Overactive Thyroid in Cats

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Overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism is a common glandular disorder found in cats. The cause of an overactive thyroid is an excessive amount of thyroxine circulating in the body. The thyroid hormone is popularly known as T4 in the bloodstream. Increased appetite and loss of weight are common clinical signs in cats afflicted with this condition. About 98 percent of hyperthyroid cats suffer from weight loss. A hearty appetite is observed in 81 percent. The list of other symptoms includes excessive thirst, unkempt appearance, diarrhea, a rise in urination, panting, and increased shedding.

Signs and diagnosis

About 50 percent of hyperthyroidism affected cats suffer from vomiting. The clinical signs are results of rising T4 on the different organ systems. This disorder can strike any breed of cat, and both the sexes.  A vast majority of those afflicted cats are older, with this disorder rarely observed in young kittens. The median age when hyperthyroidism affects a cat ranges between 12 years to 13 years. Only rarely does this happen to cats below six years of age.

Diagnosing hyperthyroidism can be a little hard as the disorder shares many symptoms with other diseases like chronic kidney failure, diabetes, and intestinal cancer.  No wonder your veterinarian would battery test your kitty. A urinalysis, CBC, and a chemistry panel will not help to diagnose hyperthyroidism fully, but will enable your veterinarian to cross off kidney failure and diabetes from the list. Although cats suffer from hyperthyroid would get normal urinalysis and CBC findings, the chemistry panel frequently exhibits a rise of a number of liver enzymes. Definitive diagnosis in most cases is made through a simple test done by extracting the blood. If the T4 levels are high, then the cat inevitably suffers from hyperthyroidism. There is a problem though: about 10 percent of cats suffering from hyperthyroidism will have normal T4 levels.

Complications and treatment

The T4 levels can fluctuate in and out of the cat’s normal range. Another problem is that any concurrent illness may suppress the higher T4 levels, and push them into the normal range. In older cats, concurrent diseases are, and an inexperienced veterinarian could be fooled into thinking that the cat suffering from hyperthyroidism may not have the disease at all. For hyperthyroid cats, many treatments are there. Each procedure has its advantages and disadvantages. The most common treatment is oral medication Methimazole. It has for a long time been a vital drug therapy for hyperthyroidism affected felines. It is incredibly effective but comes with some unpleasant side effects. Alternatively, you can opt for the thyroid gland to be removed. The anesthesia, however, could be a problem for older cats. The most effective and safest treatment is the radioactive iodine therapy. No surgery is needed.

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Massaging Your Dog

Everyone loves a good massage-including your dog. The one who receives the massage benefits from lower blood pressure. Stress is reduced for both the recipient and the masseuse (you). The activity takes only a few minutes every day. Massaging your dog is easy.You merely have to learn a few tricks (for a change).

Maintenance massage

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You could give your dog a daily massage. It takes only 10 minutes and is colloquially known as “maintenance massage.” You need your flat palm to do this. Make your firm flat and all parts of your dog’s body. Focus and pay attention to the layers you touch, be it hair, skin, muscle, and fat. You can also touch bone. Your dog will love the massage when you do that. When you do a maintenance massage, you do more than making your dog happy. Other than your hands getting exercise, you will have a better picture when it comes to your dog’s medical care, surgery, and medications. You can now better inform the veterinarian about the dog’s physical and even mental condition. Your pet’s quality of life will be vastly improved.

Massaging is an excellent way to calm a nervous dog. This practice comes in handy when there is thunder in the sky, or someone is bursting firecrackers outside or inside the house. Rest your hand lightly with the palm side on the dog’s neck or head. Make sweeping and long passes along the spine length and then down the dog’s tail. Do this and repeat a few times. You can slowly increase the pressure if your dog likes to be massaged by you. It is advisable not to press straight to the lower portion of the back.  When you want to finish the massage, your one hand should rest on your dog’s head, and the other side must rest over the pelvis. The two areas are the part of the dog’s spinal cord which controls the relaxation responses of your dog. Use this technique whenever the dog is nervous.

