Wednesday, August 1, 2012

1019. Providing value for money: Dematting a ferocious Himalayan cat

Aug 1, 2012 case

"My cat is very fierce," the undergraduate daughter from Bukit Batok put the cat carrier down on the table. She had made an appointment for sedation to de-mat her cat for the 2nd time. "She even scratched the vet nurses."

The mum said: "The nurses had to take a towel to wrap her for her IV injection."

The daughter said: "No, no, they put her inside a cage."

Yet this grey 6-year-old female Himalayan cat was docile inside the cage. I could see her eyes and her body language presented a picture of serenity and peace. The daughter continued to frighten me: "My mother was clawed. I would be clawed if I attempted to brush her belly area which is now matted and that is why I needed the sedation to get her lower body hair clipped bald. She does not mind me brushing her upper body and enjoyed it. But once I attempt to brush the lower body, she would claw me and run away."

I was wondering why didn't they go back to the first vet who had done the first de-matting. This must be really aggressive cat as the daughter said that the first vet had put the cat inside a cage to effect the sedation. There was a bit of confusion here as the owners did not actually see the sedation or did they?

In any case, I got my assistant Min to take the cat out by the scruff of the neck. There was no hissing nor raised hairs nor a meow. I could inject it IM and that was so much like the other cats. Mr Min clipped off the lower body coat in less than 5 minutes and went out as this was his day off.

Most vets would just consider dematting as a job done by the groomer and that's it.

For me, I checked the teeth. They were white and clean, surprisingly for a 6-year old cat.
I had the nails clipped. Most important I thought the owner how to express the anal sacs.
"Have you heard of the Bishop's nose, that is the backside gland of a chicken that some people love to eat?" I asked. "Your mum would know it." Mum nodded her head. "This gland produces oil for the chicken and is very smelly. The cat also has an equivalent called anal sacs at 4 and 8 o'oclock near the anus. It produces oil daily to mark the cat's stools and if there is a blockage, the oil stays inside and changes colour from light yellow to brown and accumulates. That is why you see so much of the oil."

I gave xylazine 0.2 ml + ketamine 0.8 ml IM for sedation to de-mat the cat yesterday. A lower dose of xylazine 0.15 + ketamine 0.6 ml IM could be given but this was a 6-kg cat and this formula was correct. The cat was said to be very ferocious.

I phoned the daughter at 9 am today. "My cat is eating at 8.30 am the next day but did not meow as usual. She appears drowsy. Yesterday, she vomited twice."
"It takes at least one day for the cat to recover from the sedation," I explained. "She will be back to normal tomorrow."  

The cat never had it done for 6 years as nobody thinks of the cat's anal sacs. As the daughter did not know how to do it, I showed her. The oil that shot out was around 2 ml of thick brown oil. "Normally, there should be little oil or light yellow oil," I said.

The owners were phoned to take the cat home yesterday afternoon. "Would my cat have allergic reaction from the injection in the front leg?" the lady asked yesterday. "The first vet gave me a cream to apply."
"How is the leg now?" I asked.
"It is OK."
"Your cat was given an injection via the muscles at the left backside. Is the 'allergic' reaction the reason you did not go back to the first vet?" I asked. She nodded her head. It is difficult to give a frightened cat IV sedation but some vets/nurses prefer this route and are very good at it. For me, I don't see the need to struggle with the fine veins and gripping the frightened cat. I just do IM injection and that has never been any "allergic" reaction" in my cases.

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