Browsing"Personal Opinion"

I am a Mighty Bug Hunter!

Jul 15, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion, Tips & Advice

My name is Cleo. I live in Grand Rapids, MI. I live inside the house with 3 other cats. My mom is a vet. She doesn’t let me outside because she says there are too many risks in our area between traffic and getting into fights with other cats in our neighborhood. I know I would win those fights but she doesn’t trust me! So, instead I like to hunt in our house for bugs. We have air conditioning, but we still get some mosquitoes, moths, and other flying toys in the house periodically. Sometimes the mosquitoes bite me, but I don’t care. I keep hoping we get a bat in the house so I can catch a big flying toy- my mom says she sees that several times a year in her patients.

My favorites though are the bugs that crawl on the ground.  Spiders, sow bugs, the occasional cricket and other creepy crawlies give me hours of entertainment. After I catch them and play with them for a while, I like to eat them. (I even caught a mouse last year and left the best part (the head) for my mom. She wasn’t too thrilled. Sometimes I get no appreciation for all my efforts. Sigh.

Most of the time my mom never even sees what I am hunting as I find the basement and other out of the way spots are the best places to find my prey. When she sees me playing with what I catch, my mom usually takes them away from me before I eat them. She says I can get parasites and other infections from them. I am not sure what parasites are, but mom says they can make me sick. Those parasites are why she keeps me on a monthly parasite medication year around, and keeps my vaccines up to date even though I don’t go outside. She says I can even get some parasites from walking through dirt or digging in potting soil and then washing my feet afterward.  This is what she says I can get from:

  • Mosquitoes- heartworms
  • Fleas- tapeworms, Bartonella infection (cat scratch fever)
  • Mice and other rodents such as voles, rats: tapeworms, roundworms, lung flukes, and toxoplasmosis
  • Earthworms- roundworms
  • Cockroaches- roundworms
  • Snails and slugs- lungworms
  • Crayfish- lung flukes
  • Ticks- Bob cat fever (Cytauxzoon felis), Ehrlichia, Lyme disease
  • Dirt and potting soil- roundworms, hookworms
  • Outdoor water- Giardia
  • Bats- rabies

I figure I am not going to worry about those things because my mom does the worrying for me and keeps me protected with the monthly parasite preventative and my yearly vaccines. Bugs of the world be very afraid- Cleo the bug hunter is on the prowl!

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 www.litterboxguru.com 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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End of Life and Quality of Life

Jul 7, 2013 by     11 Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion, Tips & Advice

I would like to thank everyone for their kind wishes and moral support for Cosmo. If you would like to read more about him please click here for part one and here for part two.

He just turned 12 years old last week and has started acting very needy.  He has been screaming for attention at all hours of the day.  This is a little different than his normal behavior.  I petted him under the chin and noticed that he had small bumps that were not there a week ago.  His lymph node on the right shoulder is now enlarged.

I am planning on taking samples to prove that it is the return of the cancer.  I feel certain that is.

I am now at the crossroads of how do I proceed.  This is obviously a very aggressive cancer since it returned only 3 months after treatment.

Do I take him back for more surgery and treatment?  That option does not make sense since he has been through so much by this time and it will last less time than the previous.

Do I treat him as “hospice”?  I give him pain medication waiting until he stops eating and his quality of life is terrible.

I do not want him to reach the point of terrible quality of life.  I will need to make my decision of the correct time.  I have always told people that they will know the time.  I wish not to be selfish and keep him alive for my sake or for that of others.  This is a family decision.

He has been such a good friend and want to be respectful and say good bye before he is suffering.

Many thanks for everyone’s support and kindness.

Dr Marcus Brown

Dr. Brown, founder of the NOVA Cat Clinic and co-founder of the NOVA Cat Clinic, received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1986 from the University of Illinois. Currently the medical director for Alley Cat Allies and is an active supporter in local, state and national feline organizations such as: American Veterinary Dental Society, American Association of Feline Practitioners, American Veterinary Medical Association and American Animal Hospital Association. Dr. Brown also contributed the creation of the Association of Feline Practitioners’ 2009 Wellness Guidelines for Feline Practitioners.

Dr. Brown enjoys continuing education and regularly attends seminars and conferences across the country focusing on the advancement in feline veterinary care. Dr. Brown also utilizes on-line discussion groups and veterinary networks to assist the clinic in maintaining the highest level of care and providing the newest treatments available in feline medicine.

NOVA Cat Clinic
923 N. Kenmore St.
Arlington VA 22201

Phone: 703-525-1955
Fax: 703-525-1957
Email: novacatclinic@gmail.com

Website: http://novacatclinic.com/
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Cast a Spell on Me – Is the Cat a God or the Devil? (Part 1 of 2)

Jun 20, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion

Sinister, malevolent, mysterious, spooky—these are all adjectives used to describe the cat.  That image of the self-sufficient, inscrutable feline has been the persistent stereotype, and has led to the tangled history we humans have with America’s favorite pet.

The relationship people have with their dogs is much more straightforward…but there is something about a cat that defies easy acceptance, and that ambivalence can be traced back to when cats and humans first began to interact.

Cats were domesticated more than 10,000 years ago, when wild cats in the Nile Delta and Mesopotamian marshlands began frequenting human encampments and villages, attracted to the easy supply of rodents that were seeking out the humans’ grain stores.  These cats grew more and more habituated to people, and soon began to, as every cat lover knows, domesticate themselves.  These friendlier cats eventually became part of normal village life.  We know they were intimately associated with humans back then thanks to the discovery of a cat skeleton buried with a human in a 12,000-year-old archeological gravesite.

Because cats had a very distinct role in this relationship—consuming mice—and that trait also came naturally to cats, the typical exploitation of certain behaviors did not occur as it normally would during the domestication process.  Most domesticated species go through different steps of fine-tuning a trait that humans found desirable.  Cats, however, have come through the years basically unchanged.

They were looking for food, not friendship, although the friendlier and less fearful cats were able to capitalize on their increased comfort with humans by having greater access to food and shelter.

It’s basically a thousand-year-old variation on that timeless theme of humans doing the bidding of cats and not vice versa.  First we provided an easy supply of mice, now we’re opening those cans of cat food.  This ambivalence cats have about pleasing people has caused our wildly up and down feelings about our favorite species.

In ancient Egypt, cats might have hit their own personal high on the human interaction scale when they were worshipped as gods.  Over time, the cat’s image evolved from the warlike deification of justice and execution into the more feminine deity representing protection, motherhood and fertility.  The respect for cats was so extreme that many were mummified after death, just like their human supplicants.  In fact, there was a discovery in Egypt of more than 300,000 cat mummies, all located in one cemetery devoted exclusively to cats.  Cats were so revered that if a person was convicted of killing a cat, even accidentally, it often meant a death sentence.

When a cat died, Egyptian households would go into mourning just like when a human relative had died, and they’d mark their grief by the same tradition of shaving their eyebrows.

Those were certainly heady days for the cat!  Ancient Romans also held the cat in great reverence.  Cats in the Roman Empire were seen as symbols of liberty.  The Roman army traveled with cats, which were originally imported from Egypt.  In the Far East, cats were once again valued for their mousing skills, rather than being worshipped as gods, but here the value was less for the protection of grain stores but more from stopping rodents from burrowing into the pages of treasured manuscripts.

Fast forward now into the Middle Ages, when cats suffered a serious decline in status and became demonized throughout Europe.  The belief was that cats were in an alliance with witches and the devil.  Cats were enthusiastically hunted and killed in an attempt to ward off the evil that they were believed to embody.

Ironically, many scholars believe that eliminating cats helped to spread the plague, or the Black Death, since the fleas that transmitted the pathogen had many more hosts in the escalating rat population.  This was one more instance where cat’s rodent hunting had a directly positive benefit on the health of humans, just like what happened when cats protected the human grain stores and manuscripts from marauding mice.

And let’s not forget witches and paganism and the pivotal role that black cats, the classical witch’s familiar, played.  A familiar was an animal traditionally given to witches by the devil.  Familiars were small demons that were sent out to do the witch’s bidding.  Many cats—and other animals—were killed during the witch trials because of this association.  Witches were said to be able to shape-change into a cat no more than nine times, and this is probably where the saying that a cat has nine lives came from.

