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Cats

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Infection

Basics OVERVIEW •  A complex retrovirus that causes immunodeficiency disease in domestic cats •  “Immunodeficiency” is the medical term for inability to develop a normal immune response •  Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is in the same genus (Lentivirus) of viruses as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the causative agent of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in people […]

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Feline Leukemia Virus Infection

Basics OVERVIEW •  A retrovirus that causes inability to develop a normal immune response (known as “immunodeficiency”) and development of tumors in domestic cats Genetics •  No genetic susceptibility to infection by feline leukemia virus (FeLV) Species •  Cats Breed Predilections •  None Mean Age and Range •  Number of cases highest between 1 and […]

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Kitten Behavior Problems

• Undesirable behaviors exhibited by kittens between birth and puberty
• May include biting; scratching; excessive or destructive play, or both; fear and defensive behaviors

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Diabetes in Cats

~ Disorder of carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism caused by absolute or relative insulin deficiency or resistance to insulin
~ Type II (non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) is characterized by inadequate or delayed insulin secretion relative to the needs of the cat; many of these pets live without the need for insulin injections (exogenous insulin) and are less prone to ketoacidosis (acidic condition of the blood caused by the presence of ketone bodies); most common form in cats

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Aggression in Cats

• Aggression can be a normal and appropriate behavior in certain situations, such as allowing the cat to protect itself, or it may be abnormal, with serious consequences for the cat’s physical and emotional well-being
• “Aggressivity” describes both mood and temperamental traits that relate to the likelihood to show aggression when environmental circumstances dictate it might be used

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Eating Non-food Items and Eating Feces

~ Eating of non-food items (known as “pica”), including eating of feces of bowel movement (known as “coprophagia”)
~ Coprophagia is not uncommon in dogs; it is rare in cats

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Tick and Tick Control

• Dogs and cats may be parasitized by ticks; ticks found on dogs and cats are in the families “Ixodidae” and “Argasidae”
• Ticks may cause other health problems, including allergic reactions (hypersensitivity), paralysis, and blood-loss anemia
• Tick control is challenging; in many areas, tick control is required year-round

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Rabies

• Rabies is a serious, usually fatal infection for the pet; rabies can be spread from animals to people (known as having “zoonotic potential”)
• Tell your veterinarian about any possible human exposure (such as contact with the pet or other suspected rabid animal or a bite or scratch)
• Any person possibly exposed to rabies should see a physician immediately
• Local public health officials must be notified

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Hip Dysplasia

• Hip dysplasia has a genetic (inherited) basis, involving multiple genes
• Development of hip dysplasia determined by an interaction of genetic and environmental factors
• Medical therapy is designed to relieve signs (known as “palliative therapy”); it does not “cure” the disease, because the joint instability is not corrected
• Joint deterioration or degeneration often progresses, unless a corrective orthopedic surgical procedure is performed early in the disease
• Surgical procedures can salvage hip-joint function once severe joint deterioration or degeneration occurs

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Flea-Bite Hypersensitivity and Flea Control

• Flea control is important for dogs and cats
• No cure exists for flea-bite hypersensitivity
• Flea-allergic pets often become more sensitive to flea bites as they age
• Controlling exposure to fleas is currently the only means of controlling signs; “allergy shots” (known as “hyposensitization”) for flea-bite hypersensitivity are not effective

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