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The Mystery of Summer Drool

Aug 1, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

A call came in yesterday from Oreo’s people telling us that Oreo was drooling like crazy, ropes and ropes of copious drool. Oreo’s a fine, strapping 2 year old kitty with a healthy curiosity. I started thinking about all those things that Dr. Ray talked about like bad teeth or something stuck in the mouth. Nausea also can make cats drool, though usually not in such excessive amounts and the kitties with nausea act like they don’t feel good. Oreo came in and sat on the exam table pretty much nonplussed. As a matter of fact he didn’t act bothered at all, except for the occasional fling of the head when his ropes of saliva drooped from his mouth. Yuk. He’s such a sweet boy and he let me get a really good oral exam. He had beautiful teeth and gums. Everything in his mouth, under his tongue, up on his palate and down his throat looked perfectly normal. What the heck was going on?

I see one or two of these cases just about every year. It seems to last several hours to, rarely, several days. They tend to come in during warm weather and while I don’t have an exact answer, I’ve got a suspicion as to why it happens. Cats are notorious for drooling when they taste something bad. We see it sometimes with certain antibiotics and other things they might try to lick. Since I never have been able to find a problem in the mouth of one of these cats, it makes me wonder if there’s an unpleasant taste at work here, like a bug or something that they chomped on.

But that never explained why the drooling seemed to last for so long. Then I heard a science related radio program that discussed how some people get a bad taste in their mouth after eating certain things. I think they were talking about certain varieties of pine nuts. The bad taste sometimes lasted for days and the theory was that there was some errant molecule sitting on a susceptible person’s taste bud receptor that made it keep sending the bad taste signal. It kept sending that yucky taste signal until the molecule finally floated off the receptor allowing it to return to normal. Now I don’t know if this is the answer to the mystery drool, but I wonder if there’s a subset of cats that eat just the right ant or other bug and gets a similar phenomenon. And then, being a cat, start to drool.

Luckily, all my cases have resolved. Most are better in just a few hours but occasionally I’ll see one that last’s a day or so. I always treat with something to help the drool and make them more comfortable so I doubt that I’ll get a chance to test my theory. Always take your cat in to be checked if you see anything unusual like this. The first thing you have to be concerned about is that there’s something wrong with the mouth. But you may also find that your cat’s a candidate for “Mystery Cat Diagnosis”. Hmmm, maybe we should try to pitch that to cable TV.

Dr Eliza Sundahl

Dr. Eliza Sundahl completed her veterinary studies at Kansas State University in 1978 after graduating from Boston University. She has spent a great deal of her professional life promoting feline medicine and continues to do so. She has held many positions in The American Association of Feline Practitioners, including 2 years as president. She was involved in establishing board certification in feline medicine through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and worked with that organization for many years to help veterinarians through the certification process.

Dr. Sundahl started at the KC Cat Clinic in 1978 and became owner in 1979. She has been happily working with the wonderful clients and patients at the clinic ever since. She feels like she has the best job in the world. She shares the clinic with Boo and Simon and her home with Babycat, Ferrous, Boo (another one), and Angelo.

Kansas City Cat Clinic
7107 Main St.
Kansas City, MO 64114

Phone: 816-361-4888
Email: kccatclinic@gmail.com

Website: http://www.kccatclinic.com/
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Cats’ Impact on Lifestyle

Jul 28, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion

My new kitty, Bodaishin, came from a tough living situation. He was a breeding tom who wasn’t siring good litters. So he lived in a cage. When I brought him home, I knew the transition would be challenging to go from a small space alone to a big space with humans and a dog. We set up a bathroom with food, water, litterbox and a soft padded bed where it was relatively quiet. He chose to sit up high in an elevated window ledge for 3 days, coming down only when no one was about to eat and use the litterbox. We visited him many times a day and talked and petted his head and neck. He was never confined, but would not leave the room.

Eventually, without any intervention on our part, he started coming out slowly to explore the house. A loud noise sent him sailing back into his safe spot. Now he boldly goes wherever he wishes, sleeps with us at night, steals the dog’s bed and naps in our laps while we read.

Bodaishin means “one who seeks enlightenment”, which we think he has now attained. We play every day with special toys, work on leash training with treats, and feed him when he asks. His schedule is our schedule, despite busy days of our own. He comes to work with us on days we won’t be home all day. Boredom is bad. We are thrilled he is with us. He has good karma and brings his funny, precocious, playful, affectionate self to us freshly every day.

