Category: Health

What is hyperthyroidism and how to treat it in cats?

No one wants their cat to get sick, but some diseases can be easily controlled with proper treatment. Hyperthyroidism is one such disease and is quite common in older cats. By knowing the common symptoms of this condition, it is possible to get your cat the veterinary care it needs to treat and control it before other serious problems develop.

What is hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism, the opposite of hypothyroidism, is also known as thyrotoxicosis and occurs when the thyroid gland becomes enlarged and produces extra hormones. The thyroid gland is located in the neck and produces hormones called T3 and T4, which play a role in a variety of bodily functions, including metabolism and regulation of body temperature. When a cat develops hyperthyroidism, too much T3 and T4 are produced, causing the cat to become increasingly ill over time.

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism in cats

Here are some of the most obvious symptoms of hyperthyroidism in cats:

  • Excessive hunger.
  • Weight loss
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Vomiting
  • Behavioural changes.
  • Unkempt coat

The classic signs of hyperthyroidism are excessive appetite along with weight loss. Some cat owners often say that their cat seems to eat anything in large quantities, without putting on weight. Hyperthyroid cats lose weight and may also begin to drink and urinate more. Other common symptoms include vomiting, matted and unkempt coat and behavioural changes such as aggression and hyperactivity.

Causes of hyperthyroidism in cats

There are two types of tumours that cause hyperthyroidism in cats. Most cases of hyperthyroidism are due to a benign tumour called an adenoma, but in rare cases, the cause is a cancerous tumour called an adenocarcinoma. Both tumours cause the thyroid gland to enlarge, but no one knows what causes each type of tumour to grow.

Diagnosis of hyperthyroidism in cats

If your cat shows symptoms of hyperthyroidism, it is important to make a visit to your veterinarian. The vet will perform a physical examination and obtain your cat’s history before recommending a blood test. Sometimes, enlarged thyroid glands can be detected during the physical examination. The blood test will look at how well your cat’s organs are functioning and measure the amount of thyroid hormone your cat’s thyroid glands are producing. If these hormone levels are high, your cat will be diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Other tests may also be recommended to look for common complications seen with hyperthyroidism, such as high blood pressure.

Treatment of hyperthyroidism in cats

There are four ways to treat a cat that has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism: dietary treatment, surgery, medication and radioactive iodine therapy. Each option has its pros and cons and may not be suitable for all cats, but most owners choose to treat the condition with diet or medication. Medication reduces the amount of thyroid hormones produced by the thyroid glands and the special diet restricts the amount of iodine a cat consumes. Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones, so limiting iodine intake limits the production of thyroid hormones.

Radioactive iodine is often recommended as the ideal treatment option if your cat is a candidate, and destroys abnormal thyroid tissue. This procedure usually treats the disease perfectly, so no further treatment is usually necessary. Surgery can also cure the disease, but it is more invasive than the other three options, so it is not recommended as often.

Can hyperthyroidism in cats be prevented?

Because no one knows what causes a cat to develop the tumours that cause hyperthyroidism, there is no way to prevent the disease. The best thing you can do as a cat owner is to address any symptoms of hyperthyroidism as soon as you see them. In addition, prompt treatment of the disease after diagnosis will help prevent the development of other problems. Regular check-ups and blood tests for your older cat can help find a problem before it becomes serious, so your vet plays an important role in your cat’s long-term health.

Risk factors for hyperthyroidism in cats

While no specific breed of cat has a higher risk of developing hyperthyroidism than any other, any older cat has a higher risk of developing the disease.

Some studies suggest that cats that eat primarily canned foods, especially fish-based and poor quality canned foods, are at increased risk. One study showed that long-haired cats that are not purebred also have an increased risk of developing hyperthyroidism disease, while Siamese, Burmese, Persian, Abyssinian and British Shorthair cats have a lower risk compared to domestic shorthair cats.

More information is needed to continue to help cat owners and, hopefully, one day prevent hyperthyroidism in all cats. If you suspect your pet is ill, you can call us immediately on 932 460 805. We will be happy to help you and, if necessary, arrange an appointment to examine and analyse your pet’s health.


Can dogs suffer from anaemia?

Anaemia is used to describe a low red blood cell and/or haemoglobin count in a dog’s blood. Various pathologies and medical conditions can cause anaemia in dogs. Anaemia can be acute or chronic, depending on the underlying cause and the type of canine anaemia. The prognosis is also variable and will need to take into account several factors, such as the health status of the dog and the progression of the underlying cause.

In this article we will look at the causes, symptoms and diagnosis of anaemia in dogs. We also look at the different types of canine anaemia.

What is anaemia in dogs?

A dog’s blood is made up of different cells. These include white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Minerals, proteins and other nutrients are also found, many of which are contained in the blood plasma. These elements are maintained in a certain proportion, but changes in these proportions can occur, for a variety of reasons and with some consequences.

Red blood cells are produced in the marrow of the dog’s bones. They contain haemoglobin, which is a protein found in red blood cells and is used to transport oxygen to various parts of the body. Although a low red blood cell count causes anaemia, it is possible that the dog has enough red blood cells, but they do not contain sufficient amounts of haemoglobin to supply the amount of oxygen they need.

