Educational Articles

Breeding

  • Male infertility refers to the inability of a sexually mature tomcat (intact male cat) to impregnate a fertile female. This handout explains the possible causes of infertility in male cats as well as how they may be diagnosed and, when possible, treated.

  • Infertility in a male dog is defined as the inability to produce a successful pregnancy in a fertile female, even with multiple breedings near the time of ovulation. The causes of infertility fall under three broad categories: failure to copulate or ejaculate, poor semen quality, and prostatic disease. This handout explains the possible causes in detail, as well as methods to diagnose and treat them.

  • Lysosomal storage diseases are a rare collection of conditions that are inherited. Many of them are more prevalent in certain breeds and are seen in the first few months of life. Clinical signs vary depending on the type of disease, but commonly include failure to thrive, incoordination, vision loss, and seizure. Prognosis is usually poor for long-term survival.

  • Mastitis is a term used to describe inflammation of a mammary gland (breast), most frequently seen in the postpartum period after a cat gives birth. In most cases, mastitis is caused by a bacterial infection. Trauma to the nipple or teat canal can allow bacteria to enter, traveling up into the mammary gland and creating a bacterial infection. Most cats with mastitis can be treated on an outpatient basis with oral antibiotics and pain medications, though severe cases may require hospitalization or surgery.

  • Mastitis is a term used to describe inflammation of a mammary gland. In most cases, mastitis is caused by a bacterial infection. Trauma to the mammary gland, or prolonged periods of milk accumulation without milk removal, can lead to inflammation within the mammary gland. Most dogs with mastitis can be treated on an outpatient basis with oral antibiotics and pain medications, though severe cases may require hospitalization or surgery.

  • Miscarriage refers to the death of a fetus during pregnancy. Miscarriages that occur early in pregnancy may be completely asymptomatic, while later-term miscarriages may result in stillborn kittens or mummification. Miscarriage can be caused by infection or hormonal influences. Diagnosis is key to appropriate management. If a cat develops a fever during pregnancy antibiotics may prevent miscarriage.

  • Miscarriage refers to the death of a fetus during pregnancy. Miscarriages that occur early in pregnancy may be completely asymptomatic, while later-term miscarriages may result in stillborn puppies or mummification. Miscarriage can be caused by infection or hormonal influences. Diagnosis is key to appropriate management. If a dog develops a fever during pregnancy antibiotics may prevent miscarriage.

  • Many herding breeds (most commonly Collies and Australian Shepherds) have a mutation at the MDR1 gene that makes them more sensitive to the negative effects of certain medications. These drugs include several antiparasitic agents (when given at high doses), the antidiarrheal agent loperamide (Imodium®), and several anticancer drugs. The effects of the mutation vary in severity, depending on whether the dog carries one or two copies of the mutation. There is a cheek swab or a commercially-available test that assesses blood samples for the presence of the MDR1 mutation.

  • Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is an inherited condition that causes multiple cysts (fluid pockets) in the kidneys. Persian cats and breeds with Persian bloodlines are most commonly affected. The clinical signs, diagnosis, genetic testing, and treatment options are explained in this handout.

  • Full term pregnancy in cats is usually between 63 and 65 days during which time energy requirements increase to 1.5 times normal. Labor takes place in 3 stages: 1) nesting behavior and comfort seeking are seen, and the cat may stop eating within 24 hours of birth; 2) active stage of labor where contractions may be seen, and kittens are produced. Kittens are usually born within 1 hour of each other; however, there is cause for concern if active unproductive straining is seen for more than 20 minutes; and 3) fetal membranes are passed after the delivery of each kitten. If a kitten is not responsive, attempts can be made to suction the back of its mouth to remove as many fluids as possible while vigorously rubbing their body to stimulate respiration and applying gentle puffs of air into its mouth. Kittens need to be kept warm after birth and the mother should be watched carefully for any signs of illness.