Mark Pizarro

Mark Pizarro has 32 articles published.

A Vets Insight

in Animals & Pets


The recent planning application to install an aquarium in the Victualling Yard raises some moral issues that should extend far into society and question the keeping of certain animals in cages, confined environments or aquariums. 

I grew up in an era of performing animals, circuses, substandard inhumane zoos, pet shops selling wild caught wild caught birds, monkeys in cages etc.

One of the memories I had as a young child was going to see performing dolphins at the Montagu Pavilion, one can only imagine the suffering of these animals as they were transported. Pet shops in the 1970s used to stock wild caught birds for sale in cages, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Sirens, Siskins etc etc . People used to keep male Goldfinches in small cages about 20 x 20 cms for their immaculate song , tragic to confine an animal that could fly miles a day into this prison just for human enjoyment . These songbirds sing for a reason, to attract females so that they can mate, not so that it gives a human a few minutes of pleasure. 

Aquarium fish are also another tragic tale. One in 6 aquarium fish die from reef to retail. It is estimated that tens of millions of fish die annually to feed the global aquarium industry. TENS OF MILLIONS!!!  I was ignorant of this fact until very recently. As we educate ourselves on the realities of what happens behind the scenes we should shake off these impulses to see animals in confinement for our pleasure.

I remember a conversation I had with a very religious gentleman, who argued that all animals were put on earth for our gratification. What a load of nonsense, what’s more humans as the most intelligent species on this planet has a duty of care to all its fellow animals. We shouldn’t be sticking them in confinement for our ‘enjoyment’ and ‘education’, we should be protecting their environments and the climate and looking after their welfare.

We should be having companion animals under our roofs rather than pets, such as dogs and cats that are an integral part of our family, I can assure you that they will love you more than 95 % of the humans out there. 

So I come back to the large Aquarium that they want to build, a backward step for society, if you want to be educated on these splendid wild animals that belong in oceans then go out on a boat, or visit the seashore. If physically this is impossible there are loads of high quality documentaries out there that will show these animals in their natural state. Absolutely no need to imprison them for out ‘enjoyment’ and ‘education’. 

For more
information please phone Gibraltar
Vetinary Clinic on
200 77334

A Vets Insight

in Animals & Pets

Heat stroke The risks

I have covered this subject before. But as summer arrives I feel that I should remind pet owners of the seriousness of heat stroke. Heat and problems with exposure of your animal to extremes of temperature can be life threatening for your pets and you should take precautions always, especially when in doubt.

Always remember what is good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander. This means that different pets require care which in many cases has to be tailored individually.

I will try to summarise the main areas of problems:

• NEVER leave your pet unattended in a car. In warm weather even an overcast day can still lead to high temperatures in cars in a very short period of time.

• Avoid walking your dog on hot surfaces. One very common injury I see are burnt pads on dogs where they have been exercised on roads/pavements. This injury is unlikely on grass verges but there are not many of those around in Gibraltar

• Extreme caution has to be taken with brachycephalic breeds such as pugs, bulldogs etc. These animals are not designed for exercise in hot atmospheres. These animals tend to have very narrow airways; therefore an increased respiratory rate can lead to inspiratory stridor, difficulty in breathing, and can lead to collapse and death.

• Similar precautions have to be taken with dogs with cardiac conditions, avoid exercise in hot weather; this may lead to extra stress on the circulatory system and can lead to cardiac failure. If your pet suffers from a heart condition keep a very close eye on its respiratory rate, an increased rate could indicate that your animal is decompensating and could be going into heart failure.

• Swimming. Loads of dogs love swimming especially in the warmer weather. Again be careful with brachycephalic breeds, these tend to not be as efficient at swimming as the longer nosed breeds. Make sure that they you are close at hand just in case they come into difficulties.
heat stroke

Heat stroke is a condition that results from hyperthermia (an elevation in body temperature). This increase typically occurs as a response to a trigger, such as inflammation in the body or a hot environment. When a dog is exposed to high temperatures, heat stroke or heat exhaustion can result. Heat stroke is a very serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Once the signs of heat stroke are detected, there is precious little time before serious damage or even death can occur.