A normal proportion of red blood cells in a dog’s blood is between 39% and 60%. When a red blood cell count is less than 39%, it is a clear indicator of anaemia in dogs. This is a serious health problem because it correlates with a direct lack of oxygen to the different organs and tissues of the body.

The reasons for a low red blood cell count generally fall into three main categories:

  • Blood loss: when a dog has trauma or other reason for blood loss, it means that red blood cells leave the body and cannot carry oxygen.
  • Decreased red blood cell production: when the body cannot produce enough red blood cells, oxygen cannot be transported. This may be due to a pathology, genetic condition or even environmental factors.
  • Increased breakdown of red blood cells: red blood cells will naturally break down after about 3 months in the bloodstream, after which they will be recycled to create new blood cells. If pathology or any other reason increases the rate of cell degradation, anaemia will occur.

The consequences of oxygen deprivation do not only affect the blood, but the whole organism of the dog. Systemic symptoms and failures will occur and the dog will develop severe disorders. These can be life-threatening.

Learn more about blood and disease with our articles on blood parasites in dogs and blood clots in dogs.

What are the main causes of anaemia in dogs?

There are four main types of anaemia in dogs. Each is directly related to underlying causes that result in a low red blood cell or haemoglobin count. To better understand the causes of anaemia in dogs, we look at each type individually:

Haemorrhagic anaemia

This type of canine anaemia is directly related to blood loss. There are different reasons why this can develop, including wounds, external parasites or ulcers. In short, a dog that is losing blood, but not necessarily from an external wound.

Internal bleeding can be seen by blood in the dog’s urine or faeces. This is a serious reason why it is important to monitor your dog’s waste, especially if you notice other symptoms.

Haemolytic anaemia

With haemolytic anaemia in dogs, the animal’s immune system is affecting its red blood cell count. Problems with the immune system mean that the natural cycle of red blood cell creation and destruction is disrupted. Insufficient numbers of new red blood cells are being created and the right proportion is not present in the blood serum.

Haemolytic anaemia can often be due to hereditary problems, but can also be the result of internal parasites, infections, a side effect of certain medications or even excessive vitamin C intake. It can affect the liver and present as jaundice, but often begins with the dog having low energy levels. There are two types of haemolytic anaemia in dogs:

  • Immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia: this is usually the most common type of canine anaemia and the destruction of red blood cells is caused by the appearance of antibodies that directly attack these cells.
  • Congenital haemolytic anaemia: In this case the destruction of red blood cells is an inherited genetic trait and is particularly common in certain breeds such as the Cocker Spaniel and English Springer Spaniel.

Aplastic anaemia

In this case the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow is not sufficient to compensate for the natural loss of these cells. It can be caused by tumours, toxins, infections (parvovirus and ehrlichiosis), radiation and chronic renal failure. It is also known as bone marrow aplasia in dogs.

These are some of the symptoms of anaemia in dogs

Symptoms of anaemia in dogs can vary depending on the type of anaemia the dog has or the progression of the anaemia. Although they can help diagnose anaemia in dogs, the following can also be symptoms of other diseases. The most common include:

  • Pale gums and mucous membranes.
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Blood in stools
  • Low exercise tolerance
  • Tachycardia
  • Syncope (fainting)
  • Labored breathing

How is canine anaemia diagnosed?

In addition to symptoms and a general physical examination, diagnosis with a haemogram (blood test) is essential to confirm that the dog is anaemic. Urine or faecal samples may also be tested for this purpose.

This diagnosis does not indicate the exact reasons why anaemia has developed. If the precise underlying cause has not been determined, further testing will be required. Some of the tests that are performed are:

  • Bone marrow curettage.
  • Bone marrow biopsy.
  • Abdominocentesis.
  • X-ray.
  • Ultrasound.
  • Endoscopy.
  • Parasite analysis
  • Toxin analysis

The treatment administered will depend on the underlying cause. Do not forget that the veterinarian is the only person capable of diagnosing this disease. Never treat a dog without a diagnosis from a professional. You may even be able to recognise anaemia, but the underlying cause can be very serious, especially if it is due to cancer in dogs.

If you think your furry friend may be suffering from this disease, don’t hesitate to bring him or her to our veterinary hospital in Barcelona. Our veterinary professionals will carry out all the tests to find out the type of anaemia and the underlying cause of the problem, so that we can find the best treatment. Contact us and make an appointment!

Is basil toxic to cats?

Basil is one of the most widely used herbs in the Mediterranean. Not only is it used in a variety of dishes, but it also has a long history of use in traditional medicinal practices. It is also relatively easy to grow, either in an outdoor garden or indoors in a pot. If you have cats and choose to grow basil indoors, or even outdoors, you may wonder if your cat can eat basil. Is it healthy for them? Can it be toxic? Let’s see what happens if your cat eats basil.

Is the basil plant safe for cats?

The smell of basil may intrigue your cat enough to make her taste a leaf or two. But don’t worry, basil is not toxic to cats.

Basil is actually the common name for “Ocimum Basilium” and is an herb belonging to the Lamiaceae family. Commonly known as the mint family, this family of plants also includes catnip, lavender, sage, rosemary, oregano, lemon balm and, obviously, mint. It should be noted that in most Western dishes, the term “basil” is commonly used to refer to sweet basil, also called Genovese basil.

