Lower respiratory tract disease produces typical clinical signs in cats, including chronic cough and wheeze as well as dyspnea that may have a sudden onset.1 Owners may report an increase in respiratory rate (>30-40 breaths per minute), increased expiratory effort and lethargy. Clinical signs may be mild to severe and may be chronic or intermittent.
Feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) is a sterile, inflammatory process causing signs of lower urinary tract disease (LUTD). It affects 1.5% of cats presented to primary care veterinarians.21 It is the most common diagnosis for young cats with LUTD (the second most common being urolithiasis).
Cats are masters at hiding illness, so that clinicians must become expert at uncovering illness with a thorough medical history and feline-specific physical examination. Obtaining a medical history is easier than ever in today's electronic world. Clinicians can take advantage of multimedia tools to collect information, ranging from an email containing a basic signalment to videos of a particular behavior.
The human genome is composed of about 3 billion base pairs, of which only about 2% forms coding DNA (genes); the rest is non-coding and serves various functions, such as gene regulation. Humans have about 20-25,000 genes, although the function of 50% of them is unknown.
Struvite and calcium oxalate (CaOx) uroliths are the most commonly reported uroliths in cats. In the last 25 years, dramatic change in the prevalence of different urolith types has occurred. Until the mid-1980s, struvite uroliths made up 78% of submissions to the Minnesota Urolith Center (MUC).
There are three well-known, clinically important blood groups in cats: A, B, and AB.1-2 Despite the nomenclature, the antigens in the feline AB blood group are not serologically related to the human ABO blood group antigens.
The cat is considered a resistant, yet susceptible host for Dirofilaria immitis. Worm burdens are much lower in cats than in dogs (average 15 worms in dogs and 1-3 in cats in endemic areas) and about 1/3 of feline infections involve worms of the same sex. Feline heartworm (HW) was first described in the 1920s; awareness has increased greatly since the introduction of Heartgard for cats in 1997 and the associated marketing campaign. Feline HW remains a difficult to diagnose, yet fully preventable disease.
It has been estimated that at 25 to 33% of cats are either overweight or grossly obese, with the highest rates seen in middle-aged cats. Yet the 2003 AAHA Compliance Study (The Path to High-Quality Care) found that veterinarians are significantly under diagnosing feline obesity. Owners also may not recognize when their cat is overweight, nor be aware of the associated health risks. Obesity should be the easiest disorder to diagnose, but it is also one of the hardest to treat.
The normal feline lower urinary tract has a number of defence mechanisms against infection. These include normal micturition (e.g., frequent and complete voiding), normal anatomy (e.g., length of urethra), uroepithelial mucosal barriers, the antimicrobial properties of normal urine (e.g., high specific gravity and osmolality) and a normal immune system.