Educational Articles

Cats + Emergency Situations

  • Cats are nosy creatures, sniffing at anything of interest. Since felines find insects interesting, they sniff at them, and if they stick their nose where it doesn't belong, they may get a quick reprimand that could be fatal.

  • Lameness occurs due to the injury or debilitation of one or more parts of the leg; bones, muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, or skin. Depending on the cause of the limp, immediate veterinary care may be needed. If your dog is in severe pain, carefully transport your dog to your veterinary hospital or emergency hospital immediately. For non-emergency limps, you may be able to determine the cause of the limp and provide home care. If the lameness persists for more than 24 hours, seek veterinary care. Medication or surgery may be necessary to help your cat heal and reduce pain.

  • If your cat limps, or licks at her pads, she may have a foot pad that is torn, punctured, or burned. Minor injuries may be treated at home, but deeper or complicated wounds require veterinary attention. Clean the wound and remove small debris if possible. If larger foreign or deeply seated objects are discovered, or if the wound is deep and does not stop bleeding after 10-15 minutes, seek immediate veterinary care. Control bleeding and apply gauze as a bandage, wrapping the affected paw including the ankle or wrist. Keep the wound clean and bandaged and if any changes are noticed, seek veterinary care. Try to avoid foot injuries in your cat by surveying the areas where your cat plays and walks.

  • Frostbite is the damage that is caused to the skin and other tissues due to extreme cold. The paws, ears and tail are the most common tissues to be affected. Diagnosis is usually based on the cat's medical history and physical examination. If you suspect your cat has frostbite, you should seek medical attention immediately. Mild cases of frostbite usually resolve with little permanent damage while more severe frostbite may result in permanent disfiguration or alteration of the affected tissues. In severe cases, some cats require surgical removal of the necrotic tissue or amputation.

  • Hepatic lipidosis, also known as fatty liver syndrome, is unique to cats and is one of the most common liver diseases seen in cats. Usually a cat with hepatic lipidosis has recently gone through a period of anorexia. When fat is broken down rapidly to supply energy and nutrients to the anorectic cat, it can overwhelm the ability of the liver to process and the fat becomes stored in and around the liver cells, further compromising liver function. Diagnosis of hepatic lipidosis is made from blood tests that demonstrate poor liver function and from a liver biopsy or aspirate. This disease is treatable with aggressive nutritional support until a normal appetite returns.

  • There are many potential hazards that pets face especially during the holidays. With commonsense and planning, exposure to these hazards can be avoided preventing injury or illness. Hazards include tinsel, electrical cords, string from meat, ribbons, Christmas tree water, holiday plants such as mistletoe, holly, and lilies, and food, such as chocolate. Some cats will do better if given a safe space to stay away from company and may require calming remedies to help minimize anxiety and stress during the holidays.

  • Many think that because cats are finicky eaters they are poisoned less often than dogs. However, with their curiosity and fastidious grooming, intoxication is, unfortunately, not uncommon. Several factors predispose cats to becoming ill once they have been exposed to even a small amount of a poisonous substance.

  • If you saw a person have a seizure or fall down the stairs or wreck a car, what would you do? You'd call 911. But what should you do when the crisis involves your pet? You call a pet emergency number. Ask your veterinary hospital how they handle after-hour emergencies.

  • Hypertension, or high blood pressure, in cats can be a debilitating condition if not treated promptly. Hypertension may be caused by kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Your veterinarian will recommend the best treatment options for your cat based on her specific needs. Prognosis is variable depending on how well these other conditions are controlled.

  • Ibuprofen is a commonly used NSAID and is used to treat fever, pain, and inflammation in humans. Ibuprofen poisoning occurs when a cat ingests a toxic dose of ibuprofen, either through misuse or by accident. Ibuprofen poisoning causes many different clinical signs because many different organ systems can be affected. Most commonly, cats show signs related to kidney problems.