Saturday, April 23, 2011

Check Into It!

There seems to be a disturbing rumor out in the world that every house cat has an ‘expiration date’.  Many clients have told me that they have been told every cat will eventually start peeing around the house, and then they will have to get rid of the cat.  While this seems ridiculous, it cannot be denied that a problem with ‘behavior’ is still far and away the number one cause for euthanizing or relinquishing cats in this country.  I’ve been writing about behavior issues, and many of these involve the litter box.  We make all of these recommendations in the hopes of preventing problems. 

I’d much rather talk about the ideal litter box than try to solve a problem of unknown duration.  If your cat is eliminating outside the box in any way, the first step is always the same:  Take your cat in to your veterinarian to rule out medical issues.  We all want to think it’s a ‘naughty cat’ situation that can be solved with a phone call, but even behavior issues often start with a physical problem, and that requires a visit to your veterinarian.  This is always the first line of every behavior book because no amount of behavior counseling will solve a physical problem.  Whether the problem is a bladder stone or a true behavior issue or something in between, we want to help.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Is There A Right Time For An Emergency?

This is probably a surprise to most of you, but we occasionally get very busy here at Belle City Veterinary Hospital.  The walk-in nature of our practice has in effect made us a day-time animal E.R. for Racine and the surrounding communities.  We tend to get a feast-or-famine flow (or lack of flow) to the day.  Recently, during a particularly large rush of sick patients, one of our Veterinary Technicians opined that clients must gather at the Walgreen's parking lot across the street until the numbers are sufficient for an overwhelming assault!  So far, we have kept just ahead of the crush, thanks in large part to your patience, and we do appreciate your patients.

If you have experienced one of these particularly busy times, you may have noticed that the order is mostly- but not always- first come, first served.  The reason for the departure may simply be that Fifi is only here for a nail trim or a booster shot or a pre-arranged drop-off for a test, etc.  Often, thought, a patient moving to the front of the line is a triage decision.  Triage is the decision to treat in a certain order based on need or urgency.  Conditions that will garner this most immediate attention are, in somewhat decreasing order; cardiac or respiratory arrest, respiratory distress, hemorrhage, active seizure, trauma, sudden collapse, etc.  We also expedite euthanasias to help decrease the stress of this difficult time; emotional triage, if you will.

Always remember that if your pet is experiencing a crisis, we will make that our first priority and thank you for your understanding when someone else is going through an emergency with their companion.  If possible, please notify us en route with the nature of your emergency and an ETA to help us prepare; sometimes seconds do count.

Brian C. Ray, DVM

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cat Tree

In our imaginary cat home, Nikki has invested a lot of time and money in providing a happy environment for her cats.  She’s particularly fond of the ‘cat tree’ she has next to her front window.  It has three levels for perches, the base is wrapped in sessil rope, and it’s covered in carpet.  (If she squints, she can convince herself that the carpet kind of matches her furniture.)  She bought it at a discount store, and her cats love it!  It serves a different purpose for each cat.  Prince, of course, claims the top level to survey his domain.  Maude thinks it’s worth the effort to spring up to the second level and bask in the morning sun.  Sparky likes to scamper up to the first or second level where he can watch the world or chirp at the birds outside or bat at Maude or Prince’s tail as it lazily waves back and forth.  Even Violet will use the sisal rope at the base of the tree to scratch out some of her inner frustrations.
A cat tree can be a very useful tool for a multiple cat household – especially if you live in a small space.  It’s a way to ‘cheat’, if you will.  It makes more effective use of your vertical space without  occupying any additional floor space.  That being said, I’ve seen as many great cat trees as I’ve seen prohibitive prices.  If you can’t afford a fancy cat tree, try to think of other ways to provide cat perches around your house.  If I leave the room when I clean out my linen drawers, I invariably find a cat in the drawer the moment I return.  If you can place a blanket or pillow in a secluded drawer in a closet or entertainment center, a shy cat like Violet will be able to watch the world without being seen.  Be creative.  Look for good perches and then create a cat spot that blends with your d├ęcor.  If you have great ideas, send us some pictures.  We’ll post them and inspire others!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Look What's New!

We have just received a great new combination preventative called Trifexis! 
It prevents heartworm disease,
treats and controls adult hookworms, roundworms and whipworms, 
kills fleas (within 30 minutes) and prevents infestations.
All in a tasty, so my dogs tell me, beef flavored tablet.
Best of all, no topical insecticides to mess with !

Ask us about how your pets can benefit from Trifexis today!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Location, Location, Location

The other day, I was scooping out the litter box in my bathroom.  One of my cats, Grady, trotted in, saw me scooping, and swung around the corner to use one of our other litter boxes.  Litter box tip of the week:  Choose multiple litter box locations around your house because when you gotta go, you gotta go!

Happy Weekend!

Kelley Wagner, CVT

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Are You Planting Your Garden?

Does Hairy sniff along the row behind you digging up bulbs?

Is your dog just a digger, or is he a chewer?  If he's a chewer, here are some plants to avoid:

Azaleas, Lilies, Daffodils, Geraniums and Tulip bulbs are all poisonous for dogs and cats.  Fertilizer, insecticides, and many lawn care products can also be toxic to pets.  Always follow label instructions and keep dogs and cats off of freshly treated lawns.  For a more complete leist of poisonous plants, call us or check out the ASPCA website. The ASPCA also has a 24-hour phone consultation line available if you suspect your pet has been poisoned.  This nunmber is 1-888-426-4435.  There is a $65.00 charge per call.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

All The Way Home

A few days ago, we worked with a beautiful new tortoiseshell kitten who was in heat.  Missy needed an exam, vaccines, and pre-operative blood work for that all-important spay.  Even though we went slowly and took lots of petting breaks between ‘indignities’, Missy was still huffy and hissy by the time she went back into her carrier.  Observing her, her owner wisely decided that she’d probably keep her away from the dogs for the afternoon – for the dogs’ own safety!

With that in mind, here are a few tips for the trip home after a veterinary visit.  First, if you’re bringing two cats to see us, please bring two carriers.  Two cats who travel well to the veterinary office might not travel so well after the invasion of personal space involved with a yearly exam.  Similarly, when you get kitty home, consider giving her time away from your other cats (or dogs).  Not only have we interrupted the all-important feline routine of eating, sleeping, and predicting sun spots, but kitty smells like the veterinarian and may be feeling or acting a little funny.  She may want to blame the other cats, and they may react unkindly to her strange behavior.  Don’t worry, after a few hours, all will be forgotten and harmony will be restored.