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Pet Care.

Bahrain: Vet Hansel answers your questions about pet care in this weekly advice column, created in partnership with the Bahrain Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA). It will also be highlighting each week some of the animals in the BSPCA sanctuary, in the hope of finding each of them a loving home.

Question: My cat Jermaine seems to be in pain when I pick him up. He has developed some small lumps on his neck, thighs and abdomen. He does not eat very much and is very sluggish. I have not made any changes to his food or routine, his diet mainly consists of canned tuna fish and a small amount of dry cat food. Can you please advise me on what is wrong with him?

Answers: Cats are clean, undemanding and relatively quiet which makes them a very popular choice to have at home.

However, although they are comparatively easy pets to look after, cats are strict carnivores that rely on nutrients in animal tissues to meet their specific and unique nutritional requirements. Care needs to be taken over their diet.

The above mentioned symptoms and diet are suggestive of yellow fat disease (steatitis/pansteatitis).

The old myth that cats love to eat fish and only fish comes from a cartoon fable and this should be avoided as a sole diet.

Yellow fat disease is a vitamin E-associated nutritional disease in cats that comes from a diet consisting highly of oily fish or fish by-products.

Oily fish such as tuna, mackerel, sardine and white fish are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids but deficient in antioxidants like vitamin E.

Therefore, the over-abundance of unsaturated fatty acids (which oxidise and destroy vitamin E) combined with the deficiency of vitamin E causes damage to body fat which results in a painful inflammatory response.

Symptoms include depression, loss of appetite, fever, dull coat and lumpy deposits of fat (nodules) under the skin.

If left untreated steatitis can become very serious and in severe cases can be fatal so it is very important to seek veterinary attention immediately.

Diagnosis is based on the diet history and a biopsy of the fatty nodules. Once diagnosed, the treatment can include removing all fish from their diet and changing the diet to commercial cat food, giving the cat supplements of vitamin E. Because of associated pain, affected animals should be handled as little as possible.

You may also be shown how to help your cat eat until they have regained their strength. Once treatment has begun the body condition and body weight will be evaluated every two to four weeks.

Tuna canned for human consumption is not supplemented with vitamin E, as opposed to tuna-flavoured cat food with other meats, essential vitamins and minerals for cats.

Cats provided with proper nutrition are healthy, alert, have ideal body condition, stable weight, a clean, glossy coat and a healthy appetite.

You should focus more on red/dark meat as much as possible which is where cats get their taurine from that is an essential nutrient to sustain themselves (normal vision, digestion and heart muscle function). Cats do not manufacture taurine on their own, like other animals. So it is important to keep giving them this essential amino acid on a daily basis. It is located in all commercial cat foods and creates the balance as best possible.

Please note that each cat is an individual and a consultation with your vet will be required before beginning any form of treatment.

l Dr Hansel Geo is a veterinary consultant and surgeon for the BSPCA and Charis Vets. Please send questions to bspca@batelco.com.bh

BSPCA'S CAT OF THE WEEK IS MOZART

Breed: DSH

Sex: Female

Age: Approx three years

Neutered: Yes

Mozart came in with her brother Beethoven and they make a fantastic pair. She loves chasing flies and lying around in the sunshine for as long as daylight hours permit. You will realise in a very short time how much of a fun and easy-going cat she is. It would very nice to see both of them go to a home together, although they could both adapt on their own pretty well also. Why not visit Mozart this weekend and maybe you will fall in love with her brother also. Mozart is neutered and fully vaccinated.

BSPCA'S DOG OF THE WEEK IS ROSE

Breed: Doberman Mix

Sex: Female

Age: One year four months

Neutered: Yes

Rose was in a home before she showed up at the shelter. We have to admit that a dog of her breed does not tend to stay around for long, although for some reason Rose has been overlooked. She would make a loving companion to have at home and for reasons we cannot understand (lots of things can happen) she has ended up with us. Rose is still a young lady and needs someone she can look up to. Can you be that person? It might be getting a little hot out there but you should try your best to take her for a short walk this weekend and see if you click. Rose is neutered, tick treated and fully vaccinated.

- By BSPCA Pet Reporter Ghazi Almoayed

l If you are interested in adopting Mozart, Rose or any of the other cats, kittens, dogs and puppies, please visit the Animal Welfare Centre in Askar. From the Alba roundabout, take the road sign-posted Askar and Durrat Al Bahrain and at the third signal take a right on to the truck road and after approximately 800 metres you will see the AWC on the right side, just before the flyover. Or, log onto the website www.bspca.org for directions. The shelter is open from 9am to 5pm on Sundays to Thursdays and 9am to 1pm on Fridays, Saturdays and public holidays. It accepts animals 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Jun 25, 2016
Words:996
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