Dogs do not sweat through their skin like humans; they release heat primarily by panting and they sweat through the foot pads and nose. If a dog cannot effectively expel heat, the internal body temperature begins to rise.

Once the dog’s temperature reaches 42 degrees centigrade, damage to the body’s cellular system and organs may become irreversible. Unfortunately, too many dogs succumb to heat stroke when it could have been avoided. Learn how to recognize the signs of heat stroke and prevent it from happening to your dog.

Signs of heat stroke in dogs

The following signs may indicate heat stroke in a dog:
• Increased rectal temperature (over 40 requires action, over 42 is a dire emergency)
• Vigorous panting
• Dark red gums
• Tacky or dry mucous membranes (specifically the gums)
• Lying down and unwilling (or unable) to get up
• Collapse and/or loss of consciousness
• Thick saliva
• Dizziness or disorientation

What to Do if You Suspect Heat Stroke
If you have even the slightest suspicion that your dog is suffering from heat stroke, you must take immediate action.

• First, move your dog out of the heat and away from the sun right away.
• Begin cooling your dog with cool water. You may place wet rags or washcloths on the foot pads and around the head but replace them frequently as they warm up. Avoid covering the body with wet towels, as it may trap in heat.

• DO NOT use ice or ice water! Extreme cold can cause the blood vessels to constrict, preventing the body’s core from cooling and actually causing the internal temperature to further rise. In addition, over-cooling can cause hypothermia, introducing a host of new problems. When the body temperature reaches 39 stop cooling. At this point, your dog’s body should continue cooling on its own. However keep monitoring in case temperature starts to rise again.
• Offer your dog cool water, but do not force water into your dog’s mouth. Try not to let your dog drink excessive amounts at a time.
• Call or visit your vet right away – even if your dog seems better. Internal damage might not be obvious to the naked eye, so an exam is necessary (and further testing may be recommended).

A Vets Insight

in Animals & Pets


Animal obesity in the majority of cases is a direct result of us the owners not understanding animal behaviour properly. 

Feeling hungry is a normal physiological process, it is a natural reflex which then gets the animal and us to become active and go in search of food. 

With cats this hunger drives them in the wild to go hunting, cats will hunt and in 70% of cases be unsuccessful. What this means is that the animal expends a large amount of energy before it is successful. In the wild this has various functions, this ensures that there is survival of the fittest and also the animals stay healthy and fit. 

So what when we domesticate cats? As a general rule when we have a pet and they ask for food we feed them. Pretty much the same as we do with ourselves, this then has the knock on effect of resulting in obesity and all the associated problems that come with that. Obese cats are prone to many illness , diabetes , liver problems , poor skin condition , poor cardiovascular problems , dermatitis , skin allergies etc 

So what should be do when a cat ‘demands’ food? At this point you should not feed your cat , this is time to interact with the animal, it will be active, it will move around , will be more likely to play . In most cases it might even be a bit annoying and interact directly with you to encourage you to feed it. This is the best time to burn some calories and stop your cat becoming overweight, the long term benefits for a young cat in keeping the weight off are enormous. 

With dogs it is a very similar situation, but not identical as dogs physiology is different. Cats should feed little and often, they are primarily hunters, dogs are different, they can go days without feeding after a large feed without any deleterious side effects, cats can’t do this, a cat that doesn’t eat for 3 days will start to develop hepatic problems. 

Thankfully for our pet cats we don’t have survival of the fittest and we can keep them fit and healthy for many years, but feed them with common sense and interact with them more, they will be healthier and live a longer life for us to enjoy with them. 

A Vets Insight

in Animals & Pets

Summer is upon us

The weather has warmed rapidly and with this comes the resurgence of the insects and the parasitic ones that can cause disease in your pets. Protecting your pet is of vital importance, otherwise your best friend could suffer chronic illness for the rest of its life . Today I will revisit a couple of the diseases. 

