Category: Health

Why is my cat panting like a dog?

Panting is a behavior we most often associate with dogs, not cats. Although dogs of all sizes pant, it is often more common in large dogs that they pant with their tongues sticking out. By comparison, a cat sticking its tongue out and panting isn’t something we associate as much with cats. When we see a cat panting like a dog, we can think that something is wrong. Although a cat can pant due to environmental factors, there are some diseases and conditions that have panting as a symptom.

In this article we help you understand when this is normal behavior and when it could be a sign that they need veterinary help.

Normal panting in cats

If you see your cat panting like a dog, there are times when this is considered normal. Panting is dyspnea (difficulty) and excessive breathing that requires the mouth to be open. Cats breathe rapidly when they pant, usually with their tongues sticking out. Cats normally breathe through their noses, which means that normal panting is usually due to one of the following causes:

  • Excitement or exercise.
  • Birth.
  • High temperatures.
  • Fear or stress.

Why is my cat panting like a dog?

If your cat is panting like a dog, that is, panting a lot, it may be cause for concern. Not only can they be affected by the acute problems noted above, but it could possibly be a symptom of a certain disease. Often these illnesses are respiratory and cause shortness of breath, but not all of them do. Anemia, heart disease, hormonal imbalance, and endocrine disorders are some others.

Respiratory diseases

One of the most common respiratory illnesses that cause panting in kitties is feline asthma. You may notice this first by other symptoms, such as wheezing when breathing. Asthma symptoms are due to constriction of the lower respiratory tract that makes it difficult for air to pass through. The cat will pant as a means of opening its airway.

Asthma isn’t the only respiratory disease that can cause dog-like panting. Pleural effusion is an accumulation of fluid in the space between the lung and its covering membrane, known as the ‘pleura’. This fluid can be blood (hemothorax), water (hydrothorax), or lymphatic fluid (chylothorax). It can be the result of high blood pressure, infectious peritonitis, or other causes.

Severe anemia

Cats can suffer from various types of anemia, some of which are very serious. They reduce the hematocrit (percentage of red blood cells in the cat’s blood volume) and cause poor oxygenation of the tissues by the blood cells. Signs associated with anemia in cats are tachycardia, increased respiratory rate, panting, weakness, and pale mucous membranes.

Heart disease

Heart disease is another clear cause of pathological panting in cats. Among them, congestive heart failure stands out. It is often caused by a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, sometimes related to feline hyperthyroidism or restrictive cardiomyopathy.

Poisoning

Some drugs, foods or plants that are toxic to cats can affect the animal’s respiratory center. This affects the correct lung expansion for gas exchange and causes respiratory distress (dyspnea). Panting like a dog is the result of this distress.

Diaphragm herniation

Cats may also pant when the thoracic space for lung expansion is reduced by the presence of abdominal viscera in the thoracic cavity, such as occurs with a diaphragmatic hernia. In diaphragmatic hernias, there is a discontinuity of the diaphragm, a structure that separates the abdominal cavity from the chest cavity. This can cause viscera such as the stomach, spleen, liver, or intestine to enter the wrong cavity, causing gasping.

What to do if my cat is panting a lot?

When the cat has a pathological problem whose symptom is panting like a dog, the treatment will correspond to this problem. However, there are ways we can help the cat avoid panting due to various environmental and physiological factors. They include:

  • Keep your cat hydrated.
  • Avoid ingesting toxic substances.
  • Control your weight.
  • Regular appointments with the veterinarian.

We are experts in respiratory problems, so we encourage you to take your pet to the vet if he suffers from any condition or pain, whatever its origin. In case of any doubt, we are here to help you.

Neurological problems in cats

Neurological disorders are those that affect the central and/or peripheral nervous system of cats. They can be the result of acquired diseases, trauma, genetic inheritance, and other causes, some of which are idiopathic.

Today we look at the different types of neurological disorders in cats. We understand its different causes and symptoms, as well as looking for the best methods to treat the neurological problems of our feline friends.

Vestibular syndrome

Cats can have two types of vestibular syndrome: central and peripheral. The vestibular system is located in the inner ear and is part of the auditory system, along with the cochlea. It is involved in maintaining balance and orientation, something very important in cats that are characterized by their agility. Your body is highly coordinated, and the vestibular system helps each part know where to be in relation to the other. Vestibular syndrome can be unilateral or bilateral, depending on whether it affects one or both ears, respectively. Treatment of vestibular syndrome in cats will vary depending on the underlying cause. There is no specific and generic treatment for all cases. It is essential that we go to a veterinarian if we suspect that our cat may have vestibular syndrome of either of the two types.

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder in cats, in part because it refers to a group of conditions rather than a specific disorder. Epilepsy is defined as periodically repeated seizures. Between the seizures, the cat appears completely normal. Epilepsy causes a sudden activation of a group of neurons that cause overexcitement and agitation of the cat’s body. It acts on a specific muscle group (focal epilepsy) or on the whole body (generalized epileptic seizure).

The causes of epilepsy in cats can be idiopathic, that is, without apparent origin. It can also be the result of diseases that affect the brain, vascular disorders, hypoxia, liver or kidney disorders (hepatic or uremic encephalopathy), or thiamine deficiency.

Epilepsy treatment should include medications such as phenobarbital to reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures. It will also help prevent continuous seizures that last more than 10 minutes. Prolonged seizures can cause a rise in body temperature (hyperthermia) that can be fatal.

Spinal diseases

The spinal cord is divided into four functional units: the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and lumbosacral areas. Depending on the affected area, they produce combinations of upper and lower motor neuron syndromes in the forelimbs and hindlimbs.

