Feline Thankful:
Cat Emergencies To Be Aware Of
Dear Colleague,

There are several feline health issues that are genuine emergencies, but because symptoms can mimic more benign conditions, they may not always be perceived as urgent as they are. To help you help your feline patients receive optimal care, here’s an overview of the major illnesses we see that warrant emergency care stat:

  • Pyrethrin toxicity: One of the most common toxicities we see, cats may present with excessive salivation, vomiting, shaking/twitching/tremor, seizures, incoordination, ataxia, dyspnea, anorexia, hyperexcitability, hyper- or hypothermia. The most frequent cause of this potentially lethal exposure is when cat owners apply a dog flea-and-tick product (with a too-high concentration of pyrethrin) to their cat. 

  • Urethral obstruction: This can be fatal within only 2 or 3 days due to renal dysfunction and retention of metabolic wastes. While symptoms may suggest a UTI, radiography, urinalysis, and catheterization are required to diagnose and treat appropriately—and quickly.

  • Saddle thrombus: A feline aortic thromboembolism (FATE) is a serious and sometimes fatal complication of heart disease in cats. It’s a painful condition, often causing cats to cry excessively and lose control of one or both hind limbs (which are usually cool to the touch, with pale footpads). Some cats also exhibit respiratory distress. Immediate treatment is imperative.

  • Pleural effusion: Rapid, shallow breathing is the primary symptom of pleural effusion. It’s typically diagnosed by chest x-ray or, in some cases, ultrasound. Thoracocentesis is used to diagnose the cause. In emergency treatment, cats are often put into an oxygen cage to provide immediate relief and allow them to calm down for examination and diagnostics.

  • Hypertension: While optimal treatment for systemic hypertension takes a gradual, months-long approach, cats at high risk for target organ damage (AP3) and evidence of severe or progressing neural or ocular damage should receive emergency treatment to reduce BP within hours.

  • Congestive heart failure (CHF): Dyspnea, blue or gray gums and tongue, anorexia, lethargy, or collapse are all symptoms of CHF. In an emergency situation, cats with CHF may require oxygen therapy, diuretics, chest taps, or more aggressive inpatient care. 
As you well know, pet emergencies not only frequently occur after-hours, but many also require around-the-clock monitoring. At Burleson Animal Emergency Hospital, we’re staffed 24/7 by experienced emergency veterinarians and highly trained veterinary technicians. We also have robust onsite imaging capabilities and a sophisticated ICU.
If you ever have any questions about whether a feline patient requires emergency care, we’re here. Call us anytime at 817.900.2000.

With gratitude for the trust you place in us,
The BAEH Team 
12600 South Fwy | Burleson, TX 76028
burlesonanimaler.com | 817.900.2000