The Official Source
PYRUVATE KINASE (PK) DEFICIENCY IN CATS
Pyruvate kinase is an enzyme found within red blood cells which enables them to produce energy to survive. If this enzyme is lacking, the life span of the red blood cells is significantly reduced, resulting in a reduction in the number of red blood cells in the circulation (anaemia).
The disease is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. This means that a cat can be carrying the defective gene without having any symptoms of the disease. It is an inherited disease in Abyssinians and Somalis, among other breeds and non pedigrees. It has not been shown to occur in Ocicats to date.
Signs: The main consequence of the disease is the development of anaemia. However since the body can quickly manufacture new red blood cells the anaemia is usually only intermittently detectable. Most of the time the anaemia is only mild, or occurs gradually, enabling the cat to adapt to the anaemia and not show any obvious symptoms. Anaemia often results in only vague signs such as lethargy and inappetance. However, a rapid severe life-threatening anaemia can also develop. Although PK deficiency is congenital, since the anaemia is usually mild and clinical signs may not be obvious, the anaemia may not be noticed until the cat is quite old.
Tests: Fortunately a reliable test does exist for PK deficiency, a DNA test that is performed on either a blood sample or cheek swab. Only one laboratory, in Pennsylvania in the US, is able to do this test. Affected cats as well as carrier cats can be identified with the test. However the test is expensive ($75 per cat; approximately £43) and additional costs of shipping the sample to the US further increase the cost.
Why worry about PK deficiency?
v PK deficiency is inherited and although predominantly a problem in the US it is being reported increasingly in cats throughout Australia, New Zealand and Europe, including the UK. Approximately 1000 cats have been tested at Pennsylvania since 1998, and around 10-20% of those have been found to carry the defective gene. (information from www.nileabys.bigpondhosting.com/pkdeficiency.htm).
v As described above, the clinical signs that develop can be serious and life threatening.
v Because initial clinical signs can be mild or go unnoticed, affected cats may not be identified until after they have had large numbers of offspring.
v Carrier cats do not show any clinical signs at all. The disease occurs when two carrier cats are mated with each other. This is important because a large number of carrier cats can arise in a population before PK deficiency is even noticed.
v With any genetic disease, by the time the disease becomes an obvious problem within a population it is much more difficult to control and involves a lot more expense and heartbreak.
v Although we know that the disease is already present in the UK, affected cats do not appear to be very prevalent in the UK. Identifying carrier cats NOW could stop PK deficiency becoming a prevalent disease in the UK.
v We can reliably test for affected cats, including identifying asymptomatic carriers.
v If carrier cats are identified they can still be used for breeding as long as we ensure that they are NOT mated with another carrier. Mating a carrier with a non-carrier will not produce any offspring that will suffer from PK deficiency, and 50% of the offspring will be free of the defective gene. As long as the offspring are also tested, even carriers can be bred from again as long as it is ensured that they are only mated with a non-carrier cat. In this way, controlled breeding programmes can be implemented so that important lines can be retained within the gene pool.
The Feline Centre,
University of Bristol Veterinary School
The Ocicat Link
There is no known problem in Ocicats with this disease at present. However, because it does occur in Abyssinians there is always the chance that it could crop up in Ocicats in the future, since we have the Abyssinian in our bloodlines, and we can use the breed for outcrosses. We have a golden opportunity at this moment in time of preventing PK deficiency from ever occurring in UK Ocicats, simply by testing any Abyssinian to be used in outcrossing, and testing any imported breeding Ocicat before its arrival in the UK.
The earliest recorded example of chemical disinfection is the use of copper or silver vessels, instead of pottery ones, to store drinking water to prevent it becoming foul This innovation was introduced about 450 BC by the Persians. Both copper and silver have significant antimicrobial activity, although neither is used much for disinfection purposes today because of their toxicity. Other ancient disinfectants, used mainly for topical treatment of wounds, were wine, vinegar and honey. While wine and honey now tend to be used internally, vinegar, or rather its active ingredient, dilute acetic acid, has been revived as a wound dressing where antibiotic-resistant Pseudomonas bacteria are a problem.
Mercuric Chloride was introduced as a wound dressing in the Middle Ages by the Arabs, but it was not until the 18th and 19th centuries that great strides forward in chemical disinfection were made with the introduction of a range of chemicals such as copper suilphate, bleaching powder, creosote, iodine, chlorine water and phenol. Today, some of these are still used for some disinfection purposes, and there is a large array of more modern chemicals.
The major types of disinfectants can be grouped into seven main categories:
Phenolic compounds, derived from coal tar such as Lysol and TCP
Pine disinfectants, which are Pinene, which is little more than a deodorant, and Terpineol, which does disinfect and can be combined with substituted phenols E.G. Dettol
Acids , not used much for general disinfection, but benzoic acid is used as a preservative in food and pharmaceutical products, dilute acetic acid as a wound dressing(!!), and citric acid against foot-and-mouth disease virus.
Biguanides e.g. Chlorhexidine which mixed with cetrimide is used as a topical antiseptic (Savlon) – not effective against viruses or bacterial spores.
Surface-active agents Cationic agents include cetrimide and are active against bacteria and enveloped viruses such as feline herpes virus but not non-enveloped viruses such as feline calicivirus. They are mainly used in wound disinfection and as preservatives in e.g. eyedrops. Amphoteric agents are the most active disinfectants of the group e.g. Tego.
Aldehydes Formaldehyde and Glutaraldehyde are very important disinfectants especially the former, active against bacteria, spores and viruses.
