Entries by Bronwyn Hayes

Dog Poisoning (Temik)

The most common malicious poisoning one tends to see in veterinary practice is that of Temik, also known as “Two Step”. Temik was previously used as an insecticide on farms. It looks very similar to “poppy seeds” and can be bought illegally at taxi ranks and train stations.Burglars place it in meat such as sausage or mince, which is then thrown over the wall of a house so the dogs on the property can eat it. Signs of poisoning are usually seen within 5-20 minutes.     The most common signs are: Excessive salivation vomiting abdominal pain defecation/diarrhea not wanting […]

Sterilisation is the solution

17,000 dogs and cats come through the doors of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA every year. That’s nearly 1500 animals a month. Hard to imagine, right? Pet over-population is a chronic and serious issue in the Western Cape. Just one unsterilised pet and its offspring can produce over 60,000 lives in 6 years! And there simply aren’t enough homes for all these animals. At the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, we believe that pet over-population and the resulting neglect, abuse, relinquishment to animal shelters and subsequent euthanasia of many of these animals are preventable problems with a rational solution. […]

Feline Depigmentation Conditions – Vitiligo, Leukoderma, Leukotrichia

Leukoderma (“white skin”), leukotrichia (“white hair”) or vitiligo, is a cosmetic condition that produces a “cobweb” or “snowflake” effect and is most easily seen on black cats. White spots appear on the coat; these become more extensive with age until the cat has a white lace pattern on the black fur. Ultimately the cat may go completely white or be left with diminishing isolated patches of colour. This condition has been seen in black leopards (“cobweb panthers”), humans, dogs and other animals. This must not be confused with the normal sprinkling of isolated white hairs which appear in a cat’s […]

Potpourri hazards in cats

Liquid potpourris are popular household fragrances, especially during the holiday season. But many people don’t know that these products can be hazardous. Cats exposed to liquid potpourris can develop severe oral, dermal and ocular damage. Since 1995, veterinarians at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) have consulted on more than 125 cases of cat exposure to liquid potpourri products (ASPCA APCC Database: Unpublished data, 1999). Exposed cats exhibited hypersalivation (51%), hyperthermia (42%), vomiting or retching (40%), depression (38%), dyspnea and abnormal respiratory sounds (37%), and oral ulcers (35%). Fortunately, with prompt, aggressive treatment and good supportive care, most cats […]

Megacolon in Cats – Part II

Part 2 of the debilitating colon problem in cats called megacolon. This disease causes marked dilation of the colon with subsequent impaction with a large volume of feces. In this post, I review how we treat this painful condition to make our affected feline friends feel better. Happy reading! Megacolon – Medical Management A single bout of constipation typically resolves without therapy. Mild-to-moderate or recurrent episodes of usually require some form of medical intervention. Such therapies may include: – Dietary modification – Laxatives – Enemas – Colon pro-motility drugs Hospitalization for intravenous fluid therapy to correct dehydration and electrolyte derangements, as well […]

Megacolon in Cats – Part I

Nobody likes to feel constipated, not even cats. Unfortunately, some of our feline friends develop dysfunction in their colon called megacolon. In this first part of a two-part series, I’ll explain what megacolon is and how it’s diagnosed. Next week, I’ll review how to treat this potentially debilitating condition. Happy reading! Megacolon – What is it? The colon, also called the large intestine, is a tubular organ that connects the small intestine to the anus. The large intestine is divided into multiple segments, including the ascending colon, transverse colon, and descending colon. Cumulatively, the colon is responsible for absorbing water from […]

The CATNIP Study

CATNIP is a clinical research trial which will test whether an experimental drug called AMG 157 given with cat allergy shots will help the cat allergy shots work. The researchers want to see if after just one year of treatment, which is less than the 2-3 year standard therapy for allergy shots, relief will continue for at least one more year after stopping both medications.  AMG 157 is an antibody, like the ones your body makes when you have an infection. This antibody has been made in a laboratory and is like other medications that have been developed to treat […]

7 Tips for Introducing a New Kitten to Kids

Bringing a new kitten into your family is bound to be an exciting time, but should you be worried about introducing him to your kids? The answer is No; as long as you follow these essential tips for introducing a new kitten to kids, you’ll have a well-adjusted kitten and children who know how to respect animals. 7 Tips for Introducing a New Kitten to Kids 1. Take it Slowly Your new kitten is likely to be overwhelmed by his new surroundings; add excitable children to this and it can be a bit too much. Your children are bound to […]

Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) Information

WHAT IS FeLV? FeLV occurs worldwide and is a virus that suppresses a cat’s immune system. HOW IS IT TRANSMITTED? Via bodily fluid like nasal secretions, saliva, faeces, urine and blood. Therefore it can be transmitted via direct contract, sharing litter boxes/food and water bowls, mutual grooming, fighting and from mother to foetus. WHAT SYMPTOMS WILL MY CAT SHOW? The symptoms can range from NO symptoms at all to…. – Weight loss – Loss of appetite – Thrifty coat – Fever – Pale gums – Listlessness – Occurrence of other infections e.g. skin, respiratory system – Swollen lymph nodes – […]

Parasite makes mice fearless by hijacking immune cells

The Toxoplasma parasite is an unusually devious operator. When it infects mice, it alters their behaviour so they become fearless enough to seek out cats and get eaten. But exactly how it did this was a mystery. Now it appears that the parasite hijacks its victim’s immune system, causing it to produce a chemical normally found in the brain. The discovery suggests that the brain and immune system might have evolved using similar processes to control their behaviour, including electrical and chemical signals now known mainly in nerves. Toxoplasma gondii spends part of its life in a cat’s gut, then […]