Can I catch a cold from my cat?

February 7th, 2018 by Carlson Animal Hospital

To make a long answer short: technically yes, but it is very rare.

If you and your cat have an upper respiratory infection (URI or in layman’s terms “cold”) around the same time, it is likely coincidental.

There are some environmental factors that can make it more likely for you and your cat to develop URI symptoms around the same time.  For instance, stress or cold weather can suppress the immune system and make it more likely for an individual (cat or person) to develop a URI. However, the causative agent (i.e. virus, bacterium, etc.) will almost invariably be different between you and your cat.

Cats can carry diseases that infect people.  These are termed zoonotic diseases.

It is very rare for these zoonotic diseases to cause upper respiratory symptoms in people.  Most zoonotic diseases that cats carry are transmitted to people through biting, scratching or contact with stool.  Some of these diseases can be serious, so it is important to bring your cat in for annual health evaluations and vaccinations to keep both you and your cat healthy. Read the rest of this entry »

Canine Influenza outbreak caused by a new strain of virus H3N2 from Asia

August 27th, 2017 by Carlson Animal Hospital

Midwest Canine Influenza outbreak caused by new strain of virus

April 12, 2015 By Joe Schwartz

ITHACA, N.Y. – The canine influenza outbreak afflicting more than 1,000 dogs in Chicago and other parts of the Midwest is caused by a different strain of the virus than was earlier assumed, according to laboratory scientists at Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin. Researchers at Cornell say results from additional testing indicate that the outbreak is being caused by a virus closely related to Asian strains of influenza A H3N2 viruses, currently in wide circulation in southern Chinese and South Korean dog populations since being identified in 2006. There is no evidence that it can be transmitted to humans.

The outbreak in the Midwest had been attributed to the H3N8 strain of virus, which was identified in the U.S. dog population in 2004 and has been circulating since. The H3N2 virus had not been previously detected in North America. The outbreak in Chicago suggests a recent introduction of the H3N2 virus from Asia. Read the rest of this entry »

Senior Pets – Part 3 of 3

August 22nd, 2017 by Carlson Animal Hospital

Dog patient

In our three part series of posts on Senior and geriatric pets we focused on:

Part 1: Describing/defining a senior or geriatric pet

Part 2: Important Conditions and Focus Areas for an aging pet

Now in part 3 of our 3-part series we will focus on Medical Management / Early Detection and Screening

Medical Management / Early Detection and Screening

Although the list of medical conditions can be very long in our older pets, many of them can be managed successfully. We advise our patient’s caregivers to consider a senior health care plan that will target early detection and treatment.

Early detection will allow for prompt, specific care for your pet that will prevent, delay, or temper an illness, extend life span, promote increased quality of life and extend the human-animal bond.  It begins by defining baseline values for your pet as they move into their senior life stage. This will help set the foundation to provide the best preventive and medical care for the years ahead. It continues with frequent evaluation, therapy and monitoring as medical conditions require.

Physical Examinations

Read the rest of this entry »

Senior Pets – part 2 of 3

August 9th, 2017 by Carlson Animal Hospital

Age is not a disease

In our first of three posts on Senior Pets, we reported the good news that our pets are living longer and healthier lives. We celebrated our privilege of participating in this change during the 37 years of our practice. We covered the definitions of aging and what this means for our pets.

In this post we address: Important Conditions and  Focus Areas

The conditions below can contribute to illness as well as play a vital role in maintaining optimal quality of life and longevity. All these areas are interconnected physiologically in our senior pets and each pet’s health condition as it ages.

We know that because of this each pet requires its own unique treatment plan. Our doctors and staff at CAH can advise and completely review your pet’s needs in order to plan out a specific senior/geriatric health care course with you and your pet. Read the rest of this entry »

Senior pets – Part 1 of 3

July 26th, 2017 by Carlson Animal Hospital

Senior/ Geriatric Pet Health

We are happy to report that our pets are living much longer healthier lives. We’ve been a part of the great changes in veterinary medicine for these 35+ years and continue to keep up with the pace of the advancements.

No matter the life stage – growth, adult, senior/geriatric – we work hard to help you make the best of each of your pet’s stages. We have particularly focused on the senior/geriatric stages . The medical staff at Carlson Animal Hospital can help provide the most current and advanced medical care to help you and your pet navigate this complex life stage.

The exact definition of a senior or geriatric pet varies. Due to differences in species (feline versus canine), breed, and size, there is not an exact year that defines senior or geriatric. One guideline states that pets are seniors if they are in the last 25% of their predicted lifespan for their species and breed. This is when they are at significantly higher risk for numerous health conditions and disorders. The generally accepted veterinary guidelines are:

1) cats and small to medium size dogs are considered senior/geriatric at age 7 years and older

2) larger breed dogs with naturally shorter life spans are considered senior at age 6.

Often the term senior refers to the earlier part of this life stage and geriatric refers to the latter years. Many cat and dog caregivers like to equate their pet’s age with comparable human years and there are several conversion charts and formulas devised to attempt those comparisons.

In addition to the above table the American Veterinary Medical Association lists the oldest recorded age of a cat at 34 years old.The oldest recorded age of a dog at 29 years old. Recent statistics report that between 33% and 50% of all the dogs and cats in the United States are now 7 years of age or older. Read the rest of this entry »

Feline Upper Respiratory Infections

March 25th, 2017 by Carlson Animal Hospital

Aachoooo!  Uh oh.