Locally the most significant problem and one that can cause serious illness in your pet is canine leishmaniasis . 

This disease is caused by a flagellated protozoa that is injected into dogs by Sandflies (phlebotominae), looks like a tiny mosquito. The female of this biting fly feeds on blood that it requires for egg production, however at the same time that it feeds it can infect the host with the protozoa, in a similar way that malaria is spread by mosquitos.

The protozoa can cause devastating damage to a dog, but the illness is a slow insidious disease that can damage pretty much any organ in the body, broadly speaking they can be divided into two types, the visceral type infecting the internal body organs, or the cutaneous one that infects the skin. This is a bit of a simplification as it can affect any body system and therefore can sometimes it can be a challenge to diagnose. One common complaint is that the dog ‘isn’t right’. In some cases the illness is asymptomatic until the animal becomes suddenly seriously ill , in some of these cases the dog has gone beyond the point of no return and does not respond to medical therapy.

Confirmation of the disease is done by doing a simple blood test, generally you can have the results back in under quarter of an hour. 

There are various treatment regimes used in the medical therapy of infected dogs, depending on their body condition, the body system affected and on the finances available. Sometimes the dog does not respond to one treatment and may need an alternative.

What is very unfortunate about this disease is that in the majority of cases after treatment the animal goes into remission and the parasite cannot be eliminated, it remains dormant in some hidden recess of the body, usually in the lymphatic system or the bone marrow.  Thanks to medical progress we can now actually look for DNA of the protozoa in the blood, so that we can check the level of infection in treated animals to make sure the parasite does not make an unwelcome reappearance.

Evidently prevention of leshmaniasis is by far the best option. Now not all dogs are at the same risk of contracting this disease so you can tailor your prevention strategy depending on the your particular circumstances.

There are two ways of protecting your pet, one is to vaccinate your pet and secondly to prevent its infection by the Sandfly.

Vaccination is a fairly recent option, it is more expensive than your standard vaccine, but be aware that the manufacturers do not recommend that you stop using ecto-parasite treatment to stop the vector.

However all pets do not require the same level of protection, the highest level must be for those dogs that are outside in gardens during the times of highest risk, dusk to dawn.  Those dogs living in flats in highly urbanised areas are at a smaller risk but there is never any guarantee that a female Sandfly will not sneak in and infect your family pet, do not become complacent.

The other main ectoparasite of concern at this time of year is the common flea. Although they do not carry serious illnesses they can cause many chronic skin complaints. The exception to this is a blood parasite in cats that is spread by fleas and this can kill your pet if not diagnosed early enough.

If an animal with a flea allergy dermatitis isn’t treated they the problem can snowball and the condition can become serious and very expensive to treat. In this day and age there is no excuse for your pet suffering from a flea problem; there are a multitude of decent products out there to prevent your pet from being infested with these blighters. 

In summary go and out get your pets protected NOW!!

A Vets Insight

in Animals & Pets

A Lifetime Compressed into 15 Years

A common complaint I get from clients is that they take their pets more the vets than their own children. 

There are a few reasons for this:

Primarily these companion animals are totally dependent on humans for their existence.  They exist because man has bred these animals to fit certain stereotypes that are favoured by the whims of humans.  Animals have been selectively bred with short noses, long noses, short legs, long legs, big and muscular, thin and sinewy etc etc, the list is endless.  As a direct result of this we do not have natural evolution with the survival of the fittest but we have created animals with genetic defects that often leads to illness and physical deficiencies. As a direct result of this we generally have to take pets for veterinary care more often than a wild animal. 

Another reason is that our pets are totally dependent on us, they can’t make a judgement call and decide that they should pop down to the vets for a check-up. As they can’t communicate their health is totally dependent on their carer, who has to pick up on symptoms of malaise and seek medical care for them when necessary. 

