Ask The Expert (8)

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In the case of a serious health problem, please consult your own veterinarian.

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Topics Include:

  • Breeding After Fluconazole
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Expiration of Nebulizer Medications
  • Information About A Rescue
  • Male Uninterested In Breeding
  • Reoccurring Coccidiosis
  • How often to Breed a Female
  • Inherited Cats
  • Kitten With Domed Head
  • The Yo-Yo Testicle
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Eating Too fast
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Weird Legs
  • Micropthalmia
  • How long is a cat pregnant?

Topic: Breeding After Fluconazole
How long should one wait before breeding a cat that has been treated with fluconazole? I have gotten different answers and my vet said she would research it but she hasn't gotten back with me. Jacqueline

Answer: Assuming that fluconazole is similar to the other azoles such as
ketoconazole, the teratogenic effects occur if the animal is dosed while
pregnant. The dosages that I have found for keto and itraconazole are twice daily to remain at therapeutic levels, so I would assume that by 1 week post therapy there would be enough excretion of the drug that it wouldn't be a problem. Err on the side of caution however and allow your cat as long a time as possible after stopping medication before breeding her.

Topic: Cardiomyopathy
Our two-year-old cat, Simba, died of a sudden death a few days ago. The vet performed an autopsy and said that our cat was very healthy. He did not examine the heart or brain, but concluded that my cat's death was probably an aneurysm or heart attack. The vet said that both possible causes are rare and probably related to genetics. Simba's mother was an Egyptian Mau (probably not pure bred). Simba looked and behaved exactly like a typical Egyptian Mau, so I am certain that he inherited a lot of his mother's traits. I have read that a disease called cardiomyopathy is prevalent in Egyptian Maus. Are there any statistics on how common this is? Can the disease produce a sudden death? Would Simba have shown any symptoms that a heart attack was going to occur? Simba showed NO symptoms. In fact, he had just been to the vet three weeks before his death (for a physical exam and shots). He seemed totally healthy- behaved, played, ate, drank, eliminated, etc. as normal. D.

Answer: I'm so sorry to hear that your lost Simba. Although your time with him was relatively short, you obviously loved him. When a apparently young and healthy cat dies suddenly, a veterinarian will assume that the cat either had a stroke or died of a heart attack unless a necropsy is performed.

Cardiomyopathy is a disease that can be present in any breed of cat, whether purebred or not. You can read more about this condition in our article Cardiomyopathy which includes descriptions and x-rays of a cat with an enlarged heart.

Heart problems in cats are quite similar to heart problems in people. Sometimes a cat shows no symptoms at all, then suddenly has a massive heart attack and dies. Other times there are symptoms, though they may be barely noticeable - like a slight intolerance to exercise - more panting than usual, perhaps less active. Unfortunately cats cannot talk, so they cannot tell us if they don't feel 100%. Do not blame yourself for not noticing anything wrong with Simba. He may have had no symptoms at all.

Topic: Expiration of Nebulizer Medications
Regarding the formula for nebulizer....
How long will that formula keep? I realize it's only as good as the expiration date on the meds used....but let's say I have a two year expiration date on the meds. Sandra

Answer: Only mix a "formula" when you are going to use it. Discard any unused portion.

Topic: Information About A Rescue
I have never had a Persian cat before and recently adopted one from a rescue agency. I have no information on him, other than name, because the former owner dropped him in a night locker at the SPCA. Is there any way to track down his papers or any information about him though a national registry? It doesn't seem likely to me but I thought I would ask. Thank you for your time. Jan

Answer: Let me congratulate you on opening your heart to a cat in need. You are an angel. Since the cat was left anonymously, there is no way to find out more information about him unless he was tattooed or microchipped. Most SPCA and veterinarians now have a universal scanner for microchips, so I assume your cat doesn't have one. If you have examined him an found no tattoo or microchip, I am afraid you will never know more about your new kitty than you already do.

Topic: Male Uninterested In Breeding
I have a male who is 3 years old and not interested yet in you recommend the hormone shots? Linda

Answer: Generally speaking, if a male has shown no interest in breeding by age three years the question is not will hormone injections help, but do you really want to use this cat in your program even if you can get him to breed successfully? While no official studies have been done on the inheritability of low libido in cats, it should be a concern.