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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Flowers and Fleas

Jul 27, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

As I was reading a story in the life style magazine of the paper, I came across an ad proclaiming the virtues of “natural” flea repellents. Having just been inundated by a ton of cats with fleas the week before, I was inspired to write about fleas, flea products and to help dispel a myth or two. I’d had some clients who had been using an herbal flea collar that did nothing and made the cat smell like a volatile oils factory.  Poor kitty was still crawling with fleas.

Now I’ve gone through acupuncture training and some herb courses, and know that there are some things in that arena that can be very helpful and work well for a variety of medical conditions. But I also know that just because something says “natural” doesn’t mean that it’s safe or effective. Most herbal flea products contain things like cedar oil, peppermint oil, clove oil, and other things that say “natural pyrethrin”. They can have a very strong smell that can last for days. That can be tough for an animal that is as sensitive to smells as cats are. Volatile oils can aggravate breathing problems; this is especially true of cedar oil. Stay away from these products if your cat has a history of breathing problems. Clove oil is toxic to cats. Skin reactions are common with all these products, especially if they are not pure. Oils are sometimes absorbed through the skin and peppermint oil can go deep. People who ingest peppermint oil on a regular basis might get changes in their liver enzymes.

When it comes to parasite control, we live in a wonderful age. The products that come from the vet for flea control have a very high margin of safety. They can contain not only safe flea products but also a heartworm preventative that helps with intestinal parasite control. Our pet cats have the dubious honor of surpassing dogs in the incidence of intestinal parasites and positive heartworm tests. All this because dog owners are so good at using  their heartworm preventative and cat owners aren’t. And yes, those products can be smelly too, but usually just for a few hours. And yes, again, there will be the rare skin reaction. But the important thing is that they work great and have a well documented safety margin. They keep your family safe too. Those black specks of flea dirt have been shown to carry the bacteria that gives people, especially children, cat scratch disease. Control the fleas and you control the risk. Same for roundworms. They can get into people too.

Treating fleas requires a multi-modal approach. You need to treat the adult fleas on the animal, but also any eggs that they lay. If the problem is bad enough, you may need to treat for eggs that are in the house. Adult fleas aren’t the problem in your house, the eggs are. You treat them differently. Control the egg production and you control the problem.  It can take 6 – 8 weeks before you can be sure that you’ve got the problem licked. That’s because you have to wait long enough to be sure no new fleas are hatching out. Talk to your vet about what’s going to work the best for you. And if you can use one product that can help with fleas, heartworm and intestinal parasites, do it.

Keep in mind that Mother Nature has some very potent plants and just because they’re hers, doesn’t mean that they are the safest things. So be careful what you put on your cat and whose advice you listen to.

Dr Eliza Sundahl

Dr. Eliza Sundahl completed her veterinary studies at Kansas State University in 1978 after graduating from Boston University. She has spent a great deal of her professional life promoting feline medicine and continues to do so. She has held many positions in The American Association of Feline Practitioners, including 2 years as president. She was involved in establishing board certification in feline medicine through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and worked with that organization for many years to help veterinarians through the certification process.

Dr. Sundahl started at the KC Cat Clinic in 1978 and became owner in 1979. She has been happily working with the wonderful clients and patients at the clinic ever since. She feels like she has the best job in the world. She shares the clinic with Boo and Simon and her home with Babycat, Ferrous, Boo (another one), and Angelo.

Kansas City Cat Clinic
7107 Main St.
Kansas City, MO 64114

Phone: 816-361-4888
Email: kccatclinic@gmail.com

Website: http://www.kccatclinic.com/
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From Fat to Fit – Get Your Cat’s Sexy Back!

Jul 15, 2011 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Tips & Advice

Franklin was an adorable kitten when he came into my office for his first checkup. Before long, though, his obsession with food had resulted in a young cat who weighed nearly two times what he should. Franklin’s owners knew there was a problem and switched from leaving regular food out all day to a diet food and cutting back on portions. Problem was that Franklin was very unhappy with this new state of affairs, and his constant meowing and begging for food was disrupting the household.

When I next saw Franklin, this two year old, gorgeous black and white cat could barely jump and weighed in at 22 pounds, which was a far cry from his ideal weight of 10 pounds. His owners were desperate. They were literally feeding him a quarter of a cup of diet dry food a day, and he was ravenously hungry and both cat and family were miserable and looking for help. Franklin was gobbling up his food and anything else that came his way—bread, iceberg lettuce, potato chips and Oreo cookies all went down the hatch. He was dangerously overweight but felt like he was starving!

