Sunday, February 1, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Debunking myths about cats

By
May 13, 2011 |

Myth: Indoor-only cats cannot get heartworm disease.

Heartworm disease in dogs and cats occurs when a heartworm-infected mosquito bites the pet, injecting heartworm larvae into the blood stream. These larvae ultimately grow into adult worms that live in the heart and large blood vessels of the lungs. This leads to heartworm disease, which causes symptoms such as coughing, weakness, weight loss, or difficulty breathing. Heartworm disease is difficult to diagnose and treat in cats.

Many cat owners believe that their indoor-only cats cannot develop heartworm disease. However, mosquitoes can easily fly inside in the time it takes to open and close the front door, which puts inside cats at risk. In fact, one study showed that 28 percent of cats diagnosed with heartworm disease lived strictly indoors.

Heartworm disease is much easier to prevent than to treat. All cats, even those that never go outside, should receive monthly heartworm preventatives. Most heartworm control medications for cats also control fleas, which indoor-only cats may also be exposed to. Appropriate parasite control can provide longer and healthier lives for cats.

MYTH: It is normal for an old cat to lose weight.

While it may be common for older cats to lose weight (as is the case for older dogs and older humans), weight loss is typically not normal and does not happen just because he’s getting older. Instead, as cats age, they are more likely to have internal disease that leads to weight loss.

There are several diseases in older cats that can cause them to lose weight. The most common of these diseases are chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and cancer (of the intestines or other organs). The first three conditions can be diagnosed by a veterinarian with a physical exam and routine laboratory testing; the latter two require more specialized diagnostic testing (such as an abdominal ultrasound). Laboratory testing will also help diagnose other, less-common causes of weight loss.

These diseases often create symptoms other than weight loss — altered appetite, water intake, and urination are common. However, weight loss may be the earliest or only symptom of disease, and appropriate treatment may be delayed if this symptom is overlooked. Yearly physical exams provide a record of a cat’s weight over time to help determine when weight loss is a concern. This record is especially important when weight loss is subtle and may not be apparent by outward appearance.

MYTH: Cats clean their wounds by licking them because their mouths are so clean.

The American Veterinary Dental Society estimates that 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by three years of age. This oral disease is caused by bacteria that produce plaque, which leads to tartar formation, gingivitis, gum loss, and bone loss.

The bacteria in a cat’s mouth is also the reason that cat bites are so dangerous to people. Without appropriate treatment, cat bite wounds can become dangerously infected. People that are bitten by cats should immediately wash the wound and consult with a physician to see if emergency treatment is recommended.

Cats typically lick their wounds because they are fastidious groomers that do not like any debris to accumulate on the coat or skin — not because the saliva has healing properties. In fact, if a cat is allowed to lick a wound, it could result in delayed healing and further infection. All cat wounds be evaluated by a veterinarian to determine whether antibiotics, an Elizabethan collar to prevent licking, or other measures are necessary.

— Keith Rode is a veterinarian at Woodland Veterinary Hospital and a graduate of UC Davis. For more information, call (530) 666-2461.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Well-loved library has services for all ages

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    The end of an era for The Enterprise, as pressroom closes

    By Kimberly Yarris | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Jewish fraternity vandalism classified a hate crime

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

     
    Man arrested after body parts found in suitcase

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Islamists post beheading video

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    More than a foot of snow possible for Midwest, Northeast

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    UCD Med Center patient tested negative for Ebola

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Kudos to the Thomsons

    By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A3

     
    Arboretum ‘I do’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    The story of Mark and Maria

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Summer lovin’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Stories come alive at the library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Stepping Stones supports grieving youths

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post

     
    Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Japanese students seek Davis host families

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    And bingo was the game-o

    By Tate Perez | From Page: A9

    Lee will speak Wednesday about city issues

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Training starts Tuesday for Jepson Prairie Preserve tour guides

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Lecture looks at women in Egypt

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    Tuleyome Tales: Searching for the elusive McNab cypress

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Questions and answers about breast cancer set

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Davis Arts Center welcomes students’ work

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    .

    Forum

    Help a veteran feel loved

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A10

     
    Three old ideas going, going, gone

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A10

     
    How much drinking is too much?

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    They’re experienced and honest

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

     
    Toy drive was a big success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    One-way street solves dilemma

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

     
    Council, follow your own policies

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Ensure that you’re protected against measles

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

     
    Act would let patients control their own fates

    By Our View | From Page: A12

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

     
    Wi-Fi in our schools could result in health impacts

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13

    Life goes on in Rutilio Grande, despite country’s gang violence

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13 | Gallery

     
    .

    Sports

     
    Depth charge: DHS girls defeat Elk Grove

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Blue Devil boys lose on Herd’s buzzer-beating trey

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    UCD women survive against winless UCSB

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Foursome will represent Davis at national soccer tournament

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Sharks blank Blackhawks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    UCD roundup: Aggies make a racket but fall to Sac State, Pacific

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Kings get past Pacers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Putah Creek Winery launches ‘Give Back Tuesday’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

     
    Doby Fleeman: Toward a more perfect Davis

    By Doby Fleeman | From Page: A12

    Ullrich Delevati, CPAs, adds senior accountant

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

     
    And the survey says: Success for Davis Chamber

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

    Seminar will cover business challenges

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A13

     
    Japanese fondue dips into Davis scene

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A13 | Gallery

    Novozymes, Cargill continue bio-acrylic acid partnership as BASF exits

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, February 1, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8