Cats are not small dogs. It’s a common phrase we hear in veterinary medicine, but so true in every aspect of feline medicine, from how to handle cats, to which diseases should be considered when investigating an unwell cat. The feline social structure is very different to those of humans and dogs. Cats are both hunters and prey species in the wild, and therefore, are very good at masking diseases. This means that when feline patients present to us they require prompt care and diagnostics to be performed.
At Highcroft we have one of the few consultant Specialists in Feline Medicine, Kerry Simpson, working alongside the rest of the medicine team. We have a designated cat ward, with large walk-about kennels incorporating different levels, and a range of types of litter, bedding, bowls and foods to enable us to accommodate each individual cat’s needs.
Cats regularly present with signs of gastrointestinal disease such as regurgitation, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation or weight loss/inappetance. Using a combination of state-of-the-art equipment (such as Specialist ultrasonography, fluoroscopy, endoscopy, and computerised tomography (CT)) and our knowledge and experience we can provide a non-invasive assessment of the gastrointestinal tract.
Hepatic, biliary and pancreatic diseases are also common in cats. We are able to investigate these using a variety of blood tests, specialist imaging (ultrasound and CT), angiography and fluoroscopy.
Working closely with our colleagues in Anaesthesia, Soft tissue Surgery and Interventional Radiology, allows us to diagnose and treat cases such as portosystemic shunts, obstructive biliary disease and peritonitis.
We regularly deal with a range of urinary tract issues, from stabilising and treating acute kidney injury, to managing chronic kidney disease. Using in house blood gas and electrolyte monitoring we can assess and manage patients that require round the clock care. In severe cases of acute kidney injury we can provide the monitoring and expertise necessary to perform peritoneal dialysis. In cases of obstructive ureteric disease, our collaborative working environment allows surgical/interventional radiography (ie SUB placement) to be performed in a timely manner.
In the more stable cases, we are able to investigate the cause of urinary tract issues using blood gas, computerised tonometry (CT), cystoscopy and specialist ultrasonography.
The internal medicine team have a wealth of experience dealing with all types of endocrine disease in both dogs and cats. We are able to use this knowledge and experience to investigate and treat all forms of endocrine disease from unstable diabetes, to diseases of the adrenal or thyroid glands. We work alongside our Specialists in Diagnostic imaging, using ultrasound and CT to investigate related diseases, and blood work, monitoring tools (implantable glucose monitors, at home monitoring etc) and where appropriate, surgical intervention, to stabilise or treat all known small animal endocrinopathies.
We are able to provide blood transfusions to cats. Unfortunately, cats blood cannot be banked, and therefore, we maintain a pool of blood donors. We have blood donor lists for cats, with both A and B type donors available enabling us to provide fresh blood when needed. Being able to provide blood transfusions enables us to stabilise anaemic patients whilst we investigate the cause of their anaemia. Investigations are tailored to the patients’ needs, but can involve specialist ultrasound, CT, bone marrow aspirates and infectious disease testing.
In addition, to anaemia we are able to investigate and treat all forms of haemolymphatic disease, immune mediated and infectious diseases being treated by our internal medicine specialist consultants, whilst the neoplastic diseases are treated by our colleague Owen Davies, who runs our oncology clinic.
We see cats with a range of upper and lower respiratory tract conditions, ranging from nasal discharge, to asthma. We are able to image the nose, sinuses and lungs with CT imaging, which coupled with our range of rhinoscopes and bronchoscopes allows us to look, and sample specific areas of, the respiratory system. In addition, we have a ‘mousetrap’ which allows us to perform conscious CT in cats with severe respiratory compromise that are not stable for anaesthesia.
Infection can affect any area within the body and may be simple or complex. There are many emerging infectious diseases within the UK, which can prove challenging to diagnose. We have a wealth of experience dealing with domestic and tropical infectious diseases.