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Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook


Electric shocks can be caused by chewing on electric cords and coming in contact with downed wires. A shock can cause involuntary muscle contractions of the jaw that may prevent a cat from releasing the live wire.

Cats receiveing an electric shock may be burned, or the shock may cause irregular heartbeat with signs of circulatory collapse. Electric current also damages the capillaries of the lungs and leads to the accumulation of fluid in the air sacs (pulmonary edema). The signs are those of difficulty in breathing.

Treatment: If your cat is found in contact with an electric cord or appliance, DO NOT TOUCH THE CAT. First, throw the switch box and pull the plug. If the cat is unconscious and not breathing, administer artificial breathing. Pulmonary edema must be treated by a veterinarian.

Mouth burns from electric cords are discussed in the chapter MOUTH AND THROAT.


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