The Scoop on Cat Puke - Dr. Plotnick on PetLifeRadio's *The Pet Doctor*

The Scoop on Cat Puke!
on "The Pet Doctor"

Dr. Arnold Plotnick  on Pet Life Radio .........

Dr. Arnold Plotnick

This episode we discuss the ever so pleasant topic of kitty vomit! That’s right, hairballs, puke, the gift between your toes in the morning… cat vomiting. But seriously, cats to seem to vomit a lot and it can be hard to know when it is significant!  When is lots of vomiting too much vomiting?  Why is it happening and what can we do about it?   In this episode we turn to feline expert, Dr. Arnold Plotnick. He is a board certified internal medicine specialist and a brilliant and kind person and veterinarian. Contrary to the belief that the world is going to the dogs, Dr. Arnold Plotnick has made a career believing in felines. In fact, he has been one of only a handful of board-certified cat specialists in the United States. He helps us unravel the mysteries of the pre-chewed gifts our cats often leave us with and what we can do about it!
Dr. Diane Levitan

Dr. Levitan - Host
Questions or comments? Email Dr. Levitan at:

Here's all of the shows

Pet Podcasts

reade more... Résuméabuiyad

Cat Plays The Shell Game

This is amazing, I've never seen a cat with this sort of unique skill.

This is the cat that plays the shell game!

reade more... Résuméabuiyad

Early Spaying and Neutering in Cats. Get ‘em while they’re young.

Every year in the U.S., animal shelters and humane organizations euthanize millions of homeless and unwanted dogs and cats. Spaying and neutering has to remain the cornerstone of any program designed to reduce overpopulation of dogs and cats.

In my practice, clients will often bring me a kitten for examination and vaccination. Our protocol is typical for most veterinary practices: we vaccinate around 8 or 9 weeks of age, and again at 11 or 12 weeks of age, and once more at 15 or 16 weeks of age. Then, at 24 weeks of age, we neuter or spay.

This protocol of spaying and neutering around 6 months of age has been the professional standard for years. This posed a problem for shelters, however. If they adopted out a puppy or kitten, there was no way to ensure that the adopters would get the puppy or kitten neutered or spayed. Keeping the puppy or kitten at the shelter until it reached 6 months of age and then neutering or spaying wasn’t practical. The goal is to get the cats and dogs adopted out quickly, and keeping puppies and kittens for six months is costly and deprives families of the joy of watching the puppy and kitten grow up. Increasing the cost of adopting a cat or dog so that the adoption fee includes a voucher for a pre-paid spay or neuter has not been very effective. The national compliance rate of these programs is less than 40%.

The most effective way to ensure that animals adopted from shelters do not reproduce is to spay or neuter them before adoption. In fact, spaying and neutering can be performed in cats and dogs as young as 8 weeks of age. Early spay and neuter programs are supported by the AVMA and other well known veterinary organizations (the American Animal Hospital Associations, the British Small Animal Veterinary Association, and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association). Early neutering and spaying, also called prepubertal gonadectomy, is defined as neutering by four months of age – typically between 6 and 14 weeks.

Pediatric spays and neuters tend to be easier, faster, and less expensive than they are in adult animals. The incidence of surgical complications is low due to the shorter surgery times, and anesthetic recovery and healing are shorter than in adults. The procedure is not without some controversy, however. This mainly has to do with potential long-term physiologic effects. Let’s look at the issues individually:

Obesity: A long-term study at Cornell that followed over 1800 dogs for up to 11 years concluded that male and female dogs that were neutered and spayed at an early age were less likely to become obese. Studies in cats have reached the same conclusion. Obesity is a multi-factorial problem that occurs regardless of the age at which a cat is spayed or neutered.

Stunted growth: there were some concerns that pediatric neutering would cause stunted growth in dogs, but this has proven false. In fact, pediatric neutering actually results in delayed closure of the growth plates. The long bones of dogs that undergo pediatric neutering are a little longer than those of animals neutered after six months of age. The growth is proportionate, though. The curve is the same. There’s really no clinical relevance to the delayed growth plate closure.

Hip dysplasia: Some vets have wondered whether pediatric spaying and neutering would result in an increased incidence of hip dysplasia. A study at Texas A&M showed no increase in incidence. A study at Cornell, however, showed a slight increase in incidence. So the jury is out.

Puppy vaginitis and peri-vulvar dermatitis: studies have shown that the age at the time of neutering has no influence on the incidence of these conditions in dogs.

Feline lower urinary tract disease: It was hypothesized that pediatric neutering of male kittens would decrease the diameter of the penile urethra in cats and would thus lead to increased incidence of urinary obstruction. This has been disproven. The diameter of the penile urethra in an adult male cat is the same regardless of whether a cat was neutered at 7 weeks of age vs. 7 months of age.

