Saturday, December 20, 2014

Reader Question: Treatment for Low-Grade Intestinal Lymphoma

Dear Dr. Plotnick,

My 12-year-old cat Molly has just been diagnosed with small-cell intestinal lymphoma, following a surgical biopsy.  What can I expect in terms of treatment and prognosis? Thank you very much.

Susan M. S.

Dear Susan,

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Reader Question: Broken Paw and Surgery Recovery

Dear Dr. Plotnick,

My cat broke her paw and she had surgery within 24 hours of it happening. She is recovering (surgery was a week ago today) and she seems to be getting back to herself a little more every day.  She is eating, drinking and cuddling and resting most importantly.  Can you please let me know when a cat has surgery on her paw wrist, uses the splint from 2 – 3 weeks and does the proper rest for 8 – 10 weeks - are the chances good for a full recovery? I am very concerned for her and want her to be ok – I am of course just very worried about her well-being. What do you think?


Dear Fiona,

Monday, December 8, 2014

Feline Asthma

Feline Asthma

My first appointment of the morning was to see Gypsy, a 5 year old neutered male Siamese owned by Gail Harstein.  The chief complaint written in the appointment book was the vaguely worded “hairball problem”.  In the exam room, I asked Gail to elaborate.

“He’s been trying to cough up a hairball for weeks”, said Gail, “but nothing comes up.”  As a feline practitioner, I hear the mistakenly used phrase “coughing up a hairball” at least once a week.  Hairballs live in the stomach.  Cats vomit hairballs.  Vomiting is associated with the gastrointestinal system.  Coughing is derived from the lungs; it is associated with the respiratory system.  When I hear the phrase “coughing up a hairball”, further questioning is necessary to determine whether the cat is vomiting or coughing.   Gail described what she was seeing.  “He hunkers down, extends his neck, and makes a raspy noise a few times.  After about a minute, he’s done, and he trots off on his merry way”, she said.  This was a classic description of a coughing cat.  Any ambiguity was further dispelled when Gail followed with, “Here, I took a video.”  In this age of smartphones, anything can be recorded instantly, and Gail’s short video was definitive: ten seconds of Gypsy coughing his head off.  I told Gail that there are several potential causes for coughing, but in a young Siamese cat, feline asthma is at the top of the list.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Reader Question: How Contagious is Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)?

Mona Lisa, a sweet rescue kitten with FeLV.
Dear Dr. Plotnick, 
Originally published in Cat Fancy Magazine, October 2014

I recently took in a very sweet feral kitty and discovered that she tested positive for feline leukemia upon a blood test in March. I was told that if she retests negative, she is free and clear.  Does that mean she will no longer be able to transmit the disease to the healthy cat that is already living with me? I have not been able to find any information to confirm what I have been told.

Thank you so much,
Diane B.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Very Treatable Ailment - Hyperthyroidism in Cats

A Very Treatable Ailment - Hyperthyroidism in Cats

Although its cause is a mystery, most cats diagnosed with hyperthyroidism have an excellent prognosis. 

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM. 
Published in Cat Fancy, September 2014

When Mie S. brought her 15-year-old cat, Cookie, to my cats-only veterinary hospital, she was well aware that he had lost a substantial amount of weight. However, she was shocked when I announced the current reading on the scale. “Wow! Eight and a quarter pounds?” she exclaimed. “He used to weigh 16 pounds!” Knowing that the most common disorders that result in weight loss in geriatric cats are diabetes, hyperthyroidism and chronic kidney disease (CKD), I was already formulating my questions for her as I carried him back from the scale to the exam table.

Was he drinking a lot of water and urinating excessively? Yes, Mie said, he was. I wasn’t surprised, as all three of the illnesses mentioned above can present with excessive thirst and urination. How about his appetite? “Ravenous,” she said. Cats with CKD tend to have a decreased appetite, so kidney dysfunction moved a notch lower on my list. Cats with diabetes and hyperthyroidism tend to have good appetites. Not just good, though. Exceptionally good, like Cookie’s. While diabetes can occur in almost any age of cat, it classically hits cats in middle age, around 8 or 9 years old. Hyperthyroidism, however, is a geriatric cat disease, tending to affect cats around 13 or older. With Cookie being 15 years old, my mental list had hyperthyroidism first, diabetes second and kidney disease third.

Typically, you cannot feel the thyroid gland in a normal cat’s neck during a physical examination. In cats with hyperthyroidism, however, the gland enlarges and begins to drift downward on the neck. I carefully felt the groove between Cookie’s trachea and the jugular vein, and as I got a little lower … presto! I could easily feel an enlarged thyroid gland. Looks like Cookie read the textbook.

What Is T4?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Caring Words from Clients

Dear Dr. Plotnick and Gina,

I just want to say thank you so much to Dr. Plotnick and to Gina for coming to visit my cats Sherlock and Bartlett yesterday for a home exam. Even though they were terrified, my cats definitely were better off seeing a vet in their home than going outside into the scary world of Manhattan.
I was especially touched that while trying to calm my cat Sherlock, Gina gave him a kiss on his head. It really helped calm him down, because he actually loves getting kisses. I also was very pleased and relieved with the gentle way that Gina and Dr. Plotnick dealt with Bartlett's spiderman attempts to run off the table. 

I was also surprised that Dr. Plotnick really did call me the next morning with the blood test results for both cats. With human health care, you certainly don't get results so soon or have a doctor call when they say they will.

I was very relieved to hear that both cats are in excellent condition, and amused that somehow their blood test figures were remarkably close to each other. I have wondered if it is possible for cats to have fraternal or identical twins, and if my cats are an example of this? They have distinct personalities but are also very alike. 

Again, thank you so much for the excellent care and kind and gentle way that my cats were treated. I will be sure to request another home visit next year for their next exam!

Heidi, Bartlett, and Sherlock

INFO: Feline Veterinary House Calls with Dr. Plotnick

Friday, October 3, 2014

Photog Man Do in Puerto Vallarta

We had just gotten back from a ten day vacation to Morocco, so this seemed a little indulgent, but Mexico is inexpensive, and we hadn’t been to the beach in years.

After my Morocco trip and before this Mexico trip, I did take one more photography class, and the added instruction did make a difference.  So this blog post is more about photography than cats.

We arrived in Puerto Vallarta, and sadly, the Weather Channel was right about the gloom. I knew we would have three full days in Puerto Vallarta.

We headed into town to check things out.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Unique Keepsake Idea for your Passed Feline Companion

Wow! What a unique, creative keepsake idea for your lost, loved companion.

One of our clients commissioned an artist to paint a portrait of her cat using her cat's own ashes.

Thank you for the kind words Laura and Lee
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