And Franklin is by no means a rarity. Statistics show that nearly 75% of all cats in the United States are overweight, and a sizeable chunk of those cats are obese. This dramatically impacts their health and overall wellness, and just like with people, the extra pounds can contribute to blood sugar problems, lack of mobility and heart disease.

Most of us grew up hearing that cats need dry food for their teeth and that canned food is a “junk food” with little nutritional value. But reality is very different. Cats are what are called obligatory carnivores, which means they need to eat meat to survive. Dry foods are loaded with carbohydrates, which is how they achieve that dry cereal consistency. Dogs have digestive systems that process carbohydrates quite efficiently, and like so many things in pet care, dogs came first to the table. Cat foods originated as spin offs from dog foods, and even though cat physiology is very different than that of the dog, dry cat foods quickly caught on and became the accepted cat food choice.

Fast forward to 2007. Nutritional studies that focused strictly on the cat identified one key reason for cat obesity. Because cats are pure carnivores, they have difficulty digesting carbohydrates, which has led researchers to speculate that the extra carbs may enhance fat accumulation and drive blood sugar levels up. Canned cat food is cereal-free, so all those carbohydrates get bypassed. Another advantage of canned food is that it is much lighter in calories than an equivalent amount of dry food.

One other piece of the puzzle that researchers looked at was what makes a cat feel full. Protein levels in food seems to affect satiety, so the higher amounts of protein in canned food leave cats feeling content and not deprived. The actual volume of food in the stomach also factors in, so this is why tiny amounts of dry food, which tend to have much less protein density than canned food, will not help your cat feel full.

So we converted Franklin into a canned food junkie, and gave him lots of it—two tuna fish sized cans each day. Because you can never have your cake and eat it too when dieting, we eased him entirely off his dry food. He is down to 11 pounds and counting, and he has become as active as he should be. And most importantly, he is happy and doesn’t have a clue that he is eating fewer calories!

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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Not Grooming after Eating

Jun 11, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

One of the main reasons cats groom themselves after eating is that in the wild, cats want to protect themselves from predators, and want to eliminate any traces of blood that might have collected on their furs as they were hunting or eating.  So, today’s domestic cat carries on what its ancestors did by tidying up after eating.  If you find that your cat is not spending time sprucing up its appearance after a snack or a meal, it is possible that something is wrong.

Dental disease can lead to a decrease in how much a cat grooms, if not a complete stoppage of hair care.  Cats will often continue to eat when they have painful teeth, because many, many cats swallow their food, chewing very little if at all.  But once they have satisfied their bodies need for food, the discomfort they experience from having unhealthy gums or diseased teeth can lead to their deciding it just hurts too much to keep their fur clean.

Older cats who suffer from cognitive dysfunction and stressed out kitties, who are having trouble sharing their homes with other cats, can also not groom after eating like they should.  Your senior cat might need some help in the grooming department and your sensitive cat might need for you to make sure it eats by itself and has some private time when it won’t have to worry about sharing its space with another cat.

If you have a cat that doesn’t groom after eating, it is possible your kitten or cat skipped that class in kitten school, making it normal for your cat not to groom after eating,   To be safe, discuss the fact that your cat doesn’t clean up after eating when you take your cat to your veterinarian for its regular semi-annual or annual visit.  Your veterinarian should perform a thorough physical exam; including taking a good look at your cat’s teeth and gums.

Dr Diane Eigner

Diane Eigner graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School in 1980. Dr. Eigner established her exclusively feline practice, The Cat Doctor, in Philadelphia in 1983, and began offering house call services at the Jersey Shore in 1991. She is a past president of the University of Pennsylvania’s Veterinary School Alumni Society, a Past President of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and is a member of the advisory board of Harcum Junior College’s Veterinary Technical School. Diane has been the consulting veterinarian for the Morris Animal Refuge since 1983. Doctor Eigner’s column “Ask The Cat Doctor” appeared in the Cat Fancier’s Almanac from 1996-2000. Diane joined the Catalyst Council’s board as the American Association of Feline Practitioner’s representative in 2009. She is now serving as the immediate past-chair of the Catalyst Council.