Thoracolumbar or lumbosacral spine disorders

Clinical signs likely to indicate spinal cord impairment include paresis (partial motor failure) or paraplegia (total motor failure). This can occur in one or more limbs, depending on the disease and the location of the spinal cord injury.

If the affected area is the thoracolumbar area (behind the T2 spinal cord segment to the lumbar segment), the paresis is of the upper motor neuron, where the reflexes are opposite or are normal or increased in the hind legs.

The causes of these disorders of the thoracolumbar or lumbosacral spine are hernias, fobrocartilaginous embolization, neoplasms, spondylosis, disc spondylitis or degenerative lumbosacral stenosis, among others.

Cervical spine disorders

The most severe form occurs when the spinal problem is localized to the first segments of the spine. These are located in the neck and go back to the T2 spinal segment. This results in ataxia and paralysis of all four limbs. When the lesion is located in the first half (segment C1-C5), an upper motor neuron syndrome occurs in all four limbs. If it occurs in the C6-T2 segment, a lower motor syndrome occurs in the forelimbs.

The causes are cervical disc disease, cartilage embolization, atlantoaxial subluxation or Wobbler syndrome (cervical spondylopathy), among others.

Diseases of the meninges

Another area that can be affected is the meninges. These are the membranes that cover the central nervous system and the spinal cord. The meninges are three-layered.

The meninges can be affected in various ways and the location of an infection helps determine the disease:

  • Meningitis: when the meninges become infected in isolation
  • Meningoencephalitis: when it also infects the brain.
  • Meningomyelitis: when the spinal cord is also infected.

The most typical symptom of meningeal infections is pain, which causes acute cervical stiffness and tenderness of the neck and spine. The cat may also have seizures and behavioral disturbances, as well as fever, anorexia, and lethargy. Another problem with inflammation of the meninges is that it can cause hydrocephalus by reducing the absorption of cerebrospinal fluid in the subarachnoid space and venous sinuses.

Cranial nerve diseases

In cats, cranial nerves exit the cerebrum or brainstem and innervate structures in the head. When damaged they can also produce signs of neurological disorders in cats. Let’s look at some examples:

  • Damage to the trigeminal nerve (pair V): innervates the head, causes lack of sensitivity and hinders the muscles necessary for chewing. For this reason, you may find that the cat does not eat as much.
  • Damage to the facial nerve (nerve VII): causes the ears and lips to loosen, the tear ducts to leak, and the dexterity of the tongue to be reduced. Damage to this nerve can be caused by otitis media or inner ear infections.
  • Damage to the glossopharyngeal nerve (pair IX), the vagus nerve (pair X) and the accessory nerve (pair XI): these are responsible for controlling the motor activity of the esophagus for swallowing. The result is usually difficulty swallowing, regurgitation, changes in vocalization, dry mouth, inspiratory dyspnea, cervical muscle atrophy (in case of accessory nerve injury), etc.
  • Damage to the hypoglossal nerve (pair XII): innervates the tongue producing paralysis and atrophy, making it difficult to eat food.

Although these are the most common neurological disorders in cats, there are many more that can affect the central nervous system, causing other serious signs such as stroke. For this reason, it is essential to carry out adequate preventive action and go to routine controls to detect any anomaly as soon as possible. If you notice any of the neurological symptoms mentioned, do not hesitate to take your cat to the nearest veterinary center.

How to reduce stress in a dog?

We don’t like to think that our dogs get stressed. They are often our own anxiety relievers and can be amazing pillars of support. Although they do not face the same problems as humans, dogs can be seriously affected by stress. In chronic cases, it can be very detrimental to your health. For this reason, we must determine why a dog gets so stressed.

We look at the main reasons why a dog is stressed, what symptoms dogs with stress exhibit, and what we can do as caregivers to relieve their stress.

Why do dogs get stressed?

To understand why our dog is stressed, we need to understand what he is experiencing. Stress is an automatic response generated by the dog’s body to a specific stimulus. Such a stimulus can be many things, including or especially things that we don’t necessarily interpret as stressors. For a dog, it can be another dog, a person, a car, or even an environment they don’t like.

Stress is an important part of a dog’s body. It sends signals to your body that can help if you are really in danger. For example, when a dog sees another dog, the release of adrenaline accompanied by stress can help it to evade the situation or defend itself. However, when the stress is excessive, it means that his body is negatively affected for no reason.

These negative reactions are often related to feelings of insecurity.
There are several factors that contribute to a dog’s well-being. These are represented in the five freedoms of animal welfare:

  1. Free from thirst, hunger and malnutrition.
  2. Freedom from discomfort.
  3. Free from pain, disease and injury.
  4. Freedom of expression.
  5. Freedom from fear and stress.

When the first four freedoms are fulfilled, the dog is more likely to be free from fear and stress. However, there are some specific reasons why a dog may be stressed.

Common causes of stress in dogs

Here are some specific reasons a dog may become stressed:

  • Inadequate Socialization: How a dog relates to others is a vital part of maintaining his well-being. This is especially so when they are young, as their early experiences will define them in many ways. If this period of socialization is neglected or if they have negative experiences, it can lead to stress in the future.
  • Lack of basic care: When dogs are not provided with shelter, food, exercise, companionship or some of their basic needs, they will feel insecure and develop stress. Our responsibility in adopting a dog is to satisfy his needs, something that requires capital, commitment and time.
  • Inadequate education: we can educate and train our dog in different ways and each dog will have its individual needs. However, negative reinforcement of education is never recommended. When we scold, yell or use physical violence against a dog it will be counterproductive to their learning and is likely to lead to stress and behavioral disturbances.
  • Environmental changes: Changes in the environment can lead to feelings of stress due to fear of the unknown. Bringing a new dog into the house, changing addresses, having a baby, or making any changes can be stressful, especially if the dog is not supported throughout the process.
  • Trauma: if the dog has suffered an accident, has been attacked by another animal or suffers some type of trauma, he may suffer stress. More anxiety can be provoked if they encounter some stimulus that reminds them of their trauma.

