Every year, we have to obtain a certain number of CPD points in order to remain on the medical register which allows us to practice medicine. There are a lot of options out there for how you get your points: online courses, webinars and attending lectures. This year for my CPD quota I wanted to brush up on one area in particular: cats! Myself and Riona chose the International Society of Feline Medicine’s World Feline Congress as our source of learning for this years CPD quota and we just got back last week – wow! what a great week we had attending lectures my world renowned experts in their fields. I learned so much and hope to share some of the information with you here in this month’s blog post.
The theme for the congress for “endocrine and cardio-respiratory medicine”; both of which are huge fields that cover a number of common conditions we see in our feline patients every day. The very first few lectures concerned how to make a vet visit as low stress as possible. A lot of these points are ones we all know: use a cat carrier instead of having the cat loose in the car, avoid dogs etc. A new change we have implemented off the back of this lecture is using Feliway pheromone spray on the blanket we sit your cat on during the exam – I can see a difference already! It really helps some stressed out kitties to chill out.
A lot of the lectures I attended were concerned with behavioural issues in cats – multicat households, inter-cat aggression and inappropriate urination were the most spoken about problems. One thing I have taken away from these lectures in general is that we cannot underestimate the affect of stress on our cats – it has some very real physiological implications and can have a seriously detriment on quality of life in general. There are so many cats, especially is multi cat households, who are living with stress every day and a lot of owners are missing the signals that their kitty isn’t happy. Unfortunately, there is no “easy” fix for these stressy multi cat households. There are some pheromone products which can certainly help but ultimately we as owners may need to accept that certain cats are never going to be “friends” – and this should not be our goal! A peaceful tolerance of one another is all that is needed to restore harmony. It is a tricky subject and one that I will be following up with more research of my own.
Another big feature at this congress was cardiology and I learned a huge amount during these lectures. A staggering amount of cats are going round with significant heart defects and NO clinical signs – it scared me if i’m honest! With dogs, we can have a listen to the heart and hear a murmur, that is that the heart will sound abnormal indicating that there is a problem. This is in contrast with cats who often have NO murmur and no outward signs of a problem at all, even with extremely advanced heart issues. The experts recommend an echo cardiogram of any cats who are suspected of having a heart issue as this is the most accurate way of diagnosing a problem. The most common cardiac condition in cats is Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and the most common presentation of this disease is sudden, unexpected death – typical of cats to hide such a huge problem and retend to us all that there is nothing wrong! amazing, sad and very interesting in equal measures.
Myself and Riona found the week in Brighton very valuable, and i’m very excited to start implementing some of the changes recommended like the pheromone sprays and blood pressure monitoring. We attend lectures like these because we know your cat deserves the best and we want to be the best for them. Onwards and upwards for the cats of Galway I reckon!
Until next month,