Also we treat a pet earlier than we would treat ourselves in many cases. For example, we live in a dense urbanised environment so if you take your dog out and it has diarrhoea you will seek out veterinary care far sooner than if it was yourself. There are few things worse than having to pick up liquid stools!!

However I don’t believe you do go more often to the vets more often than you do for yourselves or members of your family, relatively speaking. Our companion animals live for an average of 15 to 20 years, human’s life for an average of between 70 and 80 years. This means that their life and all potential illnesses are compressed into a far smaller timeline. Animals suffer from the majority of diseases that humans do, obesity, diabetes, liver, kidney etc , just at an accelerated rate due to their shortened life span . In my estimation over our lifetime we are probably more likely to seek medical assistance more than often than your pet, especially due to fact that many of us are hypochondriacs.   

So keep loving those pets and give them the care they deserve, their life is short, make it great!!!.

For more
information please phone Gibraltar
Vetinary Clinic on
200 77334

A Vets Insight

in Animals & Pets

Watch out for the processionary caterpillar

This month with the onset of warmer weather new risks come into play for your pets, in our climate one of the dangers that all pet owners should be aware of is the Processionary Caterpillar.

We have all seen these critters, lines of furry insects forming large trails, and always in the vicinity of Pine trees. The caterpillar has an annual cycle, the cycle begins in summer when the eggs are laid by the adult moth. These eggs hatch and the caterpillars build nests in pine trees over the cold winter. They can be readily seen and look like big lumps of cotton wool nestled in the branches of the trees. The caterpillars feed in these nests and grow over the winter period , when the warmer weather arrives this accelerates development and once they reach a certain size they make their descent down  from the dizzy heights of the trees in long lines . 

This is when your pets come into danger. This furry appearance is because these insects (yes they are insects, have 6 legs!!) have very fine sting hairs, these carry a toxin that cause very nasty reactions if handled or touched. The toxins are basically a type of poison which protects these animals from being eaten by predators (birds, rodents etc.) and therefore they are extremely successful in reproducing. 

Unfortunately for us their success as a species exposes us and our pets to this toxin. This toxin causes inflammation, swelling and pain, these reactions subside with time and treatment. The main risk is that they can cause acute vasoconstriction of extremities. So if your pet , or any animal eats one or licks one it will cause a the blood supply to the mucosa in the mouth , the main organ affected here will be the tongue, and on many an  occasion tongue tip necrosis will occur and your pet will lose part of its tongue . It is very rare for an animal to swallow one in its entirety as the toxic sensation is immediate when tasted and the animal will drop the insect, but by then the damage is done.  

If you or your pet is exposed to one of these caterpillars the first thing to do is clean any area affected as much as possible, if licked try and flush out the mouth with plenty of water, the less of the chemical that comes into contact with skin/mucosa the less the reaction is going to be and the damage to the area will be reduced so the pain will not be so intense and there will be less damage to the tissues. Try and get the animal to a vet so that it can be treated with anti-inflammatories and hopefully reduce the damage. 

In many cases when these animals are presented to be the damage is already done  , and all I can do is give  supportive therapy , treat the secondary effects of the toxin and in some cases amputate parts of the tongue or mucosa in mouth that have necrosed ( rotted). Often the clients have just noticed severe halitosis from their pet and hadn’t realised what had occurred. As a general rule pets have a much higher pain threshold than us humans so they don’t complain!!

In summary if you are walking your pets in Pine forests or in the vicinity of pine trees be extra vigilant over the next couple of months, prevention is always better than cure .

A Vets Insight

in Animals & Pets

Fireworks and your pets

Firework displays and loud flashy shows of exuberance seem to be part of the human condition where outlandish displays of grandeur seem to be necessary to embellish ones success or passing a specific anniversary etc. Personally I have never been partial to these displays of chest banging and neither does the rest of the animal world.

Sadly we can’t do much to protect most of the world’s animal kingdom from fireworks however we can do what we can for the animals under our care so that they don’t have to be scared as a result of this behaviour. 

