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  Veterinarian Q & A
 

Dr. Julie Pomerantz D.V.M, is veterinarian practicing in New York City.

Feel free to submit your questions to Dr. Pomerantz and we will email you when they are posted. Because of the volume we can not answer all questions received.
Click here to submit your question

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This information DOES NOT replace professional veterinary care. It is intended solely for educational purposes. Your pet's medical condition should be evaluated by a veterinarian before implementation of any medical or husbandry changes.

If there is a potentially life-threatening emergency involving your pet, take your pet to a veterinarian or veterinary facility IMMEDIATELY!!!! Responses can take 1-2 weeks.

October 2009

Sandy asks:
I am a volunteer with a local cat rescue group, focused on over population prevention (spay/neuter) a  No-Kill philosophy, and almost all cats are cage-free.  In recent months, I've noticed periodically cats that have bare spots on their bodies.  A few have had skin scrapings done, but nothing was found.  I looked at one of the cats today, "Marina", who's spots are slightly red, sporadic over her back and sides (maybe 8 total), round and the size of cigarette burns.  She also has some scabs around her neck - not sure if they're related.  Most vets we've spoken with say it's probably allergies.  Do you agree, and should these cats be tested for something else?

Actually the problem you are describing sounds suspiciously like “ringworm” – a common problem in shelters. Ringworm – properly known as dermatophytosis -  is not actually a worm at all but rather it is a fungal skin infection similar to athlete’s foot. The fungus can be contagious from one cat to another as well as to other pets and people. Ringworm is treated with a combination of oral medications, topical medications and medicated baths. It can be difficult to eradicate ringworm when many animals are involved because of environmental contamination and reinfection. Ringworm in people is generally a mild condition easily treated by a physician but people with compromised immune systems may be more severely affected.

 

DeEnna is wondering:
I have 5 cats, 4 related, the older boys, and the younger girls, and 1 female rescue.  The smallest of the bunch is Isabella.  I call her my "special bus" kitty.  I treat them all with Frontline Plus ... they are
indoor cats, but I live in Pisgah Forest ... we know how fleas are.  I recently had her to the vet for annual Rabies and I explained that she was shaking her head frequently and scratching.  There is absolutely no sign of mites, no dirt in or around her ears.  The vet said her ears are perfectly clean.  The others shake and scratch occasionally, but nearly as much as Isabella ... What else might be causing this?  
  

I wonder if your kitty might have an infection deeper within her ear  - possibly behind her eardrum.  Sedation might be required to do a thorough otoscopic examination of her ears. It would also be worthwhile to check for nasopharyngeal polyps. These polyps are small growths that often originate in the ear and may extend into the throat. Polyps may develop in cats after severe upper respiratory tract infections and often cause signs such as chronic congestion, gagging as well as head shaking.

 

Abbie wants to know:
My can ran around all night and play, from the window to the end of the bed and back again, stopping every now and then on the top blanket by me and resting lying down, when morning came although her litter box is in the basement and she know where, she stop and pee on my blanket right in
front of my face knowing I would get mad look at me and then ran, what's that about

It sounds like your kitty was trying to tell you something!  Perhaps there has been a change in the house - new schedule, new people or pets that she finds stressful? I this cat new to your house - maybe she was used to companionship or going outdoors? You didn't say if your cat is spayed - if she isn't then she might be in heat and frustrated that she cannot get outside to look for a mate - the answer in this case is a visit to the vet to have her spayed to help avoid an escape which might lead to her getting lost or hurt as well as unwanted pregnancy.

 

Judy inquires:
While trapping a feral colony (all young and in good health aside from fleas)I caught one kitten weighing 1.4pounds, so took that kitten into foster. It is a Siamese mix, is playful, has gained half pound in the past week, is now free from fleas and worms (Cestex, then with Drontal.
My question: each time the kitten eats, big fat tears roll down her face. I am feeding Science diet kitten canned. There is NO discharge or sign of URI at other times, but only within 10minutes of starting to eat. It's almost like chopping onions for her! It stops when she stops eating. Is she allergic to the food?

After a bit of research I found the answer to this interesting question! For most of us, tasty food causes our mouths to water but in a few people and animals there is also a “gustatolacrimal” reflex that causes the eyes to water when food is eaten. This is sometimes known as “crocodile tears”.  Occasionally this can also occur after trauma to the nerves that control the salivation and tearing. Although this is not really “normal”, it seems to be a harmless condition and there is no treatment.

 

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