Educational Articles

Cats + Emergency Situations

  • Botulism is a rare condition that can cause paralysis in cats. It is caused by ingesting the botulinum toxin, which is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum that can grow on raw meat and dead animals. The toxin can cause muscle paralysis and lead to death. It is difficult to diagnose and there is no vaccine available, although an antitoxin is available if the condition is identified before signs develop.

  • "Brachy" means "shortened" and "cephalic" means "head". The skull bones of brachycephalic cats are shortened in length, giving the face and nose a "pushed in" appearance.

  • Brain injuries are devastating and, unfortunately, often fatal. There are both primary brain injuries that are the result of a direct insult to the brain, and secondary brain injuries that occur following the primary brain injury

  • A caesarean section or C-section is major surgery performed to remove kittens from the uterus. This is most commonly performed as an emergency procedure when there is difficulty with natural birth. Most cats recover quickly from this procedure. Most cats have fully recovered from anesthesia by the time they are discharged to go home.

  • While cannabis use is not new, its use for recreational purposes is more recent. As with any other medication, the increased accessibility to the drug has led to an increase in accidental exposure in pets. A small amount of cannabis is all it takes to cause toxicity in pets. Many of the clinical effects of intoxication are neurological. Pets become wobbly and uncoordinated. They may be hyperactive, disoriented, and very vocal. Their pupils dilate giving them a wild-eyed appearance and they may drool excessively or vomit. They may also exhibit urinary incontinence. In severe cases tremors, seizures, and coma can result. Activated charcoal may be administered every 6-8 hours to neutralize the toxin. Enemas are also used to reduce toxin absorption from the GI tract. Medications and supportive care to regulate the pet's heart rate, respiration, and body temperature are used if needed. Since the pet may be lethargic with no desire to eat or drink, IV fluids can prevent dehydration and maintain organ function. Anti-anxiety medications can minimize agitation.

  • Chemotherapy drugs are used to treat cancer and other conditions in people because they target and kill rapidly dividing neoplastic (cancer) cells and other cells. They're primarily used as anti-cancer agents, but may also provide benefit for a variety of auto-immune disorders and for organ transplant recipients as immunosuppressive agents.

  • The cornea is the clear, glistening membrane that makes up the surface of the eyeball. A penetration or erosion through a few layers of the outermost corneal epithelium is called a corneal erosion or corneal abrasion. A corneal ulcer is a deeper erosion through the entire epithelium down into the stroma.

  • Cystitis is a general term referring to inflammation in the urinary bladder. The term cystitis does not imply a specific underlying cause. In cats, diseases of the lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra) are often grouped under the term feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). The initial diagnosis of FLUTD is based on the identification of signs of lower urinary tract inflammation.

  • Diabetes mellitus is a disease of the pancreas. This small organ located near the stomach has two different types of cells that have very different functions. One group of cells produces the enzymes necessary for proper digestion.

  • Even though e-cigarettes may be safer for humans than using traditional tobacco products, they are certainly not safe for pets. The nicotine associated with e-cigarettes, even without the tobacco, poses a serious health threat for dogs and cats.