PHOTO 1: Kittens suspected of having an illness require immediate care. The patient should be encouraged to eat and drink water. The kitten should be weighed up to four times daily to record weight gain and to identify when it is losing weight or failing to gain weight. Mucous membranes can be assessed for moistness to determine the patient’s hydration status. Kittens should be supplied with fresh water, a litter box and a warm place to sleep. PHOTO 2: There are several behavioural characteristics that are associated with pain and discomfort in cats and dogs. The animal may become reluctant to move, lie down or change positions. Other common behavioural signs of pain are vocalization, restlessness, inappetence and depression. PHOTO 3: A hunched posture may be an indication of abdominal pain. Facial expression like a fixed stare or squinting may also suggest abdominal pain in the patient. It is however difficult to assess pain in feline patients and many cats will merely sit still in the back of a cage when in pain. There is an extensive list of causes of abdominal pain, since any portion of the abdomen could be the source of pain. PHOTO 4: It is more difficult to identify the signs of ocular pain in cats than in dogs. One of the features of ocular pain is retraction of the globe. This can be easily observed in the dog but it may not be as apparent in felines. Squinting may also be a sign of ocular pain. Other indications of ocular pain include spasms of the muscle in the eyelid, photophobia and excessive secretion and discharge of tears. PHOTO 5: An igloo may be provided to feline patients that have to be kept in the hospital for observation. Not only will an igloo provide a warm and comfortable place for the patient to rest and sleep but it also creates an environment that will feel safe and secure to the patient.
REFERENCES: PHOTO 1: Hosgood, G & Hoskins, JD 1998, ‘Small animal paediatric medicine and surgery’ Butterworth-Heinemann, Woburn, pp. 55-56. PHOTOS 2-3: Silverstein, DC & Hopper, K (eds) 2009, ‘Small animal critical care medicine’ Saunders Elsevier, St Louis, MO, pp. 696-699. PHOTO 4: Peterson-Jones, S & Crispin, S (eds) 2002, ‘BSAVA manual of small animal ophthalmology’ 2nd ed, British Small Animal Veterinary Association, Gloucester, p. 298.
Metadata assigned by Dr. M. van Schoor, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Companion Animal Clinical Studies