Health

Cat asthma is a serious broncho-pulmonary disease to which Siamese cats may be more predisposed.

The origin of an asthma attack seems to be related to repeatedly breathing in an allergen, which could be powder, dusty litter, spray from an aerosol or cigarette smoke.

Clinically, an asthma attack takes the form of a sudden dry, hacking cough, and rapid and difficult breathing. The cat will generally have its head down, mouth open and neck stretched, making a loud noise when exhaling.

A) The key role of the owner :

An asthma crisis is an emergency and you should follow the following procedure :

      Contact a vet emergency service
      Don’t panic since your worry will be picked up by your distressed animal
      Calm your pet because touching it or making a noise will increase its stress and make its breathing even more difficult

B) The vital role of the emergency vet :

      Reoxygenating your cat using portable oxygen
      Injecting corticosteroids to interrupt the inflammatory cycle
      Injecting a bronchodilator
      Getting your cat to inhale a bronchodilatater

      Generally, improvement in breathing should be noted within 30 minutes of treatment. If there is resistance to treatment, then immediate hospitalisation will be obligatory.

Physiology

Rabbits, guinea pigs and rodents and lagomorphs in general, are small mammals that spend much of the day eating and issuing droppings. Their food should be at least 80% hay, a vital product that allows them to file their continually-growing teach and maintain their digestive flora.

Physiopathology

For these species, loss of appetite inevitably leads to intestinal ileus, in other words to food getting stuck in transit and lesions of the liver. In addition, when they stop eating, they also stop drinking and rapidly dehydrate. The bacterial flora in their intestines and caecums change and spread, leading to consequences that can be fatal.

Therefore stopping eating fo more than 24 hrs is a life-threatening emergency that should be subject to consultation with a vet as soon as possible!!!

Rabbits and guinea pigs stopping eating is generally one of the first noticeable symptoms when they get ill. The problem for the vet is to work out why they stopped eating.

Pathologies

Two very frequent illnesses in these species seem to be the cause of most cases of loss of appetite.

1°) Dental malocclusion :

Dental malocclusion is overjutting teeth due to the teeth not being used enough, which leads to injury in the mouth cavity. Often due to food with little fibre (teeth are worn down properly by circular movements when chewing fibre, similar to those of a mill, unlike the movements when eating concentrated food.) Rabbits’ teeth NEVER stop growing. Other possible causes are loss of appetite, injury or genetics (malocclusion of the incisors in dwarf species).

Malocclusion of the incisors is easy to see and treat due to their prominent position, malocclusion of the premolar and molar teeth is much more concealed because the pathology is undetectable as long as the animal doesn’t stop eating.

The teeth will get ground into points, causing injury within the mouth, which will suddenly get them to generate a lot of saliva and stop eating. The inner part of their front paws gets wet from rubbing the saliva on their lips. Sometimes their teeth can get pushed down into the gums/sockets, causing purulent conjunctivitis or large mouth ulcers. In guinea pigs, ‘dental bridges’ can be seen above the tongue due to a meeting of the teeth on either side.

The owner’s role :
      1°)Syringe-feed the animal three times a day until it returns to a normal diet.
      2°) Rehydrate the animal with pineapple juice.
      3°) Monitor its production of droppings.

RETURN YOUR PET TO A BALANCED DIET of hay!! Note that the problem often reoccurs.

2°) Gastric/intestinal obstruction :

Generally occurs during the moulting period. Stomach (gastric) obstructions are seen more frequently than intestinal obstructions. These occlusions are usually caused by balls of tangled fur known as “fur balls“.

When an obstruction forms, our small mammal pets immediately stop eating and drinking. Their droppings get drier and drier and decrease, finally stopping completely. You can feel these fur balls when you feel their abdomen, either towards the front (a blockage of the stomach) or in the middle or at the rear (meaning a blockage of the intestine).

The owner’s role :
      1°) Rehydrate the animal with pineapple juice.
      2°) See whether your pet starts eating again.
      3°) Monitor the production of droppings.
      4°) Call the vet again as a matter of urgency if there is no improvement after twelve hours.

Main causes of ileus: Not only obstruction during the moulting season, but also :

  • - unbalanced diet (lack of fibre -> slowing of transit of food through the digestive system)
  • - lack of exercise (exercise stimulates transit)
  • - stress or pain leading to loss of appetite.