Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy New Year

We have a guest blogger today: Maria, one of our technicians.
Happy New Year! Time for Resolutions!
By Maria Glencer, LVT
January 1st brings thoughts of New Year resolutions. One popular resolution for many people is weight loss. What about our cats? Recent estimates indicate as many as 50-60% of cats are overweight and 40% are obese. The cause is simple – too many calories and carbohydrates and not enough exercise.
Before you and your cat go on a diet or out to the gym together, be sure to have your cat’s overall health assessed. All weight management programs should be closely monitored to ensure weight loss occurs in a gradual and safe timeframe. Rapid weight loss can lead to a life-threatening condition called fatty liver disease.
All cats (overweight or not) should be fed a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. As carnivores, cats use protein for energy but convert carbohydrates to fat.
Weight management guidelines:
*Feed more wet food (higher in protein) and reduce/eliminate dry food (higher in carbs).
*Feed on a schedule with measured-out portions instead of leaving food out all day.
*Feed multiple cats in separate rooms to prevent food stealing.
*Make one person responsible for feeding to prevent duplicate meals.
*Substitute extra food and treats with calorie-free rewards such as catnip, love, or petting.
*Schedule playtimes; include toys that make use your cat’s natural hunting skills.
Once we evaluate your cat’s ideal weight and specific needs, we can calculate a diet plan.
Let us help your cat live healthier by keeping it slim and trim, starting this New Year!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Those Holiday Hazards

A friendly reminder to all: Many of us are decorating for Christmas. For our cats this “its the most wonderful time of the year.” (Can you hear the song?) Unfortunately it also means Holiday Hazards. The ribbon you tie packages with they can chew on, and sometimes become stuck inside the intestines. This means surgical removal.

The plants all wrapped up in red foil: toxic, they could cause vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes kidney failure. As far as the tree, that is Disney Land for cats. I can’t tell you the last time I had ornaments on the bottom half of my tree. The lights, every year Ute (my eldest) must chew through at least 2 sets, he always finds a spot I don’t have protected. Don’t forget cats cannot eat all those treats either, chocolate can be toxic, and just as us people, we cannot load up on extra calories. Extra weight gain is not healthy; it could also lead to vomiting and diarrhea.

A little bit of turkey or other meat is fine, just don’t over do it.

Clink the link for more information.

Have a fun and safe Holiday and New Year.

Fun Gifts, support local artist.

Many of you have noticed when you come into our practice we have quite a bit of art -work on the walls. We love to support out local artists. Of course it has to be cat themed.

One of our favorites is Laurie Eisenhardt. She is having an Open Studio event this Wednesday the 15th, Thursday & Friday from 10-5 or by Appointment. She is located in Royal Oak, 413 S Pleasant.

Feel free to stop by and take a look.


She has many cute & unique gifts and ornaments.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wanted a Foster Home

I am calling on all of you cat loving people out there to help rescue these two kitties.

They were abandoned in October in our parking lot. We are just not set up to socializing them here. We are set up to take care of sick patients, boarding cats and to see outpatients. There needs to be a someone who can take the time to work with these cats, Where as our staff needs to put their energy toward the sick kitties here.

We really needs someone who can bring them into their home, in a large cat crate & work with socializing them. We just are not able to work with these kittens. I took them to my tiny little home, a studio. I never saw them. So that did not work out as planned. I know these kittens could be great pets, they just need someone to foster them until they are good & trusting around people. Unfortunately who ever placed these cats on our doorstep did them a terrible disservice. The better thing to have done would have been: trapped and released these boys. Now they have been in a cage for 2 months scared all the time.

Please: if anyone can or knows someone who can house these precious boys and work on socializing them, it would be wonderful. We would take them back after they are socialized and find homes for them.

They are current on vaccines, neutered, and tested for FELV/FIV. No fleas.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sparrow's Surgery

See here for all of the pictures!

Dr. John Gumbs graciously donated his time to this special cause, as well as our LVT Laura, and Margey. We cannot thank them enough for helping this little kitty out, preventing her from a life full of pain.

Laura started Sparrow’s surgery out by sedating her with Isoflurane gas & oxygen. She placed an endotracheal tube down her throat, so Sparrow could breathe in the gas. This is what allows her be sedated through the surgical procedure. She had an IV catheter placed in her leg, this helps keep her hydrated during her surgery, as well as keeps her blood pressure up, and helps provide a safe anesthesia experience. We also had placed fentanyl, (a pain medication) in the IV bag, as it provides a slow steady amount of pain medication throughout her surgery.