Important routine for your dog You can massage your dog to warm it up. It is an important component of any fitness routine as the practice warms up the body. This is essential for a dog especially if it is a pup. Begin with multiple strokes over the entire body of the dog. Rub the bigger muscles quickly in the shoulders, thighs and the neck area. Stroke the dog’s buttocks too. Lift and squeeze the muscles gently. Your fingers should do what you knead dough. Wrap your fingers around the dogs’ legs and press in a gentle manner. Relax grip and move up the body. Finish with extra petting over the full body to stimulate nerves.

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Cats for Large Families

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If you want a pet which has the low maintenance of a cat but has an affectionate quality of a puppy, then there are a number of options among the cat breeds. All of them are adorable.

Turkish Angora and American Curl

The Turkish Angora is one of the obvious choices. They are not only intelligent and vocal but also loyal too. This breed of cats is known for their devotion towards their human families. They love being involved in whatever their human families like to do. These cats are determined, playful, and mischevious, making them perfect for a large family. This breed, unlike other cats, loves to swim. If you and your family love swimming, then the Turkish Angora is the feline to adopt.

The American Curl is another lovely cat with dog-like characteristics. You can easily recognize the American Curl cat by its curled black ears. It loves children and has an affectionate nature. These qualities make it an excellent pet for families. It is energetic and playful with a fun amount of curiosity. The cat loves to investigate its environment. It is to be noted that the curl could vary dramatically during the first few months after it gets born. You should not bring an American Curl cat home before it is four months old.

Manx and Burmese

The Manx is another friendly breed. It is also an affectionate cat and loves nothing more than human company. It is known to follow its all over the house. Most but not all cats have no tails. The Manx plays an excellent game of fetch. You could even train it to respond to commands like a puppy. The Burmese cats are an amusing and intelligent breed which loves its human family. They make for lovely pets especially for families with boisterous children. They are similar to dogs in the sense that they like to sit and also wait to get their food. These cars are incredibly active and love nothing else than to play. Do remember that Burmese cats depend on their human companions to survive. It means that you have to find a cat sitter when you and your family go on a vacation. The Burmese breed makes for an excellent active and playful companion but is also unobtrusive and quiet when you do your work. This breed has a sweet disposition.

Abyssinian

The Abyssinian breed is an engaging and loyal breed which loves to frolic in the water and will be delighted to play fetch if you engage its favorite toys. These cats too love to follow their human family members around the house. They respond to leash training also. Due to its social and friendly nature, the Abyssinian cat needs more attention and gets depressed if the feline is left alone too often.

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When Your Cat Gets a Bug Bite

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Cats are naturally inquisitive and that gets them into trouble multiple times. One of them is when they touch the bug they should never touch. Your cat is at risk from many kinds of insects. The variety and class of them depend on the climate in which you and your cat live. There is no point keeping the cat inside the house as bugs will get into your residence despite your best protective measures. Other than making the doors and windows the entry points, it may also get through wall cracks. If you have a dog, then both you and your dog could bring bugs like ticks into the house.

Bites and what to do after that

A few insects contain venom which could be transmitted via a sting or a bite. Others do not have venom but have enough chemical in them to lead to an allergic reaction. Different toxins function in different ways. They all, however, have a standard function: to deter mammals. A single sting is unlikely to kill your healthy cat but a swarm is a different matter. The cumulative result of ants could result in your cat getting emergency treatment. A few cats could be allergic to either the venom or bite of the insect. The range fo allergic swelling could vary from a small swelling at the bite site to anaphylaxis and hives. The former takes the form of a throat swelling, and the attacked cat has difficulty breathing. There are chances of vomiting, collapse, and diarrhea. If anaphylaxis happens, take the cat to an emergency as soon as possible.