Cats were believed to be clairvoyant, and their body parts, particularly their tails, were used in potions to give humans those powers.  Cats were also thought to be able to forecast and affect the weather.  A sneezing cat meant rain was on the way and a cat who sharpened its claws on furniture meant that the weather was going to change.  Throwing a cat overboard from a boat was believed to cause storms.  There are also quite a few nautical superstitions involving cats, and boating expressions that use “cat” are numerous and range from cat-o-nine tails, catboats and the catwalk.

Public opinion didn’t begin to shift back in favor of the cat until the 1600s, but Old Wives’ Tales about cats were commonplace and consistently anti-cat.  We’ll look at a selection of those next month and see where the truth lies!

Dr Cathy Lund

Cathy Lund, DVM, owns and operates City Kitty Veterinary Care for Cats, a cat practice located in Providence, RI. She is also the board president and founder of the Companion Animal Foundation, a statewide, veterinary-based nonprofit organization that helps low-income pet owners afford essential veterinary care. She lives in Providence, and serves on several architectural and preservation commissions in the city, and is on the board of directors of WRNI, RI’s own NPR station. But her favorite activity is to promote the countless virtues of the “purr-fect” pet, the cat!

City Kitty
18 Imperial Pl # 1B
Providence, RI 02903-4642

Phone: (401) 831-6369
Email: email@city-kitty.com

Website: http://www.city-kitty.com/
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Asthma in Cats

Jun 16, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion

One of my former clients has moved to Boston for graduate school.  Her cat has asthma and she is sharing her experiences with her cat. I hope the video is helpful to you.

This video was thoughtfully created and shared by: Hannah Cheng, Sarah Yu and Zahra Hirji.

Dr Dale Rubenstein

Dr. Rubenstein opened the doors of A Cat Clinic, the first all-feline veterinary practice in Montgomery County, in 1986. She earned her BA in Biology from Oberlin College, her MS in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of Maryland and her DVM from Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. She became board certified in feline practice, one of only 80 diplomats in the U.S., through the American Board of Veterinary Practices (ABVP) in 1996 and re-certified in 2006.

Dr. Rubenstein is also a member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Maryland Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA), Cornell Feline Health Center, Montgomery County Humane Society Feline Focus Committee, Montgomery County Veterinary Medicine Association, as well as a member of the credentialing committee of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP).

A Cat Clinic, Boyds, MD
14200 Clopper Road,
Boyds, MD 20841

Phone: 301-540-7770
Fax: 301-540-2041
Email: messages@acatclinic.us

Website: http://www.acatclinic.us/
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Boycott Mother’s Day!

May 12, 2013 by     2 Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion

This weekend is one of the most sacred holidays in the world – Mother’s Day. Everyone has a mother, and most of us celebrate all the things they’ve done to help us become the people we are. We shop for the card with just the right sentiment, order her favorite flowers, select the age and taste-appropriate candy of cocoa bean origin (milk chocolate is my own mother’s self-admitted favorite food!), or perhaps celebrate her memory with a visit to her resting place. It’s a great time for the free-enterprise economy, too. Florists are busier than accountants in April, and Hallmark heralds May as a month with highest single category sales (greeting cards) than any other month including Christmas (verification withheld to make my point).

So why would we even consider boycotting Mother’s Day? Well, if you’re a cat, since you don’t really care about cards or flowers (though both seem tasty to some cats with intestinal problems), it’s all about the numbers. And while owned pet cats outnumber dogs as pets in the US- 74 million to 70 million according to the American Veterinary Medical Association- there are many cats without homes that are brought to shelters across the country. And more keep coming. There are untold millions of community cats which may or may not be owned or cared for- including being spayed or neutered. Therein lies the problem- left to their own devices, like most other species, cats will reproduce again and again! That may sound shocking to some, and when environmental conditions are favorable, unspayed female cats can have three litters a year! Let’s say those “intact” females have an average of 4 kittens/ litter- that would be twelve more cats from just one in twelve months! If only financial institutions could have such feline fecundity with our funds…

While many shelters are able to find homes for all their healthy adoptable cats, nationwide the numbers don’t balance. Thankfully, many feral cat colonies are cared for by dedicated people who’ve had them spayed and neutered so the colony population stays stable (and healthier!) But in countless communities, because there’s an oversupply and not enough demand (some people have not yet experienced the fun of owning a cat), the all-too-often sad result is that many cats are euthanized.

