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A round-up of the latest literature on feline medicine and surgery

01 October 2016, at 1:00am

Use of trazodone hydrochloride to reduce anxiety in cats visiting vet clinics 

Brenda Stevens and others, North Carolina State University, Raleigh

Visits by cat owners and their animals to veterinary practices in the United States decreased by an estimated 11% over 10 years from 2001-2011. Cats’ resistance to being con ned in carriers and their anxiety during transport were reported as major deterrents to such visits.

The authors investigated the value of treatment with the serotonin-reuptake inhibitor trazodone hydrochloride in reducing anxiety during transport to a veterinary hospital and in facilitating handling during the clinical examination. Ten healthy client-owned cats with a history of anxiety received a 50mg dose between 60 and 90 minutes before being taken to the clinic, as part of a placebo- controlled, randomised crossover study.

Cats given the oral dose of trazodone hydrochloride did show fewer signs of anxiety during transport and clinical examination than the placebo controls. Better attendance by cat owners would have a positive impact on both feline welfare and the economic performance of small animal practices.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 249 (2): 202-207. 

Development of a health and wellbeing questionnaire for cat owners 

Lisa Freeman and others, Tufts University, North Grafton, Massachusetts

Quality of life (QoL) scores are a multi- dimensional concept involving physical, mental, emotional and social aspects. They can be a valuable tool for assessing the response to treatment for chronic diseases. The authors describe a study to develop the Cat Health and Wellbeing (CHEW) questionnaire for use by cat owners in monitoring their pets’ QoL. 

The questionnaire, with 11 domains and 100 individual items, was found to be useful in discriminating between cats by age/ health status and showed good internal and test-retest reliability. Further studies are necessary to assess its potential as a research and screening tool.

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 18 (9): 689-701. 

Hyperlactataemia and serial lactate measurements in sick cats

Lesleigh Redavid and others, New England Animal Medical Center, West Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Lactate is an intermediary metabolite of glycolysis and can accumulate in the body during incidents of clinical shock when there is inadequate delivery of oxygen to meet metabolic demands. The authors documented the incidence of hyperlactataemia in sick cats hospitalised for surgery and evaluated the prognostic utility of serial lactate measurements. 

Samples taken from 123 cats on admission and six and 24 hours later showed an incidence of hyperlactataemia of 23%. However, there was no apparent association between the results of serial lactate measurements and either survival to discharge or duration of hospitalisation. 

Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care 26 (4): 495-501. 

Evaluation of sucralfate in treating cats with chronic kidney disease

Jessica Quimby and Michael Lappin, Colorado State University, Fort Collins

Chronic kidney disease is a common syndrome in older cats associated with azotaemia, hypokalaemia and hyperphosphataemia. Management of the latter clinical feature, through dietary restriction or phosphate binders, is critical to controlling disease progression. 

The authors examined the effects of treatment with 500mg doses of the phosphate-binder sucralfate in cats with CKD but normal blood phosphate levels. However, due to side-effects of dehydration and worsening azotaemia associated with decompensation, the trial was halted before the proposed end point. 

Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 52 (1): 8-12. 

Biological effects of ageing in cats

Jan Bellows and others, All Pets Dental, Weston, Florida

An estimated 10% of pet cats in the United States are more than 11 years old. Ageing is associated with many changes, some of which may lead to illness, reduced mobility or the development of unwanted behaviours. In this article, a multidisciplinary group of veterinary clinicians review the common physical and functional changes observed in older cats. 

They note that regular veterinary examinations are essential for evaluating the health of feline patients and to provide owners with advice on optimal care. They also note the relative paucity of published research in this area. 

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 18 (7): 533-550. 

US practitioners' attitudes towards declawing of cats

Rebecca Ruch-Gallie and others, Colorado State University, Fort Collins

Onychectomy, or declawing, is a controversial procedure permitted under US law to prevent unwanted scratching behaviour in cats. It is illegal in the UK and there are movements in some states for a similar ban. The authors surveyed 3,441 US practitioners, of whom 72.7% reported having carried out the procedure, albeit infrequently at a rate of less than once a month. 

