A range of health issues affecting cats in the UK (not specific to Australian Mists)
A CURE FOR GEORGE, A TALE OF ALLERGY
Environmental enrichment for indoor cats
Warning about out of hours vet care
A CURE FOR GEORGE
Flicking through 100 odd channels one night I came across a science programme that was discussing research into faeces and the bacteria in the gut and faeces. The programme was outlining the fact that the lack of bacteria in the gut had been linked to a variety of illnesses from diabetes to stroke. It was explaining that the next stage of the research was looking at treating a whole host of illnesses with bacteria instead of drugs.
George our Australian Mist was curled up by my side purring away all snug and warm,He looked so poorly with all his bandages he reached out with his paw and stroked my face making a loud contented purr as he did so. Looking down at him I thought it can't be that simple can it?
George was then two years old and since he was 6 months old he had suffered from an horrendous allergy that left him ripping gaping holes in his head and neck,He was constantly either wrapped in neck protection or buster collars with soft claws applied, daily wound care and frequent antibiotics. After a battery of tests he was eventually referred to a specialist vet who only dealt with skin and allergy, more tests and prescription diets which did absolutely nothing the prognosis was grim several thousand pounds and the diagnosis was Its not food feed him what you want so now He either has a battery of allergy tests which he would have to keep having until something showed up positive or he was to go on Atopica. Poor George had had enough, we did not want him undergoing months of gruelling tests so we opted for the Atopica to give him a break. The feline version of Atopica was mostly unavailable then except in small bottles and even then they said that the supply was unreliable and expensive so the decision was made to use the dog version, It proved to be a wonder drug in itself as it stopped the itching but it was still an expensive route and was not a cure, a cure I was determined to find. Atopica is also an immunosuppressant which could leave George open to all sorts of infections and every time he require a vaccination he would have to come off the drug for 2 weeks have his vaccination and the resume the drug 2 weeks later in which time the allergy would return Being on drugs long term was also something I did not want for George to endure.
So once again I looked down at George and thought it couldn't be that simple could it? I just couldn't get it out of my head so I gave it ago and boy am I glad that I did. So by now you will be asking what did I do? Simply put I started to feeding Georges good bacteria.
I gave him Prebiotic for 2 days then I removed his buster collar The next day I stopped his Atopica a huge risk in itself just 8 days later his itching was almost gone after another week no more itching at all. Then the crunch came I ran out of prebiotic and it seemed that nobody had any in stock, after just 4 days the itching started again it started to become more intense and once more he was at risk of ripping holes in his head and neck,Getting worried and wondering what to do I discovered a new product called Pet Pro Bio a pre and probiotic I obtained some and started to feed his good bacteria again.
Back on the prebiotic and now off the Atopica for 6 weeks and guess what? No buster collar, no neck protection, no soft claws and best of all no itching.
You may now be asking what is the difference between Pre and Probiotics Most people are aware of probiotics through the huge range of products available in supermarkets for humans,probiotics are usually found in Dairy products and are cultivated meaning they live bacteria, they are living organisms and need food themselves which is where Prebiotic comes in.
A Prebiotic occurs naturally in some foods particularly fruit and vegetables, they remain undigested until they reach the large intestine where they act as food for the good bacteria and encourage their growth. The benefits of Prebiotic have only been recognised in recent years but the beneficial effects of Probiotics date back to the French scientist Louis Pasture in the 19th century when he postulated the importance of micro organisms to human life. His work was enforced by the 1908 Nobel Prize winner Elie Metchnikoff, When Buster Lloyd Jones watched animals seeking out and plant matter to cure themselves in 1921 is this unknowingly what he was watching? The collection of Prebiotic material, He later went on to become one of the most sought after vets of his time and to develop Denes Herbal remedies which are still sold to this day and his studies and observations still help many animals even now.
Probiotics are not added to most commercial pet food as they are to delicate and would not survive the manufacturing process and unless you are feeding whole herbivores Probiotics will be missing from the diet. Dogs and cats in the wild would kill and eat whole pray but in a domestic situation this does not happen with the exception of cats that free roam So it is down to us to provide an adequate diet This I am afraid to say with most commercial diets is not the case.
Back to George and finding a life long cure for him my mind was still asking Questions mainly if I stop feeding his good bacteria he starts to itch again, Why?
This takes me back to diet So I looked at his original food and the prescription Diets that he had trialled earlier on his road to recovery and what I found wasn't good, a lot more research and I realised that the ingredients in the pet food was dire.
Cats are obligate carnivores which simple means that they need meat to survive yet there was no meat just grains cereals fillers and waste products laced with chemicals to make it palatable, How on earth was this going to feed him? So we set about trialling grain free but in order for this to work all the cats had to have the grain free to make sure George didn't get his paws on any of the others food. The results were amazing, Whilst doing this we found a cure for another cat Sui that had constant bouts of idiopathic cystitis,
This took us further cats are obligate carnivores and they need meat so they all went on to a raw diet with immediate effect and OMG the difference was amazing this was the final piece of the puzzle they were all healthier, their coats glossy, no allergies, no more cystitis for Sui and what really struck me was that the queens some that would call every two weeks on the most unhealthy and unnatural way started to regulate their cycles and only call twice in a year,
They have all been on raw ever since they are all happy, healthy, no drugs, no allergy no cystitis and I no longer feed him prebiotic because he gets everything he needs In his diet. The specialist vet who said Its not food feed him what you want was wrong it was exactly that it was food the unnatural grains and cereals to be exact.
So now I have to ask
Why is a manufacture of a prescription diet allowed to make a diet for dietary indiscretions and allergy when all the ingredients that cause the allergy are present in the food?
