Articles in the 'health' Category

For the well cared indoor kitty, the average cat life expectancy is 12 to 15 years, with females cats generally living a year or two more.

Outdoor cats on the other hand don’t have such an easy life. They experience stress and survival issues everyday – their life span is significantly less at only two to five years.

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Bat Rabies

Date: Mon 10 Sep 2012

Source: L.A. Times [edited]

45 rabid bats have been discovered in Los Angeles County so far this
year [2012], the highest number in modern history, authorities said
Monday [10 Sep 2012].

The previous high for a single year was 38 in 2011, and it is unclear
what factors led to the increase.

13 of the rabid bats were found in the Santa Clarita area, according
to a map of all the cases compiled by the Los Angeles County
Department of Public Health. There are usually only 10 positive rabid
bat reports a year.

Authorities warned the public to avoid handling bats and to report any
found in homes or other places frequented by people to local animal
control, especially if the animals are seen during the day.

Healthy bats tend to stay away from humans and are most active at
night, authorities said.

[Byline: Jason Song]

Press release from Morris Animal Foundation

With a record 90 million cats living in U.S. homes, it might not seem like feline overpopulation could be a problem. But according to Dr. Julie Levy, a Morris Animal Foundation-funded veterinary scientist, an estimated 70 million homeless cats live in the United States. And this number is probably low. The count includes strays that have been lost or abandoned by owners and also feral cats that were born wild and have never lived in a home.

These cats face tough daily conditions and lack veterinary care and vaccines, so they may contract and spread diseases like panleukopenia and respiratory infections. Also, feral cat populations are tough to control. An unspayed female can have multiple litters each year. That adds up quickly to a lot of unwanted cats.

Dr. Levy heads a program at the University of Florida called Operation Catnip, which provides a monthly free spay-and-neuter day for feral cats. This type of program is called trap-neuter-return (TNR), and the theory behind it is that since sterilized cats can’t reproduce, the feral populations will gradually decrease in a humane way. However, TNR programs require funding, community support and many volunteers, including veterinarians, because trapping and transporting cats is costly and labor-intensive. Treating cats in the field would be far more efficient.

With Foundation funding, Dr. Levy tested a sterilization vaccine that targets a hormone in the brain called GnRH. When GnRH is controlled, the cat doesn’t produce estrogen or testosterone and becomes temporarily infertile as a result. Even better, veterinary technicians can easily administer the vaccine by injection in the field.

Dr. Levy was thrilled with the results. Over the two-year study, the vaccine prevented pregnancy in 73 percent of female cats. No other nonsurgical methods have shown such a high success rate with only a single treatment.

This vaccine has the potential to help feline welfare agencies throughout the world control feral cat populations in an inexpensive and humane way. That would mean fewer cats struggling for survival on the streets.

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