Symptoms of stress in dogs

Signs of stress in dogs include:

  • Stereotypes: these are repetitive behaviors or movements that have no obvious function. A common stereotype in kennels can be seen when dogs walk in circles for prolonged periods. They may also obsessively lick patches of skin, eat foreign objects, or display other behaviors that can lead to physical harm.
  • Aggression: When a dog is in a stressful situation, he may fear his safety is being compromised and become aggressive in reaction. When stress is prolonged, aggressive behavior can intensify.
  • Apathy: As stated above, dogs are individuals. Not everyone will react to stress in the same way. While some can become aggressive, others can withdraw into themselves and eventually become apathetic and depressed.
  • Excessive activity: it must be distinguished from a naturally hyperactive dog. The latter can be due to various reasons, not necessarily unhealthy. However, a stressed dog may find it difficult to relax.
  • Fear: Pervasive fear is a common result of stress. When the dog is in non-threatening environments, he may show signs of fear due to other stressors.
  • Excessive expression: Stressed dogs are more likely to respond to stimuli unnecessarily. When they hear a noise or feel a disturbance, a stressed dog is more likely to bark or growl. They can also bark when we are not around or generally make a lot of noise.

How is stress treated in dogs?

The first thing we need to do when we see signs of stress in our dog is to understand the underlying cause. The above reasons for canine stress may provide some help, but it is important that we take them to a veterinarian to differentiate if their behavior is related to physical discomfort or illness, or if it is emotional.

Once you’ve assessed your dog’s specific needs and implemented education and training plans to help alleviate stress issues, there are also some basic steps you can take at home to help reduce stress.

They include:

  • Meet the dog’s basic needs: review the dog’s care and make sure he is receiving the right type of food at the right time. Make sure he gets adequate levels of exercise and this is another reason to visit the vet as he will also be able to help determine if he suffers from any nutritional deficiencies.
  • Provide more education: If the dog has had training before, reinforcing his education will have a positive effect. It allows the dog more opportunities to spend time socializing, provides exercise, rewards and cognitive stimulation, all factors to improve the feeling of stress.
  • Environmental enrichment: If lack of stimulation creates stress, an important way to help a dog is by improving her environment. Provide toys, intelligence games, a cozy resting area and other accessories that will help the dog in her well-being.
  • Spend time together: Even if you can’t be around each other all the time, you should make your time together special. More than taking them for their necessary walks, giving them massages, petting them regularly, encouraging them in general and looking for activities that you can do together. All of this will go a long way in eliminating your dog’s feelings of stress.

Understanding why a dog is stressed is very important to continue advancing his well-being. Once you’ve ruled out a physical problem and tried the steps above, you should improve your quality of life and relieve stress. Remember to know the dog and act according to his individual needs. If you’re still stressed after all, it may be time to talk to a professional.

Hookworms in Cats: What are they? Causes, symptoms and diagnosis

Similar to tapeworms and worms, hookworms are a group of blood-sucking parasites that can live in your cat’s digestive system. They belong to the genus Ancylostoma. These parasites affect a wide variety of mammals, not just cats. They are known as “hookworms” due to the hook-shaped mouth with which the parasites anchor themselves to the intestinal walls.

Read on to learn more about hookworms in cats, their possible causes, the most common symptoms, how to treat them, and how to prevent them in the future.

What are hookworms in cats?

Feline hookworm is a parasitic disease caused by worms belonging to the Ancylostomatidae family, which includes several species. Cats are most affected by Ancylostoma tubaeforme, Ancylostoma braziliense, and Uncinaria stenocephala. Compared to dogs, cats tend to harbor relatively few hookworms, and these are generally less aggressive than the species found in dogs.

Cats become parasitized when L3 larvae (third instar larvae) enter their bodies. This can happen through ingestion, by penetrating your skin, or by consuming the milk of an infected mother. The larvae settle in the feline’s small intestine and continue to develop until they reach their final adult stage.

This type of parasite has teeth to adhere to the wall of your cat’s small intestine, causing extensive damage to the intestinal lining. The disease often progresses to traumatic ulcerative enteritis, and the most common symptoms include anemia, progressive wasting, and dramatic weight loss.

Causes of Feline Hookworms

Generally, hot and humid environments create the perfect conditions for hookworm proliferation, especially in areas where there is overcrowding and poor sanitation. Female hookworms lay thousands of microscopic eggs that end up in the cat’s feces. The larvae will eventually hatch from the eggs and remain alive in the soil for weeks or months. The most common routes of transmission are the following:

  • Percutaneous: the larvae enter the body through the cat’s skin in areas without fur.
  • Oral: usually occurs when the cat grooms its paws after having been in contact with the larvae.
  • Mother’s milk: Kittens become infected through ingestion of milk from a parasitized mother.

Pathogenesis of hookworm in cats

Once the parasites reach the intestine, they will latch onto the intestinal lining with their large, serrated mouth. This will cause traumatic intestinal inflammation, which will cause the cat to start losing blood. The parasites also secrete anticoagulant substances that prevent the blood from clotting, ensuring a constant blood flow. This produces anemia and general weakness in the affected cat.

Symptoms of hookworm in cats

Most of the visible symptoms of feline hookworm infection are a consequence of the traumatic intestinal inflammatory process that begins once the parasites have latched onto the intestinal walls. These are the most common clinical signs that hookworms are affecting a cat:

  • Dermatitis
  • Itchy feet
  • Weight loss in adults.
  • Reduced growth in kittens.
  • Intestinal ulcers.
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition.
  • Progressive anemia.
  • Pale mucous membranes.
  • Tachycardia.
  • Respiratory insufficiency.
  • Poor coat quality.