She also has monitors attached to her that measures her heart rate, What her oxygen level is,(the black object attached to her tongue) her Blood pressure and her temperature.

The leg was then shaved of her fur, and sterilized using betadine & alcohol.

Dr Gumbs made the incision; he had to use large retractors to hold open the incision and to see the ball joint (the top of the femur) he needed to remove.

The neck of femur came out in pieces from the previous injury. But he was able to remove it all, and the operation was a huge success.

Dr. Gumbs then sutured her tissue and skin together. Laura recovered her.

She still had her IV in, giving her pain medication throughout the day.

To all the volunteers, thank you for your kindness.

Later that evening, Sparrow was eating, and standing on her leg!!

See our Facebook page for pictures of this surgery, along with video.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sparrow Chapter Two

Sparrow is thriving now, she is eating much better, and now weights over three pounds! She loves to purr, and lets us hold her and talk to her. She is playful; she loves to chase balls in her small cage. She is not able to be out of confinement due to her injury. She is still taking her pain medication, as we do not want her to have any pain.

As stated last week she needs a femoral head and Neck Ostectomy (FHO for short) To repair her broken hip.

This has to be done for her comfort, or she will suffer chronic pain and have troubles with her hip for the rest of her life.

Dr. John Gumbs is going to perform the procedure on Friday, December 10th.

We need her to get a little bit bigger before we feel she can safely have this surgery performed.

She still does not have “parents” but we are hoping we will be able to find her a special home, for such a special girl who is a survivor. Can you imagine such a tiny kitten being ran over by a car & having to avoid others coming at her? She is so grateful for the people who saved her.

I will post an update once her surgery has been performed.

Good luck Sparrow.

200 Cat Adoption Event

The Cat Practice is helping The Oakland Pet Adoption Center to find homes for many of the homeless pets they have in the shelter. There will be over 200 cats at the Pet Supplies Plus in White Lake, 6845 Highland Rd, December, 10-12. All these cats have been spayed or neutered & vaccinated. There will be specials on pet supplies, gifts, free refreshments, and pictures with Santa on December 12th.

Please open your heart and home to give one of these special animals a second chance. Please let everyone you know about this event, We really want to find almost all of them homes in time for The New Year, what a special way to bring in 2011.

If you feel you do not have room for one more kitty come to the event anyway, and take a look, buy your current kitties a new toy or bed. Plus who knows, you could fall in love.

Call 248-889-4131 for more information. Or see Caren's blogg from the Oakland Press

On a personal note, I was researching this article, and went to see some of the pets on line.

I have three boys, but really want another Tortie. A precious little girl like my beloved Cisco who passed away 7 years ago. I went to, and there are over 355,000 cats looking for homes!!! That is staggering to me. I wanted to cry. I am going to keep my open for a special new one. That is only one site, how many are really out there.

The Cat Practice hopes to see you out in White Lake next weekend. We are offering free exams to anyone who adopts one of these cats.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Annual Open House

The end of the year is coming up quickly.

For many of you, you know what that means: THE CAT PRACTICE’S ANNUAL OPEN HOUSE, which is the Saturday before Christmas. December 18 from 2-5 pm.

If you do not know of this tradition let me tell you a little bit about it. We have it catered by the same person every year. Her name is Paula, and her company is Parties by Paula. Everyone raves about how good the food is. In fact the staff looks forward all year long to eating this great food, as well and to seeing all of the special people who bring their pets to The Cat Practice. Most of them come back year after year for this social event, and for the food.

Everyone is welcome. You can stay for 5 minutes or spend 2 hours. Cats stay at home for this party. It is a fun time to get together and mingle with other cat lovers as well as get to meet some of the staff you might not know as well. It’s also a time to catch up with some of us you already know.

A fun time is to be had. We look forward to seeing you all there.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Cat Practice took in a baby kitten on November 9th. A kind person stopped her car to pick up this suffering kitten up after she noticed the kitten was hit by a car! The more upsetting part of this story is not that she was hit by a car, but this person watched as the cars before hers drove around the kitten. They just let her lay in the middle of the road suffering.

That day we could not handle her, as she was so scared and painful. We gave her pain medication & food and shelter for the night.

The next day we were able to x-ray her and found out she had a femoral head fracture. (The ball joint that goes into your pelvis) This requires surgery to fix.

We emailed a copy of the radiographs to our favorite board certified surgeon, Dr. John Gums to evaluate this further.

He was not sure if she also suffered from a broken back. There was a good amount of stool in that area, making it hard to see if it was broken.

The next day after she had her bowel movement, we took another picture and she DID NOT have a broken back.!!

