Posts Tagged ‘cats’

Reviewing EPI in Cats

May 20th, 2011

diarrhea in cats, EPI in cats

Yes, it can happen
The following is an excerpts from a real answer from the pet parent of a 12-13 yr DSH cat that was been diagnosed as a diabetic 3 years ago. Her diabetes is well-regulated, but she has loose and very pungent stools. Hyperthyroidism was ruled out, and the below is a portion of the discussion about Exocine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI), which her vet suspected but had yet to be diagnosed.

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is a disorder in which the pancreas does not produce an adequate amount of digestive enzymes. This deficiency results in maldigestion (poor digestion) and malabsorption (poor absorption). EPI is rare in cats, but it does exist.

Clinical signs include weight loss, ravenous appetite, poor haircoat, and very thin body condition.

The most common cause of EPI in a cat is chronic pancreatitis. Many cats with EPI also have concurrent IBD.

Testing is by running a serum TLI. This is the only accurate test, and there isn’t a point in spending your money on the others. The TLI test is a simple and reliable way of confirming the diagnosis of EPI; however; it is essential to use an assay specific for feline TLI since there is no cross reactivity between canine and feline TLI. Performing the test to rule it in or out of course is best. You may want to ask your vet how much it costs, as it may not be more expensive than the enzymes your vet is using, depending on the brand.

Most cats with EPI can be successfully treated by dietary supplementation with pancreatic enzymes. Dried extracts of bovine or porcine pancreas are available (e.g. Viokase or Pancrezyme). The powder is more effective than tablets or capsules. Read the rest of this entry »

Ringworm in Pets

May 10th, 2011

Dr. Jed and I have been on the hunt for a new cat or kitten for around the past six months. We have been holding out as we were waiting for “the one.” When I saw her pictures on PetFinder, I thought she was adorable, but it was the in-person visit that convinced us that she was the perfect new family member.

ringworm in pets, online vet

Almost all healed up, and tuckered out after playing in her new harness.

As luck would have it, a few days before we were supposed to adopt her, she developed ringworm. The rescue group politely gave us an out if we wanted it, and I must admit, we did consider.

I am one of those people that are particularly susceptible towards ringworm and I contract it very easily. In addition, we are adopting a second kitten (we ended up finding two that melted our hearts and we all know nothing is cuter than two kittens playing), and we had concerns that the second kitten would catch it from the first.

After much deliberation, we decided to move forward with the adoption of both kitties. We figured that two vets could treat her ringworm more effective than a rescue. That is not to say the rescue was doing a poor job, but we have the time and resources for her to be our full focus.

We have now had McKenzi for a week, and sure enough, I did get ringworm, but I treated it aggressively and it’s already resolved. McKenzi’s is greatly improved and only one tiny spot remains.

Myths about ringworm in pets

5. Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first, but I do believe it deserves a mention as some people aren’t aware of it. Ringworm is not a worm. Ringworm is cause by one or several fungal infections that infects and survives on the top surface of the skin, called keratin.

ringworm in cats, ask the vet4. Ringworm is not just spread by direct contact. Not only can it be spread by indirect contact, such as by touching an object that is infected with it’s spores, it can even be spread by the air.

3. The type of ringworm that people naturally get is different than the type that cats and dogs naturally get. If your human family has an outbreak, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the family pet is responsible if they have no signs. A child could have picked it up at school or a playground. Either way, a culture is needed to determine the species of ringworm being passed around. Read the rest of this entry »

Online Vet Reviews Spring Cleaning Tips to keep your pets safe

April 5th, 2011

ask a vet, online vetAsk a Vet

Though the mercury isn’t yet rising in our part of the world, spring time is here, and for many of us, a thorough spring cleaning is in order.

As you clean out your medicine cabinets and drawers, please remember that many pets often find pills tasty little treats (dogs) or toys to bat around on the floor and then ingest (cats).

One of the most common types of accidental ingestions that we see as VetLIVE veterinarians is pets that have gotten into medications. While many human drugs can be safely prescribed for dogs or cats, overdoses can be dangerous or deadly.

