Thursday, August 25, 2016

Roxanne Gets One Year Distemper Nasal Drops

Update on Roxanne: Rox will receive Azithromax antibiotic to fight bartonella (cat scratch fever.) The med is a once a day, oral liquid, antibiotic used to fight bartonella-cat scratch fever-and other illnesses. Ordered it from Wedgewood Pharmacy (mail order in NJ) and paid extra for next day, and it arrived today. She is expected to need only one course of a 21 day regime. Rox does not have a fever but since she seems run down, she only received the distemper Wednesday, the rabies and leukemia will be next week. The distemper the vet used is a nasal drop. She chose that because it's a one year vaccine. Since we do not know what vaccines she had as a kitten or when was the last distemper, a one year is safer than a three year. Next year, she will receive a three year distemper. And the added benefit is that the drops help fight upper respiratory disease/issues such as her conjunctivitis.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Roxanne Has Feline Bartonella-Cat Scratch Fever Illness

Roxanne, the neighborhood cat who we take care of, who sort of lives with us, has Bartonella-cat scratch fever illness. What is that? Not sure, even after reading about it. It comes from being infected with fleas, from getting flea feces on the cat and the cat ingesting it when it cleans its fur. It causes a range of illnesses/symptoms/complications from fever to sores on eyes, nose, mouth, in the mouth, etc.  You can see some horrible examples at this link.
It can be transferred to other pets and to humans from the cat.
Treatment is one or two antibiotics for six weeks. I read a study that recommended two antibiotics:…/…/2016/05/Treatment_Bartonellosis.pdf
I'll have to ask why. After antibiotics, she'll be tested again, which is about two months from now.
Yes, the others could get it from any infected fleas she's dropped or flea feces she's dropped. Luckily, we had her separated for awhile and I've cleaned. But still... I'll have three of them tested next month when they get their annual shots.

This is another example of why cats need regular flea and tick treatment each month.

Further note on bartonella: it can cause severe gingivitis in cats. What you may think is gingivitis caused by plaque and that a cat is in need of dental cleaning, can actually turn out to be bartonella. The vet should be able to tell the difference because all the gums in the entire mouth will be severely swollen. The cat will still need a test for bartonella but if the gingivitis clears up with an antibiotic treatment, then you know the severity is due to bartonella and not gum disease.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Update Calci Virus Vaccine and Distemper Vaccine

Corrections regarding vaccines: I was wrong. It's not that our vet doesn't recommend the calci virus vaccine. She may have said "We don't do that", or "We don't do a separate vaccine". The calci virus vaccine is included WITH the distemper vaccine they use. Your cat should get the calci virus vaccine IF your vet does not include it in the distemper vaccine. So, ask your vet what they use.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Vaccines for Cats, Blood Test for Feline Diseases-Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Cat Needs

So, Roxanne, the cat that's not ours but needs our help, is so far, disease free. Still waiting on bartonella test (cat scratch fever) and she should be retested for one of them in a month or so just to make sure she wasn't infected before the blood test or between yesterday and the vaccine. This discussion of which vaccines are necessary for an outdoor cat, which ones the vet recommends vs. what vet websites list; testing for which disease; which disease does/does not get a vaccine, does/does not have a test, etc. is so new! And confusing. I thought HCM was confusing. Our indoor cats received a series of vaccines as kittens and annually the rabies and tri-annually the distemper. But what to get, test, and be aware of for Roxanne is what is new. (And she's responding well to her antibiotic eye drops to cure the conjunctivitis.)
When you have an outdoor cat there's much more to worry about than if you kept it indoors. An indoor cat needs flea/tick monthly med (we use Revolution) to prevent fleas from causing infection/infestations/tape worms; and to prevent mosquitos and heartworm; distemper 3yrs, and rabies annually (there is a three year but our vet doesn't recommend it.) An outdoor cat needs all of that and the feline leukemia (FELV) vaccine which is NOT the same as panaleukemia (distemper.) There is the FIV (HIV vax) that our vet doesn't recommend because it causes a positive test result and may lead someone to put a cat down (if you no longer owned the cat or it got lost.) There's the feline viral rhinotracheitis (herpes virus vax) which our vet doesn't recommend because most cats get the virus and how it affects them may change over time; it's not deadly but can make them very ill (which we've experienced.) There's FCV-(calcivirus) a severe and possibly deadly disease, a vaccine which our vet doesn't recommend (and I'll have to ask why and if necessary for outdoor cats). It could be that many of these are given by vets to kittens and that many adult cats do not need the annual boosters.
You should test an outdoor cat for all of these illnesses. Blood tests can be had for FELV, FIV, and bartonella. A cbc/chem panel test will show signs of an illness, allowing the vet to combine symptoms with blood test results to determine what is the cause and treatment.
Concerns about vaccines are that many have been linked to injection site sarcomas. This is why injection protocol calls for certain vaccines to be injected in certain areas of the body always, and never in a different spot each time the cat receives an injection (front leg for distemper, for example-I think. Don't quote me.) This way, if a sarcoma develops, the vet knows which injection caused it and can report it to the manufacturer, vet journals, whatever else they do with the information. Always check with your vet to make sure they follow a protocol.
Feline vaccines are easily the most contentious subject in veterinary medicine. So we consulted with Catster vet Dr. Eric Barchas, DVM to find the simplest vaccination guide veterinarians can agree on. According to Dr. Barchas, all cats –…

