Objective—To evaluate the effects of a synthetic
feline facial pheromone (FFP) on behavior and food
intake of healthy versus clinically ill cats.
Animals—20 cats were used in each of 2 studies. In
each study, 7 cats were considered healthy, and 13
cats were determined to be clinically ill.
Procedure—In study 1, cats were assigned either
to exposure to FFP (treated group; 4 healthy, 6 ill
cats) or to exposure to the vehicle (70% ethanol
solution; control group; 3 healthy, 7 ill cats). Cats
were placed in a cage containing a small cotton
towel that had been sprayed with FFP or vehicle 30
minutes previously. Cats were then videotaped for
125 minutes, and food intake was measured during
this period. Videotapes were scored at 5-minute
intervals for various behaviors. In study 2, cats were
categorized in 1 of 2 groups; group 1 (2 healthy, 8 ill
cats) had a cat carrier placed in their cages, and
group 2 (5 healthy, 5 ill cats) did not. All cats were
exposed to FFP, and 24-hour food intake was measured.
Results—Differences between behaviors of healthy
versus clinically ill cats were not identified. In the first
study, significant increases in grooming and interest
in food were found in cats exposed to FFP compared
with vehicle. For all cats, significant positive correlations
were detected between grooming and facial
rubbing, walking and facial rubbing, interest in food
and facial rubbing, eating and facial rubbing, grooming
and interest in food, and grooming and eating. In
the second study, 24-hour food intake was significantly
greater in cats exposed to FFP and the cat carrier,
compared with cats exposed to FFP alone.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest
that exposure to FFP may be useful to increase
food intake of hospitalized cats. (J Am Vet Med Assoc
Objective—To compare results of a conventional
obesity treatment program with those of an obesity
treatment program that included education of owners
of obese dogs.
Design—Nonblinded prospective clinical trial.
Animals—60 obese dogs with a body condition score
(BCS) of 8/9 or 9/9.
Procedure—Dogs were randomly assigned to control
or owner education (EDU) treatment groups. A 6-
month weight loss period was followed by an 18-
month weight maintenance period. Daily caloric intake
to induce loss of 1% of body weight/wk was calculated
for each dog after assessment of prior diet history.
The daily caloric intake for weight maintenance was
estimated to be 20% greater than that calculated for
weight loss with adjustments of ± 5% as required.
Weight and BCS were recorded monthly for each dog.
Owners of dogs in the EDU group were required to
attend monthly classes that addressed nutrition-related
topics during the 6-month weight loss period.
Results—Dogs in both treatment groups had significantly
lower weight at the end of the weight loss period,
compared with initial weight. Mean weight loss at 6
months was 14.7% in the control group and 15% in the
EDU group; this difference was not significant. During
the weight maintenance period, percentage weight loss
was maintained in both treatment groups. Mean
changes in BCS at 6 months (relative to time 0) were
–1.5 in the control group and –1.7 in the EDU group. At
24 months, mean changes in BCS (relative to time 0)
were –2.1 in the control group and –2.2 in the EDU
group. No significant differences in BCS were identified
between treatment groups at either 6 or 24 months.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Mean decrease
in BCS of 2 and mean weight loss of 15% were achieved
and maintained in all dogs. An obesity treatment program
that included dietary changes and monthly weight
checks during the weight loss and weight maintenance
periods was sufficient to achieve these results. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:1932–1935)
Objective—To compare acoustic startle reflexes (ASRs) of healthy cats and cats with interstitial cystitis (IC).
Animals—28 healthy cats (11 males and 17 females) and 20 cats with IC (13 males and 7 females).
Procedures—To evaluate the effect of neutering on ASRs, ASRs in neutered and unneutered healthy cats were measured. To evaluate the effect of housing facility acclimation on ASRs in cats with IC, ASRs were measured in cats with IC within 1 month after arrival at the housing facility and again 2 to 3 months after arrival. To evaluate the effect of the environment on ASRs, ASRs were evaluated in all cats with and without IC after acclimation but before and then after environmental enrichment.
Results—Neutering led to a significant decrease in overall ASR in the healthy cats. Habituation to the housing facility resulted in a significant decrease in overall ASR of female but not male cats with IC. Environmental enrichment led to a significant decrease in ASR in cats with IC but not in healthy cats.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The magnitude of the ASR appeared to be sensitive to environmental conditions and affected by sex, both in healthy cats and cats with IC. It was also higher in cats with IC versus healthy cats, except when cats were housed in a highly enriched environment.
Impact for Human Medicine—Treatment approaches that include reduction of a patient's perception of environmental unpredictability may benefit humans with IC.
Objective—To compare sickness behaviors (SB) in response to unusual external events (UEE) in healthy cats with those of cats with feline interstitial cystitis (FIC).
Design—Prospective observational study.
Animals—12 healthy cats and 20 donated cats with FIC.
Procedures—Cats were housed in a vivarium. Sickness behaviors referable to the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts, the skin, and behavior problems were recorded by a single observer for 77 weeks. Instances of UEE (eg, changes in caretakers, vivarium routine, and lack of interaction with the investigator) were identified during 11 of the 77 weeks. No instances of UEE were identified during the remaining 66 weeks, which were considered control weeks.
