/ Pet Articles

Pet Articles

Category: Illness

When should I be worried about my cat's coughing?

Coughing in cats
A cough can be described as a sudden, forceful expiration of air through the glottis (part of the throat). It is usually accompanied by an audible sound (something that can be heard), which is often preceded by an exaggerated inspiratory effort (a big breath in). Cats, just like humans, may cough occasionally to clear their throat or because they have an irritation but coughing can be a clinical sign for a varying number of serious conditions in cats.


I found a lump on my animal's skin. Is it cancer?

Lumps and Bumps in your Pet
Finding a lump or a bump in your pet which you have never noticed before, can cause serious worry for pet owners. This article will highlight what to watch out for, when to take your pet to the vet and the process veterinarians follow when approaching any lump found on a pet. Firstly, it is always important to remember that you can never tell how serious a mass on your pet is by simply feeling it and judging by its size. Dynamite can often come in small packages and some of the most aggressive skin cancers may present as a simple small raised area on the skin. Generally lumps on a cat tend to be more dangerous and they are not something to be ignored. All growths have to start small but may grow very rapidly. Lumps come in all shapes and sizes and for that reason it is always best to get any lump on the skin or underneath the skin checked by the veterinarian as soon as you discover it. This will provide peace of mind to you as an owner if it is simply a dermal cyst or a small wart-like growth, both of which will not cause any major health issues for your pet. Alternatively, if it is something more aggressive and dangerous, it is always better to start treatment as soon as possible. If it is determined to be a bad type of growth (malignant), the sooner it is diagnosed the better the prognosis for both removing it surgically or starting any other form of treatment.


Can I, or my dogs or cats contract bird flu from my pet birds?

Avian Influenza South Africa 2017
The information provided here is not an official statement but is meant to provide some general information on bird flu because of the break out of bird flu in September 2017 in South Africa. Bird flu or Avian Influenza (AI) is a family of influenza viruses that mainly affect birds. They are named according to two proteins on the surface of the virus (Haemagglutinin and Neuraminidase). The only ones of commercial concern are the H1, H5 and H7 types. There are dangerous (HP or highly pathogenic) and LP (low pathogen) strains. So when you see someone talking about HPAI H5N8 that means the dangerous type of H5N8 avian influenza.


My dog makes a strange snorting sound with funny gagging movements almost like something is stuck in his/her throat.

Reverse Sneezing in dogs
What is reverse sneeze? Reverse sneezing is repetitive, forceful inspiratory (breathing in) efforts generally caused by irritation of the lining of the naso-pharynx or area at the back of the mouth and nose where these two openings join into one. Unlike a normal sneeze where air is forcefully pushed out the nose to clear the irritation, a reverse sneeze involves air being pulled forcefully and rapidly into the nose. This is commonly seen in small and toy breeds breeds with long thin nasal passages like Miniature Pinchers, Toy Poms, Chihuahuas, Malteses, Dachshunds, Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers and other Terriers, etc., and brachycephalic (short nose) breeds like Pugs, Boston Terriers, Shih Tsus, Pekingeses, etc.


I found a loose stool with blood and what looks like jelly on the kitchen floor this morning - what do I do?

Acute and Chronic colitis in dogs and cats
What is Acute Colitis? Acute colitis is a common condition in pets and is characterised by a sudden onset colonic inflammation with a diarrhoea that may contain mucous and/or fresh blood. Clinical signs The most common symptoms are straining when defecating, mucous (the jelly you noticed) and/or blood in the stool, and increased frequency of defecation. Systemic signs of illness are generally absent and most animals are still alert, active and have normal appetites in spite of having colitis.


Is Tick Fever and Tick Bite Fever the same disease in dogs?

Erlichiosis (Tick bite fever) in dogs
It is not. Tick fever or Babesios in dogs, is not the same disease as Tick bite fever or Erlichioses. Both diseases are transmitted to dogs by ticks, but they are caused by two totally different organisms or parasites and the clinical signs, progress and treatment are very different. To further confuse the matter, Tick Bite Fever in humans is not the same as Tick Bite Fever in dogs and once again, although transmitted by ticks, is caused by a complete difference parasite. Tick Bite Fever in dogs is not transmissible to humans or vice versa.


Is your pet safe?

Fatal Diseases that can easily be prevented
Fatal Diseases that can easily be prevented There are some fairly common fatal diseases in animals which can and should be prevented wherever possible. This article looks at how these diseases present, what they lead to and most importantly how they could be prevented. Today we have more information about our animals and the diseases they may suffer from than ever before. With this knowledge comes the means of preventing these conditions that years ago would have meant certain death to our beloved pets. The most important means of disease prevention readily available to us is vaccination. A simple annual health check and vaccinations can help ensure your pet lives a long and healthy life. Other important means of prevention includes regular deworming as well as tick and flea treatment.