If you notice any of the clinical signs listed above, you should contact your vet immediately. Keep in mind that kitties with parasites are extremely susceptible, and these parasites can be very debilitating, even deadly.

Diagnosis of Hookworms in Cats

It is possible to diagnose a hookworm infection before the appearance of the first symptoms by means of a parasitological test. Most of the symptoms listed above are non-specific and can be attributed to various feline diseases or infections. However, if you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to take them to a vet for diagnosis.

The most common parasitological test to detect this type of parasite is done through a technique called fecal flotation. This technique involves mixing a small amount of cat feces with a special solution. This causes the hookworm eggs to float and stick to a glass slide, where they can be easily identified under a microscope.
Treatment of hookworm in cats
The first thing to do if a cat is affected by this parasite is to stabilize the cat. This is done by providing adequate nutrition, administering fluid therapy to correct electrolyte imbalances or dehydration, and assessing whether a blood transfusion is necessary. An antiparasitic medicine called an anthelmintic should also be given.

Most anthelmintics can kill adult larvae but are ineffective at treating early-stage larvae. For treatment to be successful, another dose should be given every 2 weeks. In this way, the drug is able to kill the adult larvae that matured after the previous treatment.

Prevention of hookworms in cats

The best way to prevent parasites in cats is through regular deworming.

In the case of pregnant cats, it is advisable to deworm them at the end of pregnancy in order to reduce the chances of transmitting the infection to the kittens through milk. As for the puppies kittens, they must be dewormed at 6 weeks. Then the treatment should be repeated every 2 or 3 weeks up to 3 months. Thereafter, preventive internal and external deworming is recommended every 3 months.

Strict hygiene in the home is especially important if the cat can go in and out of the house. Proper disposal of cat feces is important, as feces must be removed from litter boxes every day.

Can humans get hookworms from cats?

Yes, feline hookworms are zoonotic, which means they can be transmitted to people. Hookworms do not infect humans internally like they do in cats or dogs, but they can cause a skin disease called cutaneous larva migrans. This can only occur if humans come into contact with a parasitized cat or litter contaminated with its feces. The infection causes a mild dermatitis accompanied by an itchy sensation.

My cat eats flies. Is it bad?

A common phenomenon in cats is sitting by a window and making a chattering sound. The exact reason for this sound is unknown, but it occurs when they see potential prey. These prey can vary in size and species. They can do it when they see a bird, a rodent, or other small mammals. However, they can also do it when they see small insects like flies. Although it may not happen all the time, when the fly is around, they can spend a lot of time chasing it and wanting to catch it.

Although we feed our cat well, it is common for us to see it eat flies regularly. Is it bad for them to eat flies? We discuss it below.

Why do cats hunt and eat flies?

Even at home, cats are still predatory animals. They have a hunting instinct that leads them to adopt a hunting behavior. Their wild counterparts survive on prey that often consists primarily of small mammals and birds, but also includes reptiles and even insects. This is because they all contain the protein necessary for the cat’s body to survive.

A house cat does not have to hunt prey in the same way as a wild cat. We provide them with food. Although they may be nutritionally satiated, their hunting instinct does not stop. This is important, as the cat will need to find a way to survive if he is to be separated from his guardians for any reason.

Despite the possible need to hunt, it is important to note that the need to hunt also exists regardless of hunger. Even if a cat has eaten, you may see it chasing and hunting potential prey, including flies. The sounds mentioned in the introduction are not fully understood, but are part of their hunting behavior.

We can also see that the cat can move its head from side to side. The purpose is to calculate the distance that separates them from the prey so that they do not get lost when they attack. If we are concerned about the type of prey the cat is going to chase, we must bear in mind that cats generally do not attack prey that is larger or more dangerous than they are. However, we must know that there are some potential risks even with small dams.

Why do cats play with flies before killing them?

In addition to trying to obtain food, hunting has other important functions in cats. We can see this when the cat catches a fly, but does not eat it immediately or does not eat it. In these cases, we often see the cat stun the fly and then play with it. They can allow the fly to drift away a bit before pouncing on them again and then repeating this action. This may seem cruel, but it serves important purposes for the cat. The reasons for this behavior include:

  • Skill Development: Kittens have an innate hunting instinct, but they must also hone this instinct by developing skills. Their mother will teach them certain techniques, but they will also practice with her siblings to better understand abilities and limits. When the cat is separated from its mother and siblings, they will find other participants to keep these skills honed. These could be other companion animals in the home, their human companions, small critters like flies, and even inanimate objects.
  • Health: hunting in this way is also important for well-being. If a cat does not have the opportunity to use his instinct, he will feel physically unstimulated and emotionally bored. When this happens, behavior problems will develop and they may even become aggressive. This is one of the reasons why the cat will not only try to eat flies, but will spend a lot of time doing it and playing with its prey.
  • Maternal instinct: It is known that female cats tend to play with their prey more than males. The reason behind this is believed to be the maternal instinct that cats have to care for their kittens. Since kittens need to learn by themselves, mother cats often bring partially live prey to kittens so that they can practice hunting. Males do not care for kittens in the same way, although they may play with flies before eating them.
  • Safety: Finally, the cats will also prolong their hunt to make sure they are not in danger. Although cats will try to hunt smaller creatures, some prey can cause them harm. For example, rats have sharp teeth and bees have stings. For this reason, the cat will need to stun the prey before approaching to kill. This hesitancy can even apply to flies if the cat is not completely sure of its safety.

Is it okay for cats to eat flies?

As we have seen, it is not uncommon for our cat to hunt and eat a fly. Due to their small size, eating small insects should not cause them any harm. In fact, the fly can add some natural protein to its diet. But there is concern about whether the fly will carry certain pathogens that can damage the cat’s immune system. In this sense, the flies that carry certain diseases can do so in such small quantities that they do not pose any health problem.

However, there are some circumstances in which the fly can cause harm to the cat after ingestion. It is possible that there are powerful bacteria and microbes that can harm the cat’s body after ingestion. Parasites can also be present in the fly, which then infest the cat’s gastrointestinal system. This is because cats can get worms from eating flies. There are even some flies that act as parasites by burrowing into the cat’s fur, such as bot flies.

Whether we see our cat eating flies or not, we must be on the lookout for any symptoms of digestive problems. These include vomiting and diarrhea, in addition to noticing the presence of eggs in the stool. If you think your cat has a disease from eating flies, talk to your vet right away. Deworming and vaccinating your cat is also vital to prevent diseases that can occur from eating flies. Follow vaccination and deworming programs closely!

What is laryngeal paralysis in dogs?

Laryngeal paralysis is a condition that affects the upper respiratory tract in dogs. When it occurs, the laryngeal cartilages do not open (abduct) properly during inspiration. It can be due to congenital or acquired causes, as well as unilateral or bilateral. Some dogs may have the problem, but remain asymptomatic. In these cases, no treatment is required. However, there is a risk of respiratory failure in some cases that will require appropriate treatment, usually in the form of surgical intervention.

At Glòries Veterinary Hospital, we closely observe laryngeal paralysis in dogs. Read on to learn about its causes, symptoms, and treatment, as well as which breeds are most likely to be affected by the condition.

What is laryngeal paralysis in dogs?

Laryngeal paralysis is an obstructive disorder of the upper respiratory tract. Within this tract are the arytenoid cartilages of the larynx. These cartilages must abduct (open) to let in air and adduct (closer together) to keep it there, before abducting again to complete breathing. Laryngeal paralysis prevents these processes from occurring due to a loss of innervation of the dorsal cricoarytenoid muscle.

The dorsal cricoarytenoid muscle is responsible for the movement of the larynx. When the innervation of this muscle is lost, its contraction is inhibited and it atrophies. Consequently, the arytenoid cartilages of the larynx do not open properly and the glottis rhyme (opening of the larynx) narrows during inspiration, increasing the inspiratory effort.

Depending on the muscles affected, we find the following types of laryngeal paralysis in dogs:

  • Laryngeal hemiplegia: in the case that only the dorsal cricoarytenoid muscle is affected on one side of the larynx (unilateral).
  • Complete paralysis: when the muscles on both sides of the larynx (bilateral) are affected.

It should be noted that laryngeal paralysis is one of the common conditions in dogs with brachycephalic syndrome. It has been recorded that it is present in 30% of dogs that suffer from this problem.

Symptoms of laryngeal paralysis in dogs

The clinical signs that we can find in dogs with laryngeal paralysis are:

  • Laryngeal stridor: abnormal breathing sound that occurs during inspiration. As the glottis rhyme narrows, the resistance to the passage of air increases and turbulence is generated that causes laryngeal stridor.
  • Exercise intolerance: In some cases, syncope (fainting in dogs) can occur.
  • Dysphagia: difficulty swallowing. Coughing fits are common during food or water intake. In some animals, cases of aspiration pneumonia occur due to the passage of food into the respiratory tract.
  • Vocalization alteration: variations can be detected in contrast to their usual barking. It can cause aphonia in some cases.
  • Inspiratory dyspnea: respiratory distress that affects only the inspiratory phase of respiration.
  • Tachypnea: increased respiratory rate.
  • Cyanosis: bluish discoloration of the mucous membranes due to insufficient oxygenation of the blood.

Causes of laryngeal paralysis in dogs

Laryngeal paralysis can be of two types:

  • Congenital: when dogs are born with this pathology due to genetic inheritance.
  • Acquired: when dogs develop this pathology throughout their lives as a consequence of various causes.

Congenital laryngeal paralysis

It appears in breeds such as the Siberian Husky, the Rottweiler, the Flandres Mountain Dog, the Bull Terrier and the Dalmatian. In some cases, the existence of an autosomal dominant gene responsible for the heritability of this disease has been found. Dogs with congenital laryngeal paralysis present this alteration from birth, although the signs associated with it do not usually appear until 5-8 months of age.

Acquired laryngeal paralysis

It appears in breeds such as the Labrador Retriever, the Golden Retriever, the Saint Bernard or the Irish Setter. It is more common than the congenital form of the disease.

The causes of acquired laryngeal paralysis in dogs are varied:

  • Trauma (bites, wounds, foreign bodies, surgeries) that affect the recurrent laryngeal nerve.
  • Recurrent laryngeal nerve compression due to thyroid neoplasms, masses, or abscesses in the neck or mediastinum.
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Polymyositis or myasthenia gravis.
  • Polyneuropathies of metabolic, toxic, or infectious origin
  • Immune-mediated causes.

However, it should be noted that in most cases the cause that triggers the paralysis is unknown. This means that many of the cases of laryngeal paralysis in dogs are idiopathic.

Diagnosis of laryngeal paralysis in dogs

The diagnosis of laryngeal paralysis in dogs should be based on the following tests and evaluations:

  • Physical examination: paying special attention to the neurological examination to evaluate possible myopathies or neuropathies. The neurological exam will look for signs such as paresis (weakness in movement), decreased spinal reflexes, or muscle atrophy.
  • Laryngoscopy: This is a type of endoscopy that examines the larynx. It is used to observe that during inspiration there is no opening (abduction) of the arytenoid cartilages of the larynx. A lack of tone can be observed in the vocal cords and an alteration of the adjacent tissues, with edema and erythema. Laryngoscopy should be performed under light sedation. If the dog is under heavy sedation, the laryngeal reflexes will be canceled and a false positive will be diagnosed.
  • Chest X-rays: These are used to detect other muscle abnormalities (such as megaesophagus), mediastinal or intrathoracic masses, and aspiration pneumonia.
  • Blood test with thyroid profile: it is important to rule out that the cause of the paralysis is hypothyroidism, since in these cases the treatment does not reverse the paralysis. In addition, specific laboratory tests can be performed to detect generalized neuromuscular diseases or myasthenia gravis.

Treatment for laryngeal paralysis in dogs

Unilateral hemiplegia or paralysis is rarely treated, as it is not normally life-threatening for the animal. However, in cases of complete or bilateral paralysis, surgical treatment is almost always required. With the latter, animals often have moderate to severe respiratory failure that greatly compromises their quality of life and well-being.

Currently, there are multiple surgical techniques to treat laryngeal paralysis in dogs. These are the three most important:

  • Unilateral or bilateral lateralization of the arytenoid cartilage (tie back).
  • Ventricle-cordectomy.
  • Partial laryngectomy.

All of them are intended to enlarge the glottis rhyme (laryngeal opening) to facilitate the passage of air. The opening should be large enough to allow air to pass through, but not excessive, as it could increase the risk of aspiration pneumonia. Therefore, the most aggressive surgical techniques should be ruled out. Currently, the technique of choice is unilateral lateralization of the arytenoid cartilage with low tension sutures. Both ventriculo-cordectomy and partial laryngectomy produce inconsistent results with a high complication rate and are therefore less recommended.

Postoperative care

After surgery for laryngeal paralysis, the following care guidelines should be considered:

  • Overriding any agitation of the patient assists in anesthetic recovery. Oxygen may be required during the immediate postoperative period.
  • Corticosteroid treatment will be started to reduce the risk of edema and swelling of the larynx.
  • After 24 hours, a small amount of water should be offered to the animal. If the patient tolerates it well, wet feeding can be started. After two weeks, dry food can be offered. If dry feed is not tolerated (cough, dysphagia, etc.), the feed will remain moist for another two weeks. If you follow a homemade diet, it will be equally important to make it as bland as possible, as well as to opt for easily digestible foods.
  • Physical exercise should be restricted for 3 weeks, although improvement in respiratory failure is usually immediate.
  • During walks it is preferable to use a harness instead of a collar.

How to prevent laryngeal paralysis in dogs?

In the case of congenital laryngeal paralysis, it has been shown that in some breeds there is an autosomal dominant gene that is responsible for the heritability of this disease. As a preventive measure, dogs born with this pathology should be prevented from reproducing to prevent the disease from being transmitted to their offspring.
However, prevention of acquired laryngeal paralysis is much more difficult. Due to its many possible causes, many of which are idiopathic, we cannot specifically prevent it. Instead, we must do everything we can to make sure our dog is healthy and happy. This means providing basic care needs, observing possible symptoms, and ensuring that we provide regular veterinary check-ups.

Diaphragmatic hernia in cats: causes, symptoms and treatment

The diaphragm in cats works in the same way as the human diaphragm. It is a layer of abdominal muscle that contracts to make the lungs expand. Doing so helps with breathing as the lungs breathe in and out. The diaphragm of a cat is susceptible to the same pathologies and trauma, although a diaphragmatic hernia is more common in cats than in humans. Affected cats will present with symptoms that can vary in severity, but it is possible that it can cause compression of the lungs and heart that can be very dangerous.

In the next few lines, we reveal more about diaphragmatic hernia in cats. We discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of feline diaphragmatic hernias so you can know what to expect if your cat is affected by one.

What is a diaphragmatic hernia in cats?

At its most basic description, a diaphragmatic hernia occurs when there is an abnormal hole or opening through which the contents of the cat’s abdomen escape. These contents are usually in the form of fatty tissue, but can include abdominal organs such as the liver, spleen, stomach or intestine. The amount of leakage depends on the size of the hernia.

The diaphragm is an important muscle for breathing. It causes negative pressure when it contracts, reducing the curvature of the diaphragm and returning to the center. This increases the volume of the chest cavity and allows the lungs to expand for continued breathing. The diaphragm is located between the thoracic and abdominal cavities, acting as a protector between the two and preventing the abdominal organs from penetrating the thoracic cavity.

Types of diaphragmatic hernia in cats

Diaphragmatic hernias in cats can be of two main types:

  • Traumatic Diaphragmatic Hernia – After a hit, fall, or fight, internal damage can occur, including rupture of the diaphragm. The result can be a hernia and an opening between the chest and abdominal cavities.
  • Congenital peritoneum-pericardial diaphragmatic hernia: there is an extensive opening between the pericardial cavity (layer that surrounds the heart) and the peritoneum (layer that covers the abdominal viscera). It is usually of congenital origin. This means that cats are born with this hernia, but many of them do not have any symptoms. In symptomatic cases, liver and gallbladder abnormalities are usually seen.

Causes of diaphragmatic hernia in cats

Generally, diaphragmatic hernias in small kittens are usually of congenital origin, those that appear after birth are of traumatic origin. In cats, they are most often caused by an accident, such as a fall from a great height, being in a vehicular collision, or hitting an object at high speed.

It should be noted that the diaphragm in young cats is a fine structure and still underdeveloped. This means that it is more frequent and easier to break than adults. It is also possible that the cat has a congenital diaphragmatic hernia that is small and asymptomatic, but widens due to trauma later in life.