On the other hand, if you simple MUST have kittens from this boy, I would go ahead and give hormone injections a try. Also, try placing him next to another breeding male so that he can feel "competitive". Let him "observe" the other male breeding a female. And don't give up hope. I know of one Persian male who bred his first female at 5 years of age.

Topic: Reoccurring Coccidiosis
I'm curious about the treatment of Coccidiosis!
What else can be done besides treatment with Albon for the 5 to 7 day period? The kitten is otherwise very healthy, gaining weight at a pound over per months in age. Eats very good and others wise seems normal, except for the reoccurring bouts with coccidia. Pauline

Answer: You need to determine why the kitten is having recurring bouts of coccidiosis. It must be getting re-infected from somewhere, assuming the dosage of the sulfa is correct and the kitten is getting the meds correctly, etc. Are you cleaning the environment? Repeated cleaning with bleach is a good place to start. Are there any other kittens or cats who could be reservoir of coccidiosis? Are there other animals in the house? Reptiles? Birds? Have you have a confirmed diagnosis of coccidiosis? Other parasites such as Giardia can have the same symptoms as coccidiosis yet require a different medication.

Topic: How often to Breed a Female
We are new to the whole breeding adventure and have learned that it is best if the queen has no more than two litters a year. Does the actual spacing of the litters matter? Is there recovery time involved? She had a healthy first litter of four kittens in the end of May. The last ones just left to go to their new homes. So, we are trying to find out when to breed again. Teri

Answer: A pregnancy is very stressful on a cat. It is best to space the litters at least 4 months apart. Large litters can certainly be even more exhausting to a mom-cat.

Topic: Inherited Cats
Hi. My question is about Pixie Bobs. I was given a pair of them after a long time friend passed away. She had a fire in her home and while her cats escaped the blaze, she didn't. The breeder says I cannot breed them. Can you tell me if that is true? Georgeann

Answer: Most breeders sell their cats with breeding restrictions - If your friend bought her Pixie Bob as breeding stock, there may have been a restriction against change of ownership. Since you have contacted the breeder of the cats, and explained the situation you must abide by her decision. You might ask to see her copy of the contract she had with your friend to confirm the details.

Topic: Kitten With Domed Head
I have a nine week old kitten with a head that has always been dome-shaped (I've had him since he was abandoned at birth). He has a large forehead, and I am aware that it is likely that he is hydrocephalic. The only time that he has ever had problems was when he was three weeks old and starting to walk around more, but was unable to lift his head up - but within one more week, he was walking around normally. He is now quite active, he eats, drinks, uses the litterbox, plays with toys, my other cats, or whatever else is around, and otherwise acts like a completely normal kitten, even learning the location of things in my house. His head is still dome-shaped, and a little bit larger then normal, although not by much anymore, and there are three fingertip size open spots grouped together on his skull where the bone plates are not fused together, although one is continuing to close. I know that most hydrocephalic kittens do not do well, and die long before they reach the age of nine weeks. Kelly

Answer: This is a "wait and see" case. At nine weeks your kitten is still very young. Most hydrocephalic kittens are showing neuralogic problems long before now. The openings in his skull may also close in time or remain open. There is an risk of head injury with open fontanels, although (for instance) the Chihuahua breed of dog has them as a matter of course and survive just fine with it.

Not all domed heads are indicative of hydrocephalia.

Topic: The Yo-Yo Testicle
I bought a Ragdoll Lynx Bi-Color at 8 months of age. I took him to the vet at the time of purchase and he said the cat would make a fine breeder. However, today at his annual check up the vet said one of his balls has not fully dropped, and this was a genetic disorder that could case cancer if the cat is not castrated. Please, advise me about this disease. And what the responsibility of the breeder that I bought the cat from for $1,300.00 dollars. Susan

Answer: Young kittens (just like baby boys) can still pull their testicles up and down. While most males will have both testicles down permanently by 8 months, you boy may have had them down when examined at 8 months and subsequently pulled one up and kept it up. Or you vet may have simply "missed" checking accurately for both testicles during his first exam.

A tendency to undescended testicles can be hereditary (though not always). If your breeder guarantees against hereditary defects, then they should be willing to replace the cat as he is not suitable for breeding.

