Browsing"Tips & Advice"

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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My Cat Has a Murmur?

Jul 3, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

What this abnormal cardiac sound means for your cat

Your kitty appears perfectly healthy. You take it in for a routine physical exam and the veterinarian informs you that your precious family member has a murmur.  How can this be?  What does this mean?  He runs around the house, eats like a horse and is borderline heavy on his weight.  This is a perfectly healthy cat!

A heart murmur is an abnormal sound that occurs as blood moves through the heart and the valves.  Your veterinarian detects it with a stethoscope during examination. Murmurs can be caused by congenital defects, acquired diseases such as hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, anemia or primary heart muscle or valvular diseases.

Some murmurs occur due to stress or excitement and elevated heart rate.  These murmurs are considered benign or innocent and do not cause problems with your kitty’s health.

Studies have shown that as many as 22% of “healthy” cats can have murmurs, unfortunately, the innocent murmurs cannot be differentiated from cats with actual heart disease. In addition, as many as 50% of cats with primary heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy) that present to the veterinarian in heart failure will not have a murmur prior to presentation.

So, what should you do? Follow your veterinarian’s advice.  If your kitty seems anxious at the clinic and the heart rate is elevated, your veterinarian may ask to just recheck your kitty on a different day or ask you to leave your kitty for the day so he/she can become acclimated to the hospital.

Your veterinarian may ask to run tests to rule out diseases outside the heart that can cause murmurs, such as checking blood pressure, a thyroid test or a CBC to screen for anemia.  In some cases, a blood test called an NT-pro-BNP may be performed as well.  This test looks for stretching or damage to the heart muscle.

If your cat has evidence of elevated or abnormal respiratory sounds, or if the NT-pro-BNP test is abnormal, your veterinarian may request to check thoracic (chest) x-rays or perform a cardiac ultrasound.

If blood testing is abnormal, treatment of the underlying disease can often times eliminate the murmur. If your cat is diagnosed with cardiomyopathy it may be mild and just require monitoring. If disease is more severe medication may be prescribed.

In some cases, no disease will be identified, but most importantly, by following your veterinarian’s advice, you will be armed with information regarding your kitty’s health that allows you to have peace of mind and be pro-active in his/her care for life.

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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Finding a Veterinarian Worthy of your Cat

Jun 23, 2013 by     3 Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

A wonderful client with whom I had enjoyed a great relationship for a number of years, tearfully told me last week that she was moving across country. Her career had taken a positive turn and a dream job awaited her in North Carolina. We both shared some tears and then started to talk about how we would make the transition as easy for her and her cats as we could.

She had a good plan for moving her cats that took into consideration the stress that this disruption would cause. The cats would stay in her home with all the objects and routine remaining as familiar as possible. Her son, whom the cats all loved, would stay with them while she made several trips back and forth to get the new house ready. She had Feliway plugged in. The carriers were in their spots as part of the furniture in the living room and her son would continue to put treats in the carriers and otherwise keep up the normal routine as much as possible.

Margaret, my client, had found a place to live and would get settled there before moving the cats in an attempt to mimic, again, as much of the normal routine as she could. Her commitment to her beloved Grace and Oscar was touching. We talked about a few more ideas for making travel uneventful as they drove across the country together in a month or so.

Then she asked me a really interesting question. “Can you help me find a veterinarian that will take as good care of Grace and Oscar as you and your staff have done?” We both got a little choked up again. I said I would do my best.

As it turned out, I could not find a veterinarian in that city with whom I was familiar. There was not a feline exclusive practice there. My go-to resource for reference is www.catvets.com, because I could look for a member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners or a veterinary establishment that is a Cat Friendly Practice. I struck out there, too.

The best I could do is a good plan for anyone looking for a new veterinarian:

  • Search the internet for local practices and check websites. There will be a sense of what is important to that group and an emphasis that may guide you;
  • Pick more than two to call and inquire about the practice. Ask questions about their approach to new cat patients. It almost doesn’t matter what you ask, just engage the person who answers the phone and get a sense of their enthusiasm for your conversation;
  • Ask about coming to the practice for a tour. If the answer is an enthusiastic agreement, check that one on your list with a “yes”; and finally,
  • Go by yourself, no cats, and meet some of the people in the practice. Have a tour and see how it feels to you. Have a nice conversation and see how welcome you feel.