Visiting Cat Conjunctivitis, Herpes, and Tapeworms-Using Profender

Rox has tape worms. Vet gave Profender, a med that goes on the back of the neck like flea treatment. Has herpes conjunctivitis in the eye and now receives antibiotic eye drops twice a day, for two weeks. Was tested for major diseases Bartonella, FLP, FLV, etc. and Cbc/Chem panel. Her other vet faxed over records: she hasn't had shots since 2014. (Owner said she was up to date.)

Rox is recovering well and responding well to eye drops. So far, blood work is normal, no heartworms. Waiting on infection test results. She does need to have her teeth brushed and eventually cleaned. We'll begin brushing after eye drops are done. So far, no adverse side effects from Profender (Google and you'll find a history of issues.)

Visiting Cat Has Conjunctivitis

This little girl, Roxanne, has been making herself at home lately. We had her confined to one back room but two weeks ago, began letting her into the living room for short periods but not when our cats were in the room (thank goodness for all of the doors.) However, she either caught a virus outside or inside because she's not well. She had watery eyes Sunday; and watery eyes (no discharge) but slightly blood shot in one eye Monday. Watery eyes can mean a fever. Sunday through today I gave her lysine in case it's the herpes virus. And last night and this a.m. I gave her some Buprenex (a pain and fever reducer, anti-inflammatory agent.) I couldn't get her an appointment yesterday at any of the vets we use nor her own (her owner gave me the info) but she has one today with our vet. She didn't appear sick enough for the ER (no diarrhea or vomiting.) Either she caught one and brought it in, or caught a virus from our cats (they have the herpes virus although it's mostly dormant.) If she caught it from our cats, that means the virus can be picked up indirectly through humans (we hold or pet her and our cats) or furniture or cat bedding-anything our cats have lain on that she came into contact. That's not how it's suppose to passed on. It shouldn't be through bedding that a cat hasn't touched in a few hours. It's supposed to be through shared litter boxes, and food and water bowls, or grooming/cat fights. She's not come into direct contact with our cats nor their litter boxes nor food bowls. We also don't share syringes with her and she has her own bottle of immune liquid. So, we will see how many tests she has today and what they confirm.
I don't know what this means. I'm worried about our cats becoming contaminated with her herpes virus even if they have a dormant version that on occasion, has made Katharine or Jimmy sick (the only two in the last few years to be continually affected.) There's always a concern she has brought something even worse or deadly into the house which is why we've always kept her separated from the others, we always wash our hands, and we never share syringes for water and immune therapy liquid. 
Let's see how today goes. I'm hoping her vet will tell our vet what shots and tests she has had. We will test her for everything today and get any further shots in the future when she's better. And I'll have to ask the vet if our cats now need other shots. Typically-if you have a cat when it's a kitten-a kitten gets all sorts of shots and boosters against FLV, FIP, leukemia, etc. If a cat is an indoor cat, it only needs distemper and rabies going forward as an adult. If you don't know if your adult cat has had any of those shots, you should get them for the adult cat if it's going out. So, we will see.
Of course, our HCM cats may only need rabies and distemper and should be indoor cats. And our HCM cats may not be able to get even those two vaccines if they are not doing well because their bodies and immune systems are already compromised (Myrna stopped receiving hers in 2013 because the cardio ruled against it when Myrna was having a difficult summer, a difficulty that would increase over time. So, it was never a good time to get them. But luckily, she never got sick from distemper.)
I'll let you know more later after the vet visit.