If you’re a cat, would you rather go home to a family that feeds you, plays with you, cleans your bathrooms and takes you to the veterinarian at least once a year for a checkup, or live “on the streets” like a homeless person, foraging through trash cans and hoping that the soup kitchen is open? That’s why cats boycott Mother’s Day- there’s just no reason to honor having more feline families!

This Sunday I’ll be with my mother! I’ve already sent two Mother’s Day cards and her roses arrived yesterday. I’d still like to get her one more “sweet” gift, though, and I have the perfect one in mind. We’ll take a drive out to the county animal control and check out the cats up for adoption. There’s a good chance we’ll find a beautiful brown tabby with its signature cocoa-colored “M” on her forehead. Maybe I can persuade my mother to call her Lady Godiva…

Dr Jane Brunt

Dr. Jane Brunt, founder of Cat Hospital at Towson (CHAT), is the pioneer of feline exclusive practice in Maryland. She received her DVM from Kansas State University (go, Cats!), and since 1984 has advocated the necessity of an outstanding facility and staff dedicated to practicing the highest quality of cats only care and medicine at CHAT.

She is a Past-President of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association. In 1997, Dr. Brunt was named one of Baltimore’s “Top Vets” and featured on the cover of Baltimore Magazine, and in 1998 she served as Chair of the Host Committee for the AVMA Annual Convention in Baltimore (attended by a record 8,000 veterinary professionals and supporters), receiving several awards and accolades. A national advisor on feline medicine, she is also an active supporter of local, state, and national feline organizations, especially of the new generation of veterinary professionals.

Building on her clinical cat commitments and organizational passions, she serves as the Executive Director of CATalyst Council, a not-for-profit coalition of organizations and individuals committed to changing the way society cares for cats, “Promoting the Power of Purr…” across veterinary, sheltering, and public/civic communities. She owns a wayward standard poodle named Luka and three hilarious, keyboard-keen cats- Paddy, Freddie and CAT Stanley!

Cat Hospital at Towson
6701 York Road
Baltimore, MD 21212

Phone: (410) 377-7900
Email: cathospital@catdoc.com

Website: http://www.catdoc.com/
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Feline Sense and Scents-ability: Hearing (Part 1 of 4)

Mar 28, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion, Tips & Advice

Cat ears

Even though cats have the same five senses humans do, their perception of the world is much different. Sometimes, trying to understand a cat’s point of view can help shed some light on problems you may be having with your cat.

Feline hearing is functionally the same as human hearing. The pinna, or outer portion of the ear, collects sound waves and translates them down the ear canal. In humans, the ear canal is a straight shot to the ear drum, while cats have a vertical canal connected to a horizontal canal in an “L” shape from the top of the head, straight down and then turning inward. Once the sound waves have rounded the corner of the ear canal, they cause the eardrum to vibrate, stimulating the ossicles of the middle ear (tiny bones called the malleus, incus and stapes – otherwise known as the hammer, anvil and stirrup). These ossicles transmit the sound waves to the cochlea.

The cochlea is a fluid-filled structure in the middle ear. The sound waves are translated to fluid waves in the cochlea that are then sensed by nerves connected to fine hairs that float in the fluid and is then sent on to the brain for interpretation. This is the area that a human “cochlear implant” stimulates to help correct hearing loss. The feline cochlea has 3 complete turns while the human cochlea only has 2.75 turns. They have 10,000 more auditory nerves than humans. Near the cochlea is another fluid- and carbonate crystal-filled structure called the vestibular apparatus that is in charge of balance.

Cats are exquisitely adept at locating prey. They can distinguish between two different sound sources 8 cm apart (shorter than the length of an iPhone) at 2 yards and 40cm apart (about 1 foot, or a little longer than 3 iPhones) at 20 yards. They can hear a rustling mouse 20-30 yards away. They can hear 10 distinct octaves of notes vs. humans’ 8.5 octaves. They even hear one octave above their canine counterparts.

