Monday, August 3, 2009
Its important to understand some of the vocabulary used to convey the state of the condition for cats in kidney failure. Acute kidney (or renal) failure in your cat is characterized by complete organ failure where the kidneys stop working altogether. Usually, acute renal failure occurs quite suddenly and can affect both young and old cats.This type of kidney disease is almost always fatal but if treated immediately and aggressively, the kidneys may regain normal functions and your cat may live a normal lifespan.
Chronic kidney failure is the more common disease. This type of kidney disease is usually experienced by aging cats when many of their major organs have diminished function. Unfortunately, by the time you notice the symptoms for cats in kidney failure, about 70% of your cat's kidney functions are already compromised. This is a progressive disease and will eventually result in the death of your cat. However, early diagnosis and aggressive management can keep your cat in comfort and relative good health for months, if not years.
Since cats with a kidney problem typically have small, shriveled kidneys, your vet will palpitate the area and may take x-rays or an ultrasound. The most dependable diagnosis comes from the blood and urine tests taken from your cat.
A blood test evaluates the BUN level of your cat's blood. No, this isn't a level of yeast but BUN stands for the Blood Urea Nitrogen level which is a chemical that the liver makes from ammonia. After production, BUN is excreted into the kidneys, which increases in some diseases especially for cats in kidney failure. The test also is a marker for dehydration in your cat or even a urethral obstruction like bladder stones.
Blood tests also show the level of creatinine in your cat's blood. Creatinine is the breakdown product of muscle and normally is excreted by the kidneys. If your cat's creatinine level is abnormally high it helps confirm that your cat's elevated BUN level was caused by kidney failure.
When evaluating your cat's urine, the veterinarian will check for signs of infection, the concentration, and any losses of proteins. When a healthy cat is dehydrated the proteins show at a concentrated level. For cats in kidney failure, this protein concentration is not there which is key to determining if your cat's kidneys are functioning properly or not.
To wrap all this up...urine and blood tests are key to determining if your cat is having a kidney problem. Do not give up when you hear your cat has kidney disease. There are a number of homeopathic remedies available to improve the quality of life for cats in kidney failure .
reference : http://ezinearticles.com
The range of health issues that quality fish oil for cats can help with is very large including helping to improve immune function, cognition, arthritis, behavior and prevent cancer. It also helps to lower cholesterol levels and give a healthy shining coat.
They are also exceptionally good for healing those hairless dry, irritated areas and encourage the hair to grow back and promote all round good health.
The results can be quite dramatic in older cats if they suffer from arthritis or other joint problems and I have witnessed this personally when after some weeks with a daily supplement, their movement was significantly improved and it seemed like they were a much younger cat again!
It is not necessary to buy special fish oil for cats as the ones we use work just fine, and even better in some cases as the purity levels tend to be higher.
The two omega 3 fatty acids that provide most of the benefits are DHA and EPA with DHA being by far the most effective and important one, so check the website or label carefully to ensure a high level of DHA, around twice the amount of EPA.
To help keep your kitty safe, make sure any oil you use has been molecularly distilled to remove all the dangerous toxins like mercury and lead which are present in many poor quality oils. This type can also be known as pharmaceutical grade oil.
If you want to help your cat to live a longer and healthier life, then fish oil for cats in the form of a daily supplement will go a long way to achieving that, more than any other addition to their diet.
If you would like to learn more about the high quality DHA omega 3 supplements I recommend and use for my own cats, visit my website today.
References : http://www.ezinearticles.com
Who is to blame?
The cats and dogs or their human care givers? You guessed it, we are. We love our pets so much, that in an effort to keep them healthy and happy, we are in turn creating health and numerous other problems.
Overfeeding, lack of exercise and too many treats are the culprits. The extra weight is as detrimental to our pet's health as being overweight is to our health.
However, our pets don't know they are overweight and as a result cannot do anything about it, we can, however by changing our ways of feeding them, giving them more exercise and holding back on extra treats.