So which drugs are the common ones that pets get into? Listed below are some of the most common drugs pet owners report to us that their pets got into.

1. Aspirin. Did you know that giving a puppy even one baby aspirin can be fatal? Toxic quantities of aspirin can adversely affect all organs of your pet, including impaired blood clotting, vomiting and diarrhea, acute kidney failure, and even seizures.

2. Ibuprofen (or many similar drugs such as Aleve). For dogs, ibuprofen can easily exceed toxic levels. The most common cause of ibuprofen toxicity is a well-meaning owner who tries to alleviate pain in their dog by giving a dose he thinks is adequate or reasonable without knowing the toxic dose. The initial toxic effect is bleeding stomach ulcers. In addition to ulcers, increasing doses of ibuprofen eventually lead to kidney failure and, if left untreated, can be fatal.

Read the rest of this entry »

World Vets Japan Disaster Relief

March 17th, 2011

vets, sick petsOne of our favorite charities is in need of YOUR support. The first team of people from World Vets has arrived in Japan and have met up with Animal Friends Niigata . World Vets has been monitoring the situation in Japan with regards to the impact of the earthquake and tsunami that has recently hit the island nation. They are currently working to coordinate relief efforts for the animal victims affected by these unfortunate disasters. In addition, they have made contact with US Army veterinary associates stationed in Japan as well as Japan based animal charities and World Vets veterinary volunteers who remain on standby.

Your donations will help provide vet supplies and vet teams where they need help the most.
Also, if anyone in Japan or with connections to someone in Japan has a large space available (warehouse, modular building, large enclosures, etc.) where animals could be sheltered during this crisis, please either comment below or on the facebook page of World Vets, whichever is the easiest. We will make sure their CEO Dr. Cathy King gets the message.

They are working with several local resuce groups in Japan, and there is a need for additional space for animals that are being rescued (in the areas of Hikone, Shiga, and Niigata). Read the rest of this entry »

Pet Adoption Virtually Unleashed!

March 9th, 2011

ask the vet a question, dog health
On March 15, 2011, pet adoption is taking over the internet! Well, not really, but has started some pawesome momentum in celebration of their 15 year anniversary and all things pet adoption of course!

The day will be devoted to promoting pet adoption and helping homeless pets, and Dr. Jed and I are thrilled to participate.

As vets who have spent countless hours working with shelter pets, this truly is a cause we are behind 100%.

As every fun internet day should be, there will be prizes, contests, happy pet adoption stories, and furry features galore!

Stay tuned, as VetLIVE will very soon be launching a great deal you don’t want to miss out on in honor of the event and giving away approximately $140 worth of our ask a vet services in the form of second opinions!

Remember, adopt, don’t buy!

Ask the vet: What is the deal with Pet Dental Care?

February 25th, 2011

dog dental cleaning, ask a vet, online vet, pet dental careHaving the conversation with pet owners that are dubious that their pets need dental care is a repetitive part but essential part of being a veterinarian.  It is true that periodontal disease is by far the most common disease I see in dogs or cats older than a mere two or three years of age, and while more and more pet owners are recognizing that they pets can get toothaches like they can, there are still a large number of pet owners that ignore the fact that pets need dental care too.

Bad dog breath is not normal. It usually signals periodontal disease, which leads to tooth decay, oral abscesses, bleeding gums, tooth loss, and systemic infections that affect the kidneys, liver, and heart. And that doesn’t even mention the pain associated with periodontal disease.

So how often should you brush your pet’s teeth? Daily. This is one of those do as I say and not as I do. I am guilty of not brushing our pet’s teeth daily. I understand how difficult it is, and am not passing judgment. But if you strive for daily and perhaps reach every other day, I can vouch in the difference it will make.

Luckily, most general practice vets are trained in dental cleanings. While the procedure does require anesthesia as we are poking in the backs of their mouths with tickly instruments and headlamps, it is not a reason to shy away from the procedure. I would seek out a vet that includes pre-anesthetic blood-work (including both a complete blood cell count and a serum biochemistry panel) as part of the package deal. If your veterinarian has the blood work itemized separately and as an option, they really don’t have your pet’s best interest at heart and it is a red flag warning that they are willing to cut corners and risk your pet’s health.