Although there are many varieties of basil species, they all belong to the Lamiaceae family. You can also find basil listed as Tulsi (in Ayurvedic medicine) or St. Joseph’s wort.

So, could there be health benefits to consuming basil in cats?

Basil contains vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, manganese and calcium and is low in calories. It has been studied in humans for its use in maintaining stable blood glucose levels, boosting the immune system, reducing stress and anxiety, and aiding memory, but evidence for any of these claims is scant.

However, could basil have similar effects in cats? It should be noted that cats are obligate carnivores and require animal protein in their daily diet. People, even self-proclaimed “carnivores”, are actually omnivores. So our digestion works differently than a cat’s digestion. Cats may not digest basil the same way you or I would. This means that your cat may not be able to absorb the vitamins and minerals in basil in the same way as humans.

Possible health problems when feeding basil to your cat

Although basil itself is not toxic to cats, there are things to be aware of before giving it to your kitty or allowing her to ingest it on her own. As mentioned above, cats are obligate carnivores and require taurine from animal protein in their diet because they cannot synthesise it on their own. This means that cats do not necessarily require as many plants or vegetables in their diet as perhaps humans do.

A little nibble on a basil leaf here or there probably won’t skew your cat’s daily nutrition that much, but too much basil could cause an imbalance in their nutrition. If your cat eats too much basil, it can also cause gastrointestinal distress, including vomiting and diarrhoea. In rare cases, a cat may be allergic to basil and this may manifest as vomiting, but may also cause hives, swelling or even difficulty breathing. Basil essential oil is high in synthetic phenols, which can cause liver damage, so its use in cats should be avoided.

What kind of basil can cats eat?

There is really no single variety that a cat can and cannot eat. Fresh basil will have a less potent flavour and aroma than dried basil. Vitamins and minerals will also be present in smaller concentrations in fresh basil than in dried basil. So, although it has not been researched, it is possible that a cat’s daily nutrient balance may be thrown off more quickly with large amounts of dried basil compared to fresher basil.

Therefore, while it is safe for your cat to nibble on a basil leaf one day, it is probably best to avoid sharing this plant with your cat on a regular basis.

If you think your cat may have been poisoned by this or any other plant, come to our Hospital Veterinari Glòries in Barcelona and we will treat your companion as an emergency.

Most common health problems of Dachshund dogs

The Dachshund, also known as the Dachshund, is a very popular short-legged breed. As with other breeds, dachshunds have certain diseases and health problems that are usually inherited and related to their breed. It is important to familiarise yourself with any potential health problems that may affect your Dachshund if you have or are considering adopting one.

In this article we explain some of the most common health problems in Dachshunds.

Invertebral disc disease

Of course, it is the Dachshund’s elongated appearance that has earned them the nickname dachshund. However, this characteristic that makes the breed so unique is also a problem for them, as many dogs suffer from herniated discs or disc disease. Although the Dachshund is the most notorious breed for this disease, any dog can suffer from it.

This disease causes extremely severe pain in dogs due to their body structure. The elongated spine and short legs put a lot of pressure on the intervertebral discs. The most common symptoms include back pain, partial loss of limb function and, in more severe cases, paralysis and loss of sensation.

As a result, simple actions such as jumping or climbing a ladder can become very painful.

Some experts suggest that this problem is related to the sedentary lifestyle they experience in modern life, where they move and exercise rather little. However, studies are inconclusive. Still, there is no doubt that your Dachshund’s health will benefit from an active lifestyle.

Acanthosis Nigricans

Acanthosis nigricans is a skin disease that causes dark discolouration in the folds of the body. It usually affects the armpits, groin and neck.

Dogs not only develop thickened skin, but also suffer from infections, scaling and pus in addition to this thickening. While there are various treatments for the condition, ranging from cosmetics to medication, once a dog has it, the condition remains for life.

To the best of scientists’ knowledge, only the Dachshund breed suffers from this type of acanthosis, and it is especially prevalent in puppies of this breed.

Eye disorders

Dachshunds are prone to certain vision problems, most of which are hereditary. The following are some of the more common problems:

  • Cataracts: As in humans, cataracts in dogs develop as they age. A thin, clear but cloudy film is deposited on the lens of the eye and prevents light from entering. Cataracts occur when proteins in the dog’s eyes begin to build up, forming a cloud-like substance on the lens of the eye. As a result, a whitish membrane appears, preventing vision.
  • Glaucoma: a painful condition characterised by increased intraocular pressure inside the eye, which is caused by inadequate fluid drainage, the condition can progress rapidly and cause damage to the retina and optic nerve.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy: is a group of degenerative diseases that affect these photoreceptor cells. In this disease, the cells deteriorate over time and can even lead to blindness in the affected dog.


Hypothyroidism is a disease that occurs when the thyroid does not produce and release enough thyroid hormone into the bloodstream, which can lead to heart problems and even diabetes. Dachshunds usually develop the condition from the age of 5 years and older.

In dogs, hypothyroidism manifests itself as uncontrollable weight gain, mood swings, apathy, etc.