No fad diets here just plain common sense and less high carbohydrates. Yes, even cats can benefit from a high protein, some fat and low carbohydrates. Cats are carnivores, which means they are meat eaters.
Simply stated an overweight cat is eating more than it needs.
Keep in mind just because you have had your pet spayed or neutered is not the reason he/she is overweight. Just like humans, too much caloric intake, lack of exercise and normal aging will add on the pounds.
I am not going to give you the perfect diet for your cat to follow. That is up to you and your vet to decide.
Just as with starting a diet for yourself, you should see your doctor. It is a good idea to visit your vet and make certain your cat is in good health and ready to start the slow road to losing weight.
An overweight pet should have his/her heart and thyroid checked and some minor blood work done to see if there are any metabolic problems.
As you have learned from earlier reading, cats are carnivores (meat eaters) and dogs are omnivores (meat and plant eaters). A cat's body works differently than a dogs and care needs to be taken to see that your cat is getting all the proper nutrients its body needs while still trying to lose weight.
A cat has to eat everyday, do not under any circumstances allow your cat to go hungry or think by not feeding it that you are helping Kitty to lose weight.
First of all because of the nature of a cat's metabolic system, never start a reducing diet without your Vet's supervision. If you do, you may end up with some medical bills you weren't planning on.
Obesity in cats can lead to diabetes, arthritis and hepatic lipidosis. Hepatic lipidosis, which is known, as fatty liver syndrome is somewhat, like anorexia in humans. It happens in cats for a variety or reasons.
Obese cats because they are prone to diabetes; pancreatitis, cancer or other liver disorders are prime targets. However it can also be stress related.
Cats do not take kindly to change and any kind of change can cause stress. In our case we are talking about a cat losing weight, which includes a change in diet. New food, new eating patterns, a change in routine all can cause stress and make a cat stop eating.
Whatever you do, when you decide to start Kitty on a diet, do it slowly. Discuss with your Vet what to expect regarding Kitty's behavior plus use your own common sense. No one knows your cat better than you do, sometimes outside advice, no matter how good, does not fit your cat and its behavior. The reason for mentioning this disease is simple, your cat needs to eat, and this problem may occur when a cat is not eating sufficient calories or has gone without food for several days.
So if you are planning to make a drastic change in your cat's menu (changing to a new food) while you are putting him/her on a diet, do it slowly. Allow sufficient time for your cat to accept the new food by mixing small portions of it with the current food.
If you are in the habit of leaving a bowl of dry food out for kitty to munch on while you are at work (and who hasn't), this is a "no no" if you are trying to get kitty to slim down.
While I am on the subject of dry food, let's discuss what it is made of. Dry food is mainly carbohydrates, with very little if any protein or fat. Carbs create sugar in the digesting process, which creates weight gain. Cats do not process carbs like dogs and humans do.
Dry cat food like dry dog food is made up mainly of corn or cereal based products. In order to keep it in a fresh state, dry food is filled with all the wrong kinds of preservatives, preservatives that are not especially good for either of your pets (cats or dogs).
Interestingly enough, nature did not create kitty to be a carbohydrate eater. Most animals and we humans have an enzyme called Amylase, which helps digest carbs. Cats have a great deal less of that enzyme. That is the main reason dry food, though convenient is really not what Mr/Miss Kitty should be eating.
Nature created cats to eat a meat-based diet. Cats need a great deal of protein. A high carb diet will ultimately lead to diabetes simply because a cat's system cannot digest all the carbs.
Nature intended for cats to eat mice and birds. Believe it or not they are the perfect diet for our feline pets. A mouse or bird is composed mostly of protein and fat, the small amount of carbohydrate comes from whatever was in the intestinal tract and stomach.
Since I am not recommending you supply mice or birds for your cat, I am suggesting you provide some meat. Beef, chicken or lean pork are all favorites of my guys. The boys prefer raw beef and Miss Tiger cooked chicken or pork (with a hint of garlic, of course).