Many ants bite but only a few biting ants have venom. The bite of the fire ant is not toxic but a painful one. The toxin is released after the bite. They grip the victim’s skin and then inject Solenopsin, a toxic venom. They usually swarm if a cat disturbs their nest. Bees have mild venom melittin. They cause pain but are not of real concern. In case your cat is stung by numerous bees, then the kitty will be home to many stingers. The only way to ease the pain is to remove the cat’s stinger. This will reduce pain.

Treatment

An allergic reaction of a minor nature could be treated in an effective manner with Benadryl or diphenhydramine and cold compress. The quantity of Benadryl is 1 mg for every pound weight of the cat. The thumb rule for most cats is a quarter of half of a 25mg tablet. It is given orally. Do ask your veterinarian before you start giving your kitty medicines. The age of the cat influences the medication given. If the swelling continues, or your cat appears to be in pain or it is not behaving as it usually does, then take it to the veterinarian.

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Cat Hormone Replacement Therapy

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Hormone replacement therapy in cats involves the action of replenishing the hormone levels of the body with a synthetic substitute. The quantity of hormone in the body goes down over time. It may be completely absent due to the effects of surgery or illness. A hormonal shortage can also happen due to genetic predisposition. The hormones are potent chemicals which initiate and influence significant changes in the body of a cat. When a cell contacts a hormone, many vital reactions happen within that particular tissue. The hormones of the cat regulate the animal’s cognitive function, sexual development, body temperature, and thirst among many others. It also influences cell development and growth. The absence of one or multiple endocrine hormones will affect the growth of your cat. It also determines voluntary muscle contraction and reproductive abilities.

Examination and dosage preparation

Before you begin any treatment plan involving hormonal replacement, the feline will have to undergo an evaluation game needing hormones. This requires a standard sample of blood for laboratory analysis. The hormone test will inform the veterinarian as to which hormone needs to be topped up and the correct amount needed for the cat to conduct daily functions required by its body. Do note that hormonal replacement therapy is a procedure generally done by the owner as the process must be administered every day. A fresh batch of hormones must be injected within the body. Majority of the hormone replacements are injectables. There is a specific process for doing so. It is a standard procedure.

You must first prepare the dose. To do this, wash your hands thoroughly and read the bottle instructions. Some manufacturers insist you shake the bottle before use. Remove the attached cap from the needle approved by your veterinarian. Insert syringe into the bottle top and turn bottle. Keep the syringe inserted to the top. Use the little finger or your other hand to pull the plunger back to correct prescribed dosage. The needle must not be removed until all the air bubbles go away. There exists a method to remove the air bubbles: hold upright the syringe and gently tap sides until bubbles float to the top. Use the plunger to push the bubbles out and then draw a greater quantity of medication to get the right dosage.

Injection process Ask someone to hold the cat while you get ready to inject the new hormone. Hold the syringe in your stronger hand and pinch and pull a skin fold upward with your other hand. The nap of the neck is the most preferred position. Insert needle into the fold and push in the plunger. Pull the needle out and dispose of it. Once the hormones get replenished, the cat will regain its bodily function.

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Role of Antioxidants in Dog Food

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If there were humanitarian awards for nutrients, antioxidants would bag the honor every single time. Antioxidants protect your cells from degeneration and strengthen your immune system. Human beings have been including antioxidants in their diets for a long time, but the miracles of these nutrients are not limited to the boundaries of the human world. Antioxidants are beneficial for your precious pets and play a vital role in maintaining the health of your canine companions. Including antioxidants in dog food does not only keep your dogs fit but also increases the shelf life of dog foods. Antioxidants are the super ingredients of dog foods as these increase the nutritional value of the food. 

What are antioxidants?

The substances that fight the damage caused by free radicals in your pet’s body are known as antioxidants. Antioxidants selflessly donate electrons to the molecules of free radicals which contain oxygen and can result in oxidation. The growth of free radicals in the body can lead to severe diseases like heart ailments and cancer. Antioxidants check the growth of free radicals and help your pets live a long and happy life.

Why is it good to check the list of ingredients before buying dog food?