If you have a Teckel at home and you want to know and improve their health, do not hesitate to bring them to our veterinary hospital in the heart of Barcelona, we will be happy to help you! Call 932 460 805 and make your appointment today.

Types of cysts in cats, causes and treatment

Petting our cat is not only a pleasurable experience for both the animal and for us, it is an important practical resource in the care of our cat’s well-being. It allows us to enrich the affective bond we have with our furry friend and gives us the opportunity to observe certain clinical symptoms. A subcutaneous lump can be one of the most worrisome symptoms, as it may imply the presence of cancer. However, there are many types of cat cysts that can give rise to a lump or tumor, without being malignant.

These are the most common types of cat cysts, causes and treatments


Lipomas are also known as fatty tumors. This is because they are caused by the overgrowth of fat cells (the cells that make adipose tissue grow). These masses of mesenchymal origin usually develop in the subcutaneous tissue. Generally, these lumps have a spongy, soft, firm consistency and may appear singly or in clusters. They are mobile, meaning that they can move on palpation.

Lipoma cysts are benign, but should be removed immediately. This is because their growth rate is usually relatively rapid and can cause discomfort or compromise the function of certain tissues. They do not have the ability to metastasize to other nearby or distant tissues.

Certain breeds are more predisposed to develop fatty cysts. Siamese-type cats are particularly prone to developing lipomas, but generally the cats most at risk for developing lipomas are older, neutered cats.

Treatment of feline lipomas

Excisional surgery (removal of tissue) is the method of removing lipomas in cats. After veterinary evaluation, you may be able to choose surgical options or wait to see if the lipoma develops problematically. If you decide to wait, it is important that lipomas be checked regularly to determine if they need to be removed.

We should keep in mind that the larger the lipoma, the more scar tissue the cat will have once it is operated on. The size may also prolong the cat’s recovery time.

False cysts

Although neoplasms are due to an overgrowth of cells, this overgrowth can have several causes. A common reason is an inflammatory process that has several causes. Allergies are a common cause of inflammation, although the resulting inflammation usually takes the form of hives, rather than a cyst.

Although not very common in cats, trauma can result in a cyst. These are sometimes referred to as false cysts and differ from true cysts. They are caused by hemorrhage or trauma that does not resolve properly. Instead of dissipating, the fluid inside the cyst accumulates because there is no secretory lining. The fluid is caused by liquefied dead tissue. If the false cyst is caused by accumulation of blood, it will have a dark appearance.

Treatment of false cysts in cats

In many cases, the swelling caused by the false cyst will subside on its own. It should usually go away, although some discoloration may remain on the affected skin. If the false cyst causes problems for the cat, it can be removed by surgical excision.

Dermoid cysts

Dermoid cysts are another type of subcutaneous neoplasm in cats that occur due to abnormal cell growth. They are genetic in origin and are considered rare in cats.

Dermoid cysts not only contain an overgrowth of cells, but can even cause the growth of mature solid tissues. These can include hair, teeth and bones. In humans, they are often associated with ovarian cysts, but there is not much evidence of this in cats. They are caused by a defective closure of the epidermal layer of the skin, becoming isolated in the dermis or subcutaneous tissue.
Treatment of dermoid cysts in cats
After diagnosis, the only treatment available is surgical removal. Although relatively simple, care must be taken to do the correct dissection of the cyst. This will need to be done very carefully because we want to prevent the cyst from returning.

Sebaceous cysts

One of the most common types of feline cysts are sebaceous cysts. These are fluid-filled lumps that may ooze, especially if they receive trauma. They can have a similar appearance to skin tags, another type of benign tumor.

The reasons sebaceous cysts develop are due to a problem with the hair follicle, often because they become clogged with sebum or other material. When this happens, the cat’s immune system attempts to isolate the damaged follicle, resulting in fluid encapsulation and subsequent cyst.

Although not caused by infection, they can become infected if they rupture and bacteria are allowed to enter. This is often due to them hitting when the cat is moving or even when the cat is grooming. Sebaceous cysts in cats can develop anywhere on the cat that has hair follicles. They should be diagnosed by a veterinarian in case they are mistaken for a different type of cat cyst.

Treatment of sebaceous cysts in cats

It is important to note that sebaceous cysts in cats are benign. They usually only cause a problem if they become infected, but in many cases they can be ignored. If the cyst continues to grow and fill with fluid, it can enlarge and rupture. If the veterinarian decides to remove the cysts, a more aggressive treatment of surgical removal will be possible, but is considered minor surgery.

Malignant cysts

It is important to note that the cysts themselves are not cancerous. They are not malignant and do not metastasize. However, there are types of cat cysts that harbor genetic material that can develop into malignant tumors that can then spread to the rest of the body. These types of cysts can appear subcutaneously, in which case we can feel them when we pet our cat. They can also develop internally, which is more difficult to observe.

Treatment of malignant cysts in cats

Treatment will depend on the severity of the cancer. It will require surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or some combination of these. In cases of metastasis, the prognosis will be worse. In some cases, this will result in euthanasia of the animal.

If you notice any lump on your cat’s skin, do not hesitate to come to our clinic in Barcelona so that we can examine and diagnose its state of health as soon as possible. Call us at 932 460 805 or contact us through the web form.