After getting a clean and squeaky smile to move forward with, you can ask a vet to demonstrate how to effectively brush your pet’s teeth. It may take some practice (okay, guaranteed it will), but give it time. Also, make sure to use a toothpaste specifically for dogs or cats. Since they don’t rinse and spit, if they swallow our toothpaste it can be dangerous for them.

We are nearing the end of Pet Dental Month. How many times have you brushed your dog or cat’s teeth this month? Make the last few days count if you’ve forgotten! What are your best tips for fellow pet owners?

Dr. Laci


Dr. Laci Nash Schaible, DVM

How healthy is it to get intimate with your pet?

February 9th, 2011

Online vet reviews some of the major diseases that people and our pets share

With all the talk recently frowning upon sharing your bed with your pet, cooking your pet’s food in separate areas than your own food, and a few recent cases of rabies in domestic animals, I stopped to wonder: what is all this hype about, and really, how dangerous or safe is it to be snuggly wuggly with our pets?  As a veterinarian, I want to address the main health scares that our pets bring indoors, and some of the myths that surround them.


I was a new veterinarian when we first learned that MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphyloccocus aureus), the bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics, existed. As a nation, we freaked out. Our MRSA positive pets were buried (after they passed, they were not euthanized let it be known) 6 feet deep in seriously thick plastic liners, and vets were quarantining simple skin infections left and right. I remember being scared. Now looking back? It seems we went a little overboard. Better safe than sorry, but MRSA is no longer making me lose sleep at night, as a vet or a pet owner.  Still, if your veterinarian is concerned, listen up!

The dreaded bacteria from a dog or cat’s mouth.

Now it is true, I am not a fan of having all my clients lick me on the lips. While you may think this is weird as I am a vet and a lover of all animals four-legged and furry (or furless), would you kiss thirty people a day? I’m guessing no.

What are your thoughts on getting up close and personal with your furbabies?

Do you kiss the person you share your life or space with? Lots of people would answer yes here. While your person hopefully doesn’t lick their bum, I can go either way on this one. Personally I think on the lips is too much, but I am one of those people who brings antibacterial hand gel everywhere. Perhaps a bit over the top, but I am so much healthier now than I was before I was geared up my my germ warfare.

As someone who has performed thousands of dentals on pets, most all of which there are countless harmful bacteria being aerosolized, and I know I have slipped more than once on my personal protective equipment, I have never gotten sick from dog or cat mouth germs. As the usual recommendation, I would say keep pet kisses away from the young, elderly, and the immune-compromised.

ask a vet, parasites people can get, online vet, online vet reviews


This is the biggest threat in my veterinary experience. An alarming 600 U.S. children lose their eyesight each year due to roundworm larvae. They contract this parasite from the soil contaminated with infected dog feces. It is important to emphasize your own pet can be parasite free, and your child can still be at risk.

As for safety tips for intestinal parasites, it’s simple. Use common sense, good hygiene (meaning picking up poop every other day in your yard, as this prevents the parasite from becoming “infective”), and please don’t skip on the heartworm meds. Being in a place where I honestly don’t see a lot of HW disease, I do diagnose a tremendous number of dogs with intestinal parasites when their owners skip a month of HW preventative. While I too hate the mark up we have to pay for pet medications, it is definitely worth the price to keep your family–four and two-legged– safe and parasite free.

Keep is simple, keep is safe, keep the love going with your pets. Isn’t that why we have acclimated into each other’s lives after all?

Cheers to pet snuggles,

Dr. Laci


Dr. Laci Nash Schaible, DVM

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

February 4th, 2011

itchy dog, flea allergy dermatitis, flea allergies in dogs

It can be one of the most frustrating conditions for dogs and cats, as well as their owners: itchy skin. With the background sounds of continuous licks, chews, scratches, and the associated collar jewelry jingling, you know your pet is more than uncomfortable.