You should prefer buying dog food that contains antioxidants to reduce the risk of diseases that can hamper the growth of your pets. Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free radicals in the bodies of your dogs. If your dogs are sick or if they are growing old, the production of free radicals increases in their bodies. Free radicals can be highly reactive. Antioxidants protect the nervous as well as immune systems of your dogs. Sufficient quantity of antioxidants in dog food makes your dogs internally strong and can save you from spending money on expensive medical treatments.

There are two kinds of antioxidants: natural and synthetic. Natural antioxidants are considered to be healthier between the two though the food containing natural antioxidants may have a shorter shelf life. A balanced combination of natural and synthetic antioxidants can preserve the dog food for a longer duration. The right combination and quantity of different types of antioxidants can go a long way in keeping the dog food fresh.

Your dogs are your most trustworthy companions and it is your duty to take care of them. Choosing the right food for your dog is a task of responsibility. You should refer to the list of ingredients mentioned on the food to be sure about what you are feeding your dogs. Make sure the food contains the right combination of antioxidants to provide a nutritionally balanced diet to your dogs.

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Is your cat sweating? Here could be the reasons

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It is most unlikely to see a cat sweat, however when you see such an incident occurring it might be an issue of concern as such perspiration in cats might be indicative of hypothermia or a heat stroke. It is understood that cats have sweat glands which although are covered by their fur help their skin in cooling the body by its sweat. In fact, a cat’s paw pad has the largest number of sweat glands. Many a time during the summers you might have witnessed paw stamps on the floor left by your cats, cats lick themselves to regulate their body temperature, they are known to “beat the heat” by resting and avoiding exerting themselves.

Panting is another way that cats can cool themselves down. The functioning takes place by allowing heat from the hottest part of the body or the inner thorax, to escape through moisture created by mucous membranes of the tongue, mouth, and throat.

Although it is the most efficient way of cooling, panting is not a common occurrence in cats like it is in dogs. A cat exhales the moist air resulting in the process of evaporation cooling down the cat. Only extremely heat-stressed cats will pant, so if your cat is panting, you need to be concerned that she is too hot. Help your cat to cool herself by wetting her fur with cool water, providing cool water to drink, and moving her to a cooler area. You can learn more here: “Heat Stroke and Hypothermia.”

When there is an increase in outside temperature, a cat gets excited or stressed or has been recently active, the body gets a signal from the brain to send out the excess body heat. This is achieved by the cat sweating as well as stretching out the body or even drinking cool water, which are primary ways for cats to cool down. As a matter of fact, the body temperature of a cat is controlled by the brain.

Symptoms of fever or just heat

A temperature consistently over 102.8˚ F is cause for concern in cats. Signs of fever include reluctance to move, increased frequency of breathing, depression, anorexia, and lethargy or listlessness. Hyperthermia is an increase in body temperature. This may occur because of increased outside temperatures or excitement or exercise, or other causes. It is sort of a false fever. If one is unsure whether the cat actually has a fever, have it take rest for 20 minutes, then check its temperature again. If the cat is normal other than panting and having an increased temperature, chances are it is hyperthermia and not a real fever.

Reasons behind Increase in a Heat Stroke Risk in Cats

  • Being overweight
  • Being young
  • Being elderly
  • Heart or lung disease
  • Any sickness, even a cold
  • Dehydration

If your cat seems to be overheated or is not acting normal, contact your veterinarian immediately. Continued panting after cooling measures have been performed is abnormal. Heat stroke is possible in cats and can be lethal. It might lead to multiple organ failure. Applying cool water to the groin of a heated cat and its armpits and front of the neck will cool it. The vet needs to be informed at that moment and without wasting much time the cat should be rushed to the pet care infirmary.

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How is Dog Mammary Tumor Therapy advancing?

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Mammary tumors are commonly seen in middle-aged or older female dogs.  The risk factors in such cases are due to increased age exposure to ovarian and growth hormones, ovariectomy after 2.5 years of age and obesity at a young age.