Are we as humans disregarding the animal welfare laws Two of the five freedoms are Freedom from hunger and thirst by providing ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain health, and freedom to express normal behaviour Well diets provided by huge corporate companies found in supermarkets is not a diet to maintain health because they are made from waste and normal behaviour to a cat is to hunt and eat prey
I will leave that to the mind of the reader but for now what I know my beautiful George is cured
Sam Atherton-Ryan 23/09/18
ENVIRONMENTAL ENRICHMENT FOR THE INDOOR CAT
The number of cats living exclusively indoors in the UK is approximately 10 to 12 % and is increasing. Whilst we may conclude from that figure that the majority of cats are allowed to free roam, the reality of this is very different. Large numbers of cats have their outside space restricted to some extent, examples may include elderly cats who just prefer to stay in, timid cats who just couldnt bear the thought of confrontation with the neighbours tomcat: cats living in highly populated areas with large numbers of neighbourhood toms just waiting to beat fluffy up at the first opportunty is often enough to keep fluffy at home.
The reality is that food is provided at set times and eaten in minutes instantly leaving a void of several hours in the day. Water is provided next to the food, claws are sharpened on the sofa after which the cat will be shouted at , the secret hiding place is the wardrobe which is kept firmly shut and out of bounds , the sunny window is also out of bounds so the cat cant knock aunt mauds wedding present off. The cat pounces on and chases a belt or zip and is again told off because it has a designer label on it, and that tasty morsel is firmly locked in the fridge, what is the cat supposed to do? Only sleeping is left and then weight gain and boredom creep in and to add to that psychological problems and undesirable behaviour creeping in and once again the cat is shouted at. Behaviour problems are caused mainly by or wholly in some cases by inappropriate environment and some examples are:::
innappropriate urination, urine spraying, inappropriate defecation, compulsive disorders,obesity,over grooming, idiopathic cystitis,and aggression towards other cats or humans.
Good quality food is a must, a good proportion of the daily food allowance can be placed into treat balls or egg boxes and hidden around the house to encourage foraging. I'm not suggesting you place wet food around the house, dried food can be used instead. Water should be placed seperately from food, how often would your cat find water conveniently next to the mouse he just spent an hour stalking in the wild?? Running water is preferred to still water, so a pet fountain would be preferable if affordable.
You could try making different structures from cardboard boxes or toilet roll tubes to hide food in to keep your cats interests also.
Fresh air is vital for good health , open doors and windows can be protected with a mesh screen, These can be easily purchased ready made or in kit form these days or you could always make your own with a little wood and fly screen mesh. Grass is also important to indoor cats as it acts as a natural emetic to rid the cat of furballs. Kitty grass is easily purchased, plant a little in a stone pot and remember to keep planting another one when one is put out . Herbs such as catnip can also be grown to use as scent stimulation. Animals seek out natural plants in the wild to cure themselves of any ills, but when planting plants for your cat heed caution, the Feline Advisory Bureau can provide a list of plants that are poisonous to cats.
Secret hiding places can be in boxes under beds, behind sofas in a cupboard or just about anywhere but remember never disturb the cat when in them , all cats need time out from owners.
A WARNING TO ALL ABOUT OUT OF HOURS VET SERVICES
We don't know how most people find their out of hours vet services, if indeed you have ever used them but when we needed emergency care recently we came in for a major shock.
One of our Australian Mists recently needed a C Section operation which our own vets performed out of hours, but when our beloved Sui returned home it quickly became apparent she was not well and a few hours later we rang the vet again but their number automatically took us through to an out of hours vet service who refused to contact our own vet despite them having a 24 hour hospital. We were quite literally forced to use the third party vet, by the time we reached them our cat was really cold and was struggling to breathe but despite this the first question the vet asked was can you pay the £136 plus vat for the initial consultation? Surely this becomes irrelevant in an emergency?? It took quite an argument over insurance covering costs before we admitted to the building, all the time our cat getting sicker. Some five hours later, 8.02am a time we wont forget in a hurry the third party vet called us asking why we had not picked up our cat as she had to leave before 8.00am as the PDSA wanted the building back for the day. When we arrived to collect her the vet was waiting in reception with Sui wrapped in a wet blanket with IV drips still attached. We were told she no longer their responsibility and that we had to take her to our vet, that vet being a good 30 minutes drive away and did not open for another hour anyway. To add insult to injury we were shown out of the building into the freezing cold where a crowd of people were gathering with dogs awaiting their free PDSA treatment. Sui was shaking with fear as the dogs were jumping up and trying to get to her. Their aggressive business manner and uncaring nature leads them to profiting from peoples distress rather than caring for the animals when they need help the most. We have since found several more people from across the UK who have had similar problems with the same company and as a result animals HAVE DIED.
This is not the first time we have had to complain about this company , on a previous occasion they saw fit to forcibly hold a kittens head under a running tap to stop it purring. The expensive diagnosis was there was nothing wrong with the kitten, when in fact it needed anti-inflammatories to stop swelling in its throat. I sat up all night with him in case he got into difficulties breathing and first thing the next morning our own vet prescribed the drugs he needed. These have been 2 very expensive lessons, and we have been forced to change to a different vet who do their own out of hours in their hospital. If you have had simlar problems please please contact us before more animals die with this particular company. The RCVS are currently investigating, the more people that have complaints the better, as it will help change things and prevent further deaths
OPTIMAL TESTING FOR CATS
A partnership of TICA & Optimal Selection by Wisdom Health to improve awareness and advance understanding of feline genetics
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Full details can be found at https://tica.org/owners-breeders/genetic-testing