Now she only needs one surgery. But remember she does even have a guardian.

We named her Sparrow, as she is always singing like a bird.

Watch next week for Chapter 2 of this story.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More Coccidia seen in cats this year?

This year, we have diagnosed as many of our patients (and a large amount of these have been indoor-only!) with coccidia. Most of these cases have been found by checking a screening stool sample during routine physical exam and vaccine appointments.

What is Coccidia?
Coccidia are microscopic single-celled organisms that infect the intestine.

How would my cat get Coccidia?
Oocysts (pronounced "o-o-sists") come from fecal-contaminated ground/dirt. They are swallowed when a pet grooms/licks the dirt off. In some cases, the coccidia can be swallowed by mice and the host (cat) can be infected by eating the contaminated mouse. Coccidia is actually quite common in young animals who have undeveloped immune systems, and who are housed in groups such as shelters, rescue areas, kennels, etc. This is a common parasite and is not necessarily a sign of poor husbandry.

What are the symptoms of a Coccidia infection?
Sometimes there are no signs at all, but other times there can be diarrhea or even bloody diarrhea since coccidia destroys intestinal cells.

How are Coccidia detected?
Coccidia oocysts are microscopic and can be found on routine fecal sample screening. Checking stool samples on all pets at least once a year, even on indoor-only petss, is recommended - and every 6 months for pets who have access to the outdoors. This fecal screening is also a good idea for any patient who is experiencing diarrhea. However, coccidia in small numbers can be difficult to detect, so even though a sample looks negative, doesn't necessarily mean the patient isn't infected. Sometimes several fecal test are performed, especially in a young pet with ongoing diarrhea, since parasites may not be evident until later in the course of the condition.

How is Coccidia treated?
General deworming will not treat coccidia since it is not a worm, but a protozoa. Medications such as Albon inhibit coccidial reproduction, and once the numbers of coccidia in the body stop expanding, it's easier for the patient's immune system to catch up and wipe the infection out. This also means, though, that the time it takes to clear the infection depends on how many coccidia organisms there are and how strong the patient's immune system is. A typical treatment lasts a week or two, but the medication should be given until the diarrhea resolves, plus an extra couple of days. Sometimes courses as long as a month are needed.

Can people or other pets become infected?
The Isospora species of coccidia are not infective to people. However, other pets may become infected from exposure to infected fecal matters, though this is usually an infection of young animals with immature or underdeveloped immune systems. In most cases, an infected new puppy or kitten does not infect the resident adult animal.

When was the last time my cat was screened?
Whenever was the last time you brought in a stool sample to be tested! If you aren't sure when that was, feel free to call and we can tell you when the last sample was checked. If it's been more than a year, your cat is due for a routine screening, and you can bring in a fecal sample anytime without needing an appointment. We can have the test run and call with results within a day or so of receiving the sample.

Who do I talk to if I have other questions?
You can call us anytime to speak with a technician for more information, or you can talk to your tech and veterinarian if your cat is in for an appointment.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stray & Feral Kitties

By this point, you may have already heard that somebody has taken to leaving feral kitties on our doorstep. Needless to say, this makes us not happy for a whole lot of reasons, and we are doing what we can to catch the person responsible for this action.

First of all, leaving an animal just sitting outside, even in a carrier, can easily be considered cruelty! The carriers provide little protection from the elements, especially the cardboard carriers. Plus, it makes the kitties in the carriers a total target for anything that may want to do them harm, from other animals to evil humans.

Speaking of cardboard carriers, they are fine for a temporary way to move a kitty from one place to another, but they are not made to be a permanent solution, especially when left sitting outside! If it's at all wet, the cardboard will absorb the wet and become soggy, collapsing around the kitty inside. Plus kitties have claws, and the cardboard always loses in the claw vs. cardboard battle. This means that we could suddenly have a kitty loose, and considering the traffic in the area, that could prove fatal.

Another large problem is that while we are a vet who clearly loves kitties, we are not set up to be a shelter. This means we do not have the resources necessary to take in strays and ferals the way people seem to think we can. We do not have the manpower to work with feral kitties to tame them, so our only options are to euthanize or release after neutering. I'm fairly certain that whomever left these kitties in our care did not take this into consideration. We are going to do some checking with a woman we know who does some feral cat rescuing to see if there is information that she can give us, but right now things are not looking great. Along with this is the fact that shelters get funding from donations and various government bodies to operate, we do not. So whomever has dropped these kitties on our doorstep has then also saddled us not just with a hard decision, but also with the financial burden of anything that needs to be done. Unless the decision is made to euthanize on arrival, it literally runs us hundreds of dollars per cat, between equipment, testing and manpower, and that doesn't include any time spent trying to socialize a cat that may or may not ever be friendly. Our office is not conducive to got socialization techniques, and none of us who work here have a good setup at home to foster a kitty, or are home enough to spend the necessary time with one.

