems to be feeling better and starts acting normal
again, it is still crucial to take your pet to the nearest emergency veterinary
clinic. Vets will be able to determine the severity of the heat stroke and
provide the appropriate medical treatment. This can include medication,
cooling procedures, supplemental oxygen, and blood tests. Additional
monitoring may be required to ensure your beloved pet is back in tip-top
health.

Unfortunately, since our pets can’t communicate their exact feelings to us, we
need to be alert and aware of all of the signs of heat stroke in dogs and cats.
In case of an emergency, we need to be knowledgeable about the steps to
take for pet heat stroke recovery. Once we educate ourselves on the
symptoms, we can have a fun and safe summer with our furry companions.

 

Cats May Be at Risk for Heartworm Disease

There’s a common misconception that cats are not affected by heartworm disease; we’re here to tell you that is false! So, if felines can get heartworm disease, is it the same as canine heartworms? Is it preventable? Let us help fill you in on the important facts surrounding how heartworm disease can affect our feline family members.

Feline and canine heartworm disease are the same in that they both are caused by a bite from an infected mosquito and can be potentially fatal. The difference is in the nature of the disease, and how it’s detected and diagnosed.

Heartworm Disease in Felines

Unlike dogs, cats are not a natural host for heartworms – which means the larvae will likely have a shorter lifespan. Fortunately, this makes it more difficult for heartworms to affect the larger organs, but can create significant heart, pulmonary artery, and respiratory problems. While it is less likely cats will get heartworm, this doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Studies indicate that a solid approximation would be 10%; so, for every 100 dogs that are heartworm positive, there will be 10 positive cases of feline heartworm.

In the cases feline heartworm, many cats will not show symptoms ultimately making it a difficult disease to detect. Often times, the symptoms – including coughing, vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, and even weight loss – mimic those of other common diseases. If your cat is showing any of these symptoms, please contact us immediately.

Here is an incredibly important fact: There are both oral and topical prescriptions that can help PREVENT heartworm disease from occurring; however, there are currently no approved drugs for TREATING heartworm in cats. So, if your cat becomes infected, any treatments to kill adult heartworms can cause incredible health complications for your pet. As the adult worms die and pass through the arteries to the lungs of your cat when attempting heartworm treatment, it can cause failure in the lungs and sudden death of your beloved feline companion.

Talk with us at your next appointment to review the risks for your cat, and to discuss prevention opportunities that may work best for your individual pet. As your trusted partners in pet healthcare, we want to help you ensure that your pet leads the healthiest and happiest life possible!

Heartworm 101

Heartworm preventionAs residents of Arizona, it once seemed that heartworm disease was not a big problem for our furry family members. It was easy for us to assume our furry family members are protected from heartworm disease since mosquitos are typically found in wet climates. However, the fact is that heartworm cases have increased exponentially over the last several years, having been documented in all 50 states – including a record of 397 positive cases right here in Maricopa County in 2018. With this in mind, we wanted to share some information about heartworm disease in order to help you make informed decisions on these important areas that impact the health and wellness of your pet.

What exactly is heartworm disease? Heartworm is a serious parasitic disease found primarily in dogs and cats. In reality, we are talking about actual worms, and potentially many of them (up to several hundred!). The worms can be up to a foot-long and live directly within the heart or the neighboring large blood vessels for years. As heartworm disease advances, it can result in a myriad of health complications for our pets including severe lung disease, heart failure, damage to other organs, and can even be fatal.

How does a pet get heartworm? All it takes is a bite from a mosquito that is carrying the disease. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell if a mosquito is a carrier of the disease, which is why prevention is the best protection we can give to our pets.

What are the symptoms of heartworm disease? Although there are minimal symptoms in the beginning stages, the longer the infection is present the more likely symptoms will arise. The most common symptoms are coughing, fatigue and decreased appetite. Because symptoms are usually well hidden in the early stages, prevention is key to help avoid the life-long impact that heartworm disease can have on our pets.

How do we prevent heartworm disease? Heartworm prevention is as easy as a monthly oral or topical medication that you can pick up at your next appointment. Heartworm medications cannot prevent infection from occurring but instead treats the disease by clearing out any existing heartworm larvae that were transmitted since their last monthly treatment. We also recommend an annual blood test to help ensure that the preventative is working as expected. With an annual test at our hospital combined with your commitment to providing the monthly preventatives at home, we have the best shot of protecting your pet from this preventable disease.

Why you should incorporate a heartworm preventative into your pet’s wellness plan:
We understand that adding a heartworm preventative can feel like a big step, adding a little bit of expense and time each month. However,
prevention is incredibly easy in comparison to the alternative – once your pet is infected with heartworms, treatment is costly and difficult for both you, and especially, your pet. Treatment includes antibiotics, steroids, preventatives, and monthly injections to kill the adult worms, as well as hospitalization for your pet, and ongoing treatment and testing.

Talk with us at your next appointment for more information on the preventative options for your pet. As always, we’re here to be your trusted partner to help ensure that your pet’s healthcare plan provides them with a happy and healthy life by your side! Find an AZPetVet location near you.