Archive from October, 2011

Why Indoor Cats Need Parasite Prevention

Oct 14, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

Most people remember the joys of growing up and either being tormented  by disgusting boys throwing dead worms at you, or being the disgusting  boy enjoying tormenting the object of their grade school affection.  Consequently, the thought of worms tend to hold a fair amount of  emotion for many of us. We cannot believe that our much loved indoor  cat could possibly acquire worms. BUT our indoor cats frequently have  worms and other parasites. How could this occur?

99% of all kittens become infected with roundworms from the mother  cat, through nursing and through contact with her stool. Some of these  roundworms will encyst and become dormant in the muscles and will not  be destroyed by dewormers. When the cat’s immune system becomes  stressed from illness, pregnancy or even aging, some of these juvenile  roundworms will activate and migrate to the intestinal tract and start  reproducing. Also, contact with potting soil can infect cats with  roundworms. In a recent study 15% of potting soils were found to carry  roundworm eggs.

Many cats will chase and consume insects such as moths and beetles  which also can carry a variety of parasites. Indoor cats who are  mighty hunters and catch mice that sneak into the house especially  with the advent of cold weather often eat their prey and become  infected with tapeworms. Even the most sedentary of indoor cats can  become infested with fleas as fleas can come indoors via hitching a  ride with the household humans. When cats groom the fleas off they  swallow them and become infected with tapeworms.

Last but not least, in most areas of the country mosquitoes carry  heart worm larvae. Mosquitoes get into many homes – who has not been  irritated by that annoying buzz? Heartworm infected mosquitoes bite  the indoor cats who then develop heartworm disease. Heartworm disease  can cause asthma type symptoms,or even cause fatal heart and lung  disease.

So, protect your indoor cat from these parasites and give your cat a  monthly parasite preventative from your veterinarian such as  Revolution or Advantage Multi, and deworm your bug and rodent hunting  kitties 3-4 times a year with a tapeworm dewormer!

Dr Tammy Sadek

Dr Tammy Sadek is board certified in Feline Practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. Dr Sadek graduated at the top of her veterinary class at the University Of Minnesota College Of Veterinary Medicine. She has practiced feline medicine and surgery for over 25 years. Dr Sadek is the owner and founder of two cat hospitals in the Grand Rapids, MI area, the Kentwood Cat Clinic and the Cat Clinic North.

In addition to her cat hospitals, Dr Sadek hosts a website dedicated to helping cat owners prevent and correct litter box issues along with other behavioral issues with their pets.

Dr Sadek is the author of several chapters in the book Feline Internal Medicine Secrets. Her professional interests include senior cat care, internal medicine, feline behavior, and dermatology.

Dr Sadek is currently owned by 5 cats. In addition to caring for all her feline friends, Dr Sadek enjoys traveling, jewelry making, reading fantasy and science fiction, and gardening. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two soon to fledge children.

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The Decision to Euthanize: When is it Time?

Oct 14, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion, Tips & Advice

This actual scenario played out in my practice today….Chaka, a once stunning Balinese girl was waiting for an exam and blood tests when I arrived at the clinic this morning. Today Chaka looked like a skeleton with matted hair. Her eyes appeared sunken from dehydration and she struggled to breathe.   Her Dad, Steve, has always been receptive to all the medical recommendations I’ve made over the years.  Sweet Chaka has had more than her share of medical problems, many of which were chronic and required ongoing treatment.

Steve was devoted to her nursing care and follow up visits. Her list of maladies included inflammatory bowel disease that years later transformed into lymphoma (cancer),  fatty liver disease treated with a feeding tube, hyperthyroidism and a life-threatening adverse reaction to the drug used to treat the hyperthyroidism. Her last medical crisis happened a year and a half ago. After a blood transfusion and intensive care, we  started chemotherapy and much to our amazement, Chaka responded favorably and rallied once again! Steve and Chaka enjoyed another long stretch of blissful feline-human camaraderie.

Today I discovered a heart murmur and a chest full of fluid on x-rays…I quickly called Steve to discuss Chaka’s condition and asked him to come down to the hospital right away.  Chaka was looking worse by the moment. My assessment led me to conclude that it was time for the discussion with Steve about sparing Chaka from further suffering. I ran over the options in my mind one more time and reaffirmed that none of the procedures and treatments I could offer for Steve’s approval were likely to lead to good quality time for this kitty. Steve was initially resistant to the idea of euthanasia.  He said he wanted Chaka to “go naturally”.  I explained that cats do not leave this earth gracefully; that they stubbornly cling to life and can suffer for days. In my opinion it has become our sacred responsibility to make the choice to let go when there is little or no hope for recovery.  After all, when felines chose to live inside our homes and we agreed to provide them with safety and food, they ceased to be exposed to predators or severe elements that would  have quickly ended their lives when they were sick or weak.

When a terminally ill or aged cat has been under ongoing veterinary care and close monitoring stops eating, chooses to hide in the closet or under your  bed, stops using the litter box or no longer seeks affection from the family, it is time to consider euthanasia.  In short, the unique daily routine you and your cat have shared has become severely altered.  Your veterinarian may still discuss medical procedures and treatments that could prolong kitty’s life.  However, the final decision is up to you, the pet parent.  It’s best to discuss with family members and friends at what point you will choose euthanasia as the time approaches. Your veterinarian will provide support and counsel through the process.  As feline health care givers, we are committed to assisting  you with humane end of life care and decision-making

Dr Elyse Kent

Dr. Elyse Kent graduated from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1980 and completed an Internship at West Los Angeles Veterinary Medical Group in 1981.

