Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What You Don't Know ....

....can hurt you.  Yesterday was a prime example. Well, today this case bled into two days. No,  not literally but the case came to me yesterday and my wonderful friend and boss had to deal with it today. 

So this particular case illustrates that often times as good as WE think we are as pet owners, we aren't. We think we know what our pets do and don't do. But I can tell you all - and I am guilty here too - no, we don't. I,  personally, had a cat that was obsessed with string like objects that found them no matter what I did! He even destroyed a few pieces of clothing with appropriately sized string (one a robe, the other a sweater) and CONSUMED these things! Yes. Fortunately for him and me, we didn't have to take him to surgery.  Here is a prime example of unknowns happening....

So this dog ate some foreign bodies and developed what we call an intussception ( telescoping of intestines)  as well as having some intestine that was dying, and the owner truly had no idea.  None. Never saw it happen, etc. This was a puppy...which is often the worst offender. Puppies - cute but good at subterfuge! Until....they get sick. Sadly, this dog, despite the best medicine, did not make it and makes us realize, we are often clueless to reality. 

We  - meaning those in veterinary medicine and those that are pet owners - learn the most from the things that hurt us all the most. Sweet girl pictured here had more than enough love to save her but sometimes it's beyond even that. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

When Positive Is NOT A Good Thing

The photo above shows a feline combo or feline leukemia  
(FeLV) / feline immunodeficiency virus test (FIV).  The center blue dot at the top - the 12 o'clock if you will - is the control dot. That dot should appear every single time the test is run as it means it ran correctly. 

The dots you see that are at the 3 and 6 o'clock positions are positives for feline leukemia and FIV, respectively. 

This test is from a stray cat that was brought in the other day by a good Samaritan who has been seeing this cat outside of her home most days for the past year. He was friendly enough to touch and the other day, after going missing for over a day, came back clearly in distress and not moving well.

He was unable to stand and crying and his exam revealed severe infections in three of his four feet, a suspected joint infection in his left elbow (very swollen and painful) and/or trauma to that leg and overall depressed mentation. 

Though the "owner" was willing to take responsibility for further diagnostics, the first thing we always do is this test. This sad case is a perfect example of why we insist upon it. 
With radiographs and other tests and medications potentially adding up to hundreds of dollars, not to mention the likelihood this cat would not recover as expected, this test saves everyone a lot of further heart ache.  The cat included.

This cat has been infected, and is now clearly clinical, with two immunosuppressive feline viruses. He is the poster child for FIV - an un-neutered male cat who has been seen fighting with at least another cat in the area. FIV is spread via fights and bites as well as sexually. Feline leukemia is spread via close intimate contact (grooming, sharing food/water bowls, etc) and transplacentally, meaning it can be passed on to the kittens. 

The kindest thing to do for this cat was to euthanize him. Even if he was not sick and merely positive, he could not live with any other cats AND he certainly should not be put back outside spreading these viruses to other cats, reproducing and potentially creating positive kittens. A cat with one or both of these viruses is also more prone to infections and they are more likely to be serious, therefore they need to be kept inside for that reason as well. 

We know cats can survive a long time with FIV alone. They should be kept indoors. They can live with other cats if there is no intense fighting (enough to cause punctures) among the cats in the household. 

It's the FeLV that's the kicker here. Cats that are infected rarely live past 2-3 years. 

AND this cat has both viruses - truly a no win situation for him.

As we assured the kind lady, it is nice that he didn't have to suffer outside in the cold, unable to get food and water and starving to death outside. Sometimes that's just part of being an animal lover. 

I'll discuss prevention and other aspects of these diseases in my next blog post.