Flea allergy dermatitis can be just as frustrating to vets, as many pet owners have a difficult time believe their pet has fleas or this condition. In actuality, when a pet is affected by flea allergy dermatitis (or flea bite allergy, as it is often referred to as), your dog or cat doesn’t even have to have fleas to be affected.

So what is it then? Flea allergy dermatitis arises from a negative immune response to flea saliva resulting in subsequent skin lesions and intense itchiness. In dogs, it is most common in dogs that are at least 3-years old, and rarely less than 6 months old. It can be a seasonal disease, but as some homes have indoor fleas present, it is often continuous problem.

With many dogs now visiting dog parks, pet stores, or even pet-friendly restaurants, it is virtually impossible to avoid fleas. Even if your pooch came from the most reputable breeder and remains in pristine condition, it is not a negative indicator of the care you provide your pet if your vet suspects your dog or cat suffers from flea allergy dermatitis.

Clinical signs of flea allergy dermatitis in dogs include moderate to severe itchiness, papules (small red bumps), overall redness, self-trauma from biting and scratching, hair loss, scratched or wounded skin, increase in skin pigmentation, and dandruff. The base of the tail, over the back, the backs of the thighs, and the front legs are common locations to see signs in dogs. In cats, head and neck itching, red lesions on the abdomen, small bumps and scabs, and symmetric alopecia may be seen. Fleas or flea dirt (black tiny specks in the fur that are actually flea feces and become red upon wetting with a water drop) may or may not be seen.

Read the rest of this entry »

When a cat can’t urinate

January 19th, 2011

How well read are you?ask a vet, cat can't urinate, sick cat, online vet
Today I want to share a special story that happened this week to a colleague and best friend of mine. Sadly, it happens all too often in veterinary medicine.

This past Saturday, an elderly couple took their cat to the vet with the complaint of having trouble urinating. The vet did an analysis of the urine and saw a plethora of crystals and white blood cells. I don’t know if the owners were wearing ear plugs, had their hearing aids turned off, denied all treatment, or if the vet was really that lousy, but the people went home with nothing but antibiotics–which is insane treatment to another vet.

Come Tuesday morning, the concerned couple again called the vet. Their beloved cat was doing worse, had vomiting and diarrhea, still had trouble urinating, and just seemed like a very sick cat.  They were told to bring him back in–for more fees of course. They declined, as they were on a fixed budget.

At 4:30 pm, they showed up at the vet’s office. Granted, they did not have an appointment, so I understand this can be difficult to squeeze them in as a vet, BUT, ethically, you are the active and current doctor overseeing this case which does put an legally arguable responsibility on you to see the pet.

This vet should have been thinking, “oh my goodness, this cat is probably blocked and could be about to die. I need to make this cat my #1 priority!”

Read the rest of this entry »

Kittens & Toilets: Can they really coexist to make the perfect pet?

January 17th, 2011

Ask a vet: Online vets review their first hand trials and tribulations with the litter kwitter

toilet training cats, vet storiesThis is not a product review, a recommendation or endorsement, and I have been in no contacted by or in contact with Litter Kwitter.  This is just intended to distract you from your life, desk job, boring partner, etc. for a few moments and share with you the comical adventures of two vets doing their damnedest to toilet train their precious and perfect kittens.

Several months ago while Dr. Jed and I were browsing the aisles of PetSmart, a curious item caught our eye. The Litter Kwitter.

We had watched the episode of Shark Tank where the woman presented her toilet litter contraption to the panel of investors and we had taken note. We had even heard from a few clients that had trained their cats (yes cats, not even young impressionable kittens) to successfully use the toilet!

Note to those considering this feat at home: cleaning this litter box is messier than your typical one. I don’t know why, I think it has something to do with how shallow it is, but it is messy, and there is lots of daily wiping and scrubbing. Not for those with a weak stomach.

Dr. Jed and I looked at each other, back at the colorful box, and in our shopping cart it went.

The instructions say that you can start toilet training them as early as 3 months, as they may be big enough to squat on a toilet at this point, but we didn’t want to traumatize the poor little tykes with an accidental dunk in the old porcelain throne if their kitten coordination and balance still left something to be desired. Read the rest of this entry »