Too often, people make an appointment, bring their cat and then don’t like the experience. But there is a sense of being trapped. You have an appointment, implying agreement to service. If it doesn’t feel right, it is hard to extract yourself from the situation without discomfort at best, perhaps embarrassment, even agreeing to some treatment for your beloved cat that doesn’t sit quite right. Better plan is to go alone and if it feels like a good fit, make an appointment before you leave.

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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Domestic-Wild Cat Hybrids: Are They Suitable as Pets?

May 25, 2013 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Tips & Advice

I received a phone call on November 30, 2011, that I will never forget. I had granted myself a rare day off because it was my birthday. That afternoon, my receptionist, Brittany, left a message on my voicemail relaying some disturbing news and an urgent plea for help from Ian, a long-term client Ian had tearfully informed Brittany that his friend Tony, who was also a client of the cat hospital for many years, had suddenly and inexplicably died the night before. I quickly recalled that Tony was single and shared his home with his only son, Kimbu. Kimbu is a neutered male F2 Savannah cat. He was 5 years old when Tony died.

Ian went on to explain that when the police had arrived at Tony’s home to investigate, a cat that clearly was not like any cat they had seen before immediately confronted them. Kimbu was and still is an imposing feline; tall, muscular, agile, extremely alert and unpredictably reactive to sights and sounds in his environment Subjected to unfamiliar and threatening conditions, with strangers entering his home without Tony’s comforting presence, it is no surprise that Kimbu reacted in an anxious, agitated and defensive manner. He demonstrated his discomfort by pacing with his large upright ears twitching. He would howl with his characteristic low voice hiss while arching his back with raised hair and rhythmically flicking his puffed up tail. I would be intimidated by this kitty, wouldn’t you? When approached by the officers, Kimbu demonstrated classic Savannah athleticism as he effortlessly jumped straight up from a standing position on the floor to shelves Tony had bolted to the walls 8 feet above the floor. The offers informed Ian that

Kimbu had to be removed from the “crime scene”, (Tony’s home) by the time the coroner arrived or he would be taken to a nearby animal shelter for euthanasia. Ian then placed the call to us to see if we could provide a temporary home for Kimbu at the cat hospital until other arrangements could be made for him. Ian knew we could handle Kimbu safely. I agreed without reservation. Somehow, one courageous police officer and a coroner succeeded in capturing and crating Kimbu in his carrier. Kimbu was then driven across town in rush hour traffic and was triumphantly delivered to his safe haven in our clinic. Brittany stayed after closing time to greet and welcome the terrified Kimbu. We left him in his carrier in our kitty playroom for a few days with the door open. He finally emerged when we lured him with one of Tony’s shirts and some of his own toys.

I have known Kimbu since he was 8 weeks old and knew his history of biting Tony’s hands and face, which Tony tolerated, in spite of my warnings. Tony told me that he allowed Kimbu to sleep with him under the covers at night and claimed to regularly brush his teeth with an electric toothbrush. Tony’s family and close friends heard tales of Kimbu’s affinity for shredding cardboard and paper. He can easily open heavy drawers and doors and likes to hide in small spaces. We all knew that Tony considered Kimbu to be his “son” and that he would want to have him in a safe and stable environment. Tony’s family from the East Coast officially and legally allowed me to adopt Kimbu and they still regularly check in on him. All Savannah cats are assigned a Filial Designation, F1-F5, which describes how close the Savannah cat is to a Serval ancestor.

As an F2 Savannah, Kimbu is somewhere between 25% and 37.5% Serval. An Fl is 75% Serval (Tom is Serval and Queen is 50% Serval). The USDA defines all hybrids as domestic. This certainly can be misleading in that behavior and the genetic makeup of hybrids differs from domestic cats. Serval cats are prohibited in Massachusetts and Georgia. New York State only allows Savannahs that are greater than 5 generations removed from the Serval, with the exception of New York City, which prohibits ownership of all hybrids. Federal law due to fears that improved hunting skills could emerge and put endangered species at risk prohibits import of Savannahs into Australia.

Today, Kimbu spends most of his time in a spacious enclosure in which he spent countless weekends in the desert while Tony visited friends. He doesn’t mind wearing a harness and enjoys leisurely leash walks around the clinic. He likes to inspect objects slowly and cautiously but has never been comfortable with other cats. He will attack other cats or turn his aggression to me when he gets near other cats or is “spooked” by sounds, smells and unfamiliar sites. He enjoys creating windows in cardboard boxes by biting and shredding cardboard with his nails. I have never let him walk freely without his harness and leash. I feel bad about this and hope that I can create a larger safe environment for him in the future.

