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WEEKEND: YOUR PETS: Is cat at risk if I wash the floor with bleach?

Byline: with PDSA vet Kurt Vandamme

Q. I USUALLY clean my kitchen floor with bleach. Could this be harmful or dangerous to my cat who usually wanders around the kitchen while I'm mopping the floor?

AMOST types of bleach are usually in a liquid form containing sodium hypochlorite, a solid bleach block or a powder containing sodium hypochlorite.

These hypochlorite-type bleaches can affect both dogs and cats. Pets could mistakenly eat bleach blocks or drink diluted solutions of bleach. Cats could fall into containers full of diluted bleach. Bleach can also splash into a pet's eyes which can be painful.

Sodium hypochlorite type bleaches have both caustic and irritant properties, although obviously concentrated solutions will affect a cat or a dog more than a diluted form. But even with diluted bleach solutions, there may be inflammation of the mouth, gastro-enteritis or skin irritation.

If a pet has eaten bleach, do not try to make it sick, as this can lead to more problems. You can wash the mouth out with cool water and if the bleach has come into contact with the skin or eyes, irrigate the area well with cool water without rubbing. In both cases, it is best to contact your vet for further advice.

Bleach should always be stored securely away from pets. If you have used bleach to clean, don't allow pets back into the room until the area has completely dried.

Q. MY cat has a small lump just under the surface of the skin on her back. It looks a bit like a wart. Is this anything to worry about?

A. QUITE a few things could cause this lump, so get your cat checked out by a vet. For example, cutaneous cysts can cause symptoms similar to those you have described, and the commonest of these is called a follicular cyst. These often contain a cheesy, yellow/brown substance.

Other forms of cutaneous cysts are dermoid cysts, a type caused by the obstruction of a sweat gland and a sebaceous gland cyst.

A vet will decide to remove them if they are causing a problem, or leave them alone.

Another condition is called a cutaneous horn. This is a firm, horn-like projection found in many parts of the body. Again, sometimes no treatment is necessary, but some need to be surgically removed.

Penetrating foreign bodies, such as thorns, can also cause reactions in the skin, which is another reason why it is worthwhile taking your cat to the vet's for a check-up. Although it may be nothing to worry about, it is always best to be sure.

Q. I HAVE a crossbreed Alsatian who has developed a large swelling to the right side of his face. His teeth are in quite a bad state and I was wondering if these things are connected.

A. YOU should take your dog to the vet as there are a few conditions that could cause these symptom, such as a dental abscess.

These show up as a swelling on the side of the face and are very painful. The tooth that is causing the problem will probably need to be removed and the vet can scale and polish the other teeth at the same time. The vet will also be able to advise you about future dental care for your dog, such as how to brush its teeth. If the swelling is a dental abscess your dog may also need a course of antibiotics.

There are other causes of swelling on the face, such as tumours, which is another reason why your dog needs to be seen by a vet as soon as possible.

If you have a question for the vet, write directly to: Kurt Vandamme, PO Box 5987, Chelmsford CM1 2GP.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Feb 5, 2005
Words:625
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