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    FeLV in cats: what is it? how should we recognize it? how do we prevent it?

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  • immagine Alano

    Great Dane dog

    The Great Dane dog is considered the biggest and most powerful of dogs. Protective, affectionate and balanced, he loves company Read More
  • image Mastitis in dogs and cats: what is it and how to cure it

    Mastitis in dogs and cats: what is it and how to treat it

    Mastitis is defined as an inflammation of the breasts. For obvious reasons, it affects only females and in the case Read More
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    FeLV in cats: what is it? how should we recognize it? how do we prevent it?

    Cats are much more likely than dogs to contract infectious diseases. Read More
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    In case of an accident we must rescue our pet

    The long list of measures in favour of our four-legged friends continues, also as regards to the behaviour to be Read More
  • immagine Resource guarding: quando il cane ringhia se vi avvicinate alla ciotola e ai suoi oggetti

    Resource guarding: what happens when your dog growls when you touch its food or objects

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immagine Le malattie intestinali del cane e del gatto: come riconoscerle

Intestine diseases in cats and dogs: how to recognize them

Our dogs and cats organism is composed of a series of organs, which are the parts of the body that perform specific functions.

Not all are the same: there are some that, due to their very precise function, are very protected and hardly get sick, like the brain or the heart. On the other hand, there are others that continually have to deal with harmful or waste substances and for which problems, although not very serious, are the order of the day.

Among these organs, we certainly find the intestine: All pet owners have experienced a diarrhoea episode in their animal at least once.

In fact, diarrhoea is the most common symptom when referring to intestinal problems. Sometimes it depends on simple feeding errors that can easily be solved independently. In other cases, the causes of these problems can be much, much more serious. Let's try to understand what the intestine is like and where the problems can come from.

Intestinal problems

The intestine is a long tube that starts from the stomach and ends with the anal opening, through which the material that has not been digested leaves the body.

Its purpose is both to digest nutrients and to absorb them and make them enter the blood stream so that they can supply energy to various organs.

It is divided into two large sections: the small intestine, which is very long and thin, and the large intestine, which is shorter but wider. In dogs and cats, it does not have great functions because these animals essentially eat meat, while in herbivores (where it is much more developed), such as horses, it is used to digest the fibres they acquire by eating grass.

Bowel problems essentially depend on what has been ingested: with food, our dog or cat could ingest rotten food, something non-digestible (sand) or food containing parasites or other dangerous bacteria.

Substances that are not digestible (precisely because they are not decomposed) create irritation on the intestine wall, scratching it. Parasites, bacteria and pathogenic viruses, on the other hand, directly damage the intestinal wall from the inside because they try to cross it.

The main defence mechanism of the intestine when it understands that there is something wrong is to try to push it towards the anus and "throw out" what is harmful. It does this by absorbing less water than normal. This way the stool will remain more liquid and come out better. This is how we get diarrhoea.

Diarrhoea: what to do if it occurs

Of course, diarrhoea is not only due to this intestinal defence mechanism, but in many cases it is the combination of this and/or the direct action of the microorganism or substance that causes the problem. Some parasites, for example, damage (or rather, eat) the bowel wall and make water escape, aggravating the problem.

In general, it is up to us owners to take the first step when our pet has episodes of diarrhoea: we must in fact observe the animal's behaviour, and see how long the symptoms last.

If it lasts a couple of days and then disappears, diarrhoea was probably caused by something hard to digest (like milk). On the other hand, if it lasts for several days, a bacterial or viral disease could cause it, and there is a need to make a veterinary visit to help understand what it is before the situation escalates.

inte2

We can also see blood in the poo. A single drop is normal, whilst larger quantities indicate the presence of a problem; for example the presence of an intestinal parasite.

In this regard, if there are many parasites, most of them will die (when they are few they try not to be thrown out with feces) and are found in the poop. They can be seen as white and in some cases they even tend to move. Finding them in our dogs poop means that the dog is undergoing a massive infestation and we must absolutely contact our vet.

Another case of diarrhoea can be due to food allergies: if the symptom lasts for a long time but the dog or cat is not particularly sick, he probably has this type of problem. He might be allergic to a food that causes him a reaction and we must understand what it is to eliminate it from his diet, with the help of the vet.