Make sure your dog or cat always has somewhere to hide if they want to and has access to this place at all times. For example, this may be under some furniture or in a cupboard. It’s not the best scenario but at least it finds a degree of sanctuary and does not feel so exposed. Don’t try and force the animal out, remember it is scared so might be aggressive as a result of this. What you might feel is comforting is not necessarily the case for the pet.

Make sure your cat or dog is always kept in a safe and secure environment and can’t escape if there’s a sudden noise.  A petrified animal that has escaped into an environment where elements are out of your control could be a danger to themselves and to others.

During fireworks seasons, walk dogs during daylight hours and keep cats and dogs indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off.

At nightfall, close windows and curtains and put on music to mask and muffle the sound of fireworks.   

Never punish your pets if they are freaking out because they are scared, this will just compound the problem and make the animal more anxious.

Each evening before the fireworks begin, move your dog to the play area and provide toys and other things that they enjoy.

Do try not to leave a pet who has severe adverse reactions to fireworks alone. Your presence will be a comfort for the animal. 

Ignore the firework noises yourself. Play with a toy to see if your dog wants to join in, but don’t force them to play.

Pheromone diffusers and pheromone collars are available from the vet clinic. These disperse calming chemicals into the room and may be a good option for your dog. The collar centralises the pheromones around the dog so in some cases is more effective. 

In some cases your pet may prescribe medication. These are tranquilisers that will sedate your pet and make him less aware and therefore less frightened of fireworks. The effect varies with each individual animal but might be necessary especially in highly urbanised communities like ours. 

The best solution is to go to the country over the firework season far away from high population densities, probably the best way for you and your pet to de-stress. 


in Animals & Pets

Pets are companion animals, adding one to your household should be a well thought out process where the pros and cons are carefully weighed. Purchasing or acquiring animals on a whim often leads to a spate of unwanted animals soon after and also to many deaths of pets through sheer ignorance of people who do not know the requirements and costs of looking after animals. 

An animal acquired as a pet has many requirements that the new ‘care provider’ has to adhere to. The animal will need shelter, food and water and someone to care for it every day, they don’t know it’s a weekend or you are away for a couple of days etc etc. 

Christmas Pet Safety Tips

 Christmas is a wonderful time of year – but not always for your pets! Here are some tips for keeping your pets out of danger.

Food to avoid giving your pet at Christmas

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Chocolate (can be toxic to pets especially dark chocolate and cocoa powder)
  • Coffee
  • Mouldy or spoiled foods
  • Salt
  • Chicken or Turkey bones (they can splinter)
  • Raisins and grapes have on rare occasions caused acute irreversible renal failure in dogs, so be aware of this. 

Avoid giving your pet any of your leftovers as this can cause diarrhoea. This is particularly the case with dogs that are used to a dried diet, owners often feel that their pet has to partake in the Christmas binge and this can result in acute gastroenteritis.

 Also keep your pet away from cooked bones: they can splinter or get lodged in your pet’s throat or can cause serious damage by puncturing the intestinal tract.

Pet hazards around the Christmas tree

  • Fallen Christmas tree needles are very sharp and can easily get stuck in your pet’s paws or throat. Sweep tree needles up regularly.
  • Do not hang your chocolates from your Christmas tree: they can be toxic and your pet will be tempted if he can see and smell them.
  • Cover up electric cords and flashing tree lights so your pet can’t chew them and electrocute himself.
  • Try using fairy lights that don’t flash as some pets when up close can get very scared by these.
  • Christmas tree decorations can cause a nasty accident or be fatal to your pet. Cats, and young pets especially, will show a great interest in decorations hanging from your tree. Try to use unbreakable decorations and nothing too small. Avoid tinsel or ribbons as these are dangerous to the gastrointestinal tract if your pet swallows them. I have on numerous occasions had to perform lifesaving surgery on cats who have swallowed long strands of tinsel. 
  • Be very careful with any balls purchased for your dog to play with, if they are large enough to swallow but too small to pass through the intestines they will cause an obstruction.
  • Make sure your tree is well anchored so your pet can’t pull it over.
  • Cats have a fetish for eating tinsel, on many an occasion I have to operate on cats as a result of this. On one occasion the client waited too long before presenting the cat for surgery and sadly the animal died

