Last week Liesbeth travelled down to Swindon to continue her studies on feline medicine in order to obtain a certificate in this area.  This month the lectures were provided by Kerry Simpson, a RCVS specialist in Feline Medicine.

The first day concentrated on feline cardiology.  Heart murmurs and heart disease in cats is something we deal with regularly at the practice.  The lectures covered the more rare congenital heart diseases of cats, along with primary cardiomyopathies and specific cardiomyopathies relating to high blood pressure (hypertension) and hyperthyroidism, a very commonly diagnosed condition in older cats.  Investigations into heart disease were discussed including bloods tests, echocardiography and ECGs.  Treatment for feline heart disease is based on the diagnosis of the specific disease process and also aimed at treating any underlying contributing factors such as hyperthyroidism, hypertension and any kidney (renal) disease.  We have many feline patients under treatment for hyperthyroidism in the practice and even more with renal disease with secondary hypertension.  We aim to manage these conditions well to help prevent secondary changes to the heart.  The commonly used treatment regimes were covered as well as new developments into treatments.

The second day covered feline respiratory disease.  Respiratory disease in cats is very common and doesn’t just cover “cat flu”, the condition most people are aware of.  Whilst we currently vaccinate against some respiratory viruses there are many respiratory conditions cats can suffer from, including asthma, lungworm as well as pneumonia and unfortunately some neoplasias (cancers).  Cats with respiratory disease often need fairly extensive investigations such as radiographs and sampling of the airways to check for viruses and bacteria.  Despite cats being very active they often manage to hide respiratory disease for a long time and we tend to see cats in the later stages of their disease.  Diagnosing and treating feline respiratory illnesses early can have much more successful outcomes.