I have pondered and reflected many times on whether my choice to keep this cat on public display in a cat hospital is a responsible choice. Does it send the message that I support and even promote the mixture of wild and domestic cats? Is it safe and even humane to mix these species? Would a typical cat household be safe and satisfying for

Kimbu? Would he pose a danger to children and other pets? Would it not be very easy for him to pop through ceiling tiles and hang out with electrical wires and hot pipes? Several drawbacks to breeding Savannahs have been identified. First of all, the gestation period (length of pregnancy) is 75 days for the Serval and 65 days for the domestic cat. In addition, some Serval males can be “picky” about breeding with a domestic female, making it difficult to continually create the Fl stud necessary to perpetuate the breed. Thirdly, male Savannahs are usually sterile until the F5 generation, although Savannah females are fertile from Fl forward. Recently (2011), it has been reported that male sterility is on the rise in F5 and even F6 males. Clearly, disparity in gestation periods and genetic differences cause increased fetal deaths. We don’t really know what percentage of hybrid kittens don’t make it since actual statistics haven’t been published. I would suspect that some breeders would prefer not to disclose some of these breeding challenges.

My advice to those considering acquiring a hybrid is to spend some time with the cats at the breeders just observing and processing how the behaviors I described will fit or not fit into your household and lifestyle. Remember, you must be prepared to commit to 15-20 years of responsibility from the perspective of human safety. Just as importantly, you should seriously contemplate the sacred responsibility you take on to protect the cat hybrid and to provide a safe and pleasurable environment for many years.

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

Website: http://www.westsidehospitalforcats.com/
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Furballs

May 16, 2013 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Tips & Advice

How often does this happen to you? You are awakened from a sound sleep by the unmistakable sound of your cat about to cough up a furball on the comforter next to you. If you are lucky, you will be able to move kitty safely to the floor or be resigned to washing the comforter again! Many cat owners think that vomiting hairballs is normal behavior in a cat. But that is not always true. For example, one of my patients is Francis, a 14 year old handsome red and white tabby, who was diagnosed with diabetes several years ago. Up until last year Francis flourished, his weight went back to normal, his appetite was consistently good, and his litter box habits were regular. Then 6 months ago, Francis came in with a few days history of decreased appetite and vomiting. His physical exam was normal; his basic blood tests and urinalysis were normal. A few days later Francis vomited a furball. His owner was happy figuring this was the reason for the symptoms. Over time his weight began to decrease, and he intermittently repeated his pattern of exhibiting a poor appetite and then a few days later vomiting a furball. Additional blood tests and an abdominal ultrasound indicated the possibility of pancreatitis and/ or inflammatory bowel disease as the cause(s) of his symptoms. For now, we are keeping a close eye on Francis. If his condition changes, we will discuss confirming this diagnosis by biopsy and possibly diet changes and medication to treat those diseases.

To his owner, Francis was just having furball trouble. To his doctor, Francis’ furball vomiting was an indication of an underlying problem. Why was I suspicious? A review of Francis’s history indicated that he was vomiting furballs much more frequently than he had in the past. Vomiting furballs more often, particularly in a middle aged or older cat – even as the only change in a cat’s behavior; can be an indication that something is amiss. Either Francis was ingesting more fur because of increased grooming activity – meaning itchy skin (see recent post), or there was a change in the way food was moving through his upper digestive system. There are multiple reasons why this might have happened. Chronic inflammatory disease is the most common explanation. Pain or hormonal changes can also result in alterations in intestinal movement. Just as with Francis, a visit to your veterinarian is a good place to start to rule out an underlying problem.

A few months ago Francis’ owner told me, “ You were right doctor”. What he meant was that he had been skeptical when I had expressed my initial concerns that Francis’ vomiting reflected more than just furballs. Francis’ owner is a loyal reader of this blog. When he was in the other day, he suggested that I write about furballs. He had overheard a comment between cat owners that furball vomiting was routine ( i.e. normal). He now knows that it isn’t necessarily so. He asked that I write about furballs to educate other cat owners about this situation. I am happy to oblige.

Dr Kathleen Keefe Ternes

Dr. Kathleen Keefe Ternes grew up in western Massachusetts. She received an undergraduate degree from Cornell University in 1974; a BS degree in 1978 and a DVM in 1979 from Michigan State University. Dr. Keefe Ternes returned home to New England in April 1980. In 1984, she achieved one of her professional goals by opening The Feline Hospital in Salem, MA. . Dr. Keefe Ternes, a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP), initially certified as a companion animal specialist in 1990. She became certified as a feline specialist in 2000 and recertified in 2010. Dr. Keefe Ternes is a member of AAFP, the AVMA, the MVMA, and her local organization, the Veterinary Association of the North Shore (VANS). Her involvement in organized medicine includes having been a past president of VANS and current member of the board of directors. She is also a case reviewer for the ABVP and recently joined the Feline Welfare Committee of the AAFP.

Dr. Keefe Ternes lives in Salem with her husband and two college age daughters. Her two senior cats Toby and Petunia keep her on her toes medically.

The Feline Hospital
81 Webb St
Salem, MA 01970

Phone: 978-744-8020
Email: thefelinehospital@gmail.com

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Overgrooming – or, My Cat is Licking Itself Bald!

May 9, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

Almost every day I examine a cat that has areas of hair loss. Sometimes people think that their cat’s hair is falling out. Sometimes people see the cat licking itself or find clumps of hair on the floor. What causes hair loss in cats?

The most common cause is allergies. Cat allergies usually cause itchy skin. Allergic cats can also sneeze or wheeze or have ear infections or diarrhea as well. Cats lick at their itchy skin and because of their raspy tongues are able to break off their fur. This leaves a little stubble on the skin, and often the skin itself is a little pinker than normal. Some cats are “closet lickers” and only overgroom when no one is around.

What can cats be allergic to? The same types of things that bother us – pollens, dust mites, and foods. In particular, cats react to flea bites. When fleas bite, they inject their saliva to keep the blood from clotting. The cat becomes allergic to the saliva and just one bite can make the cat itch to the point of licking or plucking their fur. Many times we can’t even find the fleas because the cat licks so much it swallows the flea (which can transmit tapeworms, another topic).

What do we do to treat allergies in cats? Ideally we allergy test and use desensitizing injections or oral drops. Sometimes we use antihistamines, fatty acid supplements, or hypoallergenic foods. We will almost always use a broad spectrum flea and mite product as well. In severe cases, we will need to use injectable or oral steroids. We now have another medication called cyclosporine, which can also help control itching and overgrooming with fewer potential side effects. There are some anti-anxiety medications that reduce itching as well. In years past we used to think that stress caused overgrooming, but now we know that most of the time the stress is aggravating the allergic disease and making the overgrooming worse.

Other things that can cause hair loss in cats are Demodex mites, fungal infections, and occasionally hormonal problems or cancers. So if your cat’s coat has lost its normal luster or has patches of hair loss it is time for your cat to see your veterinarian!

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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How to Properly Restrain a Cat

May 5, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

I was describing “respectful” feline handling to a group of people.  The most common question was, “What?! You are not suppose to scruff cats? That’s how their mother’s disciplined them when they were kittens”

Great place to start.  Mother cats do carry their kitten by the scruff.  They do not discipline them in this manner.

With some cats, this restraining manner can have the opposite desired effect.  There are other more respectful methods and scruffing should be a last resort.  Having your body weight dangled does not make good common sense.

Most of us do not need to restrain their cats at home. Occasionally it is necessary for medical care or nail trimming.  Towels are an excellent method of restraining.  When we use this at the clinic we call it a “purrito.”

There were also questions about how to “punish” a cat for “bad” behavior. Cats on a whole respond better to leaning with positive reinforcement.  Yelling and punishment teach your cat nothing and may be counter productive.

Most of the “bad” cat behaviors that occur at home are normal for cats. Unfortunately the cat’s human companions are not always appreciative of these behaviors.

One of the most important aspects of working with your cat is for you to go outside your human box and think like a cat.  Not easy, but not impossible.  You will be amazed at how more enriched your life and relationship with your cat will become.

Resources:

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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What About Grain – Free Foods for Cats?

Apr 23, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

Cats are carnivores and require meat protein. You don’t see cats grazing in the fields as you do with herbivores (non-meat eaters) such as cattle or horses. In the wild, cats that hunt would eat the entire kill, to get their necessary vitamins and minerals. Cats eating 100% muscle meat only are subject to dietary deficiencies such as Rickets (Vitamin D/Calcium deficiency).