Old man's gland - Do dogs have the same problems as humans?

Prostate disease in the dog
The prostate is the only accessory sex gland in the male dog. It is a butterfly shaped structure that surrounds the urethra (the tube that connects the bladder to the outside). Due to the location of the prostate, it can affect the urinary system, the colon and the hind legs, as well as having some systemic effects. Prostatic fluid is produced continuously in the dog. Prostatic fluid makes up most of the volume of seminal fluid (the fluid that carries semen). The prostate has many nerves and blood vessels running to it but is surrounded by a thick capsule, which sometimes makes it difficult for some drugs to get deep down into the prostate. Normal prostatic function is dependent on circulating testosterone. The prostate can develop a few conditions that can result in debilitating disease in the dog.


My young cat seems ill

Feline Infectious Peritonitis
Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a serious and most often fatal disease affecting cats. It is most commonly seen in young cats between the ages of six months and two years. It has been found to affect male cats more commonly than females and purebred cats particularly the Asian breeds are more susceptible. It is characterised by fluid build-up in body cavities such as the chest and abdomen and neurological signs. It can affect all major organs and inevitably results in death. It may be referred to as Feline coronavirus polyserositis (wet or effusive form) or granulomatous feline infectious peritonitis (dry or non effusive form).


Can humans get worms from dogs and cats?

Zoonotic helminths – Worms which humans can get from pets
Have you ever wondered if humans can get worms from dogs and cats? You don’t have to wonder any longer, the answer is ‘yes’.  In this overview we look at which worms can be transmitted between pets and humans, what diseases they cause and how to prevent this potential health risk. Firstly when a disease or parasite can be transmitted from animals to humans it is called a zoonosis. It is often a concern when a pet is diagnosed with intestinal worms whether the family is at risk of contracting the parasite. The concern is valid but the good news is that it is easily managed with education, proper precautions and a well organised deworming program for your pets.


My pet has red urine - what does it mean?

Bladder Stones
Bladder stones is a condition that occurs in dogs and cats of various ages, sex and breeds. Bladder stones are also called urinary calculi or uroliths. These are mineral like formations that form anywhere in the urinary tract, including kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. The most frequent location is the bladder.  Clinical signs of bladder stones to look out for Dogs with bladder stones often present like dogs with a bladder infection. Both of these conditions will show frequent urination as well as discomfort, particularly when urinating. The animal will squat to urinate frequently, often only passing small amounts of urine while straining. The owner might also see a red discoloration in the urine and in some cases the urine can be a dark red colour. Because the stones rub against the bladder wall it causes irritation and inflammation of the bladder wall that leads to bleeding. Some dogs will show discomfort and pain when walking, with the hindquarters tucked in, while cats can become very vocal when in pain. In some cases the stones may still be very small and can leave the bladder and enter the urethra. The urethra is the tube that directs urine from the bladder to the outside. If the stone is not small enough to pass, it will become lodged in the urethra, blocking urine flow completely. The pressure will build up in the bladder and the kidneys, and if this is not corrected quickly, the bladder can rupture. This will cause severe illness and if quick intervention is not done it may lead to death. 


Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) infection in cats

Feline Leukaemia
Introduction Feline leukaemia (FELV) is a disease of cats caused by a virus called a retrovirus. It is called a retrovirus because of the method it uses to replicate inside the cat. It is the same type of virus as the human immunodeficiency virus and although there are a lot of disease similarities, several studies have shown that the disease is not transmissible to humans. FeLV is one of the most dangerous diseases that affect cats and is a major cause of death in cats. Fortunately the prevalence of the disease has decreased in recent years due to the use of vaccines against the disease and the ability of vets to diagnose the disease early and accurately.


Cat Aids

Feline Immuno Deficiency Virus
How does Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) compare to Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV)? Feline immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) has similar building blocks and is related to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), but very importantly, it cannot be passed between cats and humans. The virus can also not be transmitted from cats to dogs. Both FIV and HIV viruses share a similar pattern of disease progression. Both viruses are classified as Lentivirus, which means they have a long period of showing very few clinical signs during which time the immune system deteriorates. Eventually Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) develops and this is accompanied by opportunistic infections, systemic disease and cancer. The close relationship between FIV and HIV has meant that FIV has been used as an animal study model to better understand HIV in humans.


My cat is eating like crazy but stays thin - What is the deal?