An avid Sailor, Diane loves nothing better than to be at the Jersey shore where she keeps her sailboat, Purrfect, and where she has a second home. Since meeting her husband, Fred Turoff, Temple University’s Men’s gymnastics team head coach, her family life has been dominated by men’s gymnastics. Her son Evan is a level ten gymnast that competes nationally and will join her husband’s division I men’s gymnastics team in the fall.. Diane also shares her life with three very entertaining cats. Though she shouldn’t have a favorite, her Sphynx cat, Velvet, which she rescued at the shelter where she consults, is the cat love of her life. Her integrated home also includes a Welsh Corgi named Twinks, two Cornish Rex cats, Naui and Padi and a Russian Tortoise.

The Cat Doctor
535 North 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Phone: (215) 561-7668
Fax: (215) 561-3616
Email: meow@thecatdr.com

Website: http://www.thecatdr.com
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Dental Problems

Jun 9, 2011 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Tips & Advice

Have you or someone you loved ever had problems with their teeth? Dental pain from abscesses, tooth fractures and deep cavities can make life miserable for anyone, including our cats. Pain can be sharp and stabbing, a dull ache, or associated with pressure on contact with hot or cold foods.

Our cats can’t tell us when their mouths hurt. Instead, they may eat less, refuse hard kibbles, or tilt their head back and forth to avoid the sensitive spots when eating. They may drop food. Chronic pain can cause your friendly and happy cat to become irritable or reclusive.

I rechecked one of our dentistry patients today after he had some major dental work done last week. This wonderful cat, who we will call Oscar, was brought in to see us because he had not been as interactive as usual and was hiding quite a bit. On physical examination, we could see that Oscar had quite a bit of inflammation in his mouth but no obvious fractures of his teeth. Oscar seemed uncomfortable when his mouth was examined. We scheduled Oscar’s dental teeth cleaning for the next day.

Cats frequently develop cavity lesions at the gum line or underneath the gums. Consequently, obtaining dental X rays is very important to evaluate every cat’s mouth. Any dental work in cats and dogs needs to be performed under anesthesia as they will not sit there and open their mouths for us to work on!

Oscar had 2 abscessed teeth (both of his lower canine teeth) and 3 additional teeth with large cavity lesions. All 5 teeth had to be extracted. Oscar was treated with antibiotics and pain medication.

At today’s follow up examination, Oscar is now pain free. He is eating his dry kibble with gusto and is no longer painful when handling his mouth. Oscar’s extraction sites are healing well. Oscar’s family is amazed that he is now back to his normal social self less than a week after major extractions were performed. Oscar is a great example of how important good dental health is for our cats. Oscar will now be having his teeth brushed and will be eating a prescription dental diet to help prevent future problems. What are doing to help your cat’s teeth? Oscar says to have your cat’s teeth evaluated by your veterinarian now!

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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That Mysterious Third Eyelid

Jun 5, 2011 by     23 Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

For many owners, the appearance of their cat’s third eyelid is cause for great concern and confusion.  Never fear- it can often indicate a problem, but with a little information, you can better determine why this might be happening and how quickly your cat needs professional medical attention.

First, a bit of background:  The third eyelid provides an extra layer of eye protection for cats and many other animals.  Other names for the third eyelid include the nictitating membrane, nictitans and haw.  Arising from the corner of the eye nearest the nose, the retractable third eyelid can be hidden from view or can extend across the surface of the eye.  It is white to light pink in color and lies on top of the eye, but underneath the eyelids.  It contains cartilage and a tear-producing gland at its base.  When irritated, it can appear reddened.

While birds and reptiles can actively move this protective eyelid into position, in cats the movement is passive. It is kept hidden by forward pressure of the eyeball in the socket. When danger to the eye is anticipated ( such as in a cat fight), cats use a special muscle behind the eye to pull it back into the socket slightly, allowing the third eyelid to quickly move up and across the surface of the eye. If the eye does become injured and painful, cats will use this special muscle to pull back the eye slightly and allow the third eyelid to cover the eye as protection.

Damage to the nerve control of the third eyelid will also result in a prominent (or more visible) third eyelid.  Damage affecting one eye can occur due to an injury or inflammation after surgery (especially ear or dental surgery).

If you notice that one of your cat’s third eyelids is covering one eye more than the other, it is likely that your cat has injured that eye.  Eye injuries are painful and can become serious quickly, so you should seek veterinary care right away.

What does it mean if both third eyelids are visible?  There are a variety of reasons for this to occur.  First of all, when cats are in a deep sleep or have been given a sedative, the third eyelids can become prominent.  If your cat has lost a lot of weight, the fat pad behind the eyes may also have decreased in size, changing the position of the eye in the socket and allowing the third eyelid to become visible.  Rarely, inflammation due to a neurologic, respiratory or intestinal infection can affect the nerve control of the third eyelid.   Your cat should be examined by a veterinarian in order to determine a likely cause and how best to treat the condition.

