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  • Body condition scoring is an effective objective method of determining if a pet is at a healthy weight. There are 2 scoring systems: one out of 5 and the other out of 9. This handout outlines how to body condition score pets and recommends tracking body condition score to keep pets at a healthy weight, an important factor in pets living longer with less health complications.

  • Bone marrow is vitally important for the production of blood cells, specifically red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Bone marrow is commonly collected and examined when abnormalities are found in the circulating blood. Bone marrow examination is complicated and should be done by a specialist. The pathologist’s report typically provides information about the health of the marrow, what types of cells are present, whether abnormal cells are found, and other details that may help to explain the patient’s illness. However, in some cases, bone marrow examination may do nothing more than confirm that there is a problem.

  • Cats are exposed to botulism by eating raw meat or dead animals containing botulinum toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum. Botulism causes ascending paralysis of the nervous system. Clinical signs are reviewed as well as diagnostic tests and treatment. Prognosis is guarded depending on the amount of toxin ingested and the degree of supportive care available. There is no vaccine.

  • Bowel incontinence refers to the loss of the ability to control bowel movements. There are two broad causes of fecal incontinence: reservoir incontinence and sphincter incontinence. In reservoir incontinence, intestinal disease interferes with the rectum’s ability to store normal volumes of feces. In sphincter incontinence, a structural or neurologic lesion prevents the anal sphincter from closing normally. Clinical signs, diagnostic testing, and treatment vary based upon the underlying cause.

  • Brachycephalic airway syndrome refers to a particular set of upper airway abnormalities that affect brachycephalic cats. The most common sign of the condition is mouth breathing and, in the long term, the increased effort associated with breathing can put a strain on the cat's heart. Surgery is the treatment of choice whenever the anatomical abnormalities interfere with a cat’s breathing.

  • Brain injuries are devastating and, unfortunately, often fatal. The typical signs of brain injury in a cat include altered consciousness that may signal bleeding in the skull, decreased blood flow to the brain, or fluid causing swelling within the brain itself. There are many potential causes of brain injury and treatment will always be determined by the underlying problem that led to the injury.

  • Breeding, pregnancy, and birthing in cats may seem simple, but can have complications. Cats can have multiple litters in a year. It is important to know when your cat may be expecting to give birth so that you can be available to provide assistance if necessary. It is important to know what signs indicate that your cat may be experiencing difficulties delivering the kittens and know when veterinary attention is needed.

  • Transitioning to a new home is a big step for even the most playful and outgoing kitten. Prior to bringing your kitten home, make sure you have all the items your kitten will need. Slowly introduce your kitten to your home, family members, and other cats or dogs in the home. Begin training your kitten as soon as your she is comfortable with all the members of your household.

  • More than half of all cats over the age of three have periodontal disease. Brushing three times a week is the minimum recommendation to help remove plaque and prevent tartar accumulation. In order to be successful at brushing your cat’s teeth, you must make it a positive experience for both of you. Do not use human toothpaste or baking soda. A list of dental products and diets that have been accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Counsel can be found at vohc.org.

  • The fastest way to examine large numbers of white blood cells is to look at a buffy coat smear. One of the most important cells to look for in a buffy coat is called a mast cell. Mast cells play an important role in allergies and related conditions.