Have you ever heard the word “necropsy?” According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, here's the correct definition: nec•rop•sy: noun 'ne-kräp-se autopsy; especially: an autopsy performed on an animals. According to veterinarians, however, a necropsy is any post-mortem examination conducted on an animal (as opposed to a human).
Where I work there are three veterinarians on staff: two old-timers and me. One guy is lovingly referred to by a large percentage of our clients as “the cat vet,” while the other has a rep for preferring to see dogs. Me? Though I’ve been there almost sixteen years, I still get called “the girl vet” and haven’t managed to get pigeonholed for harboring a preference.
The other day I actually had a client tell me that their veterinarian was "Dr. Google" and they looked up all their cat's healthcare online. Don't get me wrong - I love Google! I use it every day to look up all sorts of things: news, places, stock prices, quotes, definitions…you name it, I Google it.
Chronic renal (kidney) failure (CRF) is a common problem in all cat breeds. The digestion of food produces waste products, which are carried by blood to the kidneys to be filtered and excreted in the form of urine. When the kidneys fail, they are no longer able to remove these waste products, and toxins build up in the blood producing clinical signs of kidney disease.
Being a vet isn't all purring kittens. If I'm being honest, it involves a huge amount of work that is difficult, dirty, and sometimes just plain disgusting. Nearly every job in a veterinary clinic is tough, from the front desk to the vets themselves, and some jobs are dirtier than others. When we train new employees and interact with clients and students, we have to be careful.
Overview of Feline Progressive Retinal Degeneration (PRD) Progressive retinal degeneration or atrophy (PRD, PRA) is premature degeneration (deterioration) of the photoreceptor cells of the retina. There are two types of photoreceptors in the retina and these are the light-sensitive rods and cones. They are responsible for detecting light and converting it into an electrical signal that travels to the brain.
Eye Proptosis in Cats Proptosis is displacement of the eyeball out of the eye socket, so that the eyelids become trapped behind the eye. As cat's eyes are firmly set into the bony socket, serious facial or head trauma is required to proptose an eye. Proptosis in the cat is generally associated with significant facial trauma, such as that received from an automobile related injury or a fall from a great height.
Feline Enucleation: Removal of an Eye Enucleation is the removal of an eye. It is an irreversible method of treating various disorders of the eye. Reasons for enucleation include: Severe untreatable trauma, such as a perforated or ruptured eyeball Uncontrollable glaucoma Infections or inflammation on the surface or within the eye that are unresponsive to therapy Cancer of the eye Congenital deformities of the eye Diseases behind the eye, within the orbit Diseases within the eye that have the potential to spread to the rest of the body Enucleation is also reserved as a last option to alleviate the pain of any eye, especially if it is blind and of no use to the animal.
Overview of Feline Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the tissue coating the eye and lining the eyelids. Normally, the conjunctiva is moist and glistening with tiny blood vessels coursing through the semilucent tissue. It serves as a protective barrier for the eye by trapping debris and helping to prevent invasion of viruses and bacteria.
Overview of Anterior Uveitis in Cats Anterior uveitis is inflammation that affects the front or anterior part of the eye called the uvea, which is the dark tissue of the eye that contains blood vessels. The iris - the tissue that makes up the pupil - is typically involved. The posterior part of the eye may or may not be affected.
Overview of Feline Cataracts A cataract is any opacity of the lens of the eye. The normal lens is translucent (clear), and it transmits and focuses light onto the retina in the back of the eye. A cataract within the lens may block the transmission of light to the retina. Below is an overview of Cataracts in Cats followed by some detailed and in-depth information about the diagnosis and treatment of this disease.
Retrobulbar Abscess in Cats The retrobulbar space is the area just behind the eye. Although uncommon, an abscess or pocket of infection/pus can develop behind the eye, which is referred to as a retrobulbar abscess. This is usually associated with inflammation and infection of the tissues behind the eye.
Feline Corneal Degeneration Corneal degeneration is and eye disease from the deposit of fatty material within the cornea. It is usually secondary to other ocular or systemic disorders and may be unilateral (one-sided) or bilateral (both sides). Clinical appearance may be highly variable; lipid infiltrates are often dense white, grayish-white, or crystalline with sharply demarcated borders.
Hypopyon in Cats Hypopyon is the accumulation of white blood cells within the liquid of the anterior (front) chamber of the eye. The cells are released from inflamed blood vessels located within the iris and tissues behind the iris. When inflammation of the iris and ciliary body occurs (also called anterior uveitis), their blood vessels “leak” cells and protein into the anterior chamber.
Feline Entropion Entropion is an inward rolling of the eyelid edges. It is an uncommon problem in the cat, but when it does occur it usually affects the lower eyelids. Unlike the dog, inherited entropion of a young animal is uncommon in the cat. Occasionally inherited entropion of the lower lid is present in purebred cats that have short, round faces, such as the Persian and Burmese.
Overview of Hyphema in Cats Hyphema is the presence of blood within the front (anterior) chamber of the eye and is a symptom of either a serious ophthalmic disease or systemic disease. The amount of blood within the front chamber can vary. Mild hyphema may appear only as a pinkish-red discoloration to the fluid in the front of the eye, or as red blood settled out on the bottom of the chamber.
Feline Corneal Sequestrum A corneal sequestrum is a darkly pigmented area in the cornea of the cat often associated with chronic ulcerative or inflammatory diseases of the cornea. This dark brown spot is an area of dead corneal tissue, and it may be surrounded by inflammation, blood vessels, and edema of the cornea.
Cleft Palate in Cats Cleft palate in cats is a condition that results from the failure of the roof of the mouth (hard and soft palates) to close during normal embryological development, thereby leaving a “cleft” (or hole) in the roof of the mouth. The result is a kitten whose oral cavity communicates with their nasal passages.
The viruses that cause feline leukemia and feline AIDS are similar in that they cause immune suppression. Both viruses hold down an infected cat's natural immunity to disease. Your cat's mouth, nose, lungs, skin and intestines are normally covered with bacteria and viruses. However, the normal immune system keeps these bacteria in check and prevents disease.
Feline Complicated Tooth Fractures Dental fractures, commonly referred to as broken teeth, are a common problem in cats. Both dogs and cats experience these fractures at a rate of 10% to 20% of all pets. Dogs, however, not only seem likelier to sustain these types of injuries, they're also susceptible to a wider variety of dental fractures than their feline counterparts.