Since I am not advocating you start trapping mice for your cat, what I want you to keep in mind is the size. Mouse size is a good portion. Food in ounces and not in pounds. Six tenths of an ounce to one ounce of food per meal is plenty for a 7 - 8 lb. Cat, a little more for a larger cat. That means Mr/Miss Kitty should be fed several times a day. In our household (and we work every day) our cats eat about 5 - 6 times a day, small bits every time. Our guys eat the first thing in the morning. If by chance one of us is home at noontime, they may nibble again (during the heat of the summer most likely they won't). They seem to be evening grazers, wanting small portions several times during the course of the evening. As I have mentioned before, our boys are raw meat eaters and Miss Tiger likes hers cooked. They also get commercial canned food, too.
Cat treats have high levels of carbohydrates (flour & sugar) not to mention all the enticing flavor additions. If your cat is overweight and you believe he/she needs a treat think "meat." A small piece of meat raw or cooked is a great treat. It may take a while for your cat to get used to eating raw meat and if that seems to be a problem, lightly cooking it for a few minutes is the answer. It might seem like this all requires too much effort, trust me it will be worth it in the end.
When feeding processed canned foods, buy the best you can. Read the labels; remember no animal by-products unless they are named. No food is 100% complete and balanced (no matter what the label says). Be certain that the cat food contains taurine, a very important mineral for your cat's health. Watch for preservatives like propylene glycol, sodium nitrates, BHA or BHT. Do not feed your cat, dog food, as it does not contain the vitamins and minerals a cat needs to survive.
In order to lose weight, just like its human counterparts, cats need exercise. I don't recommend taking your cat for a walk. I once tried to leash train one of our cats. It didn't work. Actually my patience wore thin and I gave up, but I had a lot of laughs.
The exercise secret is "playtime." Get some interesting inexpensive cat toys with a wand and drag them along the floor. This way kitty can stalk and pounce. You have to be consistent for this to work and it won't overnight. Non food related attention is the best gift you can give your overweight cat.
By now you are thinking "it is as dreadful for my cat to lose weight as it is for me." Special foods, several meals a day, (at least 2 -possibly 4 - 6 small ones), exercise, no more putting a bowl of dry food down and running off. I thought having a cat would be easy.
Trust me, it is, providing you start at the beginning and follow a few steps. First of all, cats will adjust to your schedule. Seriously, cats need and want a schedule or routine that they can follow. Remember that even though dogs have masters and cats have staff, you are still the leader.
The biggest problem here is you. You have to readjust your thinking and you have to establish the routine for all of you to follow.
Once a week shopping will allow you to buy all the cat food you need for the week. Read the labels on several good brands of canned cat food. Find a couple that fit the "good food criteria" of no damaging preservatives. Cats like variety (don't you).
Buy a small piece of meat, by now you will have figured out if kitty likes his/her meat raw or cooked. If raw is the preference, cut it up in small pieces (bite size) and store in zip lock bags, store some in the refrigerator and the rest in the freezer, remembering to take some out when the other is gone. If cooked is the preference, cook it quickly, let it cool and do the same thing, small bite size pieces, some in the refrigerator and the rest in the freezer.
As you decide the routine, kitty will follow. Just remember that cats have to eat, they need and should have a high protein diet.
A little high quality dry food once in awhile is okay if you have to leave it. Dry food is high in carbohydrates and will add weight. Before beginning kitty's weight loss program, have him/her weighed either at your Vets or try it at home. With a cat you are not looking for pounds of weight loss (unless your cat is very large). Weight loss in ounces will more likely be the norm, so unless you have access to a digital scale it may be hard to monitor weight loss without a trip to the vet's to check every month or so. Do not expect dramatic results, this will take time and patience.
You as the caregiver have to realize that the success or failure is really up to you. You need to be committed to helping your cat lose weight. Here are a few gentle reminders that hopefully will help the process along;
- Feed your cat several small meals throughout the day.