First a sneeze, then what next? A runny nose?  Watery eyes? A cough? To you, these are the signs of a cold setting in, but what happens when it is your CAT showing these signs?

Can a cat get a cold? Can it be contagious to you or your other pets?  And what can you do to help them feel better?

All these answers and more as we cover FELINE UPPER RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS in today’s blog.

What is a feline upper respiratory infection (URI)?

A feline URI is an infection of feline species (domestic and exotic) that affects the beginning part of the respiratory tract, including the nasal passages, sinuses, and pharynx (throat).

Depending on the infectious agent, sometimes the eyes, oral cavity and lower respiratory tract can also be affected.  The infectious agent of a URI is commonly a virus, but can also be a bacterium, and in rare instances even a fungus or parasite.  Some URIs can be a combination of multiple infectious agents.

Common upper respiratory viruses that infect cats are HerpesvirusCalicivirusChlamydophila felis and Influenza.  Some of the more common bacterial causes of feline URIs are Bordetella bronchiseptica and Mycoplasma felis. Read the rest of this entry »

Osteoarthritis in our dog and cat companions

February 27th, 2017 by Carlson Animal Hospital

Osteoarthritis in Pets

Our canine and feline companions are living long active lives well into their geriatric years. Therefore assessing and treating osteoarthritis is an important part of geriatric pet care. Many pet owners make the comment that they believe arthritis is the cause of stiffness and a slow rising from rest in their pets.  Up to 60% of dogs are diagnosed with the disease based upon radiographic evidence at some time in their life.

As with most medical conditions, treatments for osteoarthritis are specifically targeted to the physiologic processes that cause the disease.  At Carlson Animal Hospital we strive to educate pet owners about the physiologic basis of the treatments we employ. In this blog we will delve into a bit more detail about the disease itself. Read the rest of this entry »

Diabetes Mellitus In Cats and Dogs: A General Understanding

February 8th, 2017 by Carlson Animal Hospital

Early detection of diabetes mellitus in pets

The increase in diabetes mellitus in cats and dogs mirrors the increase in people; it can be serious and is on the rise. Because of this, we recommend an annual physical examination to address any early warning signs.  With early detection we can increase the chances of the most favorable outcome. When we test for diabetes mellitus we recommend a physical examination, a simple blood test, and urinalysis.

The pancreas and it’s role in diabetes mellitus

To understand diabetes, let’s start with a brief understanding of the pancreas and one of its main functions. The pancreas has several functions, but we will focus on the role of insulin production.

The pancreas produces insulin and regulates blood glucose levels. Glucose, as well as sucrose and fructose, are carbohydrates (we often refer to them as simple sugars).

A normal pancreas should produce insulin as a response to increasing glucose in the blood (after a meal, for example) or when the body recognizes that the cells need glucose.

The insulin then regulates the flux of glucose out of the blood stream and into cells.  This is a very important cellular function. Read the rest of this entry »

Feline Renal Disease

December 13th, 2016 by Carlson Animal Hospital

Over the years we have seen many changes in feline health, from advancements in medical knowledge and techniques to increasing longevity in our feline companions.

At Carlson Animal Hospital our feline patients benefit from the most current, advanced medicine and knowledge. Feline kidney disease is one area where both our feline caregivers and your Carlson Animal Hospital team can make a big impact.

Renal disease refers to any form of impaired function of the kidneys.

The kidneys are paired organs that are located in the abdomen just behind the ribs and directly below the spine on the left and right side. They are part of the urinary system and along with the two ureters are designated as the upper urinary system. Each ureter leads from the kidney to the lower urinary tract which is comprised of the bladder and the single urethra taking urine out of the body.

One cat out of every three has the probability of developing some form of kidney disease in their lifetime. As cats age this probability increases. We see all types of feline renal disease each and every day, so we are very familiar with diagnosis and treatment of this illness. Read the rest of this entry »

How frequently do indoor cats need a physical examination and vaccinations?

October 25th, 2016 by Carlson Animal Hospital

vaccine-cat-in-cardboard-carrierAs veterinarians, we know a feline physical examination appointment may be a big event for you and your pet.  It frequently begins well before you step into the exam room.

There’s often a game of hide and seek to find our feline friends, a game of trickery or wrestling to get them in the carrier, and oftentimes a car ride filled with choruses of plaintive meowing before you even walk through our front door.  And then comes the exam!  Which we know can be a big production in and of itself for some patients.

So, why do we put ourselves and our feline companions through all this?  These days most of our kitties spend their entire lives sheltered in our comfortable homes away from contagious diseases.

Why then, do they need examinations and immunizations regularly?  Well, although it may not be the most exciting event on your calendar, annual feline physical examination appointments are far more important than you realize.  Annual exams are vital to preventing unnecessary suffering, illness and heartbreak down the line.

How frequently do indoor cats need a physical examination?

A comprehensive physical examination is an important measure of an animal’s health just as it is for our own health.  Examinations not only allow us to evaluate countless parameters of health, such as weight changes, hydration status, heart health and dental health.  They also open up conversation about habits at home that allow insight into abnormalities that may be red flags for declining health or a change in health status such as a change in appetite,  urinary habits or water consumption.

Cats should have a physical examination at least once a year. Kittens require frequent exams and vaccinations during their first 4 months of development.  We recommend more frequent physical examinations for senior cats and cats with chronic health problems. We make this recommendation on a case by case basis. For  a healthy adult cat, an annual examination, which conveniently coincides with their annual rabies immunization requirement, is sufficient as long as the cat is doing well at home. Read the rest of this entry »