Nearly three-quarters of that group said that they recommended non-surgical alternative options where possible. Opinions varied between those that did and did not perform the procedures as to the degree of pain involved and the risks of untreated patients having to be euthanised.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 249 (3): 291-298. 

Risk factors and treatment options for feline calcium oxalate uroliths

Joseph Bartges, University of Georgia, Athens

Uroliths are a common finding in the bladder or urethra of cats and may be life-threatening if they result in a urethral blockage. The author reviews the evidence on the cause and treatment of calcium oxalate uroliths, which account for up to 50% of all clinical cases in this species. 

Currently, calcium oxalate uroliths are not amenable to medical dissolution and therefore their removal by surgery or minimally invasive techniques should be performed where required. Preventive measures aim to decrease urinary calcium and oxalate excretion, increase urine volume and induce a neutral to alkaline urinary pH. 

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 18 (9): 712-722. 

Orthodontic treatment of bignathic malocclusions in a cat

Chad Lothamer and Jason Soukup, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Untreated malocclusions may result in a range of adverse effects in cats, including pain, dental trauma, periodontal and endodontic disease. The author describes the use of a multi-stage active force orthodontic procedure intended to provide a pain-free, functional occlusion, with the opportunity for good long-term oral health. 

The case highlights the potential complexities as well as the bene ts of orthodontic treatment in cats. Careful consideration should be given to providing similar treatment to any animal intended for showing or breeding, as malocclusions are often secondary to heritable traits.

Journal of Veterinary Dentistry 33 (1): 7-17. 

A treatment schedule for dalteparin in cats with clotting disorders

Jette Schoenig and Reinhard Mischke, University of Hannover, Germany

Dalteparin is a low molecular weight heparin compound used in human patients with acute thrombosis and considered equally effective and more convenient than standard heparin formulations. The authors assess the effects of serial dalteparin on coagulation variables in healthy cats. 

Their results suggest that a dose of 75U/kg produced a peak anti-activated coagulation factor X within the target range in all cats within two hours of a second six-hourly injection. Treatment according to the protocol described may mean that routine coagulation monitoring is no longer necessary. 

American Journal of Veterinary Research 77 (7): 700-707. 

Pandemic H1N1 influenza virus infection in a Canadian cat

Cameron Knight and others, University of Calgary, Alberta

The pandemic strain of the H1N1 virus (pdm09) rst isolated in 2009 contained a novel combination of genetic segments originating in humans, pigs and birds. Although cats are susceptible to infection with other influenza A strains, there have been few reports of this particular virus affecting felines. 

The authors describe the first Canadian feline case. It was a five-year-old female Ragdoll-mix presented for post- mortem examination after being found dead at home the previous day. The case highlights the importance of considering influenza virus among the differential diagnoses in cases of feline respiratory distress.

Canadian Veterinary Journal 57 (5): 497-500. 

A technique for surgical treatment of proximal ureteral rupture in a cat

Ines Gordo and others, University of Lisbon, Portugal

Ureteral rupture is a rare condition in veterinary patients that may occur secondary to blunt trauma or as an iatrogenic incident following abdominal surgery. The authors report a case in a six-year-old neutered male shorthair cat that presented with lethargy, mydriasis, bradycardia and abdominal distension. 

It was treated by ureteroneocystostomy with an elongated cystoplasty through a Boari ap and causal transposition of the right kidney. At 18 months’ follow-up, the patient was free of clinical signs. 

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 249 (4): 406-410. 

Acyanotic tetralogy of Fallot in a Persian cat

Won-Jin Choi and others, Kangwon National University, South Korea

Tetralogy of Fallot is a congenital defect involving pulmonary stenosis, an overriding aorta, a ventricular septal defect and right ventricular hypertrophy. The condition can show a variable presentation but most cases are cyanotic and with obvious clinical signs of heart diseases. 

The authors describe an unusual case in an eight-year-old intact male Persian cat that did not show signs of cyanosis or laboratory evidence of systemic hypoxaemia. However, an echocardiography examination demonstrated tetralogy of Fallot, which was managed medically with atenolol.

Canadian Veterinary Journal 57 (6): 596-600.