Educational Articles

Cats + Pet Services

  • Osteoarthritis (OA) is a complex condition involving inflammation and degeneration of one or more joints. Cats with OA experience pain and inflammation in various joints that interfere with the activities of daily living.

  • Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive therapy that is used to examine, diagnose, and treat diseases and conditions that affect joints. It requires a specialized piece of equipment called an arthroscope which will allow your veterinarian to look inside the joint using a small fiber optic camera that is hooked up to a monitor. It often requires general anesthesia; however, small incisions in the joint allow for a quicker recovery than traditional methods allow. The recovery time will depend on the extent of the injury, but compared to traditional surgery, recovery time is generally much shorter.

  • Certain species of a common fungus called Aspergillus can infect the nasal cavity and sinuses of cats and can even become disseminated to different areas of the body. Cats affected by exposure to this fungus are usually immunosuppressed. Diagnosis of either form, the nasal form or disseminated form, can be difficult, usually requiring X-rays or more advanced imaging such as MRI or CT, as well as tissue biopsies and culture. Treatment of the nasal form involves topical administration of an antifungal agent while the cat is under general anesthesia, although oral antifungals such as itraconazole and posaconazole may also be used. Prognosis is fair to good. Treatment of the disseminated form is more difficult requiring additional antifungals, such as amphotericin b that can be harmful to the kidneys.

  • Aspirin is a commonly used over the counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and is used to treat fever, pain, inflammation (swelling), and clotting disorders in humans. Aspirin poisoning occurs when a cat ingests a toxic dose of aspirin, either through misuse or accidentally. Clinical signs depend on how much aspirin was eaten. Treatment for aspirin poisoning depends on how quickly the cat is seen by the veterinarian.

  • Asthma or chronic bronchitis is a condition where the lower airways of cats become narrow and produce excess mucus in response to a noxious stimulus such as cigarette smoke, dust, or fragrances. The most common clinical sign is coughing. A diagnosis is made through a combination of chest radiographs, heartworm testing, bloodwork, urine and fecal testing, and may also require bronchoscopy or airway lavage. As asthma cannot be cured, treatment is aimed at management of the disease using a combination of steroids and bronchodilators, usually given by inhalation to avoid or reduce negative systemic side effects. Adjunct treatments include modifying the environment to reduce exposure to the noxious stimulus, hypoallergenic diet trials, and acupuncture.

  • Your cat has been diagnosed with feline asthma, and will require long-term medication for this condition, possibly for life. It is important that you follow the appropriate instructions for this treatment. The instructions specific to your cat have been checked off by your veterinary team.

  • The word ataxia means incoordination within the nervous system. There are several different forms of ataxia, depending upon where in the nervous system the abnormality occurs. The most common sign of ataxia, regardless of the cause, is an abnormal gait in which the cat is very unsteady on her feet. Treatment of ataxia will be influenced by the root cause. Pain management, supportive care, and creating a safe environment (e.g., preventing access to stairs) are cornerstones of ataxia treatment.

  • Atlantoaxial (AA) luxation is a condition in which instability, or excessive movement, is present between the first two vertebrae within the neck. This spinal disorder is most commonly seen in young, small breed dogs, such as Toy Poodles, Miniature Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians, and Chihuahuas. Less commonly, however, large breed dogs and even cats can be affected.

  • Atrial fibrillation describes very rapid contractions or twitching of the heart muscle, specifically in the atria. Most of the time, atrial fibrillation in cats occurs secondary to heart disease. Sometimes, in large breed cats, atrial fibrillation will occur as a primary heart problem. Most cats who develop atrial fibrillation have underlying heart disease, so the signs that are observed are often related to that underlying condition, and may include exercise intolerance, cough, or difficulty breathing. Treatment varies depending on whether the pet has primary or secondary atrial fibrillation. Your cat will need to be monitored on a regular basis.

  • Atrioventricular (AV) valve dysplasia describes a developmental malformation of the mitral or tricuspid valve. AV valve dysplasia is one of the most common cardiac abnormalities diagnosed in cats. Dysplasia may occur in both the mitral and tricuspid valves in the same cat; however, this is not a common condition. There may be a breed predisposition to mitral valve dysplasia in Sphinx cats. Tricuspid valve dysplasia occurs more frequently in Chartreaux and Siamese cats. Exercise intolerance, accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, weight loss, and stunted growth may be seen. Difficulty breathing or collapse may occur if congestive heart failure develops. Treatment of AV valve dysplasia is focused on managing signs of congestive heart failure, generally using medications. Activity may need to be restricted based on your cat’s exercise tolerance and nutritional modification may be recommended.