February 2010 - Cheshire Cat Feline Health Center - San Diego, CA

Cheshire Cat Feline Health Center

4680 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92117



February, 2010

February is underway and the team at Cheshire Cat Feline Health Center is busy celebrating Dental Awareness Month! We are diligently educating cat lovers about dental health, preventative care and the importance of professional dental cleanings and periodontal treatments. Did you know that even young cats can have dental disease? Please read more below.


Hyperthyroidism (an abnormally high level of thyroid hormone) is another common disease in feline patients. Often, subtle symptoms elude owners. Want to learn more? Read on....


Valentine's Day is the purr-fect time to show your fabulous feline how close he or she is to your heart. According to statistics, 50% of owners celebrate their pet's birthday and 67% celebrate holidays with their pet! Of course, the Cheshire Cat team would not recommend presenting kitty with a giant box of chocolates, but perhaps a soft new bed to cuddle in or a fresh catnip mouse toy? The strong bond between human and animal is an amazing one. It's not hard to imagine that the inevitable death of a pet is as painful as losing any friend or family member. Being prepared may help ease some pain. Please read more below.


Dental Awareness Month


Dental disease is one of the most common treatable illnesses that we see everyday. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, by 3 years of age 70% of cats have gum disease. Dental disease affects the entire body including the heart, kidneys and liver, putting stress on these organs and impeding their proper function.


At Cheshire Cat Feline Health Center, we provide full service care. Before performing a dental treatment, your cat will have a physical exam and undergo blood screening to assess the body functions. An intravenous catheter will be placed to allow administration of anesthesia and fluids during the procedure.


Dentistry must be preformed under general anesthesia for proper evaluation of the oral cavity, deep cleaning under the gum line and to take x-rays. Although not without some risk, anesthesia is generally very safe and all precautions are taken to decrease risks. Our team closely monitors your cat's vital signs visually and with the aid of a stethoscope, thermometer, EKG, blood pressure monitor and pulse oximetry. Heat support is also provided throughout the procedure.


Your cat's teeth will be scaled above and below the gum line and the periodontal pockets explored and charted. Digital x-rays are then taken, if needed, to allow the veterinarian to evaluate the root and pulp chamber of the teeth and decide if extractions are necessary. Cats often have teeth with resorptive lesions (FORLs) that are painful and require extraction. SEE PICTURES  Lastly, the teeth are polished and fluoride treatment applied. Pain medication and antibiotics will be given as needed.

Home care can be difficult but will greatly benefit your cat's health and decrease the frequency at which cleanings must be performed. Tooth brushing with specially formulated paste for pets, CET dental treats and Hill's T/D diet are available and can help make this a bit easier for you.


Help your cat live long and keep that Cheshire Cat Smile!

Read more on our website.


Focus on Hyperthyroidism


One of the many diseases commonly diagnosed in cats every year is hyperthyroidism. The thyroid gland is located in the neck and plays a very important role in regulating the body's rate of metabolism.  Hyperthyroidism is a disorder characterized by the overproduction of thyroid hormone and a subsequent increase in the metabolic rate.  This is a fairly common disease of older cats. 


Many organs are affected by this disease, including the heart.  The heart is stimulated to pump faster and more forcefully; eventually, the heart enlarges to meet these increased demands for blood flow.  The increased pumping pressure leads to a greater output of blood and high blood pressure.  About 25% of cats with hyperthyroidism have high blood pressure. Although the thyroid gland enlarges, it is usually a non-malignant change (benign).  Less than 2% of hyperthyroid cases involve malignancy.


What should an owner look for?

The following are common signs of hyperthyroidism. It is important to note though, that several diseases can share similar signs. If you notice any of the following, an examination with the veterinarian should be scheduled.


Increase in appetite, weight loss, increased water intake and urination, periodic vomiting or diarrhea, changes in hair coat or grooming habits. 


An examination by the veterinarian, including a thorough history taking, is the first step to diagnosis followed by a blood panel to measure the level of thyroid hormone being produced. Sometimes, additional tests, such as blood pressure testing and diagnostic imaging, may be warrented.


Because less than 2% of these cats have cancerous growths of the thyroid gland, treatment is usually very successful.  There are three choices for treatment; any one of them could be the best choice in certain situations.  Many factors must come into consideration when choosing the best therapy for an individual cat. 


Treatment options:

Life-long, daily medications

Radioactive iodine treatment

Surgical removal of gland (much less common)

When possible, tests are done before any form of treatment begins.  These tests are needed to evaluate the overall health of the cat and predict the chances for complications.  Such tests include blood tests, urinalysis, and x-rays; in some cases an EKG, blood pressure determination, and cardiac ultrasound may be performed.


With proper treatment and monitoring, hyperthyroidism can have a good prognosis and cat's can live several years with the disease.


The Human Animal Bond


The bond between animals and humans is a fascinating topic. Animals offer their human caretakers unconditional love and companionship. Day after day, our pets greet us and comfort us through good times and bad. This is something we may never experience with another human being. As a result, the relationship that pets and people forge may not be comparable to that of a human one. It is unique and immeasurable!


As pet owners, we are the caretakers and wholly responsible for the health and well-being of our beloved furry friends. Caring for a pet can even be compared to raising a child. In fact, many pet owners would say their pet is like one of the family and that pet's needs rank right up there with the rest!


Because of this incredible bond, the last years of a pet's life can be incredibly difficult for an owner. Each decision may be met with doubt and guilt as we agonize over choices we alone must make. Planning ahead may help lessen the pain.


The veterinary health care team is often asked the question, "When is it time?" This is a very personal and individual choice that you may be faced with. The following are some questions the veterinarian may ask you to consider when evaluating the quality of your pet's life.

  • Is my pet eating and drinking well?
  • Does he/she interact with surroundings?
  • Does my pet still have that "twinkle" in his/her eyes or is it dulled?
  • Is he/she playful and affectionate towards me?
  • Is my pet in apparent pain or discomfort?
  • Can my pet perform grooming and eliminating habits with dignity?
  • Are there other treatment options available?


The choice to euthanize a pet is another very personal experience. Each person will need to decide what is best for him/her, his/her family and his/her pet. Some things to consider:

  • Will I want to be present during the euthanasia?
  • Will I say good-bye to my pet before the euthanasia because it is too painful for me to be present?
  • Will I want to be present with my pet during the procedure?
  • Do I want to be alone or should I ask a family member or friend to come with me?
  • Do I want any special burial/cremation arrangements made?
  • Do I need time to recover from this loss before considering adopting another pet?


When a pet dies, the grief is great, the loss deep.  Research suggests the grieving process for pet loss is similar to that experience in human loss. Understanding these stages may ease this process slightly.



  • Shock & Denial
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Depression & Loneliness
  • Hope


Everyone grieves differently and may experience some or all of these stages which should be acknowledged as genuine and normal feelings. It is ok to cry and hurt over the loss of a family member.


The love and companionship of a pet is irreplaceable and not easily forgotten. Time may help to lessen the pain of loss but our hearts will forever bear the foot prints of our beloved animal companions.


Many support resources exist to help owners through this process. Please visit our website for more information.

Read More


Next Month:

 Thank you for taking the time to read this newletter. We would love to hear your comments and feedback!


Please e-mail the Practice Manager, Diane, at cheshirecatmanager@gmail.com


In our March Newsletter:

    Is It Just A Hairball?

    Urinary Disease

        and more!