Pamphlet Lists Plants Toxic to Cats

Ericson, a practicing Orange County veterinarian, is immediate past president of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Assn

Q We have a new litter of kittens in our house, and soon these kittens will be crawling around and getting into everything. I have a large number of various house plants and was told that I should probably remove them until I find homes for the kittens. How can I find out which of my plants are dangerous for the kittens?

Mrs. T. Goldman, La Habra

A There are a great number of plants that can be toxic to your cats. The Cat Fancier’s Assn. has a very nice pamphlet that lists the most common toxic household plants. You can get a copy by writing to the CFA, 1309 Allaire Ave., Ocean, N.J. 07712. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Q We have a 7-year-old golden retriever/shepherd mix. Very shortly after she was spayed, about five years ago, she began urinating while lying down wherever she was. The problem continues as if she has no control, yet we have seen her urinate properly like other female dogs. Could something have gone wrong during her spay surgery or is this just laziness or something else? How can we correct it?


L. Maloney, Laguna Niguel

A Lack of control of urination may be the result of many different problems. Nerve injuries, muscle weakness, defects of the urethra and infections may lead to a lack of control. Injury during surgery to the bladder or its nerves is another possible cause.

It would be helpful to have your dog get a complete examination, including a urinalysis and a lab profile of the blood. Estrogen and thyroid hormone levels may be measured to see if there is a marked deficiency. Radiographs will be necessary, including special studies such as a cytogram, which will demonstrate the size and shape of the bladder.

An intravenous pylogram should be done to outline the ureters from the kidneys to the bladder, making sure that they enter the bladder and not the vagina, which would give the appearance of urine dribbling. The spinal column should also be viewed on X-rays to make sure there are no disk defects that may cause neurological weakness of the bladder.

A complete neurological examination may be necessary to help determine if spinal cord or peripheral nerve disease is causing your pet’s problems.

Treatment will depend on the findings of the examination and tests. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to either repair a defective ureter or get a biopsy sample of the bladder wall. Medications may be able to eliminate or at least control the problem.

Lack of urination control, or incontinence, can be difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat.