Friday, February 17, 2012

Have We Seen Your Cat Lately?

Compared with dogs, pet cats don't get to see their vets as often, according to the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the American Animal Hospital Association. It is easy to understand why: cats are not always easy to find and then to get into their carriers, and they are often very stressed during the trip to the vet's office and during the visit itself. In addition, it may be mistakenly thought that cats are naturally healthier and more self-reliant than dogs and that, if something were wrong, signs would be noticed at home. Indoor-only cats may also be mistakenly thought to be at less risk of illness than cats who go outdoors, and therefore require less preventative care.

Unfortunately, cats are susceptible to a lot of health problems, regardless of their lifestyle, and, unlike dogs, they may hide signs of not feeling well until an illness as really progressed. Periodic physical examinations can help identify abnormalities before they turn into serious problems, sparing suffering and expense later. Cats' health can change fairly quickly, as well, so a clean bill of health this year does not necessarily mean next year's visit can be postponed.

At Animal Clinic at Equestrian Woods, we try to make the visit and exam as stress-free as possible. Getting cats used to both the carrier and traveling reduces the stress of getting here, so we can help keep feline family members healthy for a long, happy life.

Here are some tips to help cats get used to the carrier and travel to the vet:
  • Leave the carrier out at home with catnip or treats inside
  • Once he/she is comfortable in the carrier, take your cat with a favorite toy or treats on short rides in the car, gradually increasing distance as anxiety decreases. This shows that car rides don't always end at the vet clinic
  • Avoid feeding a couple of hours prior to travel
  • Minimize noise in the car-no loud music, no open windows, no sudden starts and stops. Sometimes a towel partially covering the carrier keeps carsickness at bay
  • Feliway, a synthetic feline facial pheromone, has a calming effect on cats when used in their carrier and the car about 30 minutes before travel
                                     Melissa Egan, DVM

Thursday, February 2, 2012

 Jennifer Carl-Howard, DVM
My teeth are fine!

   At the Animal Clinic at Equestrian Woods, the doctors and staff believe a healthy mouth is the most important avenue to a long and healthy life.  Did you know up to 80% of all pets have tartar and plaque on their teeth?  Many have broken, loose or abscessed teeth they never told you about! 
mmmm... worse than we thought

“But, my groomer brushes my dog’s teeth when they are in for a bath.”

 This is as ineffective as you brushing once a month!  Knowing my own morning breath is strong after only twelve hours, I cannot imagine waiting a month between brushings.  To be effective, daily brushing is required to prevent plaque and tartar.

teeth no one sees

                                                                                                                   “But my pet had his/her teeth cleaned a year ago.”     
 Plaque began to build on the teeth within 30 minutes of the last cleaning!  Plaque, when left on the teeth, turns to tartar in short order.  Tartar is like concrete, teaming with bacteria and food debris on the teeth.  No amount of brushing will remove tartar. 

“But, the anesthesia is dangerous, especially when they are older.”
 The risk of anesthetic reaction is very low with the new drugs available. At the Animal Clinic at Equestrian Woods, each anesthesia procedure is monitored start to finish by a technician.  A doctor is present throughout the entire procedure to assess possible oral disease.  Our patients are awake very quickly, usually within five minutes. 

diseased tooth which was extracted

 “But, my pet is not showing pain.  They are eating just fine.”

normal lower molar

 Our four legged friends are pre- programmed to hide illness.  This is a survival technique.  Animals with broken, abscessed, or cavity riddled teeth rarely show overt pain and rarely stop eating. 
 They live with the chronic pain and infection, which shortens their life. 

February is National Pet Dental Month!  This is a perfect time to assess your pet’s mouth and breath.  Our technicians will provide FREE screenings of your pet’s mouth.  If your pet is deemed to be one of the 80% needing a cleaning, we will provide FREE pre-operative blood screening, a $60 value, for routine dental cleanings scheduled for February.   We would be happy to discuss ways to help maintain a healthy mouth in your pet.  Please call with any questions or to set a time for your oral health check.    (859)  224-1418