Signs of Feline Heart Disease May Be Lymphoma

Signs of heart disease could actually be lymphoma/cancer. 
Open mouth breathing
Loss of appetite (anorexia)
Weight loss
There are additional symptoms for gastro or skeletal related lymphoma such as vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss-symptoms which can also be related to heart disease/medication complications. I think only blood work would show if the white blood cell count is off and an ultrasound would find any mass in the body. But I found it interesting that symptoms can point to heart disease but not be heart disease. I'm sure an echo and xrays would likely show no signs of lung congestion or heart disease.

Bats-They Are NOT Cat Toys

(Facebook 8/12/16)

Read this morning on the neighborhood Facebook page a post by a cat owner who said her cat's been chasing and killing (biting) bats that keep getting into her house through whatever access points they have. She wanted to know what to do with the bat issue. She made light of the fact the cat was attacking the bats ("felt sorry for the bat"). WHAT?????!!!!! Cats should NOT bite, eat, chase, play with or touch bats. Even with an annual rabies shot, cats that have come into contact with a bat must get further rabies treatment because they can still get rabies (same with dogs. I don't know why but that's what vets recommend.) The bat should be tested by the local health dept. (whatever process your county or state has set up) for rabies. And then your house needs to be sealed off from bats and the bats chased out by a competent critter control company (they should be able to chase them out as well as seal off all points.) Bats and our pets (and houses) don't mix. It's not safe. Take all precautions.

Diuretics Needed to Fight Congestion-Increase As Needed

Remember to fight congestion, your HCM cat needs a daily dose of lasix even if CHF-congestive heart failure-hasn't yet occurred. It might and it's better to be ahead than behind. If your cat is becoming more and more congested despite lasix, that means you must increase the amount per dose and the number of doses per day. Diuretics work best when given over a course of a day instead of all at once. Too much at once and it puts a load on the kidneys to do the diuresis process. Too much at once, and it will leave the body soon and leave the body without diuretic coverage for the rest of the day. Depending on your schedule, 2-3 times a day is good for an average HCM cat; 4 times a day for cats fighting constant congestion. Don't forget the kidney support-potassium each day for cats on a diuretic. Vitamins E, C, COQ10, and iron for those on higher doses and especially for cats taking Torsemide. Torsemide depletes the body of needed electrolytes and is tough on the kidneys. The kidneys need kidney support for the diuresis process. More info is in the Med notes here in Facebook and the Med tab at the blog.

Katharine Hepburn Has Cardio Checkup-Passes!

Katharine Hepburn had her annual cardio checkup today and all is well. Grade 1 heart murmur as usual-which we all know doesn't mean a thing. Size of murmur doesn't indicate heart disease nor indicates a lack of heart disease. A louder murmur doesn't mean a more severe heart condition and a low murmur does not mean a lack of a heart disease. Katharine gets an annual checkup because she has a murmur (and all murmurs should be checked with an echo because (again) size of sound does not matter but the presence of a murmur may indicate heart disease) AND because she is Myrna Loy's sibling.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A New Cat Joins Our Family as a Guest

A neighborhood cat showed up in our yard back in May, suddenly, and acting frantic. It would cry and try to paw at the window and door, and seemed in a panic. We began feeding it and petting it outdoors but wouldn't let it in. It had a collar. Surely it had a home, we thought. But each time we saw it very late at night and very early in the morning in our yard, we began to wonder if it had a home. 
I posted photos to the neighborhood Facebook page and eventually received replies from neighbors who either loved the cat and fed it, allowed it inside, and found it also was frantically pawing at their doors for attention; or hated to have it in their yard, cornering their cats-and dogs. One neighbor went so far as to allow children and dogs to chase it.  Eventually, someone knew the owner who lived two streets over. I left her a note and a few days later she called me. 

Yes, the cat is hers. Yes, she sees it every day. Yes it's fed.  Yes, it has its shots. But it likes to be an outdoor cat and cries incessantly to go out.  So, she allows it to come in and out through her window with a broken screen. 

We noticed that Rox liked to lay under our bushes. She would lay under the deck. But she also slept there at night. We began to think that she wasn't going home. 

Then she disappeared for a week. And during that week, I was outside a lot even at night. No sign of little girl. Then suddenly she appeared in early July, frantic for food and attention again. She kept coming around all day, then would disappear for hours. Sometimes she was sleeping under bushes or the deck; sometimes she was at the neighbors and would come running over when she heard me open the back door or call her name.  I would feed her food on the deck; we put out fresh water on the deck; and we put a litter box on the deck which she began using. We began picking her up and petting her because I feared she would become too feral.  We began playing with her.  She would hang around for awhile then take off, sometimes over the fence into other yards, other paths, following her own schedule.  But during all of July, she kept coming back more often, and then hanging out in the yard more often, and sleeping on the deck when not too hot. When it rained one day, I brought her inside. We set up a litter box in the back room and gave her food and water. (We had to give up on the outdoor litter box because the raccoons discovered it and they were scattering litter all over the deck, as if it were a sand box toy for them.)

