On October 20th, the Department of Agriculture’s state veterinarian announced the first confirmed COVID-19 positive cat in Pennsylvania from Cumberland County. The cat resided in a household with multiple positive COVID-19 humans. The 16-year-old cat did show some respiratory illness and treatment was pursued. Common respiratory diseases were initially ruled out before testing for SARS-CoV-2. The cat was euthanized due to the progression of respira...Continue Reading
Now that the dust has settled a little bit, we can all take a deep breath and look at where we are in regards to the health and safety of our cats during this coronavirus pandemic. We have evidence that only 5 pets (China: 2 dogs and 1 cat; New York: 2 cats) have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 while millions of humans have tested positive globally. These SARS-CoV-2 positive pets were in close contact with SARS-CoV-2 positive humans. Despite the fact t...Continue Reading
This week brings another news story about a big cat testing positive for SARS-CoV-2. A tiger from the Bronx Zoo was confirmed SARS-CoV-2 positive by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory. A few tigers and lions showed upper respiratory signs which prompted the testing. It is believed the source was an employee who was “actively shedding” the virus. No other animals are showing any signs and the cats are expected to recover uneventfully. C...Continue Reading
There are two new cat-specific updates this week as the global COVID-19 pandemic continues. We encourage you to read the previous coronavirus blogs and check back here often as we learn more about this novel SARS-CoV-2 and the implications it potentially has for cats. Below are this weeks updates relating to the cat community. We also encourage the reader to stick with reputable sources from veterinarians. Please avoid social media and other outlets th...Continue Reading
You may have heard about a cat in Belgium “infected” with COVID-19 showing digestive and respiratory signs. This cat's vomit and feces tested PCR positive for SARS-CoV-2. The cat lived with a human that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 one week prior to the cat showing signs of illness. It is not known if the virus from the human was the same as the virus in the cat. The implications of this news story is that COVID-19 positive humans may potential...Continue Reading
Please read the previous coronavirus blogs from the past few weeks for additional information. We have been discussing the 2 quarantined dogs in China where 1 dog tested “weak positive” multiple times. That dog was released after a 2 week quarantine and after testing negative for SARS-CoV-2. Unfortunately, the dog has passed away. The World Small Animal ...Continue Reading
Please read the coronavirus blog from last week for basic information. Last week we discussed the fact that a dog tested “weak positive” for coronavirus last month. The same dog has continued to test “weak positive” for the SARS-CoV-2 virus three separate times. Experts think that this dog does have a low level viral infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Expert...Continue Reading
We've been getting a lot of questions about coronavirus and the health implications for cats. Currently, this is a human health issue. There is no indication that cats can become infected with the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) or transmit COVID-19 to humans. The health risk is low in this country but this is currently an active area of interest. Let’s get our terminology...Continue Reading
Hairballs are never normal. Ah hem, I’ll repeat...Hairballs are never normal! When we look at feral cat populations, the incidence of vomiting up a hairball is very uncommon. Yes, it does happen but it is a rare occurrence. Because of these studies, we can confidently say that vomiting up a hairball is not a normal ...Continue Reading
As discussed last month, a pet food label is a legal document rather than giving you useful information about your cat’s diet. Check out the previous Blog: FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Pet Food Labels Part 1. To give you additional headaches, here are some more examples of how minor details in the wording can have major effects on what is in your cat food: Chicken Ca...Continue Reading
The information on your cat food label is misleading and does not give you an adequate representation of the quality of the food you just purchased. You cannot (and should not) look at a food label and conclude that one diet is better than another diet. Think of a pet food label as more of a legal document than actually informing you about the nutrition in the diet. The goal here is not to outline a comprehensive breakdown on the “ins and outs” of...Continue Reading
Genetic testing has become all the rage in humans, and now pets. Unfortunately, very little is known about cat genetics. At this moment in time, it is difficult to know if a “positive” test will translate into an increased risk for a specific disease. It appears the goals of these genetic test companies is to acquire a massive amount of data (and money) with the hope of continuing research and potentially “linking” genetic markers with risk fa...Continue Reading
The question continues to be asked, "Can I use CBD oil in my cat?" The answer is the same. We don’t know yet. Unfortunately, we are living in a CBD-can-cure-everything era and we do not have much data on its effectiveness for specific diseases. There is a distinction that needs to be made about the CBD source. CBD can be from marijuana or from hemp (...Continue Reading
Most supposed benefits of raw diets have not been supported by scientific research. Typically, raw diet benefits are promoted by individuals on the internet that do not have a background in feline nutrition or veterinary medicine. Their “evidence” is generally circumstantial and based on personal experience which may or may not be true. Unfortunately, many of the pro-raw diet claims draw on your emotions an...Continue Reading
I haven’t thought about ticks much in the past and rarely had I seen them on cats. Over the past year, that has changed.
• 2018 brought Pennsylvania a new, invasive, year-round Asian longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis). The Asian longhorned tick has unique characteristics that pose a threat to humans and animals (females can reproduce without a...Continue Reading
Two particularly serious infectious diseases we are worried about in cats are feline leukemia virus (FeLV) & feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). These viruses infect approximately 2-3% of cats.
These retrovirusus can be a bit tricky to predict and diagnose. There is often confusion and miscommunication regarding feline leukemia and FIV testing. Here are s...Continue Reading
Cat owners have a strong emotional interest in what they feed their cat because they are in control. Unfortunately, the pet food industry has taken advantage of this emotion with their marketing strategies. The average cat owner is “eating up” what these marketing geniuses are selling: great sounding diets with little to no scientific data to back up their claims. Google, TV celebrity chefs and pet store employees know very little, if anything, a...Continue Reading
A vaccine is a biological substance used to stimulate a cat’s immune system to provide future protection against a disease. It may contain an inactive organism (i.e. rabies), a weakened organism (i.e. some FVRCP vaccines), a toxin, or a protein from the...Continue Reading
It’s that time of year again when Easter hazards, from a cat’s perspective, make their way into the home. The most dangerous hazard is the lily. Day lilies (Hemerocallis) & true lilies (Lilium) are deadly to cats. Unfortunately, we do not know what characteristic of lilies causes kidney failure. All parts of the lily are thought to be poisonous, especially the flower...Continue Reading
We recommend canned diets over dry diets for a number of reasons:
• Canned diets are closer to what cats should be eating…small mammals.
• Cats are carnivores and should be eating a high protein/moderate fat/low carbohydrate diet. Canned food achieves this goal much better than a dry food....Continue Reading
Let’s talk cannabis.
There’s a lot of talk about CBD these days. The exact usage and medical benefits at this time are unclear. In the human field, there have been some studies looking into anti-seizure, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-tumor, and anti-depression benefits of CBD with some promise. Here's w...Continue Reading