There are 4 sets of muscles that control the motion of the cat’s external ear flap, or pinna, and allow it to rotate 180 degrees to catch a sound and orient on it. You can use this information to make playtime more interesting for your cat. Make “hide and seek” with toys more challenging by using quieter, less obvious “prey”. Test your cat’s auditory awareness with a tiny crinkle from a crinkle-toy. See if they notice.

Even though you think they can’t hear you, don’t yell at your cat! He can hear you, he just isn’t listening to you.

When your cat is sleeping it is still attentively listening, scanning for audible information, which is why your “soundly sleeping cat” is standing right at your feet the second you open a can of food.

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

ecvh@exclusivelycats.com

Website: http://www.exclusivelycats.com

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Poop Kentucky Derby

Mar 24, 2013 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Personal Opinion

Ever wonder why your cat sprints out of the litter box after voiding or even around the house out of the blue?

Cats have different types of behaviors, but certainly play behaviors are one of the most interesting.  Different play behaviors will begin as early as 2 weeks of age. Chasing type behaviors manifest around 5 weeks of age and serve to improve hunting skills, social interactions with other cats and general exercise.

Most owners have seen their cats sprint around the house as if they are chasing or being chased by another cat with their pupils dilated and perhaps even pausing to yowl or chortle.

This type of behavior is termed “hallucinatory” behavior and often occurs immediately after your cat urinates or defecates.  There are different theories as to why the behavior occurs upon exiting the box, including a feeling of well being and increased energy after evacuation, a sense of empowerment after creating their characteristic scent, or a reminder of natural instincts requiring leaving the scene and scent behind quickly to prevent being preyed upon.

However, sometimes the behavior can be associated with dislike of the box size or location, dislike of the type of litter, fear of attack by other cats in the household, pain associated with urination or defecation or sometimes fecal matter adhering to the hair after defecation.

If your cat spends at least 15-20 seconds scratching or burying in the box, chances are they are happy with their litter.  Cats that have pain on urination or defecation will often times vocalize in a distressed manner and may urinate or defecate outside the box as well.   Occasionally small drops of blood may even be seen. Inappropriate elimination, (urinating or defecating in locations other than the box), will also tend to occur if the box is not clean enough, or if there is fear of another cat in the household. Long haired or overweight cats that have trouble removing fecal matter during or after defecation may rush out of the box and then stop suddenly and begin grooming the perineal area or scooting to remove the fecal matter.

Regular veterinary exams and laboratory evaluations can help rule out pain secondary to arthritis, gastrointestinal problems such as parasites or inflammatory bowel diseases, urinary disorders and even behavior problems within the household.

Keeping your cat healthy and fit will improve activity and provide years of fun for the whole family watching these fast and furious felines as they “run for the roses”.

Dr Cindy McManis

Dr. Cynthia McManis received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M University in 1985. She developed her interest in cats during her first year post-graduation. She began to actively pursue more education and information regarding feline health care and joined the Academy of Feline Medicine in 1989. When the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners approved feline practice as a specialty board in 1995, she was in the first class to sit for the exam. She is 1 of 90 board certified feline practitioners in the country at this time. Dr. McManis founded Just Cats Veterinary Services in 1994.

Outside of her clinic cases, she is a feline internal medicine consultant for Veterinary Information Network, a web based resource for veterinarians all over the world. She has also served on several committees within the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP). She established an ABVP residency site at Just Cats in 2008 and mentors new graduates as well as seasoned practitioners who are interested in achieving ABVP certification.

Dr. McManis is an avid triathlete and is constantly training for races. She completed her first Iron Man in May of 2012. She is owned by 2 home kitties- Amante (“Monty”) and La Mariquita (“Mari”), and 2 hospital kitties- Momma Kitty and O’Malley.

Just Cats Veterinary Services
1015 Evergreen Circle
The Woodlands, TX 77380

Phone: (281) 367-2287
Email: vets@justcatsvets.com

Website: http://www.justcatsvets.com/
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Does Pancreatitis Mean the End?