Do dogs need vitamins and supplements?

Many people have a daily regimen of vitamins and supplements. And more and more people are also giving vitamins and supplements to their dogs. Does your dog also need to take vitamins and supplements? Is it safe to give vitamins to dogs? The answers depend on the dog and the types of supplements in question.

Essential vitamins and minerals for dogs

All dogs need certain vitamins and minerals to maintain their health, which they usually get through food, through a complete and balanced diet. If you are feeding your dog a certified and regulated commercial diet (look for the ANFAAC label), then the food should contain all the vitamins and minerals needed to keep your dog healthy. You can even go a step further and choose a diet made with high quality natural ingredients customized for your furry one. Many experts agree that the vitamins and minerals in diets made with high-quality ingredients are more easily absorbed and utilized by your dog’s body.

If you choose to feed your dog a home-prepared diet (as the BARF diet usually is), you may need to add vitamins and minerals to make the food complete and balanced. You should work with your veterinarian and specialists to find the right recipes and obtain the appropriate vitamins, minerals and supplements.

If you are feeding your dog a complete and balanced diet, there is usually no reason to supplement with vitamins and minerals. Adding supplements can cause problems if your dog is getting too much of something. For example, an adequate amount of vitamin A is important for a dog’s metabolism and immune system, but too much can cause serious toxicity. Vitamin A overdose can cause loss of appetite, lethargy, nausea, skin peeling, weakness, tremors, seizures, paralysis and death.

You should only give your dog vitamins, minerals or supplements in the following situations:

  • Your veterinarian prescribes specific vitamins/minerals after diagnosing your dog with a deficiency.
  • Your veterinarian recommends adding certain vitamins, minerals or supplements to help treat a health condition or help a dog with a poor appetite.
  • Your veterinarian recommends certain vitamins, minerals or supplements because you want to feed him a home-prepared diet.
  • Your veterinarian approves the use of certain supplements for your dog after you ask about them.

In any case, there is never a reason to start giving your dog vitamins at random. Always act under the supervision of a veterinarian. It is also important to verify dosage information with your veterinarian before starting any supplement.

Specific supplements for dogs

Many different types of vitamins and supplements can be used for dogs. Some of the most common are multivitamins, fatty acids, joint supplements, fiber and probiotics.

  • Multivitamins: Never give human multivitamins to dogs. If your veterinarian recommends a daily multivitamin for your furry one, ask for product recommendations. You should choose a multivitamin that is made especially for dogs. In some cases, you can choose a multivitamin made for dogs with special needs, such as joint support or advanced age.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: these supplements can be beneficial for dogs with joint, heart or kidney disease. The oil in a regular can of sardines may not be enough. So be sure to choose a formula with the right concentration of EPA and DHA as recommended by a veterinarian.
  • Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM: These joint supplements can be very beneficial for dogs with orthopedic issues such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, cross injuries, etc. They can reduce inflammation in the body and help provide more lubrication to the joints.
  • Fiber: your veterinarian may recommend adding fiber to your dog’s diet in some cases. This may happen to increase stool bulk and prevent anal gland problems. It may also be to help with constipation or other gastrointestinal problems.
  • Probiotics: these are nutritional supplements designed to restore healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal system. Many veterinarians recommend probiotics for dogs with chronic gastrointestinal problems or to combat the side effects of antibiotics.

There are many vitamins, minerals and nutritional supplements. Some can be very helpful for certain dogs. Others can cause harm. Just remember that healthy pets on a complete and balanced diet don’t need supplements. But if your pet really needs to take vitamins and supplements, be sure to follow a veterinarian’s recommendations. Contact our Hospital Veterinari Glòries in Barcelona and we will give you an appointment to analyze if your dog really needs to take some kind of food supplement.

Anisocoria in Cats: symptoms, causes and treatments

The pupil is the black part of the eye in the centre of the iris, where light enters the eyeball. When the eye receives light, the pupil contracts, while it dilates when light is dim or absent. Although the name may not ring a bell, anisocoria in cats is a very typical eye condition in which the pupils of the cat’s eyes vary in size. Unequal pupil size is a symptom of an underlying disorder and treatment is based on diagnosis. Learn more about this condition below.

What is anisocoria in cats?

As mentioned above, the pupils are the black part of the eye, located in the centre of the iris. Anisocoria is a condition in which the pupils of the cat’s eyes are different sizes. The affected pupil may be larger or smaller than the normal pupil.

Anisocoria in cats can occur in two ways:

  • Dynamic anisocoria: when the stimulated pupil contracts more than the other unstimulated pupil following stimulation by a direct light source, which is normal in able-bodied cats.
  •  Static anisocoria: when there is a difference in pupil size despite both pupils receiving the same illumination, this type of anisocoria is completely abnormal.

Symptoms of anisocoria in cats

The most common symptom of anisocoria in cats is a difference in the size or diameter of a cat’s pupils under the same lighting conditions. However, depending on the underlying cause, the eye with anisocoria may undergo other structural changes and the cat may also behave differently.

Here are the other common symptoms associated with anisocoria:

  • The white part of the affected eye is red.
  • The cornea (the outer surface of the eye) is cloudy or bluish in colour.
  • There is discharge from the eye.
  • The eyelid of the affected eye is drooping.
  • The cat blinks or rubs the eye.
  • The cat is less active than usual.
  • Changes in the cat’s vision.