If you ever find yourself in the position of having stray or feral kitties, and need help, please do not hesitate to call! We're in the process of putting together a list of local low-cost spay/neuter options, as well as local shelters that are no-kill. Depending on how many we already have, we do take in kittens to adopt out, but they do need to be young and already social. Unfortunately we do not have the space to take on adults to adopt out, as they don't fit in our little display cage in the front. Anybody who's been in this summer knows that we had a tough time adopting out our crew of all boy kittens, but they have all found homes now, so we were working with a shelter to take in a few more kittens. That plan has been derailed until we can decide what to do with the now 3 cats that have been left on our doorstep. There is the possibility that one of them may actually be adoptable, but one is for sure feral, and the third we have yet to have a chance to assess as she was found at the door this morning. We are also checking with a couple of shelters that take feral kitties, with the hopes that they are not full.

Please, please, PLEASE! If you have any information about these three kitties, let us know! We would like the people who left them to understand why it's so important not to leave kitties outside like this. Also important is that if you do run into a situation with feral or stray kitties, don't hesitate to call so we can help. That will give the best possible care for these poor kitties that are wandering on their own.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Last few Days for Special Advantage Multi Pricing!

I know I've said it a few times lately, but I cannot stress it enough. The special on Advantage Multi ends on August 31! This means that a box of 6 doses goes back to it's regular price of $87.96 from it's special price of $58.64. Huge difference! Because we do recommend giving the Advantage Multi year-round, it would make the most sense to stock up now, as it won't expire for a year or more.

I know, I know, historically we've always said to give until after the first frost. However, in the last couple of years we've realized that only treating for part of the year doesn't fully take care of the issue at hand. Fleas and ear mites are perfectly capable of surviving through the winter in a warm house, mosquitoes (the carriers for heartworm) will happily take a snooze until there is a day that they think is warm enough to venture forth again. This means that when we get that warm snap in February, they are ready and waiting to pass on their charming parasites! Plus, fleas grow a tough shell for winter, making a winter infestation much harder to kill than a summer one. Ear mites, while they don't seem to get harder in the winter, they can appear at any time, and cause itchiness and ear infections, which can cause ruptured ear drums if left untreated.

Before anybody starts to say that their cat doesn't go outside, I want to point out that it has absolutely no bearing on whether your cat ends up with fleas, ear mites or heartworm. All of these things can come through an open window, on a shoe, on your clothes, on a mouse that decides to visit. Just because you have never had a flea issue doesn't mean that it cannot strike at any time!

Fleas and ear mites are really the least of the issue, though. They mostly cause itchy bug bites (unless you have a cat allergic to them - then it's a huge issue), but heartworm...that is a big scary deal. It turns out that Michigan has a very high heartworm rate in cats, and about 25% of the cats that are found to have it are indoor only cats. That's right - 1 in 4 cats that are diagnosed with heartworm do not go outside at all. Ah, thank you lovely Michigan mosquito population! The even scarier fact is that many of the cats that likely have had a heartworm, we will never even know it until the damage is done. Unlike dogs, heartworms almost never end up in the blood stream, so we don't have much concern for artery blockage. The issue for cats is that the heartworm ends up in the lungs, causing damage that becomes asthma. By the time the asthma shows up, the worm is already dead, and not necessarily detectable on a test.

Since all of this (plus protection against some intestinal parasites) is available in one easy monthly dose, doesn't it make sense to protect your kitty?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cat in a Box!

For those of you who are not familiar with Simon's Cat, I highly recommend that you wander to YouTube and catch all of the cartoons. You'll be amazed at how well Simon has portrayed our fuzzy buddies!

The most recent offering - Simon's Cat in "The Box"

Monday, August 16, 2010

Food, Part 2: Veterinary Diets

Everybody who comes in to our office has noticed that we have a wide array of wet and dry foods sitting on our shelves. With a couple of exceptions, all of these diets are prescription diets, and dispensed almost the same way a medication is dispensed! This means that somebody coming in off of the streets is not able to purchase it without a written prescription, as the wrong food can harm a sick kitty, depending on the illness and the food.