Other Christmas dangers to pets

  • Remember loud noises will panic your pet, such as Christmas crackers, poppers, balloons, and champagne bottles.
  • Remove your Christmas wrapping paper (and toys) from the floor to avoid your pet chewing or swallowing it.
  • For your pet’s safety this Christmas always buy your pet’s presents from a reputable outlet.
  • In many households this is often the only time of year that your pet is exposed to large gatherings of noisy excitable people and children. This can scare your pet, and this may result in unusual behaviour, placid dogs have been known to get aggressive in this scenario. Therefore make sure your pet has some place where it can find a degree of sanctuary.
  • Locally lilies and poinsettias are seen as common Christmas decorations; these are poisonous to pets and must be kept well out of reach.

A Vets Insight

in Animals & Pets


Pet cats can live to a ripe old age, with better awareness of diseases and good use of prophylactic medication we can possibly get your feline to live that bit longer so that you can enjoy its kneading on your bed sheets and the morning wake up call for an extended period.

As with all illnesses/diseases the sooner the condition is diagnosed then the better the prognosis and the more effective any medication will be. Sometimes only the smallest physical or behavioural change can be an indication that some organ is not quite functioning at 100%.

These are the most common symptoms that could indicate that something is not quite right:

A slight increase in drinking and
urination, polyuria/polydipsia

• Weight loss or gain

Abnormal behaviour, e.g defaecating outside litter box, increased vocalisation

• Decreased vision

• Difficulty eating 

Different illnesses can cause several of the symptoms described above, so a visit to the veterinary clinic is essential. It is our job to get you an accurate diagnosis, your pet could be suffering from renal disease, high blood pressure, diabetes , liver failure , etc , thankfully at the clinic we have a complete selection of diagnostic tools to help get your cat diagnosed rapidly and effectively . The sooner treatment is started the better the long term prognosis, we have had cats living well into their 20s thanks to this.

What should you feed your elderly cat?

Cats thrive on diets that are high in moisture (canned or fresh), relatively high in meat protein and fat, and balanced in essential minerals and nutrients. Pet food manufacturers and nutritionists rely on the specific research in formulating commercial diets and all brands are quite similar in their nutrient analysis. Cats do not, by nature, thrive on carbohydrates or plant-derived proteins.

Don’t feed your cat generic or house brand because their low price dictates that their ingredients be low quality. Mid or average priced cat foods tend to have better quality ingredients and most brands market top-of-the-line premium formulas that are likely to be a bit better. Those are the brands I suggest. 

Should I Feed A Diet Formulated Especially For Senior Cats?

Based on research, most “senior diets” have increased amounts of vitamin D and B6, calcium and fiber, with some added antioxidants and omega fatty acids thrown in for good measure.

Older cats do seem to have a reduced ability to digest fat and protein. Studies found that 50% of cats 15-25 years old are underweight. Perhaps that is due to their reduced sense of smell and taste, decreased intestinal absorption, bad teeth or a side effect of one of the common chronic diseases of older cats. Several of these “Senior Diets” have fewer calories than those marketed for midlife. Be careful about using those if your cat is already thin. 

If your elderly cat has a tendency to constipation, the extra bran fibre might be helpful. If you believe in the protective power of antioxidants, you should see to it that your pet receive them for its entire life. If your cat needs added fibre because it has diabetes, the added fibre might be helpful, however their senior formula is too high in carbohydrate for that use. Their increased glucosamine might help old cats that have arthritis. But the amount they consume will be less than with many joint supplements. 

So, if you plan to offer your cat dry diet, a “Senior Formula” is a good food. But there is not much science to back up the slight formula modifications that have been made. 

