Illustrated Articles

Cats + Pet Services

  • The adrenal glands are responsible for hormone production. Overproduction of these hormones typically manifests as Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism). Typically, these tumors are benign in nature and can be treated medically, though malignant tumors (e.g., carcinomas/adenocarcinomas) are possible. In these cases, surgical excision is generally required. The prognosis for patients with adrenal tumors is generally good if surgical removal is complete.

  • The adrenal medulla is responsible for producing hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine. Dysregulated replication of the chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla lead to development of a pheochromocytoma. These tumors produce excess hormone that leads to episodes of hypertension and tachycardia. Early detection via abdominal ultrasound is imperative for surgical success. CT scan prior to surgery is recommended as these tumors have the potential for vascular invasion leading to post-operative complications. Staging is recommended given that approximately 40% of patients will have evidence of spread at time of diagnosis.

  • One of the most common medical conditions affecting cats is allergy. Flea allergy, food allergies, atopy, and contact allergies are examples of allergies in cats, with flea allergy being the most common cause. Flea allergy is a response to proteins or antigens present in the flea's saliva, and just one fleabite may cause such intense itching that the cat may severely scratch or chew itself, leading to the removal of large amounts of hair. Food allergy testing is conducted by feeding an elimination or hypoallergenic diet. If your cat's symptoms improve after the food trial, a presumptive diagnosis of food allergy is made.

  • Amyloidosis occurs when proteins called amyloid are deposited outside of cells in various tissues and organs, causing tissue and organ dysfunction.

  • The anal sacs are two small pouches located on either side of the anus at approximately the four o'clock and eight o'clock positions. The walls of the sac produce a foul smelling fluid which is released whenever the cat passes a bowel movement. The anal sacs or their ducts can become inflamed or infected due to a variety of causes. Most cats will respond well to pain relief medications and antibiotics (for several days until the swelling and inflammation have subsided. If a cat has several episodes of anal sac disease, and diet or supplements do not relieve the problem, the anal sacs can be removed surgically.

  • Anal glands are located on either side of the anus and normally produce secretions that are pushed when feces is evacuated from the rectum. An anal sac tumor is a tumor of made up of cells originating from the glands of the anal sac. These tumors can spread and therefore staging is recommended prior to surgery. To diagnose these tumors, a fine needle aspirate can be placed from the outside and into the anal sac to retrieve cells. After surgery, chemotherapy may be considered. Radiation therapy has also been considered as a primary or secondary treatment option.

  • Anemia is a medical term referring to a reduced number of circulating red blood cells, hemoglobin, or both. It is not a specific disease but rather it is the result of some other disease process or condition. The most easily observed and common clinical sign of anemia is a loss of the normal pink color of the gums. Several tests are performed on blood samples to diagnose anemia. If your cat's anemia is so severe that it is life threatening, a blood transfusion will be needed.

  • The word anesthesia comes from the Greek meaning "lack of sensation". Anesthesia is accomplished by administering drugs that depress nerve function. With general anesthesia, the patient is made unconscious for a short period. During this unconscious state, there is muscular relaxation and a complete loss of pain sensation.

  • The pupil constricts or dilates (enlarges) according to the amount of light that enters the eyes, with both pupils normally dilating in dim light and constricting in bright light. Anisocoria is a condition in which the pupils of the cat's eyes are different sizes. Anisocoria is a sign of an underlying disease condition and therefore there are several different causes. Your veterinarian will begin by conducting a physical examination of your cat, including a detailed examination of the structures of the eye. The treatment and prognosis of anisocoria depends entirely on the underlying cause of the condition, and specific treatment will be tailored specifically to the diagnosis.

  • A cat that is not wanting to eat or is not eating, is a cat who has a potentially life-threatening medical condition. Many conditions can lead to the inability of your cat to eat or for your cat to lose her appetite completely. It is important to find the underlying cause so that an appropriate treatment plan can be created. Appetite stimulants may be prescribed and in some cases a feeding tube may be placed by your veterinarian. Decreased food intake or any change in eating habits warrants investigation by your veterinarian.