Spring is upon us
again! Remember your actions now will determine whether your pet has
more or less problems as the year continues. Now is the time to
prevent weed growth, which will result in foxtails, or burrs which may
become lodged in your pets' ears, eyes or skin later this year as the seed
heads begin to dry out. Mosquito control and regular use of monthly
Heartworm preventive medication is critical now to avoid the serious
consequences heartworms can cause in your pet. Flea control measures
including attention to the yard and house as well as using the monthly
flea control product Advantage on your pet will greatly reduce the
skin problems and itch your pet may have later this year. Performing
these preventive measures as well as continuing good grooming, feeding,
and health care will help keep your pet happier and healthier in the
Photo Contest: All Creatures
Veterinary Hospital will be having a photo contest this Spring!
Please submit a photograph of your pet at its best. Include your
name, address, and telephone number so we can contact you if you win. All
photos submitted will be placed in a container and one will be selected by
a random drawing on April 1, 1998. Photographs will not be returned
after the contest as we may be using them for display in our office.
Good luck !!!
In many of the articles we write, an
attempt is made to compare the importance of a procedure we might receive
from our medical doctor to one that an animal may receive from a
veterinarian. This is a logical approach because many of our
internal systems operate in a similar manner. For example, we stress
the importance of an annual examination, especially for geriatric
patients. This is similar to what you hear from your family
doctor. Likewise, the American Dental Association loudly encourages
us to visit our dentist at least twice a year. Indeed, proper dental
health is crucial to our overall health profile as well as to our quality
of life. So too with the animals in our life.
The American Veterinary Medical Association
estimates that 85% of all dogs and 50% of all cats require dental
work. Pets with dental problems are easy to spot. Take a
minute and do two things:
Look at your pet's teeth &
gums. Then ask:
Is there a plaque buildup on my pet's
Is there a brownish material (tartar)
that covers my pet's teeth?
Do my pet's gums look red, swollen or
Smell your pet's breath - is it foul
If you answer yes to any one of the
questions above, your pet should undergo a dental procedure. If you
are unsure, let us examine your pet for an accurate diagnosis.
A routine dental procedure for a pet is
similar to one you receive from your family dentist. The only
exception is that we usually administer a short acting general anesthetic,
necessary for a thorough job. Modern anesthetics, identical to those
used on people, are gentle on organ systems with fast, uneventful
recoveries. We then scale the plaque and any tartar build-up from
your pet's teeth. If this is not done, the bacteria in the tartar
will eventually inflame the pet's gums causing periodontal disease.
Left untreated, the constant exposure to bacteria from the inflamed gums
may adversely affect your pet's liver, kidneys and other vital organs.
We stated it was natural to compare human
and veterinary medicine as they pertain to our personal and pet's health
maintenance. One thing we didn't mention is that many of the ads
promoting human dental products and procedures hint that a brighter smile
and better breath will make you more appealing! We are not ready to
go that far in our human-animal comparisons but we do know that good
dental health is good preventive medicine and an investment in your pet's
teeth makes good sense. Call us today for an appointment.
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR PROBLEMS
CONCERNING YOUR CAT'S USE OF THE LITTER BOX, PLEASE READ THIS!
Thanks to the litter box, there really
isn't much training involved in owning a cat. This differs
significantly from a puppy who has to be painstakingly trained. What
is it that draws a cat to a litter box in the first place?
Like most good things in life, a
"Mom" is generally involved. A kitten's first introduction
to a litter box comes from its mother. However, it's a cat's
instinct of self-preservation that plays the biggest role.
In the wild, where dangers abound, cats
busy their feces to keep predators away from their habitat. Our
domestic cats continue this habit which makes them such good
companions. The urge to hide their presence is so strong that even
if a cat eliminates outside its box, the cat will still go through the
motions of digging and covering.
Although the litter box habit is deeply
ingrained, there are several instances in which a cat may stop using the
box. With its sensitive nose, any cat would be turned off by a box
that isn't scooped frequently. Cleaning the box of its contents on a
daily basis may solve the problem. If this fails, consider whether
your cat is ill. Increases in water intake or urinary tract
infections can cause changes in litter box behavior. If you suspect
that Kitty isn't feeling well, give us a call. If your cat gets a
clean bill of health, judge such factors as type of litter or household
Some cats are picky about the type of
litter used. Scent and texture are very important to them. If
you are using a scented litter, try unscented. If you're using granular
litter, consider replacing it with soft, sand like clumping litter.
Such a simple change may make all the difference to our fastidious
If all else fails, try to think of any
recent changes that may have stressed your cat. Cats are creatures
of habit. A new baby, a new dog or cat, or a change in household
routing may disturb a sensitive cat. Moving the litter box can be
especially problematic. If possible, make changes gradually so your
cat will have time to adjust, and give Kitty extra attention to combat any
If you have any specific questions, give us
a call. We're here to help you and your cat.
Good grooming is important to your pet and consists of:
Hair Treatment - Combing or brushing needs vary
according to the length and coat type of the pet. In general, pets
should be brushed once or twice a week. Use a groomer's glove,
brush, or comb that does not irritate the skin. Routine brushing is
essential for cats as it reduces the chance of hair balls.
Bathing - Pets need baths because tongues are not
adequate cleansing tools. use a shampoo formulated for pets and
lather their coats in a petting motion while you talk to them
reassuringly. Place a small wad of cotton in the outer ear.
Rinse thoroughly. Towel dry you pet using the same petting motion as
you did for the bath.
Nail Trimming - You can try using a
"human" nail trimmer but one designed for pets generally works
best. Trim just in front of the pink area or "dermis" which
contains nerves and blood vessels. If this can't be seen, trim the
nail just below the point where it starts to curve down.
Ear Cleaning - Don't wait until you start to
detect strange odors coming from your pet's ears - a tell tale sign of ear
infection. To avoid damaging the eardrum, clean only that part of
the ear that you can see. A small amount of wax in the ear is
important to help protect the ear canal from foreign objects.
As always, give us a call if you have any
questions or need further assistance.
If Fido or Kitty looks like they're
carrying a few extra pounds, these tips may be helpful. (If you
believe that your pet is overweight, it is best to have this confirmed by
the veterinarian to rule out the presence of any medical problems.)
The number one cause of obesity in
animals (44% of dogs, 12% of cats) is eating more calories than the
animal expends. Sound familiar? The easiest way to decrease your
pet's weight is to stop giving you pet table scraps and cut down on
the biscuits between his or her meals.
Increase your pet's physical
activity. The exercise will burn off the calories and make your
pet feel better. A routine walk on a leash at night is great for
you and your pet. (Note: Exercise may be inappropriate for pets in
Consider changing your pet's
diet. We can suggest the type of foods that are best for your
pet and the amount you feed them. Of course, this depends upon
his or her age, medical history and the severity of the weight
Some people stop feeding their pets
when they think a weight problem is present. This is not a good
idea. The reduced food intake will not satisfy your pet's hunger
and it may cause a vitamin, mineral or protein deficiency.
If your pet has a history of medical
problems, talk with us first. Together we can construct a weight
loss program that best fits the needs of you pet.
If you think Fido or Kitty is carrying
around too much excess weight, give us a call before you begin a weight