Why prescription foods? Well, if you had the choice of treating an illness with food rather than medication, wouldn't you jump at the opportunity? While we can't promise your kitty will not need medications if they are prescribed one of these special diets, the diet can help to cut down on flareups, or maybe make an illness more treatable.

What can these diets treat? A huge variety of issues! Intestinal issues, urinary crystals, weight management, kidney issues, food allergies - we have diets appropriate for all of these things, in a variety of brands. The reason we carry so many different types of foods is because every kitty is different, and not all will respond to every food the same way. Several foods also will help to treat more than one issue, which can be very important.

The most varied category is the intestinal foods. They are mostly designed to be a bland diet, and easy to digest. This is very important for kitties that have pancreatitis, and IBD. Some of the foods are also high in fiber, which helps to cut down on constipation, and also helps to bind together diarrhea into stool that is more formed and solid. Yes, fiber really can be magic!

Some of the weight loss diets are also high in fiber. Most, however, are higher in protein, which forces the body to work harder to digest. Even more than humans, kitties need the higher protein, lower carb foods to help cut down on the pudge! These diets also tend to be lower in calories.

Also in the high protein scale are the diabetic diets. These sometimes co-mingle with the weight loss diets, but don't necessarily have the low calorie aspect that the weight loss diets have. For cats (and humans!) that are diabetic, avoiding the starches and carbs is a very important step in keeping their blood sugar down to a normal rate. Some diabetic cats can be managed on food alone, but more often they will still need insulin. Keeping their foods low in carbs will help cut down on the amount of insulin that they will need to be given, and help prevent glucose spikes.

On the other end of the protein scale are the kidney diets. Science has been telling us for years that kitties in renal failure need lower protein diets to help keep their kidneys from fighting to function. Recent research is starting to show that this may not actually be the case, but the renal foods still can be very beneficial, as they also have a lower phosphorus content, and generally help to increase drinking.

Urinary diets are made to help control the formation of crystals in urine, and help maintain a normal pH level. Most formulas have been revamped in the last few years, and will now help prevent the formation of both struvites and oxylates, the two most common types of crystals. While there is no food that will also dissolve oxylates, the foods will dissolve struvites, the type we usually see. Keeping the pH level is also critical, as crystals will form quicker in urine that is too acidic or alkaline.

Allergy diets are made with novel proteins so that a kitty with food allergies can eat and avoid some of the awful symptoms they've been having. Anything from ear and skin infections to diarrhea or constipation can be caused by food allergies! By introducing a novel protein, the kitty's body can start to purge the bad allergens out, and still get all of the nutrition that they need.

If we do end up recommending one of these diets for your cat, please remember that we do this for a good reason: we think it will help. Depending on what food you are feeding now, it may be priced a little higher per bag or can, but if it helps keep your kitty healthier, it's well worth it in the end. It may well help keep your kitty from coming in between well visits!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When Dryers Attack!

Everybody knows that cats love warm places, but not all warm places are appropriate places for a kitty to curl up. One of the most hazardous warm spots is the dryer, as the tumbling motion can cause internal and external damage, and the heat can cause severe injuries. Unfortunately, one of our patients found this out the hard way. He did survive to tell the "tail", and will happily make a full recovery. His mom gave us permission to share his story and pictures, to help others understand why it's so important to check before starting the dryer, and why you need to check immediately if you hear a thump or odd noise while it is running. Because Skippy is a Sphynx, which is an essentially hairless cat, the damage that can be done is immediately obvious.

Skippy's day began like any other. Eat, wander the house, get into mischief, curl up in a favorite spot to nap. The big problem, though, is that one of Skippy's favorite things to do was to "help" with laundry, and try to sneak in with it. Everybody knew to make sure he wasn't there when it was started, but one missed time is all it took....and Skippy went on a carnival ride he would have preferred to avoid. He only was in there for maybe 3 minutes, but that was more than enough time to do some damage.

At this point, Skippy is on a couple of pain medications, because keeping him comfortable will help him heal faster. He is also on an antibiotic to help prevent infections, as well as a salve for the burns themselves. So far he's doing very well, eating and drinking, although still moving a bit slower than normal. In the end, he'll heal up well, and hopefully remember never to sneak into the dryer again.

For those about to yell about bad kitty parents, let me explain that Skippy's mom is a very good kitty mom - she got him to the vet as soon as she was made aware of the situation. As awful as it all was, it was well and truly an accident. Knowing that Skippy liked to sneak into the dryer, everybody in the family always checked before turning it on, and this one time he was likely hiding amongst the towels, and just got missed. Because bumping and thumping was heard, the dryer was opened, and Skippy was saved. Always remember that accidents do happen, but that prompt medical attention can make all the difference!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ouch! Abscesses Explained...