Finally, we must also talk about the opposite of diarrhoea: the absence of defecation. If the animal eats normally, it must also expel what is not digested. If we notice that our animal is not going to the toilet as much as it was before, there may be problems with poor bowel movement or, even worse, something that hinders the passage of feces. In both cases, we must not underestimate the problem and, indeed, take action to ensure that the veterinarian realizes what the problem is and solves it as soon as possible, often with surgery.

 

immagine Le micosi del cane e del gatto: come curarle

Mycosis in dogs and cats: how to treat it

Mycosis is a whole series of diseases caused not by bacteria, not by viruses, not by parasites but by fungi. We are used to mushrooms in the woods and the ones we eat, however, some live on the skin of our dogs and cats and can be transmitted to us humans, in particular to children.

They are not fatal but they can be annoying and, worst of all, they can provoke other diseases to form, which is why it is very important to know about them.

What are they and how are they transmitted?

Fungi are organisms with intermediate characteristics between animals and plants. For example, fungal cells have walls, just like plant cells but, like animal cells, they are unable to derive energy from sunlight, energy that they therefore obtain by "parasitizing" other living beings.

Some fungi, such as those of the genus Microsporum and Trichophyton, feed on the skin and hair of people and animals. When they encounter the skin, they find a real feast and  begin to feed and reproduce on the skin, expanding on the surface of a larger area. In Italy, the most common fungus is certainly Microsporum canis, responsible for the famous Ringworm, but cutaneous fungi all behave in the same way.

Transmission takes place in two ways: the first is by contact, so if an infected dog plays with a healthy dog ​​it can transmit the fungus. Transmission also occurs between animals of different species, so if we have a suspicion of ringworm in a dog or cat it is good to avoid contact with children.

The other method is the environmental one: due to the movement of the animal and the scratching, some hyphae (the "leaves" of the fungus, develops just like a bush) fly in the air and can settle in the environment. Generally, this method of transmission is rare, but it is possible if a dog rests on a pillow where a cat with ringworms has been sleeping for a long time.

What do they do?

Firstly, the infestation is by no means obvious, because often the skin's immune system manages to nip it in the bud. The problems occur mainly in sick animals, which are compromised, and in puppies where the defences are not well developed yet.

It all starts with a small reddish patch that gets bigger and bigger starting from the centre and that "eats" the hairs present in the areas it reaches.

The dog or cat will therefore have this  increasingly visible area, with the presence of dandruff, which can cause more or less itching depending if there are concomitant pathologies.

The fungus never develops in depth but is always limited to the external part of skin.

micosi2

How do we treat it and how do we prevent it?

If our animal has the fungus, we can simply act by taking him to a veterinarian who will be able to test the animal and find out what type of fungi it is. A sample is taken from the injured part of the dogs skin and then placed on a plastic plate to grow. They usually feed it children hair, as it is their favourite.

Once it has grown and the vet has established that it is a fungus, the therapy will begin, which can be of two types. Local therapy, using an ointment in the affected area (if it is not too large); or systemic, through orally administered medicines, which also reach the skin.

As for prevention, the only way to avoid ringworm and mycosis in general is to prevent our children and our animals from coming into contact with other animals or with children who are affected by it. If we see a red patch on another animal, we ask the owner if he knows what it is (it could be a disease that causes alopecia absolutely not contagious like Cushing's disease); if you do not know what it is, try to avoid contact with that animal.

It is also very important to avoid the return of the disease: if we have had a sick animal, the most indicated thing we should do is a general washing of sofas, chairs, sheets, floors and of course the areas where the animal normally lives. If we fail in the cleaning procedures, the hyphae could remain in the environment and the problem may reoccur after some time.

 

immagine Le allergie nel cane e nel gatto: cosa sono e come prevenirle?

Allergies in cats and dogs: what are they and how do we prevent them

Just like us humans, our four-legged friends can develop allergies over the course of their lives. How exactly do they work, and how can they be avoided?

What are they

Allergies are exaggerated reactions of our body against products normally present in the environment that are absolutely harmless.

The organism, due to genetic predisposition or due to too much exposure to these substances, starts to believe that they are harmful even if they absolutely are not. Common foods such as chicken or milk or substances normally present in the air such as mites or plant pollen, stimulate (when they come into contact with the organism of an allergic animal) a reaction similar to that which would occur if there were something much more dangerous. It is a completely unjustified reaction.