Symptoms of diaphragmatic hernia in cats

Cats with a diaphragmatic hernia will generally exhibit clinical respiratory signs, ranging from mild respiratory distress to significant respiratory dysfunction. The latter will be accompanied by severe dyspnea (shortness of breath) and injuries. These can cause chest wall dysfunction, presence of air, fluid, or viscera in the pleural space, pulmonary edema, cardiovascular dysfunction, and shock.

Cats often have rib breathing (lung breathing), which causes the chest to expand more than usual and may show a distended belly. Just over 10% of cats have cardiac arrhythmias. Other clinical signs include:

  • Chest gurgling noises.
  • Reduced cardiorespiratory sound.
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexy.
  • Regurgitation.
  • Dysphagia.
  • Jaundice.

Diaphragmatic hernia feline diagnosis

Diagnosis is made using a chest radiograph to visualize herniated organs in the chest cavity and assess the severity of the hernia. Ultrasound will be used in some cases to differentiate the abdominal organs and auscultation of the chest to evaluate the sounds produced.

Treatment of diaphragmatic hernia in cats

Treatment of congenital diaphragmatic hernias depends on whether they cause symptoms. However, if they do require treatment, the only option for both these and traumatic diaphragmatic hernias is reconstructive surgery of the diaphragm.

If you think that your cat may be suffering from some type of diaphragmatic hernia, do not hesitate to contact us so that we can review the health of your pet.

How to maintain a healthy weight in your dog?

It is not easy for any of us to keep our weight in check. Sweets, trinkets and copious foods of all kinds sound pretty good to us at this time of year … Right? And your dog sure agrees with it.

His moving gaze is able to convince us all. You’re about to give your pup a tasty bite from your plate when what the vet said comes to mind; the fats in your dog’s body could make him sick.

Do you want to know how to keep your furry four-legged at a healthy weight? We tell you more below

Maintain the ideal weight of your pet

Obesity is never the goal when you feed your dog table scraps. Although it can be hard to resist the stare you get when you take food off your furry friend’s plate, many human foods are toxic and packed with calories and fats that only the most active dogs can burn. Directly, you should avoid feeding your dog food from your plate. Excess weight in pets can cause:
Painful joints
Lethargy.
Changes in behavior (some dogs become more aggressive, for example)
Give your pet a healthy life
A dog’s activity level decreases in the last half of his life. Therefore, a daily walk can be excellent for your pet’s health, keeping the muscles toned. Games, like fetching the ball, can also help keep you healthy longer. The extra calories will affect your dog’s mood, level of interest in his surroundings, and overall physical health.

Overweight dogs are more susceptible to health problems such as:

  • Arthritis.
  • Hypertension.
  • Respiratory problems.
  • Stress in your heart.
  • Increased sensitivity to heat.
  • Pancreatitis
  • Diabetes.
  • Liver disease

Age-related weight gain

Sometimes, even if you are careful what you feed your dog, he can still gain weight. As pets age, their nutritional needs change. If your dog is seven years old or older, talk to your vet about changing his food to ensure the calories and nutrients necessary to maintain a healthy weight for your dog.

Preventive care is essential for your pet’s health

We are delighted to welcome all of you and your pets for annual health exams. At Hospital Veterinario Glòries we encourage you to keep your pet’s visits to the vet and vaccinations up to date. Preventive care is the first step in giving your dog a longer, healthier life through food and exercise.

During the physical exam, the vet will look for early signs of illness. The sooner the treatment begins, the better results we can achieve.

We would love to help you create a healthy weight management plan for your dog. Call us at 932 460 805 to schedule an appointment or write to us directly from our website.

Rectal prolapse in dogs

Rectal prolapse in dogs most commonly occurs when one puts too much pressure and strain on the anus. If your dog suffers from a rectal prolapse, it is very important that you take him to the vet as soon as possible to treat this condition accordingly.

To learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of rectal prolapse in dogs, read on.

Rectal prolapse in dogs

If you notice that your dog’s anus is protruding, it is normal that it can cause you alarm and concern. Rectal prolapse in dogs, although not very common, causes a bulge of anorectal tissue. This means that this tissue will come out of the dog’s body through the anus.

This leakage generally occurs as a result of considerable stress and / or pressure. This bulge usually occurs in cases of severe constipation, diarrhea, fecal impaction, anorectal obstruction, or bladder obstruction. This type of prolapse can also occur during a dog’s pregnancy or delivery.

There are several types of prolapse, which depend on the externalized tissue, among them:

  • Mucosal Prolapse :The mildest type of anal prolapse in dogs and is limited only to the lining of the anal canal.
  • Complete prolapse: more severe, where the prolapse can be visibly seen.

Rectal prolapse in dogs: symptoms

When it comes to a mucous prolapse in dogs, you will notice a red, inflamed donut-shaped ring that will protrude from the animal’s anus. This type of anal prolapse in dogs is often mistaken for canine hemorrhoids.

In cases of complete anal prolapse in dogs, a red or pink cylindrical mass will appear. This type of canine anal prolapse requires immediate veterinary attention and if not treated accordingly, this exposed tissue can suffer irreversible damage. If you notice this prolapse, we recommend wrapping the outer tissue in moistened gauze until your dog sees a vet, keeping it protected from external factors.

Rectal prolapse of the dog: treatment

Treatment of anorectal prolapse in dogs will depend on the type of prolapse. The prolapse of the mucosa in the treatment of the dog will depend on the cause. Most of the time, treatment will include softening the stool so that it is easier to pass. For more information, take a look at our soft diet for constipated dogs.