Halogens: Iodine is well known as are the sodium hypochlorite solutions e.g. Chloros
Microbial resistance to disinfectants
Some bacteria are naturally more resistant to certain disinfectants than other bacteria. Others can become resistant after exposure to the disinfectant. In general, non-enveloped viruses such as feline parvovirus and feline calicivirus are more resistant to a range of disinfectants than enveloped viruses such as feline leukemia virus and feline herpes virus.
Disinfection in the cattery
Particular care must be taken in the choice of a disinfectant for use in a cattery. Cats have fastidious personal hygiene habits (at least most do!), which will lead them to ingesting disinfectants that are deposited on their paws or fur. Moreover, cats have low activity of an enzyme called glucuronide transferase in their liver, and so are less able than most mammals to detoxify phenolic compounds. Thus for cattery use a disinfectant must be of low toxicity and lacking phenolic compounds, yet be effective against a wide range of microorganisms, including the highly resistant fene parvovirus, and effective in the presence of organic material such as faeces. No single disinfectant compound can fulfil all of these criteria, but five proprietary brands which consist of a mixture of disinfectants are very useful, and can be recommended for use in catteries. Parvocide (veterinary Health Company) and GPC-8 (Evans Vanodine which are based on glutaraldehyde. Virkon (Antec International) is a mixture with peroxygen compounds while Peratol (Albright and Wilson) contains Hydrogen peroxide. Finally Trigene (The Hygiene Corporation) is a blend of non-ionic quaternary compounds and detergent,
These five products have a low toxicity for cats and are effective at the recommended dilutions, and will kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
These five disinfectants are also those recommended by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy for use at Shows, where disinfection is necessary after handling one cat, and moving on to the next.
If you don’t want to read
all the above, just remember:
DON’T be tempted to use a higher strength solution “just to be sure”.
ALWAYS read the label before using disinfectants.
NEVER use phenolic compounds for cats.
Plants poisonous to cats C.M.Hughes
There are various substances poisonous to cats that can be found in the home and these include:
Phenols - often found in disinfectants (as mentioned above). You can tell if something contains phenols by adding water. If it goes cloudy when added to water then it will contain phenols, so do not use these products if you have cats. Other cleaning products such as dishwasher powder, deodorants and deodorisers, and polishes. Medicines - human and animal, car products, such as antifreeze, windscreen washer fluid, etc. Beauty products, products such as Febreze if used in a limited space, Decorating materials, Insecticides, Pesticides, Slug pellets, Rat poisons, Fungicides (and don't forget, wallpaper often contains fungicides and so does wallpaper paste, so don't let your cat play with strips of offcuts of wallpaper, or wallpaper being taken off walls). Also, chocolate is poisonous to cats, and the smallest amount has been known to kill a cat (or dog). But it is plants that are generally not assumed to be dangerous to our pets.
There is a list below of some of the plants that are poisonous to cats - undoubtedly there are more plants that could be included here, so don't assume that this list is comprehensive. The effects of these plants will vary from causing mild irritation to blindness, coma, kidney or heart damage, or even death. There is often more than one name for a plant, so even if a plant isn't on this list by the name that you know it, don't assume it's safe. Where some of these plants might taste awful to a cat, so they would naturally avoid them, that doesn't go for all of them, and also a cat that is allowed outside might be more choosy what they chew, but an indoor cat might well chew anything they can get hold of in the way of plants. Be especially careful of Christmas trees - the selection of varieties available now means that there will be some on sale that are poisonous to cats. Check this with a local nursery. As you can see in the list below, Holly, Ivy and Misteltoe, and Poinsettias are poisonous as well. Also, at this time of year, many people are planting bulbs, ready for them to flower at Christmas – daffodil, hyacinth, and crocus bulbs are amongst those particularly poisonous to cats. These can cause anything from vomiting and diarrhea to sudden death. It's worth adding here that Christmas tree decorations have caused the death of quite a few cats. They are known to be attracted to tinsel, and other decorations, and have swallowed pieces, which can kill them, unless you are fortunate enough to realise there is a problem and have the cat operated on to have it removed from their intestines, and christmas tree lights - make sure they don't chew these, or the wires.
There are various links that can be found under 'search' to sites that give information about poisons, and poisonous plants, and this is just one of them: http://www.plants-and-your-cat.com/html/search2. This excellent site gives details on a huge amount of plants, and describes symptoms, other names, toxicity, which part of the plant might be toxic. etc. The same site also has a list of plants that are safe for cats, and this can be found on: http://www.plants-and-your-cat.com/html/search1. . Some of the plants listed below do appear on some 'safe plant' lists, but while they also appear on 'dangerous plant' lists, I thought it worth including them.
Chlamydia and Zithromax
Chlamydia is a common cause of Respiratory Tract infections in cats, as well as other animals and humans. In cats this can cause a flu like illness, nasal congestion, sneezing and discharge and runny eyes, and can affect the lungs and may even cause pneumonia. It does not respond very well to most common antibiotics, often needing a long course (4 weeks) to cure the problem. It is thought to be a common cause of Fading Kitten Syndrome, where it can result in pneumonia in young kittens who seem well, and then become ill, lose interest in feeding, develop a rattly chest and then die.
Zithromax is a new safe antibiotic which is highly effective against Chlamydia. Many vets have still not heard of it. It is suggested that after the first dose, another dose should be repeated 7 days later, apart from in the case of pregnant queens.
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