Arsenic poisoning is the accidental ingestion, skin contact, or inhalation of products containing a toxic dose of arsenic. The most common cause of arsenic poisoning in cats is ingestion of ant baits that contain arsenic. The clinical signs of sudden arsenic poison can vary depending on the dose. Supportive therapy is a crucial part of treating arsenic poisoning. Aggressive fluid therapy and rehydration is necessary and helps the body to remove arsenic from the body.
An abscess is a “pocket of pus” located somewhere in the body. Abscesses can be located superficially or deep within the body tissues. Typically, an abscess appears suddenly as a painful swelling (if it is not located inside a body cavity or deep within tissue). A cat with an abscess will often have a fever, even if the abscess has ruptured and drained to the outside of the body. One of the most common causes is a bite from another animal. Abscess treatment depends on the location and the severity of the infection. Most abscesses are treated on an outpatient basis, rather than in the hospital. Appropriate antibiotic therapy is a critical component of the successful treatment of abscesses, no matter the location. It is also important to ensure adequate pain relief during treatment of an abscess. Delayed or inadequate treatment may lead to chronically draining tracts in the tissue or even to organ system compromise, so it is important to follow all treatment instructions from your veterinarian.
Acetaminophen is a medication that is used to treat fever and/or pain in humans. Cats have a genetic deficiency in a metabolic pathway in the liver that makes cats vulnerable to acetaminophen toxicity.
Acute renal failure (ARF) or acute kidney failure refers to the sudden failure of the kidneys to perform normal filtration duties. ARF leads to accumulation of toxins and other metabolic wastes in the bloodstream, dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and disturbances in the acid-base balance of the blood. The initial prognosis is guarded for all cases of ARF. If the cause is an infection, there is a better prognosis than if the cause is a toxic substance.
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening complication of critical illness. These underlying critical illnesses may include sepsis, pancreatitis, pneumonia (either due to an infection or the inhalation of foreign materials), trauma, near-drowning, and other severe illnesses. In ARDS, massive inflammation and the release of various inflammatory chemicals leads to the leaking of capillaries within the lungs. Signs of ARDS include increased respiratory rate, blue discoloration to skin and mucous membranes due to poor oxygen delivery, and occasionally coughing. Treatment of ARDS is primarily focused on supportive care and addressing the underlying critical illness.
Hypoadrenocorticism, also known as Addison’s disease, is a condition in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough glucocorticoids (steroids) to allow normal body function. This condition is considered rare in cats, but numerous cases have been reported. Affected cats often have a history of waxing and waning periods of lethargy, decreased appetite, and weight loss. Long-term, cats with hypoadrenocorticism require medications to supplement the substances released from the adrenal glands.
The adrenal glands are responsible for hormone production. Overproduction of these hormones typically manifests as Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism). Typically, these tumors are benign in nature and can be treated medically, though malignant tumors (e.g., carcinomas/adenocarcinomas) are possible. In these cases, surgical excision is generally required. The prognosis for patients with adrenal tumors is generally good if surgical removal is complete.
One of the most common medical conditions affecting cats is allergy. Flea allergy, food allergies, atopy, and contact allergies are examples of allergies in cats, with flea allergy being the most common cause. Flea allergy is a response to proteins or antigens present in the flea's saliva, and just one fleabite may cause such intense itching that the cat may severely scratch or chew itself, leading to the removal of large amounts of hair. Food allergy testing is conducted by feeding an elimination or hypoallergenic diet. If your cat's symptoms improve after the food trial, a presumptive diagnosis of food allergy is made.
Amyloidosis occurs when amyloid proteins are deposited outside of cells in various tissues and organs causing tissue and organ dysfunction. It is uncommon in cats, except for Abyssinians, Siamese, Burmese, Tonkinese, Devon Rex, and Oriental Shorthair breeds. Signs depend on the organs involved, but kidney involvement is most common. If kidneys are involved signs include mouth ulcers, weight loss, vomiting, and dehydration. For cats with liver involvement, signs include weakness, pale gum color, distended abdomen, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, abdominal pain, and collapse. There is no specific medication for the treatment of amyloidosis in cats, with treatment focusing on kidney support.
The anal sacs are two small pouches located on either side of the anus at approximately the four o'clock and eight o'clock positions. The walls of the sac produce a foul smelling fluid which is released whenever the cat passes a bowel movement. The anal sacs or their ducts can become inflamed or infected due to a variety of causes. Most cats will respond well to pain relief medications and antibiotics (for several days until the swelling and inflammation have subsided. If a cat has several episodes of anal sac disease, and diet or supplements do not relieve the problem, the anal sacs can be removed surgically.