Causes of anisocoria in cats

The causes of anisocoria are many, it is a symptom and in itself is reason enough for an urgent visit to the vet, especially if it occurs suddenly. Although anisocoria in cats can occur as a result of a disorder in the cat’s physiological system, it is usually caused by disease. The most common are as follows:

Horner’s syndrome: consists of a set of symptoms due to a disease or problem resulting from a lack of sympathetic supply. It is manifested by sunken eyes, mydriasis and miosis, as well as other symptoms such as a prolapse of the third eyelid or a difference in the size of the eyes. Continue reading this other article if you want to know more about Horner’s syndrome.
Corneal lesions: damage to the surface layer of the eye can cause ulcers and thus a difference in pupil size due to changes in the affected eye.
Glaucoma: increased intraocular pressure, also known as glaucoma, causes the affected eye to dilate a little more, resulting in one of your cat’s pupils becoming larger than the other. Continue reading this other article if you want to know more about glaucoma in cats.
Feline leukaemia: Feline leukaemia retrovirus can cause a variety of symptoms and blood disorders in affected cats. Clinical signs that may occur include differences in pupil diameter, as well as other symptoms such as anaemia, oral disorders or gingivitis, fever, lethargy, weight loss or infection. Continue reading this other article if you want to know more about feline leukaemia.

Other causes of anisocoric pupils in cats include:

  • Trauma.
  • Uveitis.
  • Ocular tumours
  • Degenerations of the iris.

Treatment of anisocoria in cats

Treatment of anisocoria depends entirely on the underlying cause of the condition and specific treatment is tailored specifically to the diagnosis. Therefore, an accurate and prompt diagnosis is essential for the cat’s early recovery. The anisocoria itself is less important than treating the underlying disease that may cause it.

Some medications can cause problems with the pupils. If your vet discovers that a medication your cat is taking is causing the difference in pupil size, you should stop giving it to your cat. The anisocoria will be cured when the medication has cleared from your cat’s body.

It is important to be aware that some conditions may not be treatable. Some of the underlying disorders that cause anisocoria are not life-threatening. Therefore, they do not require treatment, such as iris hypoplasia or iris atrophy.

Your veterinarian will discuss the treatment options that are most appropriate for your cat’s individual circumstances.

Great ways to exercise your dog

Regular exercise is essential for staying fit and healthy, and dogs are no exception to this. Exercise is just one of your dog’s basic needs. Life gets busy, which is why many of us forget to give our dogs the exercise they need. Are you ready to find out what sports you can do with your dog?

Do dogs really need exercise and how much is good for them?

In general, most dogs should get one to two hours of exercise a day to help them stay healthy. Your dog may need more or less depending on age, breed and stamina. An older Shih Tzu may just want to lounge around on the couch, while a Border Collie or Pinscher may be doing agility for four hours a day and still want more.

No two dogs are the same, so discovering your dog’s exercise needs may take some time. If you are starting a new exercise programme for your dog, be sure to start slowly and let him build endurance and exercise tolerance. Watch for exhaustion, such as heavy panting, wheezing, wheezing, limping, disorientation, and slowing down or stopping to lie down during activities. Avoid outdoor activities on very hot days and make sure he/she has access to cool water at all times. Stop or reduce exercise if your dog seems tired, sore or uninterested in exercise. Contact your vet if you notice any signs of illness or discomfort during or after exercise.

What type of exercise is best for your dog?

Playing sports together can be a great way to bond with your dog while keeping you both active and healthy:


Walking is the classic form of exercise we usually give our dogs. And that’s okay, most dogs love walking! In addition to getting some exercise, a walk is a great way for your dog to explore the world with his nose. Don’t be in a hurry. Let your dog take as much time as he needs to sniff around during the walk. Try taking a different route every so often so he can see and smell new things.


Running is a great form of exercise for some dogs. Not all dogs can tolerate this type of exercise, though, so keep that in mind. Running with your dog can be easier when you use a light leash (running off-leash is usually not a good idea for legal and safety reasons). When you first start running with your dog, be sure to start slowly and work your way up to higher speeds and longer distances. Avoid running in hot temperatures, especially on hot asphalt, as this can burn paws. Check your dog regularly to monitor his exercise tolerance and take breaks as needed. Remember to take water with you on runs.


Not all dogs are meant to run alongside a bike. This can be dangerous in some cases (for you and the dog). However, cycling with your dog can be fun if you do it right. The most important thing is to start slowly. Let your dog get used to the bike. Then let him acclimatise to running and keep up with him. Pedal as slowly as possible at first and avoid too many twists and turns. Your dog should always be on a leash, so you may want to find a good bike accessory so you don’t have to hold the leash yourself.


Hiking gives your dog the opportunity to explore the world on a deeper level than just walking. When you first start hiking with your dog, keep your hikes short and preferably on cool days. Avoid difficult trails until your dog gets used to them and feels more confident.

As always, carry plenty of water. Your dog may even be able to carry his own backpack; just make sure it is well balanced and not too heavy for him.


Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs can swim. And some dogs simply don’t like to swim. But if you have a water dog, let him swim! You can incorporate the game of fetch and swim to make it even more fun. Just remember these water safety tips:

If your dog isn’t afraid of the water, but can’t swim, you can still teach him. Start with a dog life jacket and shallow water until he gets used to it.
If he likes the water, it won’t be long before he feels safe on his own.
If he doesn’t like the water, don’t push him. Some dogs are land-loving but not water-loving, so respect that.


There are lots of fun games you can play with your dog, some of which will also give him some exercise. Fetch, hide and seek and tug of war provide moderate exercise for your furry one and light exercise for you.

Games can also be used in training, which is a good form of mental stimulation.

Sports designed for dogs

There are many exciting sports for dogs today, and new ones seem to be emerging. Sports such as agility and canine freestyle will offer some light to moderate exercise as well as a great workout.

To get started with a dog sport, do a little research to find the ones that might be best suited to your companion.

Safety first

Consult with your trusted veterinarian before starting any type of exercise for your dog. When you exercise, let him set the pace. Take water and rest breaks. Avoid exercising in hot temperatures, especially with dogs that have shorter snouts (such as Bulldogs or Pugs), older dogs and dogs with health problems.

Regardless of the type of dog you have, watch for signs of exhaustion, illness or injury. If in doubt, stop exercising and head for home.

Also, be aware of your surroundings when exercising with your dog: the presence of other dogs or people can create a dangerous distraction, especially if your dog is off leash.

Feline hyperaesthesia: causes and treatments

Cats are very hygienic animals and spend much of their day grooming themselves. Although cats may devote a large part of their day to grooming, it is usually done in a dispersed rather than compulsive manner. For cats with feline hyperesthesia syndrome, grooming is very intense and prolonged. The results can be detrimental to your cat’s health, so let us tell you about it!

What is hyperaesthesia in cats?

Hyperesthesia in cats refers to an abnormal increase in sensitivity to certain stimuli. Specifically, feline hyperesthesia syndrome is a disorder characterised by a number of different symptoms. Although it is sometimes referred to as rolling skin disease, or nervous cat disease, this is not quite the case. Being more of a syndrome than a disease, it is a collection of clinical signs affecting the endocrine, exocrine, nervous and neuromuscular systems.

While we will look at the symptoms in more detail below, it is a condition characterised by repeated scratching and biting of the lumbar area. We may also see the cat’s skin moving on its own, a rippling that gives it the name of rolling skin disease. As with other seizure syndromes, the case of hyperesthesia is episodic. It does not usually last long and resolves quickly.

The main problems arise when the cat has repeated episodes and mutilates in the process. Hyperesthesia is also very stressful for the cat during an episode.

There are other names by which this syndrome is often referred to. These include nervous cat syndrome, neuritis or neurodermatitis. This is because the resulting excessive grooming can lead to inflammation of the skin, although the underlying cause appears to be neurological.

Some causes of feline hyperaesthesia

The three main theories are:

  • Behavioural disorder: since grooming is used as a means of relaxation for cats, stress is considered a cause of excessive grooming. This is related to the increased production of certain hormones that can be triggered by stress. Under this theory, stress translates into a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder that can lead to episodes of excessive grooming and self-mutilation.
  • Seizure disorder: As mentioned above, feline hyperesthesia syndrome occurs in episodes. As this is similar to the type of episodic epileptic seizures that cats may experience, it has led some researchers to suggest that it is also a seizure disorder.
  • Environmental and behavioural factors: With this theory, it is suggested that a variety of environmental and behavioural factors result in the symptoms of hyperesthesia in cats. This is supported by the fact that many other physical problems, such as skin disorders in cats, are the result of environmental and behavioural factors.

While no genetic link has been proven, there is a recorded propensity in certain breeds. Certain breeds of Asian cats, such as the Burmese, Abyssinian and Himalayan, seem to develop hyperaesthesia, more so than others, suggesting some hereditary factor.

Symptoms of hyperesthesia in cats

The main symptom during episodes of hyperesthesia is that the cat begins to repeatedly lick the area of the back and tail, i.e. the lumbar region. When the syndrome is sufficiently advanced, it is also possible that the cat will self-mutilate to counteract the unpleasant sensation which is accompanied by spasms of the skin.

Although we stress that an underlying neurological cause has not been confirmed, it may affect the nervous system and cause the following:

  • Dilated pupils.
  • Hypersalivation
  • Hallucinations.
  • Vocalisations.
  • Aggression.
  • Inappropriate urination.

Although many of these clinical signs are non-specific, the wounds and the attack on the lower back are characteristic. If we see this symptom in our cat, we should consider hyperesthesia as a possible cause.

Diagnosis of hyperesthesia in cats

As feline hyperesthesia syndrome is rare and often has non-specific symptoms, it will require a differential diagnosis to rule out other possible causes. This can only be done by a veterinarian, but it is important to record specific symptoms and behaviours before doing so. It is not always likely that an episode will occur while the cat is in the veterinary clinic, so we will need to be as specific as possible.