Thus, the substance comes into contact via the skin, via the lungs or it might be digested, which reacts by releasing a substance called histamine: histamine, in return, stimulates a reaction that leads to a large dilation of the blood vessels, which carry blood to defensive cells to the spot where the contact took place. The body is basically preparing itself for an imaginary war against no one.

This strong inflammation can lead to the appearance of symptoms that vary according to the affected part of the body. Skin exposure can cause itching and redness of the skin, in some cases even pain. Contact via the digestive system, between the body and a food that has been ingested, causes irritation of the system, which can manifest itself in symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.

However, the system that has the most serious reactions is the respiratory system, because generally the larynx, (the throat) experiences the reaction. The walls get irritated, which in some cases simply give rise to coughs and sneezing, while in severe cases they can become so large as to obstruct the passage of air between the mouth and lungs, even leading to suffocation.

However, one of the most serious consequences of this situation is the anaphylactic shock: this occurs when the contact with the allergen is so intense (generally if it has been ingested) that a lot of blood is drawn back to the point where the reaction occurs.

If the blood is all concentrated there, there won't be enough left to make vital organs like the lungs, heart or brain function, and if you don't act quickly this situation can lead to death in no time.

How should I treat and prevent allergies?

Unfortunately, there is currently no real cure for allergies.

However, there are medicines that calm the allergic reaction, and they are antihistamines, drugs that counteract the action of the substance that initiates the entire reaction, the histamine we mentioned earlier.

If we are aware that our dog or cat is allergic to something, we must always keep these medicines on hand and administer them in case of a reaction. Obviously, the vet has to prescribe these medicines.

If, on the other hand, we do not know whether the dog or cat is actually allergic to something or not, we observe if they have particular symptoms such as persistent diarrhoea, skin redness and some difficulty in breathing, not continuous but which boosts at certain precise moments.

With the advice of the veterinarian, we will have to try to understand what causes the allergy, and try to keep the animal away from it or avoid contact.

For foods, we gradually remove each food he eats, alternately, and see when the diarrhoea subsides. If, for example, we don't give chicken for a week and the animal is fine, it could be allergic to chicken.

For skin reactions, we must pay attention to the dog's habits and its encounters during walks, including plants. If the reactions are above the back, the allergen will be something higher than the dog, if they are under the belly it could be a particular grass, if they concern only the paws something on the ground: let's think in this sense to try to understand what the allergen is and when we understand it we avoid contact.

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Finally, with regard to respiratory reactions we must pay attention to everything that may be in the air: pollen (the allergy will occur seasonally), hay (it will occur when the animal enters the barn, if we have it) hair of some animal (cat, for example, if it's a dog). Clearly, we must avoid the contact with the allergen (substance producing the allergy).

Allergies, in fact, cannot be cured, but allergic reactions can be prevented: it takes patience and attention, but we can guarantee our dog or cat a practically normal life.

 

 

immagine Le malattie del pancreas del cane e del gatto: quali sono e come si prevengono

Pancreas diseases in cats and dogs: what are they and how do we prevent them

 The pancreas is a very important organ in the animals body. Its functions are essentially to aid digestion and to regulate the amount of sugar present in the blood.

Both functions can have problems and if the sugar regulation part does not work, it can lead to diabetes, which we specifically treat. If, on the other hand, the part relating to digestion is malfunctioning, we can have two types of situations: pancreatitis and pancreatic insufficiency, the two most common diseases affecting the pancreas.

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. It does not seem so important but indeed it is one of the most painful diseases that can affect our dogs or our cats.

In fact, the pancreas has digestive enzymes inside it. In other words, proteins that help digest food by breaking it down into smaller pieces in order to be absorbed. Inside the organ, there are "safety measures" that ensure that these substances do not damage the pancreas itself: if this mechanism fails, we have a situation in which the pancreas digests itself. It basically corrodes.

The causes can vary. One is certainly obesity, or rather too much food: providing too much food to the dog stimulates the pancreas to produce a lot of "pancreatic juice", and the excessive enzymes required can in some cases avoid the "safety measures", so begin to digest the organ. Some conditions such as too many fatty acids in the blood or too much calcium can lead to the same situation. Intestinal infections, can lead to a situation where the intestinal microflora reaches the pancreas, infecting it.