If you have never seen your cat’s third eyelid, and want to know what to look for, ask your veterinary at your cat’s next check-up.

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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Excessive Drooling

Jun 4, 2011 by     70 Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

When cats drool, we should always wonder what is causing this symptom.  Although some cats will drool when they are purring excessively and really comfortable, most drooling cats are having a problem that needs our attention.  An outdoor access kitty may have some of the most serious culprits to blame such as a broken jaw, or some other head trauma, including battles with other animals.  Indoor only cats can avoid these episodes but may still have reason to drool excessively.  In many cases the drooling is directly due to pain, so it  should be addressed immediately.

Dental disease is the most common reason to drool for indoor only cats.  This type of drooling is often associated with a foul odor and sometimes even blood in the drool.  These additional findings at home absolutely dictate that the cat be examined immediately.  Most cats are not receiving home care (getting their teeth brushed daily!) and most owners do not inspect their cats teeth with any frequency at all.  Genetics are the primary factor in a cat’s tendency to develop dental disease and  some studies indicate as many as two thirds of cats have dental lesions by age 3.  Resorptive lesions of the teeth are the most common type of dental disease in a young cat.  In addition to these common resorptive lesions, we also see classic periodontal disease of the mouth where tartar has invaded the gum line and destroyed the periodontal ligament.  The difficulty of home care and the reluctance of cats to allow oral inspection dictate that they have an oral exam often; and, that we are proactive with dental prophylactic cleanings to identify and minimize these problems.  Drooling will commonly be seen with all forms of dental disease, including infectious stomatitis, peridontal disease and odontoclastic resorptive lesions.

Another cause of drooling in an indoor only cat would include an oral mass.  We do see mouth cancer in cats and early treatment is crucial to success.  Unfortunately many oral cancers do not leave us with favorable treatment options.  These cats often have swelling of their face, and sometimes even a deviation of their normal jaw alignment.  If your cat allows, open and close their mouth as you look from the front.  The jaws should “go together” nicely and then we know the cat has proper dental occlusion.  Sometimes, periodontal disease will cause swelling of the face and poor dental occlusion.  A veterinarian can help you differentiate these causes upon oral exam.  Any excessive drooling should be seen by the doctor, especially if poor dental occlusion is noted. Mouth cancer is most common in older to middle aged cats, rarely seen before about 7-8 years of age.

Indoor only cats sometimes get bored and I have seen foreign bodies lodged in the oral cavity.  I removed a sewing needle that had imbedded in the hard palate of a bored indoor only kitty.  I also removed a very stubborn twigg that had lodged in an outdoor access cat’s mouth.  Both if these cats had excessive drooling and the drool had begun to smell foul.  Fortunately, they both recovered very well.  It is worth mentioning that all causes of excessive drooling seen in the indoor only cat can also be seen with outdoor access kitties.

The final cause of drooling to cover is drooling due to nausea.  Many cats are nauseous, even though they do not vomit.  Some cat doctors even go as far as to say that inappetance or anorexia is the most common sign of nausea.  Many of these cats will drool either periodically or consistently.  If a cat drools when food is placed in front of them, and they then do not consume the food, nausea should be considered.  Causes of nausea are numerous and many cases have multiple causes.  As you can see from this blog, a drooling cat should be seen by a veterinarian very soon after the symptom is noted.

Dr Michael Ray

Dr. Ray is a Marietta Georgia native and graduate of Osborne High School. He received his bachelor of science at Georgia Southern University, and went on to graduate with his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Florida in 1997. After graduation, Dr. Ray completed an internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at Animal Specialty Group in Los Angeles.

Dr. Ray has spent most of his career working in Feline Only hospitals, and is very excited to have the opportunity to own his own cat practice. Dr. Ray has been the Medical Director of The Cat Clinic of Roswell since March 2008.

The Cat Clinic of Roswell
1002 Canton Street
Roswell, GA 30075

Phone: 770-552-PURR (7877)
Fax: 770-552-8855
Email: info@catclinicofroswell.com

Website: http://www.catclinicofroswell.com/
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What Makes a Shiny Coat

Jun 4, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

“Doctor, she seems OK to me, but I see all these white specs on her back, she looks all rumpled, and she won’t let me comb her at home….”

