A common saying in veterinary medicine is that “cats are not small dogs”. Cats are a very different species with different diseases — some even joke that cats have an extraterrestrial origin — feline UFOs you might say.
We also see fever a bit differently in cats and dogs. Typically with dogs, if a diagnostic “net” is cast wide enough a diagnosis can be made but that is not always the case in cats. If enough parameters are met in investigating a cat fever without the cause being identified, we will call this “Fever of Unknown Origin” (FUO).
Although fevers are common in cats, information about FUO in cats is limited. Most often, feline FUOs are eventually determined to be due to an infection. Less often, cancer or immune-mediated disease is found to be the cause of the fever. Still, the origin of 10-15% of fevers of unknown origin in … Continue reading
Back in 1999, the ASPCA APCC (Animal Poison Control Centre) first reported on the poisonous nature of grapes to dogs when they noticed a cluster of dogs that became seriously ill after eating grapes or raisins. In the ensuing two decades veterinarians have diagnosed many cases of grape and raisin toxicity in dogs, but the actual toxic agent was unknown. Was it the seeds, the skin, or pesticide on the skin? These were all eliminated as causes, and the reason for grape poisonings in dogs remained elusive. To deepen the mystery, the degree of illness was inconsistent between cases. In comparison, when we look at other substances that are toxic to dogs such as chocolate, antifreeze (ethylene glycol), or Ibuprofen, we find that the toxic doses per kilogram are consistent (although with chocolate we also have to factor in the concentration as well — i.e. 90% dark chocolate is more … Continue reading
Luna is a 2-year old cat that was presented to Canada West Veterinary Specialists on June 26, 2020, after being attacked by a coyote.
She was let outside around 4 am along with two other cats in her household. When the two other cats returned, Luna was nowhere to be found. Her owner went outside to look for her and saw a coyote on top of her. He was able to chase the coyote away and then brought Luna in for emergency care.
Luna was in shock and semi-comatose when she arrived. There was evidence of a crush injury to her head with several lacerations, including to the eye, the eyelid and the neck. There was concern that she might have severe brain damage but she was also in shock. We needed to stabilize that first in order to assess the extent of her injuries.
Once she … Continue reading
Sophie was a happy and healthy 4-year-old Great Pyrenees until she began urinating blood in December of 2019. She was initially seen by her family veterinarian, where several tests were performed to rule out more common causes of bloody urine such as a clotting disorder, urinary tract infection and urinary stones. When an obvious cause was not found, she was referred to the Internal Medicine department at Canada West Veterinary Specialists.
Sophie had a CT scan and cystoscopy (scoping of the urinary system) performed and was diagnosed with a rare condition called “Idiopathic Renal Hematuria” (IRH). IRH occurs when a blood vessel in one or both kidneys begins to bleed for no identifiable reason. Over time, this can lead to anemia requiring blood transfusions or obstructions from blood clots. Because these complications can be life-threatening, treatment is generally recommended. Historically, removal of the affected kidney was used to treat … Continue reading
“Stella Beans”, a sweet and wiggly middle aged kitty, presented to the CWVS Oncology service in February 2019 for evaluation of a mass on the left side of her chest wall. Her family veterinarian suspected a feline injection site sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that can develop in cats at the site of a previous injection such as a vaccine or a microchip. A CT scan was performed to determine the extent of the mass. The external portion of the mass was just the “tip of the iceberg” as the internal portion of the mass extended into both the abdomen and chest and was resting against her lungs and liver. A needle core biopsy was performed and confirmed the suspected diagnosis of an injection site sarcoma.
Stella then had surgery to remove the mass where Dr. King removed a portion of the left chest wall including ribs 9 – … Continue reading
Ruckus is a 9-year-old tabby cat who was referred to the Emergency and Critical Care Department for severely increased kidney enzymes due to a left ureteral obstruction. Ruckus had a blocked ureter, which is a tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder, because of a stone which caused his kidneys to not function properly, potentially causing irreversible damage. The most common cause of ureteral obstruction in cats is due to calculi which cannot be medically dissolved. The clinical signs can be non-specific and a general unwell feeling which can include lethargy, vomiting and/or decreased appetite.
Ruckus had to undergo two sessions of hemodialysis to decrease and normalize his kidney parameters before he was stable enough to go to surgery (along with having a blood transfusion and further supportive care). Hemodialysis acts as treatment to take over the excretory part of the kidney function. It can be helpful … Continue reading