This is a very painful situation: imagine having a self-digesting organ within you.

The animal will have vomiting, bloody diarrhea, continuous moans as soon as it moves and will assume the typical "sphinx" posture, to try to feel as little pain as possible.

We must immediately take him to a veterinarian who will implement organ protection therapy (through protective medicines), so the animal will not have to eat, see or smell food for a few days (the nutrients will be provided via drip) this is to avoid the stimulation of the pancreas and make it rest as much as possible.

To avoid this condition it is important to avoid giving too much food to our dog or cat and to make him move so that he does not become obese, a condition predisposing to this disease.

Pancreatic insufficiency

Insufficiency is a very different condition from the previous one. It is in fact a subtle situation that leads to a worsening of the health of our dog (cats are hardly affected) in a progressive and very slow way.

In some breeds, the dog's pancreas tends to get smaller over time, while in others it tends to stop working. The causes are still unknown (they are probably genetic) but we must realize the presence of the problem on time and consult a veterinarian as soon as possible. Otherwise, if the pancreas stops working, it will produce a situation in which the dog will be very hungry but will not absorb the nutrients it ingests.

The pancreas, in fact, allows the ingested nutrients to be digested  (breaks them into small pieces so that the intestine can absorb them). If it doesn't work, they won't be absorbed.

The main symptom of this situation is diarrhoea: it is smelly, grey-yellowish in colour and is always very abundant. Although the dog eats a lot, he will lose weight and become increasingly weaker.

pancreas1

Once the dog has been taken to a veterinarian, he will establish if the cause of the discomfort is insufficiency and suggest a specific diet the dog will have to follow for life: it will be made up of highly digestible foods and extracts of pancreatic enzymes, which will help digest them.

Unfortunately, this is a disease with no cure, which mainly affects older animals and for which we cannot do much to prevent it. The only way to guarantee a dignified life is to follow the doctor's instructions and follow the animal’s diet carefully.

 

immagine Acne felina, cos'è e come curarla

Feline acne, what is it and how do we treat it

One of the most curious aspects about our cats and that most owners ignore is that felines can also manifest the typical symptoms of acne, with pustules and blackheads on their chin. Let's see what acne looks like in cats and what are the tips and treatments to heal it.

What is feline acne?

Feline acne is not a real disease, just like for humans, it is more of a skin condition. Although harmless, acne can still represent a discomfort for the cat, perhaps not from an aesthetic point of view, but certainly practical, because blackheads can often become infected or inflamed.

When owners see the first scabs and the typical "outbreaks" of acne on their cat's chin, they often begin to think about the worst possible scenarios, perhaps assuming possible rubbing or injuries that the cat may have gotten at home or during raids in the garden.

In fact, owners usually fail to associate blackheads with a common acne problem, precisely because they simply don't know about it. So let's try to clarify the situation.

acne felina gatto sangue croste punti neri

 Cat acne is an inflammation of the glands that are located right around the animal's face. These glands have the job of producing and releasing sebum, a thick and oily substance that serves above all to protect the skin and keep it hydrated.

The glands are located right inside the hair follicles, that is, those structures from which the hair is "born".

Just like for us humans, in some cases it can happen that these glands produce too much sebum or that this is no longer able to come out, so it remains trapped inside the follicle, obstructing it. This phenomenon becomes visible externally with the formation of the classic blackheads.

Over time, these blackheads can become inflamed or infected, causing the area to become red. If the cat scratches himself it could cause bleeding.

In severe cases, acne can degenerate into serious infections, with the presence of pus, infected lesions and ulcers.

Causes of feline acne

There is no real cause for feline acne, but some situations can affect the appearance of the problem. Among these, we find above all:

  • Insufficient hygiene done by cat;
  • Plastic bowls or bowls that are not washed frequently;
  • Excessive production of sebum;
  • Stress;
  • Food allergies and intolerances;
  • Allergy to plastic;
  • Infections by fungi;
  • Presence of parasites;
  • Hormonal imbalances.

 Therapy

Treatment for feline acne varies according to the severity of the problem.

In the presence of simple and isolated blackheads, you can first of all opt for some precautions, precisely to reduce all those factors that can cause the appearance of acne.