Since then, she's been mostly living here. We let her set her schedule and cater to her demands for coming in or going out. Because I'm home during the day, she has grown comfortable with sticking mostly in the yard, on the deck or under it and under bushes, even still visiting neighbors; and knows she can mostly come and go as she wants.  Gradually, she and we have grown accustomed to letting her sleep at night in the house in that back room. 

What I've discovered: originally, I tried to put her in the guest bedroom with me (I didn't want her to sleep alone and she couldn't sleep in our room with our other cats.) Her alarm clock goes off at 3 a.m.; and if she's not out by 5:30 a.m. when the sun comes up, she tries to break down the doors, windows, and makes as much noise to wake the dead in order to be let out. But if we leave her in the back room, as far as I know, she's quiet until we come down stairs in the morning. She isn't destructive, nothing is broken or messed with as if to indicate that she's in a panic about being alone. Then we let her out about 7-8 a.m. after she eats, and she's happy.  She likes to come back about a half hour later to eat more, then leave; she comes back again an hour later to check in and then says goodbye and takes off. She will then return 2-6 hours later. If she comes in, she usually sleeps 4-6 hours. If she's not out by 7 p.m., then we can't get her back in before midnight. But if she's out by 7 p.m., she will come back inside on her own around 10 p.m. or so and stay the night. At first, she would cry to go out if I was still up at 1 a.m.; or she would cry to leave if I put her in the guest room So, I've learned to let her think it's bedtime and I leave her by herself in the back room, and she's fine alone.

She's using the litter box inside fine so far.  Initially, she was also crying to go out to go and I had to work with her to train her to use the box. We mixed Cat Attract and Wheat litters and that made it easier for her.  

We began playing with her using feather toys and cat nip toys, and mice toys. I noticed that she loved to play and loved the attention but doesn't like being held or petted much. What she really, really enjoys is finding the stack of cat toys and the basket of cat toys in our living room. It must be like a candy store.  She chases, rolls, bats, etc. and all on her own, although we are in the room and interact on occasion (never interrupt a cat that is playing on its own. It's having fun. It will let you know when it needs you.)

I had to give her a washcloth bath the other day because she was so dirty, the white was grey. But she withstood it. I also clip her nails and she allows it. She won't let me see her teeth, yet. 

I'm in contact with the owner. If she wants to keep her at home, she knows how to reach me. But so far, she seems unconcerned.  Turns out the owner went on vacation for three weeks in July and left her in the care of roommates who may or may not have let it get back inside. Frankly, if the cat doesn't feel secure at home, it won't return. And if the owner wanted her to feel secure, she'd be more proactive. If we don't take care of the cat, the neighbors will chase her off or she could get hurt. She could still get hurt but she's wary around cars and careful around outdoor wildlife. 
One night, we heard a cat screaming and rushed out but we found Rox next to the deck while a poor cat screamed in the distance. (Cat fight or raccoons?) Twice this week, a pair of skunks living nearby have come into our yard while she was hanging out back. She sat up, noticed where they were going, then once they were gone, went back to sleep. I was wide eyed on the porch afraid they might attack. (Would they? Would she?) There was a ground hog hanging out in the yard that she kept going after. It's now gone. (Coincidence? I don't see how she could fend off or scare off a ground hog.) 

As for our cats, she spent weeks growling at them through the glass panes of our interior doors and now she ignores them. They watch each other quietly. We do not let them mingle or share things. 

So, this is Roxanne, about 2-3 years old, female, spayed, and supposedly up to date on shots. We gave her Revolution for August with the consent of owner. We take one day at a time with her. We let her set her schedule but try to get her in if it will storm or at night or if we will be gone hours. 
She's small like Myrna and I find myself worrying and watching over her just like Myrna. But I don't want her to be exactly like Myrna. Please, no deadly diseases.  She's not vocal unless she wants something. But she is very sweet. 

What can I say? She needs us to be here for her when she needs us. I can't turn her away. If I hadn't found the owner, I would have taken her to our local shelter (a lovely, no kill shelter.) If I don't let her in, she will bother the neighbors who don't like her and wander all over finding someone to help her.  So, here she is welcomed for as long as she wishes.