But what about grain free – is this necessary? Pet food companies want to make sure that their foods are nutritionally complete and balanced. Ideally, feeding trials have been performed to ensure that the food is complete and balanced. Adding certain grains can boost proteins, add fiber and necessary vitamins and minerals. In addition, grain- free foods are not carbohydrate-free.

  • “Jack” was on a grain-free food, but it turned out he had a dietary sensitivity to blueberries and sweet potatoes, components of his grain-free food. Once switched off of the grain-free food, his skin and intestinal issues resolved.
  • “Eddie” had urinary problems. Again, grain-free doesn’t mean carbohydrate-free, and it turned out that the carbohydrates in the food he was eating contributed to his urinary blockage problems. Changing his diet has resolved his urinary issues.

So, is grain-free always bad? No. If the food your cat is eating leads to a shiny, soft coat, an alert, comfortable cat of normal body weight, with no abnormal stool, skin or other problems, then the food is fine for your cat. As always, ask your veterinarian about your cat’s diet if you have any questions or concerns.

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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Catnip and Cannabis – Reefer Meow-ness?

Apr 16, 2013 by     3 Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

All the cool cats were smoking the illicit weed during the early days of jazz in the 1920s on the streets of New York City.  In fact, years later, when I was living in Greenwich Village in the 1980s, things hadn’t changed much at all.  The aroma of that fragrant herb would frequently waft up from the street through the open windows of my 4th floor apartment, strangely reminiscent of…catnip!

Have you ever wondered why cats get so crazy over catnip?  What is it about that herb?

Catnip was originally imported from the Mediterranean, where this member of the mint family grew like a …uh, weed…along the rocky coastline.  The plant’s leaves, stems and flowers are enormously attractive to most cats, including lions, tigers and panthers.  Many of our housecats also love indulging in this lemony, potent mint.

Catnip, which is also known as catmint, is a cousin of basil and oregano.  Even its Latin name, cataria, means “of the cat.”  The allure is from the volatile oils contained in the seeds, leaves and stems, specifically from one chemical in those oils: trans- nepetalactone.  This chemical is very similar to the odor of a female cat in heat, which is why male tomcats are reported to be most affected by the oils.

Genetics determine whether your cat will be intoxicated by this herb and enter that wacky, dreamlike trance.  About 50% of cats inherit sensitivity to the effects of catnip, and all kittens are completely impervious to its effects until they reach about 3 months of age.

Catnip appears to be a dis-inhibitor, which means that a cat’s natural tendencies toward aggression, playfulness or craziness will get magnified.  Some cats will become mellow and calm, and reach a kind of drug high very reminiscent to what happens to humans under the influence of a certain related herb.  Catnip oils induce a narcotic, hallucinogenic state in susceptible cats, as a result of what appears to be stimulation to the cat’s phermonic receptor.

We know cats have an intensely sensitive olfactory system and love to scent-mark and brand their territory through smells.  Catnip seems to enhance that sensation and mimic what happens during a surge of feline pheromones, which are natural compounds that cats use to enhance social communication among individuals.

Cats who are affected by catnip only maintain that bliss state for roughly 10 minutes, and that “high” is triggered by exposure to oils through rolling on the leaves, and licking, chewing and eating the plant.  Once that state is completed, most cats need about two hours to “reset” before they can experience catnip’s hallucinogenic effect again.

Because the trigger is found in the oils of the plant, fresh catnip is most potent, but when the dried herb is tightly-sealed, it can also be appealing.  Interestingly, the herb valerian is a close chemical equivalent to catnip, and will induce a similar response in genetically-susceptible cats.  This herb is commonly found in homeopathic relaxation and anti-stress remedies.

Cats enjoy catnip so much that it’s a relief to know that it is not addictive at all, and it doesn’t appear to be any sort of “gateway” drug that might produce a chronic feline drug offender.  And haven’t you always wondered what catnip might do to people?  After all, cats look so happy when they’re caught up in the ecstasy of the herb!

One of the veterinarians I worked with in a New York City cat practice also was curious.  He told me he raided his cat’s stash one night after work and put some in his pipe and…well, he wasn’t too successful in channeling his feline friends.  He said the end result was a bad taste and one serious headache!

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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