Nothing is more frustrating than finding smelly cat urine on your furniture. Here are 3 tips to keep your feline friend peeing and pooping in the litterbox.
1. Rule out medical problems
2. Make it available
3. Keep it clean
Following these tips and treating any medical problems can greatly decrease the chance of your cat peeing or pooping outside the box - and make your home a happy place for both you and your cat!
Dog owners be aware: there's a new outbreak of canine flu slowly spreading towards our area. We were last hit with the H3N2 canine influenza in the summer of 2015, and many dogs were sickened with severe breathing problems.
What it does:
Flu can cause a lengthy illness that can vary from mild coughing and sneezing to full blown pneumonia requiring hospitalization and oxygen therapy. Most dogs initially get very lethargic with little appetite, then the coughing and sneezing show up a day or two later.
How it spreads:
The virus is highly contagious dog-to-dog, and cats are susceptible as well. We can accidentally bring the virus home to our pets through our hands, clothing, and shoes. Dogs can shed the virus for several days BEFORE they show any signs of illness, so it's impossible for even the most responsible owners to prevent contact. Once the dog becomes ill, they will shed the virus intermittently for the next 3-4 weeks and are contagious during that time.
How to protect your pet:
The good news - there is a new vaccine available to protect your pooch. 2 summers ago we had to use the older vaccine (against a different strain of the flu) and hope for some cross-protection, but not anymore. Ask your vet if your dog has received the H3N2 flu vaccine (or better yet, the bivalent vaccine that gets both strains). Your pet needs 2 immunizations 2-4 weeks apart for first-time protection, then a yearly booster.
Aside from vaccination, decrease contact with other dogs or areas where flu has been found. This may mean avoiding dog parks during an outbreak.
What to do if your pet is ill:
If your pet shows signs of respiratory disease or is sluggish with decreased appetite, give us a call. Mild cases only require supportive care at home, but severely affected dogs can need to be hospitalized. Keep your pet away from all other animals for 4 weeks to limit the spread of the flu, and decrease activity to give those lungs a rest during the recovery period. Expect the coughing to last several weeks, though it should improve steadily after the first 3-5 days. If at any point your pet's breathing is labored or they are taking more than 40 breaths per minute at rest, seek veterinary care without delay.
1 in 3 cats will develop kidney disease in her lifetime, so now's the time to learn about this insidious process and how to slow it down.
Signs of kidney disease:
Increased thirst and increased urine production are the hallmarks of kidney disease. In this stage, as long as your cat drinks enough water to keep herself hydrated she probably doesn't feel ill at all. As the disease progresses, however, the toxins that the kidney normally clears will build up in her bloodstream and make her feel sick. She can experience decreased appetite, weight loss, muscle loss, lethargy, vomiting, and sores in her mouth.
Early diagnosis is the key to your cat living a long and healthy life. Bring your cat in for yearly exams (and twice-yearly if 10 years old or older) so that we can help catch this process before she feels sick. A physical exam allows us to feel for changes in her kidneys, urinalysis looks for protein loss or dilute urine, and bloodwork checks for markers of kidney function. We recommend the new SDMA test for every cat over 7 years old as part of the annual bloodwork because it's the earliest indicator that something is changing in those kidneys. If we do find abnormalities in the lab work, we may recommend x-rays of her abdomen or an ultrasound to look for other possible causes that need different treatment.
What can I do?
Unfortunately, there's no proven way to prevent kidney disease in cats, and the loss of kidney function is often irreversible once it occurs. Offering canned food and encouraging water consumption with water fountains or faucets will help keep our cat companions hydrated, decreasing the stress on the kidneys throughout their lives.
Once we start to see changes in the kidney function the most important intervention is diet change. We need to feed the right amount of high quality protein to protect her muscles but not so much that it taxes her kidneys. There are several brands of prescription foods available, so we let the cat pick the one she likes best. Depending on the amount of protein being lost through her kidneys, we may also add in daily medication at this early stage. Later in the disease we supplement fluids to keep her hydrated, and use appetite stimulants and antacids to decrease the nausea.
With proper management, cats with kidney disease can live happy lives often for years after their first diagnosis. With this knowledge and the right interventions you can help slow down the progression of the kidney disease and give your cat far more time before she even knows she's ill.
Cats are amazing groomers and keep themselves beautifully clean – so if your kitty is drooling, something is wrong. Call us to schedule an appointment, and read on for the possible causes.
Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue www.flickr.com
Does your pet have allergies, or did he or she catch a bug? That's the main question when springtime illness hits.
We humans usually get runny noses and scratchy eyes when the pollen counts soar, but our pets show most of their allergies through their skin. So, if your dog or cat is sneezing, coughing, or chewing at her paws, it's time for a vet visit. We will do a thorough physical exam and help pinpoint the cause so we can get the treatment right the first time.
If your pet is suddenly coughing or sneezing, it could be an infectious disease. If you're reading this before illness hits, now is the time to make sure your dog's bordatella (kennel cough) and canine flu vaccines are up to date and that your cat is current on his FVRCP vaccine (a combo of respiratory diseases). Pets can spread infectious diseases well before they show any signs of illness, so even the most responsible owners can't always protect their pets from contact. Mild cases of kennel cough don't require treatment, but any pet who becomes lethargic, has a decreased appetite or a severe cough needs to be evaluated.
If scratching or licking are the main signs and your pet is on regular flea control, then environmental allergies can be the cause. Simple at-home remedies include:
Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure for allergies in pets, just like we humans pets can be life-long allergy sufferers. But there are many strategies to increase your pet's comfort with minimal side effects and therapies for long term maintenance to decrease the number of flare-ups.
Photo credit Tony Alter www.flickr.com