Just about most of these tumors are malignant. A local recurrence and distant spread is, however, possible following their removal through surgical processes. Prognosis is affected by the tumor size, type grade and clinical stage wherein there might occur a spread of disease throughout the body during the time of diagnosis. While these tumors are rarely fatal, they remain a major health concern for owners of female dogs.

Researchers at the Ohio State University are exploring the use of optical coherence tomography (OCT) in order to help doctors reach important and required margins during surgical removal of mammary tumors and soft tissue sarcomas in female dogs.

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)

  • Have functions similar to an ultrasound. 
  • Uses light reflected to dig deep instead of using sound waves as used in ultrasound
  • The light reflects from various tissue surfaces and provides a high-resolution(with regards to the tumor)
  •  A cross-sectional image of the tissue structure in the present place and time can be seen
  • Helps distinguish between soft tissue sarcoma, muscle tissue, and fatty tissue

Once the mammary tumor is caught, the use of OCT could provide an accurate and intra-operative method to determine surgical margins.

Thankfully due to AKC CHF Grant 2204-T: employing advanced imaging techniques, it has become comparatively easier to calculate tumor signs for mammary cancer in dogs and Soft Tissue Sarcoma.

Researchers have already taken the first step toward reaching their accomplishment. 

Veterinary medicine is on the path to achieve high grounds marking treatment targets for mammary tumors in dogs. A research at the University of Pennsylvania has found properties of collagen in the tumor microenvironment for dogs which identity with patient survival time.

CHF Grant 2489: Tumor-permissive Collagen Signatures in Mammary Gland Tumors for dogs:

Progression in the form of Prognostic Markers, as well as Targeted Therapies for the improved outcome, should help researchers study the naturally occurring mammary tumors in dogs adopted or placed in permanent foster care, taking up a program called ‘Penn Vet Shelter Canine Mammary Tumor Program.’ This is known to provide a full lifelong mammary tumor care for dogs enrolled here and also gives data related to the research a measure through the clinical outcome.

Herein, research also shall explore added collagen traits that foretell outcomes and scrutinize their affect tumor behavior. They hope to develop modes that should avoid the formation of  tumor-friendly microenvironments in the mammary glands of dogs.

A well-known treatment for mammary tumors in dogs would be a surgical removal is. However, this situation is age sensitive to a dog. If the dog is of much age, it is at a much higher risk due to after surgery conditions for a dog as immense care is to be given to the dog in order for it to heal and regain its strength.

CHF-funded studies are capable of providing a tool which is known to allow doctors to completely remove the tumor tissue in one go.

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5 signs that you need to get the thyroid of your dog checked

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It is quite easy to let signs of Thyroid problems in dogs go unnoticed as the symptoms are quite subtle. Such problems occur when due to an increase or decrease in the dog’s hormone levels.

A thyroid is a tiny gland in the neck and in case of a dog, the thyroid gland comprises of two parts, which occupy a position on each side of the windpipe. The thyroid gland produces a hormone known as thyroxine which balances the overall body’s energy level and growth of the dog. Hence if we notice the energy of our dog decreasing drastically, it might be due to some issue with the thyroid gland of the pet.

Dogs most commonly suffer from hypothyroidism, or low thyroid hormone levels. Such a condition is found in dogs within the age group of 2 to 7 years. Hyperthyroidism, however, is a rare thyroid condition found in dogs.

It is crucial for pet owners to get their dogs checked regularly so that any signs of a thyroid problem can be detected in time and thus can be cured.

Key symptoms  to be cautious of, regarding dog thyroid problems :

Weight Gain or Loss

Another sign of thyroid problems in dogs is weight gain that’s not caused by overeating. Instead, your pet slowly packs on a few pounds despite you feeding him a normal diet. According to Dr. Barrack, this weight gain can even lead to obesity in your pet if the thyroid problem isn’t corrected.