An abscess is a sensitive swelling of infection, usually resulting from a bite wound or other penetrating injury. Abscesses are seen most commonly in cats with outdoor access – usually from a bite from another cat, since the bacteria that cause infection are normal inhabitants of the feline mouth. We see more bite wound abscesses in the spring and summer months when outdoor cats are more active and territorial.

An abscess will usually develop about 3 days after a cat has been bitten or otherwise wounded. Although abscesses may appear anywhere on an animal’s body, they are most frequently located on the limbs, face, base of the tail and back. An owner that frequently interacts with their cat is likely to see or feel the lump – especially since it is painful and the cat will react when touched in that area. The cat will also usually feel under the weather and have a fever.

Treating an abscess involves draining, flushing, and cleaning the area – then keeping the area open and clean while the rest of the infection drains out over the next few days. The initial treatment of draining and flushing the abscess should be left to a veterinarian, since sometimes the opening needs to be surgically made bigger to let it drain, and antibiotics should be started to prevent the cat from becoming sick from the circulating infection.

If you suspect your cat has an abscess, the cat should be seen by a veterinarian the same day since they are painful and antibiotics are needed.

Coyotes in Michigan: What You Should Know

Coyotes pose a serious threat to domestic pets in certain residential and urban areas. We have documented reports of many attacks on outdoor cats by coyotes – most of which occurring in populated areas such as Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills.

Studies have been done in other parts of the country on coyote hunting behavior in residential areas, and domestic cats were found to be at high risk of attack. The majority of interactions occurred in residential areas between sunset and sunrise during the pup rearing season (spring and summer months).

Here is a link from the website outlining more information on Coyotes in Michigan:

Coyotes in Michigan >>

CATegorical Care: An Owner’s Guide To America’s #1 Companion

This helpful guide outlines many interesting aspects of cat care including kitten behavior and socialization, enriching indoor environments, nutrition, and senior/geriatric care - and much more. Approved by the American Humane Association, CATalyst Council, Society of Animal Welfare Administrators, and Winn Feline Foundation.

CATegorical Care: An Owner's Guide To America's #1 Companion

Cats are Seen Less by Vets Than Dogs? Why..?

Veterinarians are seeing fewer cats than dogs. However, cat ownership has increased dramatically in recent years, with cats now ranked as the nation’s #1 companion animal. There are about 88.3 million owned cats in the country and 74.8 million owned dogs, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA) 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey.

Also, we learned from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) 2007 U.S. Pet Ownership and demographics Sourcebook, that cat visits had decline 11% from 2001 to 2006, even though the number of owned cats increased.

So why is this?

Experts and veterinarians believe the discrepancy stems from simple convenience. Cats are less accustomed to transport and travel than dogs. Therefore, its typically more of a hassle to bring a cat to the veterinarian than to bring a dog. People are used to taking their dogs with them on excursions in their car – so it’s not as stressful to take the dog to the vet as it is to take the cat in. So it’s easier for the client when they get the reminder postcard just to throw their dog in the car and run to the vet.

Because veterinary visits often are more difficult and traumatic for cats, owners may be less inclined to make the effort unless their cat is visibly suffering or sick – increasing the likelihood of skipped routine check-ups.

Another factor may be the perception that cat are independent, and self-reliant creatures. But ironically, it is precisely that self-reliant nature that warrents more caution on the part of the cat owner. Cats are extremely good at hiding illness. They don’t show major outwards signs even when something is wrong. So for a lot of people, the perception is, “Why go through all the trouble and spend all that money when they seem fine?”

But any change in a cat’s activity or habits warrants attention. For example, in its early stages, chronic kidney disease begins with nothing more than a subtle increase in water consumption, or a subtle increase in urination frequency. And diabetes – a common but serious condition in cats – begins with symptoms like small weight loss and changes in water consumption.

In today’s recession, keeping a cat healthy actually is more cost-effective than treating a problem once it is under way.

Another factor that may impact cat care is the homeopathic movement. After it was discovered about 15 years ago that some cats developed injection-site sarcomas after vaccinations, many owners and some veterinarians concluded that routine vaccinations were not worth the risk of cancer.

However, while the final decision to vaccinate is up to owners, veterinarians caution against letting fear of vaccinations stand in the way of basic veterinary care.

Other owners may assume that if their cat stays indoors, it is not at risk of contracting the diseases vaccinations are meant to prevent. But even indoor cats risk contracting a respiratory virus. Unvaccinated cats can and will be exposed to the viruses these vaccines prevent. Cat owners should discuss their concerns with their veterinarians to make well-informed choices.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cat Food, Pt. 1: The Dental Myth

"Wet food rots your kitty's teeth!"