Hyperthyroidism in cats
What is Hyperthyroidism? Hyperthyroidism refers to an overactive thyroid gland. The thyroid gland can be considered the engine room of the cat’s body, which is responsible for the metabolism in the body and responsible for determining the speed at which all processes in the body works. It is an important part of the endocrine or hormonal messenger system in the body and affects all the organ systems including the liver, kidneys, heart, nervous system, intestines and even the skin. The primary hormone produced by the thyroid gland is thyroxin also referred to as T4 hormone. It is the overproduction of this hormone that causes hyperthyroidism. The thyroid gland is situated at the beginning of the windpipe just behind the throat in the upper part of the cat’s neck and consists of two main lobes linked together. Thyroxin or T4 is inactive when released, and is transformed into a biologically active form, T3, or otherwise called iodothyronine.


Do cats get colds?

Snuffles - Feline Rhinotracheitis
Just like humans and most other domestic animal species, cats can also catch colds. In cats, this disease is referred to as Snuffles – quite an apt name for all the sniffing and snorting associated with this disease. The learned name for this disease is Feline Rhinotracheitis. This name describes the disease well;


Do Dogs get colds?

What is cracking with Kennel Cough?
Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, or as it is more commonly known, Kennel Cough, is an upper respiratory tract disease of dogs that is found throughout the world. Breaking down the names of disease gives an indication as to how, and which parts of, the respiratory tract are involved.


The Hype about Hyperadrenocortism

Cushings Syndrome in animals
Hyperadrenocorticism, or Cushing’s Disease, is a condition whereby the level of cortisol in the body is too high.  It is a condition which is also found in humans and the name Cushing’s Disease or also commonly known as Cushing’s Syndrome comes from Harvey Cushing, who in 1912, was one of the first physicians to report a patient affected with excessive cortisol hormone also otherwise known as glucocorticoid.


Diabetes Defined

Diabetes in dogs and cats
The pancreas is an organ in the body which is closely associated with the segment of intestine that leaves the stomach.  The pancreas releases enzymes involved in digestion as well as hormones with specific functions.  One of these hormones is insulin.  Insulin is released from the pancreas in response to the intake of food, especially carbohydrates and to a lesser degree fats and protein.  Insulin circulates in the bloodstream and facilitates the uptake of the ingested nutrients into the body’s own stores of energy.  


My pet is having a fit! - Seizures in Pets

Seizures in Pets
Anyone who has ever seen an animal experiencing a seizure will know that it is a “hair raising” event. Seizures or ‘fits’ is a well described phenomenon in domestic pets. The way in which a fit or seizure presents can vary significantly, from what seems to be a brief moment of absent mindedness to full blown body contractions where the animal is semi-conscious and lying on the ground shivering, shaking and convulsing, with foam coming out the mouth and looking like it is busy dying. Owners, and even vets who may have seen such seizures in pets quite often, still find it disturbing at the best of times.  


Battle of the Bulge

Obesity
Most people, at some point in time, struggle to shed some extra weight. Obesity in humans has reached epidemic proportions and in a study released two years ago, South Africans were classified as the third fattest people on earth. Worse than this, is the fact that obesity in pets is following this trend and fast becoming a disease on its own. Some studies show that more than 50 % of pets are overweight. This alarming figure effectively means we are “killing out pets with kindness.” Obesity is defined as an accumulation of excessive amounts of body fat. Body fat increases when the amount of energy taken in (by eating food) exceeds the amount of energy used (by exercising). Vets classify a pet as obese if the animal weighs more than 15 to 20 % of his/her ideal body weight.  Body Mass Index or BMI which is commonly used in humans to define obesity, is not commonly used in animals, because there is such huge variation between and within different breeds. In animals a Body Condition Score or BCS is referred to in terms of the animal’s ideal weight.


A killer disease with a misleading name

Catflu
The name of a particular disease is often influenced by the circumstances around the original occurrence of such a disease. For example “sleeping disease” in humans was originally associated with the green fever trees found in low lying areas around South Africa. As time went by and a better understanding of the disease became apparent, it became clear that the disease was transmitted by Tsetse flies and had nothing to do with the trees. Similarly there is a killer disease in dogs with a misleading name – CATFLU. When the disease was first diagnosed in the late 1970’s, it was thought to be a disease transmitted from cats to dogs. Later it was discovered that cats did not harbour the offending organism causing the disease, but an extremely small yet resilient virus called, Parvo virus in actual fact is responsible for the disease.


Tiny but deadly

Ticks
Living in a warm and sunny country is great, but with it comes all the parasites and diseases associated with a warm and/or tropical climate. One of these little scourges can be found nearly all over South Africa, namely ticks. Most people have at some or other time encountered a tick on their pet. This can be quite distressing – especially if you consider a disease like biliary (tick fever).


Subscribe to our newsletter

Want to be notified of what is happening at Greenside Animal Hospital? Enter your email address and name below to be the first to know.

No thank you