Changes in Behavior or Activity Level

The biggest sign of a thyroid problem occurs when we notice changes in our dog’s behavior and level of activity. It is a dog’s way of telling you that there may be something wrong in their system and it is best that you get your dog checked immediately.

It is understood that thyroid regulates energy levels in our dogs. Hence it is important to understand when a dog shows lack of enthusiasm during playing or is constantly feeling cold. There is a shooting decline in the playfulness in the dog’s behavior. The moment such a thing happens it is best to take the dog to the vet.

Visible problems on the skin or coat of the Dog

Many a time the coat, as well as the skin, might show signs arising due to thyroid problems in dogs. Hypothyroidism causes dull hair.  It even caused hair loss and decay leading to a dry coat. The dog’s skin might even start flaking off more than normally while brushing it. Or, the dog may experience patches of thinning hair.

Hyperthyroidism in cats causes the opposite problem. According to Dr. Barrack, your cat’s coat may start to look greasy and matted. Cats will sometimes stop grooming themselves and develop an unkempt appearance.

Vomiting or Diarrhoea

The dog might be exhibiting symptoms of thyroid problems, many a times as it may be facing issues of diarrhea and vomiting. In such cases, the dog needs to be rushed to the vet.

Unable to tolerate cold

The dog might avoid going outdoors during the cold and might even stop taking its nature’s call outside. It might also place itself near the heat vent or even dig inside its blankets while avoiding as much as looking out of it.

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All You Need To Know About Bad Breath In Dogs

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Every pet owner is familiar with a dog’s bad breath, which is in many ways similar to what humans suffer from. When your pet has just consumed something with a pungent odor or has played around with something messy, it’s very likely that the result is bad breath. But chronic bad breath is different from this. Chronic bad breath, or halitosis, may be indicative of a serious condition that may require medical attention and ongoing care.

What causes chronic bad breath in dogs?

Various causes can lead to bad breath in dogs. Here are a few such causes –

  • Bad breath in your canine could have stemmed from a dental or gum issue. Be it gum disease, infection or tooth decay, certain dental issues could cause inflammation of the gums and build up of tartar underneath the teeth, leading to chronic bad breath.
  • Additionally, bad breath could also be because of metabolic diseases like renal disease or failure. If a dog’s kidney decreases in function, you can tell by smelling your pet’s breath. Renal disease is usually associated with a distinct ammonia-like smell in a dog’s breath.
  • Sometimes, consumption of toxic substance such as antifreeze or a rodenticide could be the cause of bad breath. This warrants an immediate visit to your vet, so the toxic substance can be neutralized or made to pass out in stools.
  • If your canine has diabetes or an oral tumor, he’s very likely to also suffer from bad breath.

How to deal with bad breath in dogs

Treatment for bad breath in dogs can vary greatly, depending on the underlying cause for bad breath and your vet’s prognosis. However, if you are looking for a common cure, try being more rigorous about your dog’s oral hygiene and switch-up his food. This usually takes care of the problem.

If your dog’s bad breath is being caused by a more serious problem, then you will require a visit to the vet, who can diagnose and treat the root cause. The diagnosis will involve a complete physical examination, and the treatment medication or if very serious, surgery. Sometimes vets even dismiss bad breath, citing it as a natural side effect of canine ageing.

Common edible cures for bad breath in dogs

Some experts suggest meaty bones as a remedy for bad breath in dogs. This is because many pet owners stick to dry, cereal based diets for their canines, who are in fact messy carnivores. Meaty bones not only satiate a dog’s natural needs but also act as natural toothbrushes that scrape away the tartar that may form on a dog’s teeth. Finally, you could even mask your dog’s bad breath by adding herbs to its diet. Parsley, peppermint, sage, teatree, clove, and eucalyptus are very effective in killing bacteria and bad odor, but they’re not very popular among canines. But if you could get your dog to eat them, there’s nothing like it!

If your dog is suffering from chronic bad breath, it could be because of a host of different reasons. Ensure that you read this post and figure out the best course of action for your canine’s well being.

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