While an undescended testicle in dogs does have an increased incidence of cancer, the same has NOT been proven for cats. You would want to have it removed however to avoid the sex characteristics of a male developing in the kitten. If the undescended testicle is near the scrotal sac, the surgery is no more complicated or expensive than a spay operation on a female.

Topic: Gastroenteritis
I would like to know the cause of gastroenteritis in a kitten and cure or help for same.

Answer: Chapters in books have been written on the causes of gastroentiritis. There is no simple answer. Causes range from diet to parasites to viruses to bacteria to yeast infections - and the list goes on.

Topic: Eating Too fast
My cat is a pig! He gobbles his food down like its a race and then about 5 minutes later he throws his food back up! Help!! Janet

Answer: Oh Janet! What a problem. :-) You didn't mention whether your cat is young or an adult. But there are solutions. Try feeding him several small servings throughout the day so he does not have the opportunity to gorge himself. You can also put a golf ball or several large marbles (make sure they are too big for him to swallow) in his kibble bowl so that he is forced to eat around them - thus slowing his intake.

If your cat still vomits up food shortly after eating small amounts, you need to take him to the vet for x-rays. He may have a restriction at the opening from the esophagus to the stomach called a pyloric stenosis that is preventing his food from traveling normally to the stomach..

Topic: Hyperthyroidism
My cat has hyperthyroidism, she has been on Methimazole for two weeks, and is having a lot of trouble with vomiting and diarrhea plus she is constantly scratching and cleaning herself. She only weighs five and one half pounds and is on two and one half milligrams of methimazole twice a day. Is this dosage too much for her. I am very worried about her. I would really appreciate your opinion. Vicki

Answer: There is a large range for the dosage of methimazole. The initial dose started will usually depend on the degree of hyperthyroidism - how high the T4 level is. Vomiting is not unusual when you first start the medication, but most cats adapt within a week or two. If she wasn't having diarrhea before, then there may be another problem. If the vomiting doesn't resolve, then talk to your vet about different forms of the drug (such as transdermal gels) or about radioactive iodine treatments. If the scratching is new as well, then she might be allergic to the drug in which case the I-131 treatments would be ideal, if available.

Topic: Weird Legs
My cat recently just had 5 kitten, and 4 of them have weird legs. Their front legs are bent at the elbow(?).. they have trouble walking so they use their elbows. It was really bad at the beginning, but now they are approx. 4 weeks old and they seem to be getting better every day, except one little guy. Do you think that they will ever completely get better and walk normally? We think it may have been because my cat is really tiny and maybe the kittens didn't have enough room in her stomach, so their legs grew bent. I don't know. Could you please help? Tammy

Answer: Update on Kittens Born With Twisted Legs includes photos of kittens born with twisted hind legs. Kittens with front leg problems also can grow up perfectly normally, although sometimes splinting is required. If you can send me photos I would be happy to give you more detailed advice.
Topic: Micropthalmia
I just had a new kitten shipped in today, it is a Bengal female approx. 12 weeks. Can you tell me about Micropthalmia. She has extremely small eyes and they don't look quite right. What are the signs and is it congenital? Is it hard for a vet to diagnose this disorder? Jill
Answer: Microphthalmia just means the globe (eyeball) is too small, where the eye itself may be formed properly but is just smaller than normal. Sometimes there are other minor or more significant abnormalities. More common in certain dog breeds such as Collies, and often associated with other problems such as strabismus (crossed eyes) and nystagmus (twitching eyes). Sometimes the eyeball is normal size but the opening of the eyelids is too small, and entropion may be present. Surgery may be corrective in some of those cases. In piglets it can be caused by vitamin A deficiency in the sow. Griseofulvin administration to queens has been reported to cause micropthalmia in the kittens as well as more serious defects. To diagnose micropthalmia: If only one appears small, then measure it against the other eye and compare them. If both eyes are small, then you need a "normal" cat of the same breed and age to compare. It is a rare condition in cats.

Topic: How long is a cat pregnant?
I have not had any experience with cats up until now, and I know that this is a simple question and that I probably should know the answer, but I don't. My daughter has a calico cat that is pregnant. How long does a cat carry kittens? Marilyn

Answer: The average gestation period for a cat is 65 days but it often can vary from 63-68. Successful deliveries as late as 74 days have also been recorded.
More Expert Questions & Answers

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