Incontinence and Cats with No Tails

manx cat incontinenceManx cats are a breed of cat from the Isle of Manx. Their most distinctive quality is that they often have no tail or just a stub of a tail. The biggest problem for the ones that are born without tails is that it is often accompanies by spinal problems. This hereditary issue is known as Manx Syndrome. The most common spinal cord issue Manx cats have is spina bifida, which is where part of their spinal cord is exposed at birth. This can cause a strange gait, or leave them unable to urinate or defecate properly. Other issues can include missing vertebra, rear leg paralysis, or malformed pelvis.

The good thing is that issues with incontinence develops early in kittenhood. Most owners will never have to deal with this issue, but breeders might. If you have Manx kittens and any of them are born with spinal issues, speak to your vet about options for the kitten.

One of the most common in Manx cats is the missing vertebrae. Without that tail vertebrae the spinal nerves don’t necessarily connect properly, as they do with a tailed cat. If you do have an incontinent cat, there are ways to help ensure they stay healthy. Make sure you have regular visits with your vet. They will need more personal grooming attention to avoid skin burn from urine, and both health and grooming issues can arise from feces staying on their fun and skin. Some options for care may include keeping them in an area where it is ok for them to accidents, or putting them in diapers for cats…oh yes, they exist. Again, speaking with your vet can help you decide what is the best course. You can also speak with your vet about any potential surgical options, for some cats with this issue, there are surgeries that can help.
There are other reasons why a cat may have no tail, typically due to injury. Cats who have lost their tail due to injury will have other issues and complications related to the nature of their injury. This could include incontinence but not necessarily.


Cat Scratch Fever is More Than Just A Song

Cat scratch fever is also called cat scratch disease or CSD. It is a bacterial infection that people get from cats who are infected with Bartonella Henselae bacteria. The CDC estimates that one out of 24 people who get CSD will be hospitalized from it.

You get cat scratch fever from a scratch or a bite from an infected cat. You can also get it from the saliva (drool) of an infected cat getting into an open wound or into your eyes. So if you are petting a cat that drools, as some do when they are relaxed, don’t touch your eyes. Sometimes you an et it from a flea or a tick who is carrying it, but that is more rare. It is not transmitted between humans.

If a cat has cat scratch fever, they don’t really have many or any symptoms. Cats can be carriers of the bacterium but it doesn’t typically make them sick. It is estimated that 40% of cats are carriers of CSD. Because it doesn’t typically cause any symptoms, treatment is not recommended for cats.

If a human catches CSD, they can have the following symptoms:

  • bump at the scratch site
  • swollen lymph nodes near the scratch site
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • low grade fever
  • prolonged fever
  • body aches
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • sore throat
  • backache
  • chills
  • abdominal pain
  • join pain
  • rash


Some of these symptoms can take a few days, and up to 2 weeks, to start.

The best way to avoid cat scratch fever, beyond not playing with cats, is to not have rough play with cats. Stay away from cats that scratch and bite. Keep your cats nails trimmed so they are less likely to be able to make a deep scratch. Don’t allow your cat to lick your eyes or any open wounds.

Cats get the bacteria from infected fleas and ticks. The best way to keep your cat from being a carrier is to help prevent a flea or tick infestation. We recommend a monthly Frontline Flea and Tick treatment. It is easy to use and very effective. If you have any questions about your cat’s flea and tick treatment or CSD, please set up an appointment to speak with your Albuquerque vet.

I Know Chocolate is Bad, But Why?

theobromine poisoning

theobromine poisoningNow that you have your Easter basket full of chocolate bunnies and eggs, it is hard not to share with your four legged friend. Your dog seems to like chocolate, so it can’t be that bad for her, right? Wrong. Chocolate is very bad for dogs. No matter how much they like it or beg for it, chocolate is poisonous to dogs.

The part of chocolate that is poison to your dog is called theobromine. Theobromine is found in chocolate and is similar to caffeine. People are able to metabolize theobromine but dogs process it much slower than their human companions. This allows the toxicity levels to build up in their system.

Different types of chocolate contain different levels of theobromine. So not all chocolate is created equal. Typically the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the higher the theobromine level. Because the toxicity in your dog is based on the quantity they ingest and their relative size, a larger dog can eat more chocolate before getting sick than a smaller dog. Of course, the bottom line is, they will both get sick.

We often get asked, “What if my dog eats a little bit?” Typically a small amount of chocolate won’t hurt them too much, it may just give them an upset stomach with vomiting and diarrhea. In large quantities, it can cause:

  • muscle tremors
  • seizures
  • arrhythmia, aka. irregular heartbeat
  • internal bleeding
  • heat attack
  • hyperactivity

They typical treatment for chocolate poisoning is to induce vomiting within 2 hours of the dog eating the chocolate. If it has been longer, your vet may need to treat using other methods. DO NOT induce vomiting in your dog. Inducing vomiting in your dog can cause other problems. Call poison control or your Albuquerque vet immediately to find out what you can do. If you have a small dog that has eaten a lot of chocolate, take them to an emergency vet clinic immediately.

The amount of chocolate may not seem a lot to you, but it is all dependent on the amount of theobromine in it. A one ounce piece of dark chocolate can be enough to poison a 44 lb. dog. It is better to be safe than sorry, so if your pup is begging for some of your Easter chocolate, give them a dog safe dog treat instead.