Another problem with “senior” formulas is their one-size-fits-all caloric content. Many older cats tend to be too chubby until they reach about 12 years of age. After that, many become too thin. Some gain or lose too much weight somewhat earlier or later. Overweight cats need a diet formula that is less caloric while underweight cats need just the opposite.


The simple answer to this question is yes.

Cat’s metabolism is totally different to dogs; they cannot go more than 3 or 4 days without eating, especially if they are obese/overweight at the start. 

A cat that does not eat for a few days is prone to developing fatty liver, a potentially fatal disease if not diagnosed early and if not treated aggressively. This is a condition commonly seen in the elderly obese cat that may go off its food for another problem (but can affect cats of any age), but the anorexia then results in the liver developing serious disease.

In summary your elderly feline may require a lot of tender loving care as the years progress, be aware of any small changes in behaviour or feeding habits etc as they may be a warning that not all is well. We are now running a Senior Wellness Plan for our older patients at the Gibraltar Veterinary Clinic. With advances in veterinary care we are able to help the older sick animal but the earlier the diagnosis the more we can do. 

For more information please phone Gibraltar Vetinary Clinic on
200 77334

A Vets Insight

in Animals & Pets

Cystitis how serious it is?

Cystitis is inflammation of the bladder wall; it is multi-factorial in origin, it can be caused by a simple bacterial infection, bladder stones, tumours, polyps. 

The cause of the problem very much decides its prognosis, I shall try to go through the symptoms and its treatment bearing in mind that it can be a medical emergency in certain cases.

The most common symptom that patients present with is increased straining and frequency of urination. The animal in question has the urge to go to the toilet more frequently because of the bladder irritation, therefore clients notice behaviour changes, often these animals are very clean animals that have never had an accident in the house, but as a consequence of the cystitis they cannot control the urge to urinate. It is important that they are not told off when this happens, they cannot control the need to urinate, and scolding the pet could actually compound the problem. Often there is blood in the urine and the animal may spend excessive time licking their genital areas.

In the more elderly animal a bacterial cystitis is more common, usually as a result of an ascending infection; therefore a short course of anti-inflammatories and antibiotics is usually sufficient to treat the condition. However if the problem starts to recur then it is important that the condition is worked up properly as one of the other causes might be a factor.

Another common cause of cystitis in dogs and cats are urinary calculi, these are crystals that are formed in the urine that often coalesce to form larger stones. These crystals can be formed as a result of a metabolic anomaly in the patient or secondary to a primary infection. In the male dog and the tom cat this can lead to a medical emergency, the male urethra is narrower than in the females therefore as a direct result of this a urinary stone can cause an obstruction. If this obstruction is not removed then the animal will deteriorate rapidly, develop kidney failure and die a slow agonising death. This problem is seen more commonly in cats, so if your cat is spending excessive amount of time on the litter tray then it is important that you get him to a vet immediately.

The most common cause of cystitis and urethral obstruction in cats is stress related, so if there are any changes in the cat’s environment then be aware that this may set off a bout of cystitis and often a urethral obstruction too.

Polyps are seen infrequently, but bladder tumours in dogs are seen more commonly, transitional cell carcinoma is seen relatively frequently and unfortunately carries a very poor prognosis, it tends to affect most of the bladder wall so surgical excision is not an option, they can only be managed medically.

If you have your dog or cat presenting with symptoms of cystitis then get it treated promptly. Personally I ultrasound all of my patients, an ultrasound tends to be used as the first diagnostic tool, it is better at picking up stones,(some stones do not show up on x-ray). The ultrasound is also better at accessing the bladder lining, therefore polyps and tumours can be picked up earlier   and treatment can be implemented and therefore the prognosis will be improved.

In summary cystitis in your pet can be treated easily in the majority of cases but can become complicated if ignored and may carry a poor prognosis if the underlying cause is serious or the condition is not treated promptly and efficiently.

For more information please phone Gibraltar Vetinary Clinic on
200 77334

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