A vet will treat this condition accordingly. Not only could the most appropriate antibiotics be prescribed (if necessary), but they will also be able to offer you a suitable and easy-to-digest diet for your dog.

Rectal prolapse in dogs: home remedies

It is important to know that these home remedies will not cure a rectal prolapse, but they can help relieve symptoms. Some of these home remedies include:

  • Offer your dog a small tablespoon of olive oil to aid in the evacuation of stool.
  • Make sure your dog drinks enough water.
  • Offer him wet food.

However, all of these remedies should only be done under the supervision of your veterinarian. A complete prolapse treatment is more complex and may require surgery.

Dog rectal prolapse: surgery

Treatment of rectal prolapse in dogs will depend on the severity of the prolapse. In more serious cases, it will require surgery. In milder cases, the vet will make a temporary suture forming a pocket around the anus.

In the event that the prolapsed tissue is necrotic (dead) and irrigation is interrupted, the surgery will become more complex.If you think your dog is experiencing rectal prolapse, we recommend that you go to the vet as soon as possible for tests and necessary exams to your partner. Call us and we will give you an appointment as soon as possible!

Pododermatitis in cats: how is it cured?

What is pododermatitis in cats? It is believed that an underlying infection can provoke this inflammatory response in the pads of its feet. All ages and breeds of cats can be affected by this condition. Both males and females are susceptible to pododermatitis. If you suspect that your cat has pododermatitis, it is important that you take him to a veterinarian for treatment as soon as possible.

If this problem is not treated, secondary infections can develop. The problem can be very painful in advanced cases, leaving the cat with swollen paws that are very sensitive to the touch. The cat can even become lame if the paws are damaged too much. Pododermatitis is often associated with renal amyloidosis (a kidney disease) or plasma cell stomatitis (a disease of the mouth).

Feline pododermatitis is a condition in which severe inflammation develops on the cat’s paw pads. All four pads can be affected at the same time and in fact it is rare that only one of the legs becomes inflamed.

Pododermatitis occurs when the immune system is mistakenly activated and overproduces lymphocytes, which then accumulate on the cat’s paw pads. The antibodies then attack the healthy legs and cause swelling and pain to develop.

But let’s take a closer look at what are the symptoms, diagnostic causes and how to cure pododermatitis in cats.

Symptoms of pododermatitis in cats

In very mild cases, the cat may not feel any discomfort. Signs of feline pododermatitis can occur along with signs related to mouth sores or kidney problems. The most important signs to look out for include:

  • Soft and swollen pads.
  • Violet coloration on the pad.
  • Ulcerations on the pads.
  • Limp.
  • Lethargy.
  • Anorexy.
  • Excessive licking of the paws.
  • Bleeding from the legs

Causes of Pododermatitis in Cats

The exact reason why a cat can develop pododermatitis is largely unknown. While there are reasons to believe that a poorly functioning immune system plays a role in the condition, more research is needed to confirm the exact cause of the reaction. All known causes are listed below:

  • Immune disorders.
  • Reaction to certain materials in the sand.
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus.
  • Feline leukemia virus (FeLV)
  • Calicivirus.
  • Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)

Diagnosis of pododermatitis in cats

Make an appointment with your vet to have your cat’s paws professionally evaluated. Be sure to provide your vet with the cat’s complete medical history to help with diagnosis and explain possible reasons for the development of pododermatitis.

The vet will perform a complete physical examination of the cat. Complete blood tests will likely be necessary, including a complete blood count to detect anemia and a biochemical profile to assess all levels of substances in the blood. In cases of pododermatitis, both the number of lymphocytes and the levels of globulin antibodies will increase. Your vet will need to differentiate pododermatitis from other health problems that could be causing the discomfort, such as insect bites and cancerous or benign tumors. For full confirmation of pododermatitis, the swollen pad may need to be biopsied and histopathologically examined for an increase in plasma cells. Tests for viruses such as FIV and FeLV should be performed.

How to cure pododermatitis in cats?

If the case of pododermatitis in the cat is very mild, less aggressive treatments can be sought first. If any secondary health problems have developed, you may also need additional treatment. Typically, pododermatitis is treated as follows:

Antibiotics

Oral administration of certain antibiotics has been found to be effective in treating some cats with pododermatitis. Doxycycline is an antibiotic that has properties that appear to regulate the immune system. Many cats with pododermatitis will experience improvement when subjected to prolonged treatment with antibiotics.

Steroids

A steroid prescription can be helpful in treating underlying immune disorders. Daily oral administration of prednisone or glucocorticoid can be effective. Methylprednisolone acetate injections can be a longer lasting alternative.

Surgical removal

In advanced cases of pododermatitis where ulcerations have formed, surgical removal of the ulcerations may be necessary. General anesthesia is required for this procedure.

Recovery from pododermatitis in cats

If your cat has undergone surgery for pododermatitis, you will need to follow all care instructions provided by your veterinarian. Special care may be required to keep affected paws clean throughout the healing process. Activity may need to be limited during this time. Check the incision daily to make sure no signs of infection have developed. Regardless of whether surgery has been performed or not, always keep your cat’s litter box clean. This will prevent many infections.

Administer all medications as prescribed. Regular follow-up appointments will be needed to assess whether the condition is healing and possibly adjust dosages if adverse drug side effects have started to manifest themselves.

Topical treatments, such as applying moisturizers, can help relieve pain while addressing the underlying problem. It is also important to mention that spontaneous recovery from pododermatitis is possible in some cases. The problem is usually manageable and affected cats can continue to live normal lives. But, if the cat has been diagnosed with a feline virus, the prognosis may worsen. Do not neglect the health of your cat and pay attention to every anomaly that you detect in him.

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