"Dry food is better for kitties because it keeps their teeth healthy!"

Turns out both of these things are just not true. The main reason it was thought that dry food promoted healthy teeth was because the motion of the food against the teeth would help clean the teeth. However, anybody who has ever seen a kitty regurgitate their food soon after eating it can tell you that the mostly comes up whole. Any crunching you hear while your cat is having her dinner is just for show!

As for wet food causing rotting in teeth....well, that's just not true. There is nothing in wet food that causes tooth decay. In fact, it's been found that wet food, in general, is much better for kitties! It has more nutrients than the dry, plus gets extra vital moisture into a cat's system. This moisture is necessary to keep a kitty properly hydrated, help the kidneys do their job better, and flush unwanted toxins out of the system. While all of this doesn't necessarily directly affect the teeth, it just helps to show why we really like to see wet food in a cat's diet.

Every day we are learning more and more new things about food, all of which we are more than willing to share! Please don't hesitate to call at any point if you have questions about your kitty's diet.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

My Cat's Dental Cleaning

This is Tabitha, one of the licensed technicians here at The Cat Practice. My 7 year old brown tabby cat, Titus, hasn't had his teeth (professionally) cleaned for 3 years, though I do brush his teeth regularly at home. I noticed he was starting to build up some tartar again, and a saw a suspicious red spot on one of his lower premolars. Since he was due for his 6 month exam and annual bloodwork this month anyway, I brought him into work with me.

All his bloodwork was normal, but the doctor could see a "kitty cavity" (called a resorptive lesion) on that one tooth. These lesions occur when the body starts reabsorbing the root of the tooth and moves up the root into the crown of the tooth, causing a painful hole in the tooth (which is the red spot we saw). The treatment is to remove the tooth - or more specifically - perform a crownectomy, where only the top (or crown) of the tooth is removed, leaving the root since the body reabsorbs it.

Dr. Brown (the cardiologist who comes every other week to do echocardiograms) pronounced him a good anesthetic risk, so I scheduled his dental cleaning for the following week.

Titus was not happy to be going back to The Cat Practice again, especially after only a very tiny breakfast since he was to be sedated later. I put him up front in our hospital cages where our surgery patients wait and recover. We decided to put his IV catheter in after he was asleep to minimize his stress and discomfort.

We put him in our clear tank which allows him to breathe in the gas and fall asleep, which he did very smoothly. After he was sedated, Laura the dental technician intubated him and placed his IV catheter in one of his front legs. We hooked him up to the anesthesia monitors, which reads blood pressure, pulse ox, heart rate, and body temperature. All readings were very good and normal.

Before starting, Laura add pain medication to Titus's IV bag, and also gave Titus him a bolus of pain meds through his IV line. This continuous rate of pain medication throughout the procedure and for 2-3 hours afterward will ensure he is not painful at all. She also shaved a spot on his back foot and placed a pain patch, which delivers pain medication transdermally through the skin for the next several days.

After that Laura took all the dental xrays. Since most of the problems with cat teeth occur under the gumline, a feline dental cleaning MUST include xrays. She found that not only was that one tooth bad, but the same tooth on the other side was affected, as well as another lower molar. Dr. Houlihan studied the xrays as well and concluded that those 3 teeth should be removed. The affected areas are shown circled in red:

Laura cleaned up the rest of the teeth, hand scaling as well as using the ultrasonic scaler, then polishing. After she was finished, Dr. Houlihan performed crownectomies on the 3 bad teeth - which didn't take as long as I expected. It was very quick, and the tiny incisions were neatly closed with very fine stitches that dissolve on their own.

She turned off the anesthesia, letting him just breathe oxygen for a minute, then when he started to wake up, she removed the endotracheal tube from his throat. Laura already had his recovery cage waiting with a warm heating pad and towels. Titus woke up gradually over the span of a couple minutes, and was soon sitting up. He didn't seem to mind the IV still in his front leg at all. His pupils were dilated from the pain medication, so I knew he was feeling good!

He stayed on the IV for the next 2 1/2 hours to ensure he got enough fluids and pain medication. We offered him a litterbox (which he didn't want to use!) and some baby food (which he very much enjoyed!) in the meantime. After the time passed, we removed his IV catheter and he was ready to go home.