Results—An increase in age and exposure to UEE, but not disease status, significantly increased total number of SB when results were controlled for other factors. Evaluation of individual SB revealed a protective effect of food intake for healthy males. An increase in age conferred a small increase in relative risk (RR) for upper gastrointestinal tract signs (RR, 1.2) and avoidance behavior (1.7). Exposure to UEE significantly increased the RR for decreases in food intake (RR, 9.3) and for no eliminations in 24 hours (6.4). Exposure to UEE significantly increased the RR for defecation (RR, 9.8) and urination (1.6) outside the litter box.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—SB, including some of the most commonly observed abnormalities in client-owned cats, were observed after exposure to UEE in both groups. Because healthy cats and cats with FIC were comparably affected by UEE, clinicians should consider the possibility of exposure to UEE in cats evaluated for these signs.
Objective—To evaluate the in vivo response of α2-adrenoceptors to medetomidine administration in cats with feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) during periods of stress and after environmental enrichment.
Animals—13 cats with FIC and 12 healthy cats.
Procedures—Cats were subjected to an acute-onset moderate stressor for 8 days. After stress, 20 μg of medetomidine/kg was administered IM on days 1, 3, and 8. Heart rate, blood pressure, pupil diameter, respiratory rate, and level of sedation were evaluated before and after administration of the drug. After day 8, cats were moved to an enriched environment, and tests were repeated on day 35.
Results—Heart rate decreased and pupil diameter increased significantly after medetomidine administration in healthy cats, compared with cats with FIC. Cats with FIC had significantly lower respiratory rates. No significant differences in blood pressure or sedation level were found.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Increased plasma catecholamine concentrations during the enrichment phase, which have been reported elsewhere, may have contributed to the differences in α2-adrenoceptor responses detected in cats with FIC.
Objective—To compare values of urodynamic measurements of cats with idiopathic cystitis (IC) with previously published data for healthy female cats.
Animals—11 female cats with IC.
Procedures—2 sequential cystometrograms and 2 urethral pressure profiles were obtained for each cat. All tracings were evaluated for evidence of overactive urinary bladder (OAB). Maximum urethral pressure (MUP), maximum urethral closure pressure (MUCP), and functional profile length were recorded.
Results—Only 3 cats had obvious micturition events. None of the 11 cats had evidence of OAB. Although not significant, threshold pressure was lower in cats with IC than in healthy cats (mean ± SD, 89.0 ± 12.0 cm H2O vs 75.7 ± 16.3 cm H2O, respectively); however, the total volume infused was significantly lower in cats with IC (4.8 ± 2.1 mL/kg vs 8.3 ± 3.2 mL/kg). The MUCP was significantly higher in cats with IC than in healthy cats (158.0 ± 47.7 cm H2O vs 88.9 ± 23.9 cm H2O, respectively). The MUP was also significantly higher in all portions of the urethra in cats with IC.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—No evidence of OAB was identified in any cat evaluated; therefore, medications used to target this abnormality did not appear justified. The high MUCP in cats with IC suggested that α1-adrenoceptor antagonists or skeletal muscle relaxants may be useful in this disease, and if these data were applicable to male cats, then α1-adrenoceptor antagonism may help prevent recurrent obstructive IC. Further studies are indicated to determine the effects, if any, these drugs might have in cats with IC.
Objective—To determine associations between environmental and cat-related factors and lower urinary tract signs in indoor-housed domestic cats.
Animals—238 healthy cats, 157 cats with clinical signs of lower urinary tract disease, and 70 cats with other diseases.
Procedure—Data collected from owners of the cats were analyzed. Descriptive statistics, environmental variables, and physical and behavioral signs were analyzed by use of ANOVA and logistic regression analysis to assess which factors were associated with clinical signs of lower urinary tract disease.
Results—The only demographic or environmental factors associated with lower urinary tract signs were older age and months owned. In contrast, cats with clinical signs of lower urinary tract disease had significantly greater owner-observed gastrointestinal tract signs and scratching, fearful, nervous, and aggressive behaviors.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Lower urinary tract signs in indoor-housed cats may be more closely associated with cat-related factors than with demographic or environmental factors.
Objective—To determine efficacy of a protocol for managing urethral obstruction (UO) in male cats without urethral catheterization.
Animals—15 male cats with UO in which conventional treatment had been declined.
Procedures—Laboratory testing and abdominal radiography were performed, and cats with severe metabolic derangements or urinary calculi were excluded. Treatment included administration of acepromazine (0.25 mg, IM, or 2.5 mg, PO, q 8 h), buprenorphine (0.075 mg, PO, q 8 h), and medetomidine (0.1 mg, IM, q 24 h) and decompressive cystocentesis and SC administration of fluids as needed. Cats were placed in a quiet, dark environment to minimize stress. Treatment success was defined as spontaneous urination within 72 hours and subsequent discharge from the hospital.
Results—Treatment was successful in 11 of the 15 cats. In the remaining 4 cats, treatment was considered to have failed because of development of uroabdomen (n = 3) or hemoabdomen (1). Cats in which treatment failed had significantly higher serum creatinine concentrations than did cats in which treatment was successful. Necropsy was performed on 3 cats in which treatment had failed. All 3 had severe inflammatory disease of the urinary bladder, but none had evidence of bladder rupture.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that in male cats, a combination of pharmacological treatment, decompressive cystocentesis, and a low-stress environment may allow for resolution of UO without the need for urethral catheterization. This low-cost protocol could serve as an alternative to euthanasia when financial constraints prevent more extensive treatment.