In her early years in practice, Dr. Kent began to see a need for a separate medical facility just for cats, where fear and stress would be reduced for feline patients. In 1985, in a former home in Santa Monica, Dr. Kent opened the only exclusively feline veterinary clinic in Los Angeles, Westside Hospital for Cats (WHFC). Along with other forward-thinking feline practitioners from across North America, Dr. Kent founded the Academy of Feline Medicine in 1991. Through the efforts of these practitioners, feline medicine and surgery became a certifiable species specialty through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP). Dr. Kent became board certified in Feline Practice in the first group to sit for the Feline exam in 1995. She certified for an additional ten (10) years in 2005. There are now 78 feline specialists in the world. Dr. Kent served as the Feline Regent and Officer on the Council of Regents for 9 years. She is currently the immediate Past President of the ABVP, which certifies all species specialists. She also heads up a task force joining certain efforts of the ABVP with The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). She currently serves as a Director on the Executive Board of The American Association of Feline Practitioners.

The present day WHFC facility opened in 2000. It was the fulfillment of a vision for a spacious, delightful, state of the art, full service cat medical center that Dr. Kent had dreamed of and planned for over many years.

Westside Hospital for Cats
2317 Cotner Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Phone: 310-479-2428

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Butting heads with your cats

Oct 2, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

Just about every cat owner knows that the reputation cats have for being antisocial is unfairly earned. Cats have a significant number of social interactions: visual, verbal, tactile, and olfactory (scent). One of the most endearing social interactions between cats or between cats and humans is head-butting, also called “bunting” or “allorubbing”. Why do they do it? If cats don’t NEED our society, why would they seek us out and rub all over us?

Cats are very tactile animals – they appreciate many varieties of textures. Each cat has its own texture preferences, and they tend to enjoy the sense of touch. As kittens, they “knead” their mother to ask for milk, and the mother grooms them, so from a very early age, cats are taught that touch is a comforting behavior. Cats may brush lightly against a person or another cat, or they may push quite vigorously, depending on their personality. Cats will only head-butt cats that they have a social relationship with, and it is generally a positive and friendly interaction. Most cats also purr while head-butting and rubbing other cats or people. This allorubbing behavior can be considered to be the feline version of a hug or handshake. A quick nose-bump is a cat’s way of saying “Hi!”

Cats are also very sensitive to scents. Their sense of smell is about 200 times stronger than the human nose, and they also have the ability to sense pheromones with a small organ on the roof of their mouth. Cats also have scent glands all over their body, quite a few of them on the head: the forehead, cheeks, chin and lips. Other scent locations are at the base of the tail and along the length of the tail, on the feet and the flanks. When cats rub their scent glands on people, objects and other animals, they are transferring scent. Interestingly, some people have observed that cats seem more likely to mark people and other cats with the forehead and cheek scent glands and will mark objects with the scent glands on the lips and chin (called “chinning”).

Cats distribute their scent around their environment by rubbing or scratching on objects, or even spraying urine. Each cat has a unique smell, and their own scent mixed with the smells of the cats that they associate with makes them feel comfortable and safe in their own territory. When they rub against another cat in the colony, it is thought that they are replenishing the cat’s “group scent” after the other cat has been away. Many people notice that their cats will come running when they walk in the door and immediately start rubbing around their legs. This suggests that cats consider their owners to be part of their colony. Our response is generally to reach down and pet them, which reinforces this behavior.

Cats may also head-butt when seeking attention – sometimes a cat will head-butt another cat or person and then offer their neck sideways with their head tucked down. In this way, the cat is asking for grooming from the other cat, or scratches from a person, which simulates grooming behavior. Grooming is another touch-related bonding experience that makes cats feel good, comfortable and safe. So while your cat may not be saying “I love you!” in quite the same words we might use, she is saying “You’re mine, because you smell like me, and you make me feel safe and secure,” which, to a cat, is essentially the same thing.

Dr Steven Bailey

Dr. Steven J. Bailey founded Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital in 1992. He obtained his Bachelor of Science and Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University in June of 1986. After graduation, Dr. Bailey practiced emergency medicine for 8 years prior to establishing Exclusively Cats. Dr. Bailey is one of two veterinarians in the state of Michigan and the only veterinarian in Southeastern Michigan that has been board certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners as a Feline Specialist (ABVP). His special interests include complicated medical/surgical cases as well as critical care, advanced dentistry, and behavioral medicine. Dr. Bailey is an active member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), he is a current council member of the Southeastern Michigan Veterinary Medical Association (SEMVMA). He is also an Associate Editor of the Feline Internal Medicine Board on the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), invited member of VMG #18 (The only feline exclusive Veterinary Management Group) and MOM’s group (Macomb/Oakland Management Group). In his free time, Dr. Bailey is an avid kayaker (some may even call him “obsessed”) and an instructor in both canoe and kayaking sports. He also enjoys running and spending time with his family. Dr. Bailey and his wife Liz have 2 adult children, Christopher and Kayla, 3 cats, Tic Tic, Sapphire and Lacey, and one dog, Charlotte.

Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital

6650 Highland Road

Waterford, MI 48327

Phone: 248-666-5287

Fax ‎206-333-1135


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