In most cases, it will be necessary to periodically disinfect the area, following the directions given by your veterinarian. Usually warm water with mild neutral soap is useful, followed by applications of hydrogen peroxide or chlorhexidine

In the presence of pus or infected wounds, it may be necessary to apply antibiotic ointments or resort to the use of an oral antibiotic.

An excellent solution may be to give the cat vitamin A supplements, which are essential for skin health, especially if the animal's diet is unbalanced.
gatto mangia in ciotola ceramica

Tips to reduce or prevent feline acne

Regardless of the therapy recommended by the veterinarian, it is advisable to eliminate all possible causes of acne. In order to do this, we should:

  • Replace the plastic bowls with the steel or ceramic ones;
  • Wash the food and water bowls more often;
  • Provide your cat with a balanced diet;
  • In case of suspected food intolerance or allergy, follow a diet with single-protein or nutraceutical foods;
  • Cleanse the chin area often, especially after meals.

The situation should improve within a few weeks. In any case, it is always important to consult the opinion of your veterinarian both for the exact diagnosis of the problem and for the type of treatment to follow.

immagine Il papillomavirus del gatto: escrescenze da non sottovalutare

Papilloma virus in cats

 In our articles, we often say that prevention is always the best option. Of course, by no means we should isolate animals from real life. However, we must be alert for any strange symptoms so we can act accordingly and on time.

Feline papillomavirus is a perfect example of a disease that is not particularly serious. Therefore, we have the time to identify it and act on it. If we do not act, it might degenerate in something way worse.

What is it?

The papillomavirus is a rather contagious DNA virus, which however only affects members of a single species: concisely, the cat virus does not affect humans, just as that of man (or, better, of woman) does not affect cats. There are doubts that the bovine version can affect cats, but it is so difficult for a cat to come into contact with a cow, especially in urban areas, that we overlook this possibility.

The most frequent route of transmission, of course, is from cat to cat. The virus affects the skin, although it can sometimes lodge itself in the mouth, and fighting cats clearly pass it easily to their enemies when biting.

As a virus, it is not particularly aggressive, because usually the lesions it causes appear when the cat is affected by debilitating diseases on their own, such as FIV.

What does it do?

The action of the virus is to infect the skin cells and it does so by causing them to multiply and grow. The result is very similar to a tumour, but in fact, it is not, at least at the beginning, because the cell does not begin to multiply on its own, as it happens in a neoplasm, but the virus pushes the multiplication. However, it might happen that an untreated papilloma lesion can become a real neoplasm.

Owners can notice a small swelling. Nothing strange so far, it could simply be an insect bite. If it doesn't grow it could be a small skin malformation, nothing to worry about.

If we notice, however, that the swelling grows as if it were a small tree, with a "trunk" at the base and a crown at the top, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian. It grows slowly, so there is no need to take the cat to the clinic at four in the morning, but let's get prepared to bring it in as soon as possible (within 2/3 days).

Unfortunately, the only way to ascertain what the lesion is, is by histology. The vet will cut a piece of swelling from the skin, treat it and examine it under a microscope. It will take about a week to receive definitive answers.  If it is papilloma, at this point, we have various possibilities.

 How do we treat it?

Although the swelling does not create pain for the cat, at most a little discomfort, it must be removed both because it can become a neoplasm, as we said before, and because it can bleed and, in short, cause even intense pain to the cat.

There are various possibilities for therapy. You can try drugs, such as interferon which limits cell multiplication and thus prevents growth. You can try surgery; put the cat to sleep and remove the growth with a scalpel. In this case, we are particularly sure that the problem will reoccur after a while because the virus remains (it cannot be eliminated). The area will be stressed by the surgery so it is a favourable environment for the development of the virus.

Other alternatives are laser therapy and cryosurgery, i.e. cutting the infected part after having frozen it, so that everything is less irritating to the body and the situation does not reoccur (or at least it does it less frequently). However, it must be taken into account that these therapies are quite expensive and require several sessions.

IMG 3499

Concisely, we have many options, and even if there were relapses, it is possible to intervene again and guarantee a normal life to the cat, given that there are no particular problems related to this disease.

The biggest mistake we can do is to let it grow without any specialized intervention by your vet. It can bring severe discomfort to the cat and turn into a neoplasm. It can open the way to far more infectious diseases.