- Feed all meals and treats in the cat's bowl. Surprisingly enough when our cats are hungry they sit alongside their individual bowls.
- Reduce snacks and treats offer your cat pieces of raw or lightly cooked meat or a small bit of cheese.
Both dogs and cats can contract heartworm disease. Most commonly found in our canine friends, it is dangerous, expensive and difficult to treat. However the problem is easily avoided if one of the three forms of preventative heartworm medicines are used. Heartworm pills, topical heartworm spot on treatments and even a heartworm injection are now widely available, so keeping our pets safe should be straightforward.
How do Heartworm Preventatives Work?
Heartworm pills and topical treatments work by destroying all larval heartworms in the animal's bloodstream. To be effective they must be given every thirty days (or every day for daily heartworm pills).
Heartworm disease is caused when larval worms mature into adults, congregating in the organs to breed. Their heavy concentration in the heart, lungs and sometimes other organs causes serious organ damage. In addition their numbers can physically block important arteries. On top of this the tiny new generation of heartworms are released into the circulatory system in such vast numbers they may block smaller blood vessels too.
Preventative heartworm medicines do not stop your pet from becoming host to larval heartworms. This is impossible, as the larvae are passed to the bloodstream of dogs and cats via an infected mosquito bite. Instead, heartworm medications destroy these young larval worms before they are able to do any damage.
To get the best results from any heartworm medication, regular treatment is essential. As the larvae mature, any preventative is less efficient at destroying them totally. Monthly treatments should be given every thirty days. Then, the most mature worm they need to destroy is less than a month old, which they can do with 100% efficiency.
Combining Parasite Control with Heartworm Medication
To make preventing our pets contracting other parasites easier, many heartworm medications also target fleas, lice and intestinal parasites too. Reducing the number of medications we need to give our pets makes life easier for them and us too. Using a total parasite preventative such as Advantage Multi can save time and money, by replacing separate flea drops, heartworm medicine and an intestinal de-worming product into one simple topical treatment.
Important Points About Heartworm Medicine
- Before starting a course of heartworm medicine, your pet should first be checked by the vet. They will determine if the animal already has heartworm disease, in which case they will need to remain under veterinary supervision to clear the infection before using preventatives. This test should be repeated every spring.
- When changing from one brand of preventative to another, always ensure the new product is given thirty days after the last old treatment (or one day after, if switching to a daily heartworm pill).
- Cat's are much more sensitive to certain parasiticides than dogs, so their heartworm medications are different. Never use a medicine designed for dogs on your cat.
- Heartworm medicines come in different doses depending on the size of your pet. Never use a dose designed for a larger animal.
- Only one preventative heartworm medication should be used at a time.
- Although heartworm pills and spot on treatments have an extremely good safety record, always check with your vet before starting to treat a chronically ill or underweight animal.
- Pregnant and nursing animals may be treated with some varieties of preventative but not others, so check the label.
- If you forget a monthly treatment, administer it as soon as you remember. Do not 'double dose'. Simply start your pet's new regime from the new date, repeating every 30 days. If two months or more have elapsed between treatments speak to your vet about a heartworm test for your pet.
Choosing Heartworm Medicine
All pet medicines labelled as heartworm preventatives contain one of four active ingredients. All offer the same guaranteed prevention of the disease when used correctly. So whether you choose heartworm pills or a topical spot on product is primarily a matter of personal preference. Generic products offer the same level of protection as the branded versions.
If you are really worried about forgetting a treatment speak to your vet about the heartworm injection. There have been health concerns in the past, but it is widely used in Europe and Australia with no reported problems and has been recently reintroduced in the US.
There are spot on flea treatments, such as K9 Avantix which deter mosquitoes biting our dogs. These will reduce the chance of your pet contracting heartworms but will not guarantee they do not get the disease. The only way to prevent the disease is to regularly destroy all the larvae picked up, by using a properly labelled heartworm medicine.