Return to Animal Health

February 7, 2007

February Is National Pet Dental Health Month

February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Dental health for your cat or dog is just as important as it is for you. Take some time this month to make sure your furry friend's oral health is in order.

"Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets," said Dr. Henry Childers, DVM, president of the AVMA. "Just as the public has come to realize that their own oral health is linked to their overall health, veterinarians want people to understand that dental health care is essential to maintaining the overall health and well-being of the family pet."

Pets Need Dental Care, Too

January 31, 2007

Cats In China Infected with Bird Flu

There is concern in China after it was discovered that a large number of cats have been infected with avian flu. Though there have been isolated reports of infected cats in other countries, this is the largest known outbreak so far.

A survey by Chairul Anwar Nidom, a scientist at Airlangga University in Surabaya, found H5N1 antibodies in 20 percent of 500 stray cats near poultry markets in four areas in Java, including Jakarta. Another case of infection was found in an area of Sumatra where there had been recent human H5N1 cases or outbreaks of the disease in poultry

The fact that the virus is beginning to move more freely from one species to another is cause for concern, especially when it involves domestic animals that have frequent human contact.

China on alert after cats are infected in Indonesia

January 29, 2007

Prozac: Not Just For People Anymore

Pet owners of late have been turning to pharmaceuticals to control their animals' behavior. Cats that are spraying too much, dogs that become anxious when left home alone, cats scratching furniture - these are things that are being treated with Prozac.

They are the new “Prozac Nation”: cats, dogs, birds, horses and an assortment of zoo animals whose behavior has been changed, whose anxieties and fears have been quelled and whose owners' furniture has been spared by the use of antidepressants. Over the last decade, Prozac, Buspar, Amitriptyline, Clomicalm — clomipromine that is marketed expressly for dogs — and other drugs have been used to treat inappropriate, destructive and self-injuring behavior in animals.

The ethical question here is: what exactly is "inappropriate" animal behavior? Cats like to scratch - it's normal behavior. Is it okay to medicate an animal to change its normal behavior just because that behavior doesn't fit into your lifestyle?

Melissa Bain, chief of behavior service at the teaching hospital at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, says:

“What have we done to our animals? In the last 30 years, we've kept them inside, we've made multiple-cat households. A border collie, 20 years ago, was living on a ranch in Colorado, and now he's living in downtown San Francisco. So he can't do his typical behavior.”

Indeed, what have we done and what are we doing to our animals?

Animal anxiety Prozac Nation takes over the Animal Kingdom

January 26, 2007

Information about the Feline Flu

Cats get the flu just like their owners. The "feline flu" or feline upper respiratory infection (URI) is an umbrella term for different viruses, with two being the most common: feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus.

Feline URI is transferred between cats by fluid discharged from the mouths and noses of infected cats, similar to the transfer of flu virus between humans. Cats can shed the virus through the air by sneezing, coughing, or breathing; or by direct physical contact with cages, toys, food bowls, even the hands and clothing of people handling them.
Symptoms of feline URI include sneezing; fever; runny nose or red, watery eyes; nasal congestion (often seen as drooling or open-mouthed breathing); ulcers on tongue, gums, lips, nose, or roof of mouth; mild-to-severe depression; and lack of appetite or thirst.

These viruses are not transmissable to humans or dogs. They can be dangerous to kittens and cats with compromised immune systems, so it's important to take cats to the vet as soon as signs of infection appear.

Protect cats from feline 'flu'

November 30, 2006

Excessive Thirst in Cats a Warning Sign

If your cat seems to be drinking more water than usual, it may be time for a trip to the vet in order to rule out serious health issues. Excessive thirst in cats may be a sign of diabetes, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, liver disease, or cancer.

Other signs to watch for are decreasing appetite, weight loss (which can be significant at times), an unkempt hair coat, increased time asleep, constipation or very hard stools and a change in personality.

Excessive water drinking could indicate age-related disease

October 2, 2006

Feline Asthma

There's a great Q&A in the Monterey Herald about cats and asthma with veterinarian Dr. Suzy Hochgesang. A woman adopted a middle-aged cat with a cough, but antibiotics didn't clear it up. Dr. Hochgesang suggests the problem may be feline asthma.

So what exactly causes feline asthma? It is usually caused by an allergy to something in the air, such as cigarette smoke, perfumes or air fresheners, and even the deodorizers added to many kitty litters.

Cat's cough could be sign of asthma

All content published on is provided for informational and educational purposes only. does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The site and its services are not a substitute for professional medical advice and treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor before making any changes to your diet, health routine or treatment.

Copyright © 2004-2012 and the authors. All rights reserved.