Feline Internal Medicine
At Veterinary Specialists Scotland, we recognise that cats are a very different species from dogs, with their own unique requirements.
These special considerations have been taken into account not only throughout the design of the hospital but also when investigating and managing their illnesses.
Cats often lead a more independent lifestyle than dogs, making it more difficult for owners to know what they are up to. They are also more likely to become anxious and stressed in unfamiliar surroundings, which can limit the usefulness of the clinical examination, unless this is done in a sympathetic fashion respecting the cat’s boundaries. At Veterinary Specialist Scotland we have members of the team with advanced qualifications in Feline Medicine and extensive experience in working with cats in order that we can make your cat feel as relaxed as possible during their hospital stay.
Please see information about what it means to be a Cat Friendly Clinic.
See also their guidance for how to give medicine to your cat.
What We Offer
For some patients it may be obvious what the problem is (e.g. a broken leg or a lump that has been found). However, in many circumstances the diagnosis is not known, and your cat will be referred to the Feline Internal Medicine Service in order to identify what the cause of their clinical signs might be. We will work with you to find the diagnosis and establish the most suitable treatment regime for your pet.
The conditions we investigate include:
Endocrine diseases are those affecting the hormones within the body. One of the most common endocrine diseases cats suffer from is diabetes mellitus, requiring treatment with insulin. Stabilisation of diabetic patients can sometimes be challenging, and cats require a different approach from dogs. Unlike dogs, well-managed cases can sometimes go into remission, where insulin is no longer required. We have a wealth of experience in managing these cases, along with other hormonal conditions affecting the thyroid glands, adrenal glands, and parathyroid glands.
Signs of gastrointestinal disease can include anorexia, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation and/or weight loss. These signs will typically be investigated with a combination of blood tests, imaging (such as ultrasound or CT examination) and endoscopy, where flexible cameras are inserted into the upper gastrointestinal tract (oesophagus, stomach and duodenum) and the lower gastrointestinal tract (colon and ileum). Fluoroscopy (video form of x-rays) can be used to investigate swallowing disorders. Nutrition is very important to cats, and it is important that adequate food intake is maintained in these patients, which sometimes requires feeding tube placement.
Cats are frequently seen for anaemia (low red blood cell numbers), but this can be due to several conditions. Many cats may need support with blood transfusions until the cause of the anaemia can be identified and more specific treatment given.
Cats with infectious diseases often present with vague signs such as decreased appetite, weight loss, high temperatures. Several tests may be required to identify if an infection is causing these signs, and which one, as several diseases can present with these similar, vague signs. Whilst many infections can be transient and short-lived, some infections, if not diagnosed can lead to longer-term illness. Obtaining an accurate diagnosis means the most appropriate treatment can be given.
Liver and Pancreatic Disease
Cats may get liver disease if anorexia is prolonged beyond 3-5 days (hepatic lipidosis) but can also suffer from inflammatory conditions of the liver and gall bladder (cholangiohepatitis), which can present with jaundice. Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) is also a commonly seen condition, which can require quite intensive management in acute, severe cases
Sneezing and coughing are common signs of respiratory illness in cats. Using a combination of CT investigation and very small endoscopic cameras, we can investigate feline nasal, airway or lung disease.
Urinary Tract Disorders
Cats may suffer from conditions affecting the upper urinary tract (e.g. acute or chronic kidney disease) or the lower urinary tract (e.g. idiopathic cystitis, bladder stones). We can investigate these conditions fully using a combination of blood tests, urine tests and imaging (ultrasound and CT) to provide the best treatment possible.
If you are a referring veterinary surgeon and would like to discuss or refer a case, please contact our team. We will aim to reply as soon as possible.