Mar 21, 2013 by     2 Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion, Tips & Advice

I wrote last time about the choice my client Louis had to make to end the life of his beloved cat, Nadia. It is always a struggle for the owner and his/her veterinarian to make these decisions. Worse, of course, for the client because of the years of love and companionship that have transpired. The strongest desire of the cat owner facing the loss of a beloved companion is to do what is best for the kitty.  Sometimes, the outcome that seems the least likely though, can mean a new reality for a cat and his owner. Let’s talk this time about Garfield.

Garfield, no surprise, is an orange tabby about 15 years old. He came in 6 months ago, just not feeling right. His bloodwork and urinalysis were not completely normal and it was obvious that he had severe pancreatitis. We started his treatment for that and he got somewhat better but just not quite back to normal. Perhaps we had not gotten to the bottom of the problem!

We did another ultrasound and, no surprise, his pancreas looked abnormal but everything was otherwise fine. A few days later and quite suddenly, Garfield took a turn for the worse. This time his bloodwork was far less normal; the white part of his eyes looked a tiny bit yellow;  and, his ultrasound showed a large blocked gall bladder and a little fluid around his liver. The findings had changed a great deal in a very short time.

We contacted our favorite surgeon, one that I had been very happy with for many years. That afternoon, Garfield went to Dr. Griffin’s practice, 100 miles away. The next day, he had a complicated surgery to connect his gall bladder to his small intestine to allow his pancreas to heal and give his gall bladder a safe way to empty.  A tube was placed in his esophagus to allow for adequate nutrition and administration of medicine. He came home with antibiotics, pain medication, liver supportive medication and more. We worked with the client to make sure he received adequate calories through the tube and got all of his medications.

As each day went by, Garfield got a little bit better. He began to gain weight and started to eat a little on his own. After three weeks, he was eating enough on his own that we removed the tube in his esophagus. We monitored him carefully for several months, both by examination and laboratory values. He is doing just fine.

The message of Garfield for me is that, even when things look complicated and very, very serious, good things can and do happen. We all need to stay optimistic and realistic, making sure not to allow for suffering or discomfort. If we maintain Quality of Life during a severe illness, we can be proud of our work together. The owner is the single most important member of the healthcare team. We are here to help make sure that is always true.

Dr Elizabeth Colleran

Diplomate ABVP Specialty in Feline Practice

Dr Colleran attained both her Masters (in Animals and Public Policy) and Doctorate from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. She opened Chico Hospital for Cats in 1998 and the Cat Hospital of Portland in 2003. In 2011, she became President of the American Association of Feline Practitioners.

Dr Colleran is a member with: American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association, and American Association of Feline Practitionesr.

Chico Hospital for Cats
548 W East Ave,
Chico, CA

Phone: 530-892-2287‎

Website: http://chicocats.com/
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Cat Hospital of Portland
8065 SE 13th Ave
Portland, OR 97202

Phone: 503-235-7005
Fax: 503-234-0042

Website: http://portlandcats.net/
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Ultrasound or Radiographs (x-rays) – What’s The Difference?

Feb 21, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion, Tips & Advice

Unlike radiographs, ultrasound uses sound waves to generate a picture of the internal organs. Ultrasound is completely safe and painless and does not require anesthesia or sedation in most cases.

Ultrasound may be recommended after a physical examination, blood test or x-ray indicates an underlying problem. Ultrasound is commonly used in both veterinary and human medicine for a wide variety of problems, including diseases of the liver, kidneys, bladder, stomach, intestines, pancreas, heart, and other organs. As with people, it can be used safely during pregnancy.

Ultrasound can “see” many things that can’t be seen on x-rays. For example, if there is fluid build-up in the chest or abdomen, the organs can’t be seen clearly on x-ray because fluid and tissue have the same density. However, they appear quite clearly on ultrasound, because we can see through the fluid. In addition, while x-rays are helpful to see the shapes and sizes of the internal organs, ultrasound can get a picture of the internal structure.