Once at the veterinary clinic, certain diagnostic tests will be performed. These will include skin tests for mites, bacteria and other pathogens that could be causing dermatitis. Blood tests for hormone levels and x-rays may be done to rule out other problems. These will help the veterinarian rule out other causes and confirm a diagnosis of hyperesthesia.

Treatment of hyperesthesia in cats

As the causes are poorly understood, treatment of feline hyperesthesia syndrome is difficult. What works for one cat may not be suitable for another. There are general measures we can take to help prevent seizure episodes. They include:

  • Create a calm environment: this requires eliminating potential stressors in the home, such as loud noises or constant movement. We will also need to provide a quiet area for them to rest.
  • Address stress issues: Stress in cats can be due to a variety of problems, ranging from dietary changes to trauma and other causes. If we are unable to determine the stressors in our cat’s life, then we should speak to a feline ethologist who can better assess their situation.

We should not attempt to intervene during an attack of hyperesthesia in cats. Although it may be very complicated for us, doing so may cause more harm to the cat and even result in aggression.

Do you live in Barcelona and think your kitten is going through something like this? If you suspect that he is suffering from feline hyperesthesia, do not hesitate for a moment, make an appointment with us and come to see us to find as soon as possible an appropriate diagnosis and treatment to help him.

How long does it take for a dog to give birth?

When we are caring for a pregnant bitch, everything is building up, and everything goes step by step, right up to the time of whelping. We want both the mother bitch and the future puppies to be as safe and healthy as possible. Since a prolonged and/or difficult labour will jeopardise the health of both, we need to know as much as we can before whelping. This includes regular veterinary check-ups during pregnancy to secure the bitch. It also requires us to know the basics of dog labour so that we can be better prepared for any eventuality.

At Hospital Veterinari Glòries we help you to learn more about dog whelping by answering the question: how long does whelping take in dogs? We look not only at the duration of a canine birth, but also at what you can expect in general from this special moment.

How do you know if a dog is in labour?

Before we explain how long a bitch’s labour lasts, we need to know how to identify the signs of whelping. These signs will indicate that whelping has begun and puppies are on the way. They include the following:

  • Drop in rectal temperature to 37.5°C or below, 12-18 hours before labour begins, although this does not occur in all bitches.
  • Loss of appetite about 12-24 hours before parturition.
  • In the 12-24 hours prior to whelping, the bitch will be restless and may be looking for a place to build a nest. If we have not already done so, we should prepare a comfortable and suitable place with blankets in a clean, warm and safe place. If she does not choose this place and opts for another, do not force her. We can move the new litter after the birth.
  • The bitch’s restlessness may indicate that she is beginning to feel contractions, i.e. the movements of the uterus that will help expel the puppies.
  • When the first stage of labour begins, the bitch may start panting heavily, licking her private parts and even vomiting.
  • If we see yellowish fluid, it is probably amniotic fluid from a ruptured birth sac. The first puppy should be born within minutes after this occurs.

Timing of a bitch’s birth

If we want to know how long a bitch’s whelping actually takes, we need to understand what happens at each of the stages. These are as follows:

  • First stage: This first stage of whelping lasts from 6 to 12 hours. It produces contractions that dilate the cervix so that the puppies can be born. This stage may be undetectable, although some bitches will be restless or uncomfortable and may continue to lick their private parts.
  • Second stage: Contractions become more intense and the first puppy will press against the cervix, stimulating the bitch to push. When the cervix is fully dilated, the puppy can come out. The puppy may be in an intact amniotic sac, but it is possible that it has ruptured inside the bitch. The bitch will give birth only a few minutes after the sac ruptures. The bitch will lick the puppy and cut the umbilical cord through chewing. Birth time between puppies varies, but usually ranges from 15 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Third stage: This stage of whelping corresponds to the expulsion of the placenta within minutes of the puppy’s birth. It is common for the bitch to ingest it. It is a good idea to count individual placentas as there should be as many as there are puppies. An unexpelled placenta could lead to infection.

Length of whelping in bitches

The gestation period of a pregnant bitch usually lasts between 63 and 67 days. After this time, the bitch can go into labour at any time. The length of whelping itself is variable, so we cannot say that there is a specific length of whelping for each bitch. However, there are some general times we can give when it comes to whelping a bitch.

While it is possible for a pregnant bitch to have only one puppy, this is rare. In most cases, the litter will be 4 to 6 puppies. This depends on certain factors, including breed. The birth of each puppy is preceded by an active whelping period which normally lasts between 5 and 30 minutes. The interval between births averages 15 minutes to 2 hours, but this does not mean that it will be the same for each puppy in a litter.

Using our calculations, we can say that the average length of a dog’s birth will be 6 to 8 hours. A healthy whelping may take less or more time, depending on a number of factors. We have already detailed the different stages of canine whelping, but the first stage can last up to 36 hours.

Because the times between puppies can differ, it can be difficult to know when labour is complete. For this reason, it is good to have a veterinarian confirm the number of puppies with an x-ray or ultrasound during pregnancy. If we see the mother pushing for more than 30-60 minutes without a puppy being born, we should call the vet immediately.

In some cases, a miscarriage can occur with a stillborn puppy. In these cases, it is common for the mother to eat the puppy. Have you been present at the birth of a dog and do our estimates match your experience? We’d love to hear more about the canine birth you witnessed.

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