August 16th - 22nd is Take Your Cat To The Vet Week
National Take Your Cat to the Vet Week is August 16-22, 2010
Why a special week just for cats?? There are about 60 million "owned" cats in the USA and cats now outnumber dogs as household pets in the United States. They are popular as they can be kept entirely indoors, are more independent than dogs, and have a reputation of being "low maintenance" pets. However, cats can hide their illnesses well and many cat owners do not see the early symptoms. When cats are finally are brought to the vet, their illness may then require more diagnostic tests and treatments than if their illness had been caught early. If caught early, many illnesses can be either cured, brought into remission, or managed so that the cat enjoys a better quality of life.
The main reasons why cats are not seen by the vet as frequently as dogs are follow:
They seem "fine".
- The owner isn't aware of the importance of catching illnesses early.
- The cat hates the trip to the vet.
- The owner is concerned about the costs.
The top 10 reasons why cats are brought to the vet (according to Veterinary Pet Insurance) are:
- Lower Urinary Tract Disease
- Stomach upset
- Kidney disease
- Intestinal inflammation/Diarrhea
- Ear infections
- Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
- High Thyroid
Another reason why owners may not bring their cat to the vet when they should is because they do not know what the early warning signs are. These can include increased thirst/urinations, loss of appetite, losing weight, lethargy or sleeping more, eliminating outside of the litter box, coughing or having difficulty breathing, vomiting more frequently, or acting blind. This is not a complete list, more signs will be posted on our website.
One thing cats (and owners) really dread is the carrier. There are ways to help make the experience less stressful. Acclimating the cat to the carrier by having it out and available for "cat naps" can help minimize stress when the carrier suddenly appears. Place treats or catnip in the carrier. Use a pleasing pheromone spray (Feliway) to give the cat a sense of calmness and familiarity. Most cats resent being shoved face first into the carrier. Try placing the carrier upright on one end then lowering the cat down tail end first. Gently support the cat, holding the back and front legs together. For some cats, a sedative may be prescribed to be given before visiting the vet. Sedatives are meant to just "take the edge off" and help your kitty feel a little calmer.
A Record Flea Season
This chilly July (the coldest summer in 70 years of San Diego history) was not the only season to set a record!! Our clients are reporting a severe flea season as well. Why is that?
Some may think that fleas are becoming more resistant to topical products such as Advantage and Frontline but this is not the likely culprit. In fact, 80% of the fleas are not even living on the pet but rather hide deep in the carpet, under the couch, in the bedding and concealed in the closet. Even those with hardwood floors or tile can have infestations that go unseen. Therefore, it is imperative to treat not just the pet, but the house and yard as well. Even indoor pets can have a hitch-hiking flea brought into the home that infests the whole house!
Our veterinarians are still recommending Advantage as the first choice in topical control for cats. Advantage is very safe and can be applied as often as every 3-4 weeks throughout the year.
Because of our mild San Diego weather, it is recommended to apply flea control year round even when you don't see fleas. In severe infestations, Capstar, a fast-acting flea pill, can be given in addition to Advantage.
Capstar kills all fleas on the pet within a few hours but is only effective for one day. It is helpful when used along with Advantage to quickly knock down a large amount of fleas.
What can you use that's safe in the house? We recommend Fleabusters, a safe and non-toxic borate powder that dehydrates the flea.
Apply Fleabusters to the carpets, under the couch cushions, in the closets, under the bed... anywhere fleas hide. Fleabusters lasts in the home for up to a year!
For more information on any of these flea products, please call our office and we will be happy to help!
Pesky fleas are more than just irritating. Some pets can suffer severe skin allergies (Flea Allergy Dermatitis) from even just one bite.
Also, cats, especially young or debilitated cats, can become anemic from the blood lost to flea bites that can be life threatening.
Feline Myths and Facts
These are common misunderstandings that veterinarians frequently hear from pet owners, according to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Following is a list of popular myths that AAHA veterinarians and The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) would like to dispel.
Myth: Cats always land on their feet.
Fact: While cats instinctively fall feet first and may survive falls from high places, they also may receive broken bones in the process. Some kind of screening on balconies and windows can help protect pets from disastrous falls.
Myth: Cats that are spayed or neutered automatically gain weight.
Fact: Like people, cats gain weight from eating too much, not exercising enough or both. In many cases, spaying or neutering is done at an age when the animal's metabolism already has slowed, and its need for food has decreased. If the cat continues to eat the same amount, it may gain weight. Cat owners can help their cats stay fit by providing exercise and not over-feeding.
Myth: Pregnant women should not own cats.
Fact: Some cats can be infected with a disease called toxoplasmosis, which occasionally can be spread to humans through cat litter boxes and cause serious problems in unborn babies. However, these problems can be controlled, if the expectant mother avoids contact with the litter box and assigns daily cleaning to a friend or other family member. Gardening where cats or other animals have defecated should be avoided as well. Toxoplasmosis can also be spread through droppings from infected birds.
Myth: Indoor cats do not get fleas.
Fact: Fleas can jump through screens or ride in on your clothing. San Diego has perfect flea conditions and this year fleas are worse than ever!