What did your veterinarian say about your cat’s coat during the last checkup?

If your cat has dandruff, a dull or unkempt coat, that’s just not right. Help is on the way!

With the exception of those darling Devon and cute Cornish Rex cats that look like they just came from the beauty parlor where they got a perm, or those velvety-skinned “naked”  Sphinx, a cat should normally have a smooth and shiny coat, and it should glisten when basking in a sunbeam and after your cat grooms itself.

What does it mean if your cat’s coat is dull?

We know that cats normally groom themselves to keep their coat clean and to remove the dead hair. They have little barbs on their tongue that act just like a hairbrush that many of us use every day. If your cat isn’t doing that, the dead hair will build up and can become matted, sometimes so severely they have to have their whole body shaved down to the skin!

Why does that happen?

There are many reasons your cat’s coat might be lacking its luster:

  • Pesky Parasites – Even indoors cats get fleas and other parasites. Make sure your cat receives safe and effective monthly preventatives as recommended by your veterinarian for your cat.
  • Dental Disease – If you’ve ever had a toothache, you know that mouth pain can prevent you from doing your normal activities. And while you don’t lick your skin, the same is true for cats, and dental disease is so common in our feline friends. Make sure your veterinarian checks for this and you follow their recommendations
  • Arthritis – 90% of older cats show signs of arthritis on x-rays- yet often don’t show outward signs that we recognize. If it hurts to bend like they need to when giving themselves a ‘tongue-bath,’ they just won’t do it!
  • Skin Irritations – can be caused by all different allergies- everything from pollens and other environmental allergens to parasite reactions to food and medicines.
  • Internal Illnesses – Stealth diseases like diabetes, intestinal problems and thyroid conditions can routinely cause problems with cats’ hair and skin.

What should I do?

Don’t guess or get your answers from “Dr. Google”- your veterinarian is the expert can perform a thorough examination of your cat which will find the reasons for dandruff, a dull or matted coat or any other external problems you can see. Then they can prescribe the best course of action or treatment– whether that’s parasite treatment, special shampoo, a supplement or other medication; your cat is an individual!

Finally- remember, even if everything looks OK- just because you can see it, it’s best to make sure  by having your veterinarian  examine your well cat twice a year- for life!

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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Lethargic Cats and How You Can Tell it is a Problem

Jun 3, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

I’m lying on the couch as I write this with two of my cats asleep beside me. The third is in her little house sleeping. I ask myself "How can I tell if they are lethargic? They do tend to sleep a lot. They’re also getting older. Isn’t this just normal aging?"

As a feline veterinarian, I know that the answer is yes and no. Cats do tend to sleep a lot… in fact, they lie still for about 16-20 hours a day and that is normal. However, subtle changes in behavior can be early signs of problems.

So how do we know when these subtle changes are signs of problems? It is challenging because cats are both predators and prey. This means that it can be life-threatening to "admit" to being vulnerable. This makes it a challenge to determine when changes in your cat’s activity levels are normal or signs of a problem! Our feline friends are experts are hiding when they are sick. This is an excellent strategy in the wild, but maybe not as useful in modern household situations.

One of the best ways to determine the differences between normal aging and illness is a comprehensive physical examination. Something as simple as a change in body weight or blood pressure can be very telling. Sometimes more in-depth testing such as blood and urine tests or X-rays can help establish a diagnosis. Cats are very stoic and are good at hiding the signs of underlying problems, especially of pain. Regular exams allow us to ask questions about your cat’s habits, behavior and current activities that may shed light on potential concerns.

Even if your cat is young and healthy, regularly scheduled exams provide us with a "baseline" for comparison in the future should there be any medical problems. If we find subtle changes, we may recommend testing now or recommend specific monitoring at future visits.

Given that cats age more rapidly than humans, twice a year visits really aren’t excessive. In fact, they may help us to detect problems early, before they become advanced.

These days, thanks to good lifestyles and early detection of the subtle signs of sickness, 15 is the new 10 for cats, just like 50 is the new 40 for their human friends. Check out Healthy Cats For Life for more info.

The Feline Age Chart

Adapted from Metzger FL, Senior and Geriatric Care Programs for Veterinarians in Vet Clin Small Anim 35 (2005) 743-753.

Age Relative Age* Senior Geriatric
6 40    
7 44    
8 48    
9 52  
10 56  
11 60  
12 64  
13 68  
14 72  
15 76  
16 80  
17 84  
18 88  
19 92  
20 96  

* Relative age in human years

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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