Saturday, July 30, 2011

Grandma and the Teenager

This month, one of our clients was considering adopting a sweet kitten named Mitzi.  He called to ask advice about introducing Mitzi to his 20-year-old cat Ella Mae.  We discussed all of the recommendations for introducing new cats like providing a safe room for the new kitten and introducing the cats very slowly under supervision so everyone can get to know each other without negative interactions.  We also discussed a few tips specifically for senior cats like Ella Mae.  We discussed that, at twenty years of age, Ella Mae is like a 100-year old person.  Imagine telling a 100-year-old grandma that she’s getting a new teenage roommate.   It takes some special consideration. 

First, we checked to see that Ella Mae had been in for recent blood work an exam, and vaccines (she is current on vaccines, and she had a blood panel drawn in February of this year).  We recommend that all cats and dogs be examined once a year, and this is especially important for our senior furry family members.  Many of our pets (especially cats) will hide problems as long as they can.  As we’ve discussed before, I find this frustrating because it makes it hard to catch problems early unless they get regular exams and blood work.  To me, it seems that these animals are balancing on a wire until some stressor (like a new kitten) tips them off balance, and a cascade of problems becomes apparent.  Luckily, Ella Mae’s blood work was clean as a whistle.  Still, her owner will be careful to minimize the stress on Ella Mae since she is such a senior girl and she’s used to her quiet routine. He’ll make sure he brushes her every morning as he’s always done and lets her sleep on his bed at night.   He’ll make sure he watches the interaction of his feline friends so that they’ll hopefully become lifelong friends.

Kelley Wagner, C.V.T.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Preventing Zoonotic Diseases

Here are some quick steps to best protect your family from zoonotic diseases (that is, disease that can be passed from pets/environment to you).

1.  Schedule annual or biannual veterinary visits for your pet, which should include fecal examinations.

2.  Keep your pet on year-round monthly parasite prevention, as recommended by your veterinarian.

3.  Keep pets indoors or supervised to discourage hunting, and do not feed pets raw or undercooked meats.

4.  Wash your hands frequently, especially after handling animals and working outdoors.  Be sure your children wash their hands after playing outside.

5.  Wash any wounds, even small nicks and cuts, promptly and thoroughly.

6.  Clean cats' litter boxes daily, wearing gloves, and always wash your hands immediately afterwards.  (though, if you're pregnant, you should avoid cleaning litter boxes altogether.  Have someone else do it for you.)

7.  Avoid approaching, touching, or handling stray animals.

8.  Cover children's sandboxes when they're not in use.

9.  Always wear gloves when gardening.

10.  Protect yourself from ticks by covering your body with a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and a hat.  Check for ticks after hiking, playing, or working in tick-infested environments.  Also consider using repellents.

Source:  firstline magazine * * April 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Litter Tip

Litter box tip of the day:  Sometimes it’s not the cat missing the box who has the health problem.  If an older cat such as Maude is having kidney problems or diabetes, she will be urinating larger amounts more often.  Another fastidious cat may object to the perpetually wet litter box and start looking for a cleaner, dryer place to eliminate.  You may need to take both cats to see your veterinarian.

Kelley Wagner, C.V.T.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dog Park Etiquette

  1. Always keep your eyes on your dog.  Mischief can happen quickly.
  2. Never leave your dog unattended.
  3. Be sure your dog is current on vaccines and has a valid license.
  4. Always clean up after your dog.
  5. Do not take more than three dogs to the park at one time.
  6. Do not take puppies younger than four months of age.
  7. Keep your dog on-leash until you get to the off-leash area.
  8. If your dog becomes unruly or plays rough, leash the dog and leave immediately.
  9. If you take children to the dog park, supervise them closely.
  10. Always observe all of the rules posted at the dog park.
  11. Make certain your pet has proper I.D.
These tips compliments of the Wisconsin Veterinary Referral Center (WVRC)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cat Scratch

Prince is the king of his ‘castle’.  You can tell by the scratch marks on Nikki’s couch, her chairs, even a few areas of the carpet.  She sometimes feels like her house looks a little too cat friendly.  Does your kitty have all of his claws?  Does he wreak havoc on your furniture?  Maybe these tips can help.

First, remember that scratching is a natural cat behavior.  Your cat is sharpening his claws, of course, but he’s also marking with his claws and with scent glands around his pads.  With this in mind, we need to provide a scratching location that is in a prominent area of the home (like the legs of the couch).  He also wants to stretch to his full length so everyone can see his mark, and we don’t want the covering of the post to shred when he scratches.  Instead of stashing a short, carpet-covered scratching post in the corner of the room, try a sturdy, sisal-rope covered post next to the couch.  (Don’t worry.  Once he starts using the post, we can gradually move it a little more out of the way.)  If he doesn’t run right over and start using the post, you can place his paws on it or even sprinkle a little catnip on the post to attract his interest. 

One more tip:  If you have more than one cat, a few scratching posts can help everyone to express their need to mark without feeling the need to mark in other, less acceptable ways or locations.

Kelley Wagner, C.V.T.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Did you know that~

::Getting lost is the #1 cause of death for pets.

::1 in 3 pets goes missing during it's lifetime.

::Without ID, 90% of pets never return home.

Pretty sad statistics.  Now, did you know that~

::  Microchipping is as simple as a vaccine visit.

::  That shelters and veterinary hospitals all have microchip scanners.

::  That the HomeAgain microchip network recovers 10,000 lost pets each month.

Is your pet microchipped?? 

For more information just ask us!  You can go to HomeAgain to find out more details.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!!

art from

The Doctors and Staff of
Belle City Veterinary Hospital
wish you and yours
a safe and happy
Independence Day!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Newer, Better?

Last week, we talked about thinking of our cats when we buy a litter box.  Now, let’s talk about the litter in the box.  Just as with litter boxes, you have many choices.  We have sandy litter, scoopable litter, crystal litter, and fresh-scented litter.  We have litter made from wheat, clay, and recycled newspaper.  How are we ever supposed to choose?  Newer is better, right?  Well, not always.  As with all things, cats are often traditionalists when it comes to their litter.  They often prefer a soft, sand-like substance such as a clumping litter.  They often seem to like a litter depth of about two to three inches, and it’s nice to give them a large, shallow box so they can dig and cover without flinging litter all over your room.  That being said, if your cat is fine with a newfangled litter, this is great.  We send home Yesterday’s News litter (made from recycled newspaper) with our declawed cats after surgery, and most cats have no problem with it. 

 Just remember to look at the litter with a cat perspective.  A flowery scent designed to make things smell better to us may be overpowering to a cat.  (I think of the look on my dad’s face when he walks into a Bath and Body Works store.)  Avoid lemon scented cat products since citrus is a cat deterrent.  If you want to try a new litter, remember that cats don’t like quick changes.  If a new cat litter catches your eye, invest in a new litter box.  Fill the new box with the new litter and place it next to the old litter box with your old litter.  If your cats are intrigued, they’ll try it.  If they like it, they’ll use it and you can transition to the new litter.  If you find a new kind that works, let us know.  We love the feedback, and we’ll pass it on to other clients.

Kelley Wagner, CVT