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.