If an x-ray shows an enlarged heart, we can’t tell from the x-ray if the walls of the heart are thick with narrowed heart chambers (where the blood flows) or if the walls are thin and weak with big chambers or if there is fluid build-up between the heart and the sac that surrounds it. Ultrasound can readily give us this information, which is critical, as these scenarios represent different types of heart disease, with different prognoses and treatments.

Ultrasound is not effective at seeing through air or bone, so it does not replace x-rays but rather is complementary. In some cases both x-rays and ultrasound are needed in order to get a complete picture of what is going on with a patient.

Ultrasound equipment is specialized and quite expensive, so not all veterinary hospitals have an ultrasound machine. Many hospitals have specialists that come to perform the examinations. Other hospitals refer their patients to a hospital that can provide this level of care. In some cases of complex heart disease, evaluation by a veterinary cardiologist may be needed.

Due to the specialized nature of ultrasonic exam and evaluation, it is critical to have a veterinarian who is experienced in obtaining and reading ultrasound images to perform the examination, and make this information apply to each patient in a meaningful way in terms of prognosis and treatment recommendations.

What happens during an ultrasound?

The hair over the area to be evaluated will be shaved, as hair will interfere with the images. A gel (water soluble and safe) will be applied to the skin to help the sound waves generate a good picture. A transducer (similar in size and shape to a TV remote control) is placed on the patient’s skin and slowly moved around over the area to be examined. The ultrasound is computerized, so it can be used to accurately measure the tissues as needed. In addition, images can be stored electronically.

In order to perform a thorough exam, the patient needs to stay relatively still, though some wiggling is fine. Although some cats may be slightly anxious initially, most relax and remain calm once they realize that nothing painful is happening. For cats that are very anxious, your veterinarian may recommend a sedative.

What should I do to prepare for the ultrasound procedure?

Please do not feed your cat for 8-12 hours prior to the examination. Water is permitted. In the case of an abdominal ultrasound, an empty stomach allows for proper imaging of the area near the stomach. There are some diseases/situations where food should NOT be withheld; contact your veterinarian for specific instructions. If your cat is having an abdominal ultrasound, please try not to let your pet urinate for the 3 hours prior to your appointment. This will help get a better picture of the bladder.

What will the ultrasound tell us?

An ultrasound examination will provide a lot of information about your cat’s health. Together with the internist, we look at information from lab tests, x-rays, examinations and medical history to make medical recommendations.

  • A specific diagnosis: often ultrasound can provide us with a diagnosis (or a reason for your cat’s illness).
  • A Partial diagnosis: While ultrasound shows us the shapes and consistencies of the internal organs, it cannot see microscopic changes. This means that while an ultrasound examination can identify abnormal tissue, including growths, it cannot always determine if the tissue is cancerous or what type of cancer it is. For some patients, this information will affect how they are treated and a biopsy may be recommended. In some cases, this biopsy may be performed as an ultrasound guided needle sample under light anesthesia. In other cases, a surgical biopsy is needed.
  • No Diagnosis/ Disease Exclusion: For some patients, the organ changes are not visible enough to pinpoint the problem. We are able to exclude (or rule out) certain diseases, but are left with a list of possible diseases that are causing your cat’s illness. This can be both relieving and frustrating. We will discuss options for therapies based on the available information and will recommend the best path for additional testing to obtain a diagnosis if indicated and desired.

If you have additional questions about whether ultrasound or x-rays are appropriate for your cat, please contact your veterinarian.

Dr Diana Lafer

Dr. Diana Lafer founded Cats Limited in 1995. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Wesleyan University and her veterinary degree from Cornell University. Dr. Lafer has a cat (Sparky), and a dog (Lucy). She enjoys spending time with her daughters, horseback riding, skiing, hiking, participating in triathlons, and volunteering for the Lakeville Pony Club.

Cats Limited Hospital
1260 New Britain Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06110

Phone: (860) 561-9885
Email: cats@catslimited.com

Website: http://www.catslimited.com/
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Play Aggression

Feb 17, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion, Tips & Advice

What to do when your busy kitten or young cat is driving you crazy!