He was very happy to go back in his carrier - I think he knew he was going home! I expected him to hiss at his brother when we got home, like he did last week after having all his preanesthetic bloodwork and exam, but he didn't. All he wanted to do was clean himself up - licking his arm where the IV was, licking his foot where the pain patch was... he promptly removed the wrap that covered the pain patch!

Then he was back to his old self! Much better than I would have done after having anesthesia and 3 teeth removed! He wanted dinner (gave him just canned food) and ate all of it. He was pleasant to his brother and was acting completely normal and chatty.

The next morning, I noticed the pain patch was gone off his foot. My husband ended up finding it later on the floor, half-chewed. But even without the ongoing pain meds, Titus was active and happy, and eating completely normally, back on his mixture of dry and canned food after only 3 days. I honestly think he feels better not having those painful teeth in his mouth!

I'm really glad we got him taken care of - I would never have known that he had sore teeth before because he never acted or ate any differently, but I can tell he feels better now!

Thanks for Laura and Dr. Houlihan for taking such good care of him and doing a wonderful job on his teeth. Even Titus says it wasn't that bad, and is happy his teeth don't hurt anymore :)


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Springtime Bulletin: Spring Flower Toxins!

Spring flowers are pretty, and you may be tempted to bring them into your home, but be aware of the potential toxicity to your cat. We found a great article on DVM360 website about toxin plants, including pictures and how the plant is toxic.

Toxin #2: Daffodils

Toxin #3: Lilies

Toxin #4: Crocuses

Toxin #6: Fertilizers

Monday, April 19, 2010

Twitter Account

We now have a Twitter account!

Now to figure out all the finer details... LOL

Come follow us!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Monthly Profile: Emma's Beautiful Teeth!

Recently, we saw Emma for a wellness exam, and when we saw her teeth, we knew her owner was doing an amazing job brushing her teeth and wanted to share her story, as well as her tips for brushing your own cat’s teeth at home. Here's what her owner had to say about teeth brushing:

"I got Emma and her sister Annie when they were only 2 months old. When I had them chcked out at The Cat Practice, I was told that brushing their teeth on a regular basis was essential to their health.

I started our with the finger brush at that young age. I now use the toothbrush and brush every other day. Brushing certainly isn't her faorite activity, but she is now used to the routine. I sit her on my lap and gently brush making sure I reach all the way to the back teeth. She is rewarded with a cat treat after brushing.

I'm lucky that she is such a mild mannered cat. My suggestion for an older or fiesty cat would be to start by massaging their gums and working your way up to the brushing. I think any cat will get used to the brushing if its done by someone they trust. The health benefits are well worth the effort!"

As you can see from this photos, there is no gingivitis present, and very minimal tartar on even the very back upper premolars, which are difficult to reach.

To Emma's (and Annie's) mom, keep up the great work, and thanks for letting us feature Emma in our newsletter this month!

For more information about how to get your cat used to having his/her teeth brushed, please see our Guide to Home Dental Care!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kitten Season is Here! What to do if you find a nest of kittens:

Be sure kittens are indeed abandoned before you disturb a nest… just because the momcat isn’t there now, doesn’t mean she’s not around.

If the kittens are clean, plump, and sleeping quietly in a heap, odds are they’ve got an attentive mom and should be left alone. Abandoned kittens will be dirty and the nest will be soiled, and they will cry continuously because they are hungry. Visit our guide to caring for orphaned kittens:

Ideally, kittens should not be taken away from the mother until 5-6 weeks of age, but if they are born to a feral mother, they should be taken away, if possible, closer to 4 weeks. At this age, its easier to tame them, and they should have already received antibodies from the mothers milk by that time. As they get older, it becomes increasingly harder to socialize and tame them, and kittens over 8 weeks old who haven't had any human contact will probably takes months to tame, if it can be done at all.

The kittens will need a foster home to socialize and care for them until they are social enough to be adopted and found a good home. If you are unable to socialize and care for the kittens youself, you can call your veterinarian who will have phone numbers to shelters and rescues in the area, who will hopefully have contact information for someone who can temporarily foster them. It is ideal to foster them yourself, because keep in mind that most shelters and foster homes fill up in the spring due to the high volume of kittens coming in. Vet clinics are usually unable to foster feral kittens due to the lack of time home environment and quality time that these kittens need to develop good social skills. If unsocialized/feral kittens are taken to a shelter, they will most likely be euthanized. However, good homes can usually be found for well-sociaized kittens.

New blog!

Well apparently we're behind the times since we don't have a blog, so here we are! Please bear with me as I add components and get it all personalized... I'm not exactly very blog savvy, LOL

If anyone has any suggestions or comments, please let me know!