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Educational Articles

Cats + Emergency Situations

  • Pleural effusion refers to the abnormal accumulation of fluid within the chest cavity. In pleural effusion, the fluid is not found within the lungs, but instead within the pleural sac. Pleural effusion can have a number of different causes, including diseases of the heart, lungs, or other systemic diseases. Cats with pleural effusion often have rapid, shallow breathing and pet owners may notice increased respiratory effort. Cats may develop open-mouthed breathing in an effort to increase air flow. Some affected cats may also cough. Pleural effusion is typically diagnosed with radiographs. Determining the underlying cause typically requires thoracocentesis.

  • Pulmonary means lung, and the word thromboembolism describes a blood clot that has moved through the blood vessels, lodged in one of the pulmonary arteries, and blocked blood flow into the portion of the lung served by that artery. This seems to be more common in medium to large-breed cats, and generally in middle-aged to older cats.

  • Pyometra is defined as an infection in the uterus. Pyometra is considered a serious and life threatening condition that must be treated quickly and aggressively. Pyometra may occur in any sexually intact young to middle-aged cat; however, it is most common in older cats. Typically, the cat has been in heat within the previous 4 weeks.

  • Pyothorax occurs when pus or inflammatory fluids collect in the space around the lungs causing fever, anorexia, lethargy, and difficulty breathing. It is the result of infection around the lungs caused by wounds either internally or externally, migrating foreign bodies, or lung infection. It is diagnosed through history, physical exam, radiographs, and thoracocentesis. Treatment may involve repeated thoracocenteses or the placement of a chest drain, as well as antibiotics and supportive care. Prognosis is variable but good if the cat survives the critical early stages.

  • Pyrethrin insecticides are naturally derived from the chrysanthemum (mum) flower, and pyrethroids are the synthetic versions. The formulations of these products vary in concentration, synergists, and carriers depending on their intended use.

  • Warfarin rodenticide is an over-the-counter anticoagulant rodenticide used to kill mice, rats, and other pests. Warfarin rodenticide poisoning occurs when a cat ingests the rodenticide accidentally. Clinical signs of poisoning are hemorrhage (bleeding) which usually occurs about 2-3 days after consumption.

  • Sago Palms are pretty plants but beware—they pack a deadly punch for pets. The popular Sago Palm enhances outdoor landscapes in warmer areas of the U.S. and serves as indoor decor in many colder climates. All parts of the Sago Palm are poisonous, but the seeds (nuts) are the most toxic to pets. As with all poisoning cases, early detection and treatment increases the rate of success.

  • A seizure is a sudden surge in the electrical activity of the brain causing signs such as twitching, shaking, tremors, convulsions, and/or spasms. Epilepsy is used to describe repeated episodes of seizures. With epilepsy, the seizures can be single or may occur in clusters, and they can be infrequent and unpredictable or may occur at regular intervals. Since many different diseases can lead to seizures, it is important to perform diagnostic tests to investigate the underlying cause of the seizures. Treatment of seizures in the cat depends on the nature of the underlying disease.

  • Summer is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy nature and the warm sunshine, especially with your pet. Pets are inquisitive creatures and love to investigate their surroundings. Unfortunately, this trait can lead pets down the path of injury and illness. The following information will help you to avoid many summer dangers that can affect your pet.

  • Toad poisoning (or toxicity) occurs when a cat is exposed to the toxins secreted by certain species of toads. The two most common species of toads that cause poisonings in the United States are the cane or marine toad and the Colorado River or Sonoran desert toad. While there are toads in Canada that secrete toxic substances, their effects are much less severe than the toxins secreted by the cane or Sonoran desert toads. Death can occur quickly and immediate treatment is required.