We frequently get complaints that a newly adopted kitten or young cat has found a new game that they really enjoy- attacking the feet, legs or hands of the humans in the household. Sometimes they will pester older cats in the household with playful attacks as well.  Guess what- this is really normal behavior! However, it is not very acceptable in most of our households so we need to work out some changes in the routine so every one is happy.  These guidelines are effective in most cases, but talk with your veterinarian if problems persist or are worsening.

Play aggression is usually seen in young cats and kittens. Usually stalking, pouncing, and even hopping sideways are seen. The cat will bite or occasionally scratch moving hands, feet, or the family member moving through the house. It is most common in single cat households where the cat is alone of much of the day. Playing roughly with the kitten or encouraging it to bite or swat at hands and feet also encourages play aggression. Sometimes play aggression is seen in multi-cat households when the other cat is old or debilitated or very passive. Orphan kittens that were hand- raised or weaned early are frequently play aggressive as they did not receive socialization by the queen. They do not learn to sheathe their claws or inhibit their bites.

  1. Often the easiest solution is to add a second cat or kitten of similar age and playful temperament. They will play with each other and aggressive play will be inhibited because the new companion will bite back or become defensive when play becomes too aggressive.
  2. Never use physical punishment (hitting or swatting) to stop the play aggression. This can cause the aggression to escalate and transform into fear aggression.
  3. Treatment is fairly straightforward. Increased play activity involving moving toys at least 15 minutes one to two times a day is critical.
    1. Fishing pole toys / string toys with toys at the end of a cord. These encourage pouncing and stalking. Never leave toys with strings out where the cat can reach it when not supervised to avoid string eating and possible surgery.
    2. Laser pointers: play laser tag. Do not shine directly in the cat’s eyes. You can be watching TV and playing with the cat at the same time!
    3. Hand-made toys such as old socks stuffed with crinkly paper or tissues.
    4. Mouse-in-the-house mechanical toys. These move around the house. Use Google for websites that offer these toys.
    5. Kong-type toys stuffed with kibble that the kitty bats around and is rewarded with the food being released.
  4. Play aggression may occur in certain areas of the house such as the hallway from the bedroom to the bathroom (a favorite location). Keep Ping Pong balls available to throw down the hall in front of you to redirect your cat’s attention on to an appropriate object.
  5. Keep an air canister (used to clean computer keyboards) next to the chair or sofa where attacks on a seated individual occur. A water squirt gun may also be used. When the cat is observed to be starting the aggression, spray the kitty with the water or compressed air. The point is to startle the kitten so it stops the behavior as it starts.
  6. Do not play directly with your hands or feet and your cat. Always have a toy or other object in between your hands and feet and their teeth and claws. Otherwise you are sending mixed messages to your cat and will confuse them.
  7. Do not push your cat always when it bites at you. This escalates the play to your cat and it will come right back and bite harder.
  8. Put a belled safety collar on your cat. This will help you (or the other cats in the household) detect the presence of the aggressor more easily and help you redirect its play behavior.
  9. Reward the behavior you want to have continue. Do not pet or try to cuddle or give attention to the kitty after it bites or scratches – give it a 15 minute time-out. Reward your cat with food treats and petting when it is acting calm.
  10. Playing with your cat is a reward – these kitties need active play and attention as they are usually high energy. Fifteen minutes twice a day of active play is a minimum needed and some cats need more.
  11. Medication is usually not needed to address play aggression. If another cat is the target of the play aggression, sometimes the target cat becomes anxious enough to require anti-anxiety medications.
  12. There are other types of aggression that cats can display, and sometimes more than one type is seen at the same time. Treatment may differ for these types of behavior. Please call us if problems persist. Most play aggression is resolved if sufficient moving-toy or active  play is received.
  13. Finally, the goal is to help you change the behavior of your cat to stop play aggressive behavior. Any pet can bite or scratch under certain circumstances, especially when they become fearful or are in pain. There is no treatment plan or medication that guarantees that the pet will never bite or scratch again. Use common sense and avoid trying to hold or touch an upset cat. Seek medical attention if a bite or severe scratch occurs.
  14. Please call your veterinarian as needed with updates regarding your cat’s behavior- the sooner your cat “plays nicely”, the happier everyone will be!

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 www.litterboxguru.com 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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