Urinary incontinence: this has been an issue in dogs. Many female dogs, when they get older, will develop urinary incontinence that responds to estrogen supplementation. The Cornell study concluded that there was a slightly greater risk of estrogen-responsive urinary incontinence in dogs spayed earlier than 12 weeks, while the Texas A&M study showed no difference.

Other studies have shown that male kittens that underwent early castration had a significantly lower incidence of abscesses, sexual behaviors, urine spraying, and aggression toward veterinarians. (Yay!) In both sexes, the occurrence of asthma, gingivitis and hyperactivity were also reduced. Shyness and hiding were the only behaviors found to increase in those animals neutered/spayed before 5 ½ months. Neutered cats are at increased risk of developing diabetes compared to their intact counterparts, but there’s no correlation between the timing of the neutering and the risk of developing diabetes.

So there you have it. Most of the concerns regarding the physiological effects of pediatric spaying and neutering are unfounded. As usual, most of the studies have been in dogs – cats once again getting the short end of the stick. (Fortunately, that is changing, thanks to the Morris Animal Foundation.) Bottom line: get your cat neutered or spayed. And don’t worry about the age at which it is performed.

More resources:
"Spaying and Neutering"
"Pregnancy Prevention"
reade more... Résuméabuiyad

Reader Question: The Modern Way to Kill Cat Fleas

The Modern Way to Kill Cat Fleas

Dr. Arnold Plotnick is one of CatChannel's feline health experts. Check out more of his CatChannel answers.

Q: Please tell me the best way to get rid of cat fleas. My cat is 17 years old and never goes outdoors. As an indoor cat, she never had a flea problem until now and it's driving her, and us, crazy.

A: Historically, the most effective way to kill cat fleas was the three-step method: treat the yard, home and cat. Current monthly flea and tick control products available through veterinarians, however, they are so effective that treating the home and yard is rarely necessary. These new products are either applied directly to the cat, given orally or injected.  The goal of treatment is to eliminate cats' fleas before they reproduce. Treatment with an “adulticide” eliminates adult fleas on the cat, and ideally kills newly acquired fleas as well. Over-the-counter products are basically insecticides; they effectively kill adult fleas but offer little residual activity, and re-infestation is common. When applied monthly as directed, cat veterinarian products that contain imidacloprid, fipronil and selamectin kill most fleas before they reproduce and provide residual activity between applications. Mechanical control remains an important part of flea control. Thoroughly wash blankets, throw rugs and cat carriers and vacuum cat sleeping and resting areas to remove eggs and larvae. Also vacuum seat cushions and pillows on sofas and chairs, as well as the areas beneath sofas and beds where flea eggs and feces can drop and accumulate. Speak to your veterinarian about the different flea control products available. Flea control is no longer the pesky, difficult problem that it used to be years ago.

Manhattan Cat Specialists' Online Store - Flea and Tick

reade more... Résuméabuiyad

Too Many Toes - Dr. Plotnick and Mittens the Polydactyl Cat

I, or rather my eccentrically pawed cat, Mittens was asked to be the feature kitty for HealthyPet's polydactyl article (aimed towards kids).  Isn't Mittens just the cutest happiest extra-toed cat ever?!

Click the image below and HealthyPet's Summer 2011 digital issue will appear.

You may notice the article says "5 Questions with Arnold Plotnick" but there are only three questions.  I have no idea where the other questions went, therefore I will answer your polydactyl questions here... but just two!
reade more... Résuméabuiyad

How to Treat a Cat That Has Been Stung by a Bumblebee

How to Treat a Cat That Has Been Stung by a Bumblebee

Cats enjoy chasing things, but sometimes the things that they chase can sting them in retaliation. If your cat is stung by a bumblebee, the pain is sudden and intense. Treat a bee sting as soon as it happens to help relieve the pain and calm your cat down. In the majority of cases, treating the symptoms of the bee sting is enough to help your cat recover.

1 Observe your cat. If it is vomiting, has diarrhea or seems to be having difficulty drawing its breath, take it to the veterinarian at once. These are signs of an allergic reaction, which can be fatal without treatment.

2 Wrap two ice cubes in a wash cloth.

3 Hold the cat firmly under your arm, its face within easy reach.

4 Apply ice to the affected area until the swelling goes down. The ice also relieves the cat's pain.

5 Scrape the stinger out using the edge of a credit card. Leaving the stinger in the cat's lip causes irritation and infection.

6 Apply a small amount of antihistamine ointment to the area to help it heal.


reade more... Résuméabuiyad