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The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy

The UK's Premier Registration body

Veterinary Information

Levetiracetam shows promise for the treatment of feline audiogenic reflex seizures 

A group of UK-based investigators from Davies Veterinary Group and the UCL School of Pharmacy, who recently engaged the veterinary world with an article defining the previously undocumented syndrome of feline audiogenic reflex seizures (FARS), have published follow-up findings about the treatment of the condition. Their paper, 'Levetiracetam in the management of feline audiogenic reflex seizures: a randomised, controlled, open label study', appears in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery*.   FARS is a problem of older cats, which typically exhibit myoclonic seizures (brief, shock-like jerks of a muscle or a group of muscles) in response to certain high-pitched sounds. Both non-pedigree and pedigree cats (in particular, Birmans) may be affected.

Lucky escape for 'yellow' cat 

Haggis, a striking Maine Coon cat, had a very lucky escape from lily poisoning after brushing up against a bouquet of lilies, the pollen from which turned hiswhitefuryellow. Had Haggis begun to groom the pollen from his fur, he would almost certainly have suffered kidney damage and may have died.  Haggis’s lucky escape was due to the vigilance of this owner, who checked whether lily pollen could be poisonous. As soon as she discovered that the pollen could cause kidney failure if ingested, she immediately washed Haggis and took him straight to the vet where he was put on intravenous fluids and kept in for two days. Fortunately Haggis developed no problems and was allowed home with no adverse effects.  

Haggis’s story came to light as part of the charity International Cat Care’s (iCatCare) Keeping Cats Safe campaign, which during the month of September is highlighting the danger lilies pose to cats.  Lilies are frequently used in flower arrangements for their attractive appearance and fragrant flowers, however many people are still unaware of the danger they pose to cats. Eating any part of the lily – flowers, leaves, stem or pollen – or even drinking the water from a vase with lilies in it, is extremely dangerous to cats. Once ingested the toxin causes severe damage to the kidneys and in severe cases the kidneys fail completely. Signs of poisoning include drooling, vomiting, refusing food, lethargy and depression and a vet may find enlarged and painful kidneys on examination. 

The message of iCatCare’s campaign is that if you own a cat, never keep lilies in the house and should you suspect that your cat has been exposed to lilies, you seek immediate veterinary advice. Claire Bessant, Chief Executive of iCatCare said: ‘The unusual thing about the case of Haggis is that the outcome was good, which sadly is quite often not the case. Many owners are still unaware of the danger of lilies to their cats and cats often die as a result of poisoning. We hope that this campaign and the case of Haggis will highlight the danger.’  iCatCare has put together information for owners and veterinary professionals on its website, including a downloadable ‘lethal lilies’ poster. The charity will continue to raise awareness of this campaign and will be working more closely with supermarkets and florists on clearer labelling of bouquets and flower arrangements which contain lilies. 

For more information about lily toxicity see: http://icatcare.org/advice/keeping-cats-safe/lilies.  Full details about the Keeping Cats Safe campaign can also be found at: Keeping Cats Safe

VETERINARY WARNING

CONCENTRATED LAUNDRY LIQUID TOXICITY

Following an incident in which 4 Burmese cats suffered serious injury (including one fatality) following contact with accidental spillage of Persil concentrated laundry liquid, I would like to warn cat owners and veterinary surgeons of the danger of all brands of concentrated laundry liquid for pets.

The high concentration of chemicals in these products is extremely irritant to skin and mucous membranes. Skin contact can result in serious burns and if the liquid is ingested it will cause severe irritation of the lining of the gastro-intestinal and respiratory tracts. Cats are especially at risk because of their instinctive tendency to remove any contamination from their fur by licking.

The more costly branded concentrated laundry liquids containing 15-30% anionic detergents are particularly dangerous. Cheaper products containing 5-15% anionic detergents are less dangerous but still irritant.

See full details here

PERMETHRIN POISONING IN CATS

 All owners and breeders should be aware of the danger of Permethrin poisoning in cats. Permethrin is the active ingredient of a number of over-the-counter spot-on treatments for the control of fleas in dogs. Permethrin is extremely poisonous to cats. It affects the nervous system and causes severe neurological signs eg fits/seizures and even exposure to small quantities can be fatal. There is no specific antidote.

Many cats have been poisoned as a result of owners failing to read the product instructions properly and applying to cats in error. Cats can also be fatally poisoned by coming into contact with dogs who have been treated by licking the product off the skin or even just by skin contact.

International Cat Care has been very active in persuading the maufacturers to improve the labelling of these products and most do now carry clear conspicuous warnings of the danger to cats on the packaging.

All cat owners should take care that any over-the-counter flea treatment they buy is one that is marketed for use in cats and should always read the label and product literature carefully. It is also strongly recommended that cat owners do not use products containing Permethrin on their dogs. The risk of accidental contact is high, treated dogs pose a risk to cats for up to 72 hours after treatment and plenty of cat-safe alternatives are available. If owners require advice on choice of flea treatment for cats and dogs or control of fleas in general it is recommended they consult their veterinary surgeon, or veterinary pharmacist.

Sue Moreland MRCVS

GCCF Veterinary Officer

4th June 2010

Bristol University Cat Study

Bristol University would appreciate a small amount of time as help from cat owners in the Cat Fancy. For details see here

The Animal Health Trust investigates deafness in white cats

The AHT was one of the first places in the country to offer Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) hearing tests in 1992 for cats and dogs for congenital deafness; deafness that is present at birth and therefore likely to be hereditary.  Since then, the Trust has pioneered the use of BAER hearing tests to routinely screen litters of kittens and puppies with predominantly white coats to detect those animals that are born deaf.

However, the genetics behind this phenomenon is still unclear.  The AHT's new study aims to better understand the prevalence of congenital deafness in white kittens and their litter mates in the UK, and will be a basis to further investigate the genetic heritability and genetic defects behind the disease in white cats in the future.

The study focuses on five breeds:  British Shorthair, Norwegian Forest, Russian, Turkish Vankedisi and Maine Coon and needs more participants to aid this research.  The AHT is offering breeders a FREE BAER hearing test for the entire litter of kittens, as long as at least one of the litter is completely white.

For more information, or to arrange for your litter to take part in the study, please contact lorenzo.mari@aht.org.uk or julia.freeman@aht.org.uk of the Neurology Department, or call 01638 552700.

FELINE CORONAVIRUS (FCoV) RESEARCH

Please visit Langford Veterinary Services for more information.

Our study requires tissue samples collected from cats that have died from any cause or disease, and at any age; we are not specifically recruiting FIP cases.

Many thanks again for your help with this research. We hope that it will benefit many cats in the future through its findings.