Beautiful but Deadly…

Beautiful but Deadly…

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Lilies

A beautiful flower steeped in history, lilies are most often seen in the spring and celebrated as a symbol of joy, hope and life. But did you know that they are actually extremely dangerous to cats? With Easter just around the corner, we wanted to warn you about this lovely (yet extremely deadly) plant!

Toxicity in Cats

You may have heard that lilies are toxic to cats, but do you really know how toxic?

As little as ingesting 1-2 leaves, drinking the water from a vase or even licking the pollen off their coat can put a cat into acute kidney failure in as little as 24-72 hours with little chance of recovery without prompt, and I mean prompt, medical attention. Signs of poisoning usually occur within 6-12 hours after exposure.

Types of Lilies and Their Affects

The most dangerous lilies are specifically of the genus Lilium (Lilium sp.) or Hemerocallis (Hemerocallis sp.). This includes the tiger lily, Asiatic lily, Japanese lily, stargazer lily, wood lily, Easter lily, daylily, rubrum lily, and Western lily, to name the most common.

Other species of lilies have certain toxicities as well, although not causing acute kidney failure.

Calla, peruvian and peace lilies are  irritating to a cat’s mouth and digestive tract. They can cause drooling, pawing at the mouth, foaming and vomiting.

Lily of the valley can affect the heart, causing low blood pressure and irregular heartbeats. These affects can progress to seizures, coma and even death in both dogs and cats.

If your cat is seen or you suspect they have ingested any part of a lily plant, please bring them and the plant to your nearest veterinarian immediately. There is no time to spare. Aggressive IV fluid therapy and supportive care must be initialized as quickly as possible for the best chance of your cat recovering.

With Easter and Mother’s day around the corner we also encourage you to tell your friends and family about these dangers and to dispose of any lilies you may receive in a bouquet or be sure to keep them well out of reach of your cat.

Wishing Everyone a Safe and Happy Easter!

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Taking the “Finicky” Out of Your Feline

Taking the “Finicky” Out of Your Feline

A well-balanced and properly formulated diet can make a world of difference when it comes to your pet’s health.

I discovered this first-hand a few years ago when my cat, Adelaide, was urinating around the house. It was behaviour that was so out of character for her that I knew she was trying to tell me something. It took a few urine samples and some x-rays, but she was soon diagnosed with bladder stones. She was quickly booked in for a cystotomy (surgery to remove the stones) and recovered very well.

She settled back in at home and was happily using her litterbox again. However, her treatment was not quite finished yet. The doctor’s wanted to make sure that she did not suffer a repeat of her experience. The stones collected from her bladder were sent out for proper identification, and a new food that was specifically designed for cats with urinary issues was recommended. I was, of course, eager to oblige. Anything for my little kitty! Addie, on the other hand, was not so excited for her new food…

Introducing a cat to a new food can certainly be a challenge.

As I immediately discovered, cats can be very picky when it comes to their diet. And, I have to admit, I hear from owner’s all the time at the clinic that their cat’s are very fussy eaters – I just never thought it would be a challenge that I would have to face myself! Luckily, I had the support of my fellow staff members at Snelgrove Vet, as well as a team of veterinarians. Through the experience of having to switch a (then) 10-year old cat to a brand new food, I learned a lot of tips and tricks, which I can now share with our readers and clients alike!

Offering your cat a variety of foods while they’re still young can make your life a lot easier in the long-run.

If I had been doing this since she was a kitten, I don’t think Addie would have had a difficult time transitioning from her old food to her new urinary food. Cats often become conditioned to eating only one type of food and, because they like to stick with the familiar, it can be difficult to change foods later on if necessary. This is especially true of lower quality dry and canned foods (some are the equivalent of having a cheeseburger with fries everyday. Tastes great but not great for you!) It is a good idea to introduce your cat to all different kinds of  textures while they are still young enough to be willing to try them. Of course, I was not forward thinking enough to do this when she was younger.

Preparing for the transition from old food to new food took some consideration.

Before I could transition Addie to her new and amazing urinary food, there were a few things I needed to put into practice first. I had to get her off of free-feeding and establish a feeding schedule. She was so used to grazing from her bowl whenever she wanted that I was afraid she would turn her nose up at her new food and hold out for her old food. I had to start feeding her at specific times so that she would be hungry by the time I was filling her bowl again. I also had to eliminate any hint of her old food from the house. Some very clever kitties think that they can hold out for their old food and eventually get it, especially if they can see or smell the bag or can. So, I took her old bag of food out to the garage so that she would not be able to sniff it out. I did keep it on hand, just in case I needed it though.*

Waiting (not so) patiently for dinner

Transitioning to new food took a little bit of time and a lot of patience.

Cats are usually very particular about their eating habits, and my Adelaide is no exception. In order to allow myself the greatest chance of success, I had to make sure that I didn’t make any “environmental” changes to her routine. I fed her in the same spot within our home, out of the same bowl, with the same scoop, at the same time of day – the only change was to the food itself, nothing else. Finally, we were ready to break out the new food! Sometimes all it takes is a bit of time for a cat to accept a new type of food, so I started feeding a mixture of 3/4 regular food and 1/4 new food for a few days. She seemed okay with this, so I began to mix the foods 1/2 and 1/2. When this went well for another few days, and I was able to feed a mixture of 1/4 old food and 3/4 new food, until I was finally able to eliminate her old food altogether from the bowl. The entire transition probably took about 8 or 9 days. Some cats may need more time, others may need less.

I was lucky that transitioning Adelaide to her new urinary diet went fairly smoothly. I think that approaching the food change with a well-thought out plan helped a lot. Hopefully my experiences can help other cat owners that are facing food transitions of their own! Of course, if any of our clients or readers have any questions or concerns, the staff at Snelgrove is always able to lend an ear and discuss some tips and tricks.

Thank you to everyone for reading, I would love to hear if anyone else has had any experiences with this. What helped the most with your transition, and what hindered it?

– Kait.

*Please note: At no time should a cat ever go more than 24 hours without eating. If your cat is truly considering a hunger strike and has refused to eat for 24 hours, call your veterinarian immediately as they may be in danger of developing health issues such as fatty liver disease, which can lead to renal failure.

Cat Bites

Did you know that there are hundreds of disease-causing microbes lurking in your cat’s mouth right now?

It’s pretty gross when you sit down and think about it, but really, the same is true for human mouths as well. The difference? Most well-adjusted humans don’t go around biting each other or other animals… the same is not exactly true when it comes to cats!

Biting is one of a cat’s main defenses when they feel threatened.

Because of this, we actually take cat bites very seriously within the veterinary community. Due to the narrow size and pointed shape of a cat’s canine teeth, they are able to penetrate skin very deeply, but leave only a small wound on the surface. When a cat bites, the bacteria on their fangs can be driven deep down into the tissue, but the wound can heal rather quickly. This traps the bacteria beneath the surface of the skin. If left untreated, this bacteria can easily turn into a dangerous infection within 24-48 hours.

If you or your pet are unlucky enough to experience a bite from a cat, you should immediately wash the area under running water. Avoid using any harsh disinfectant that could damage surrounding tissue and/or delay healing. Apply direct pressure to the area to stop any bleeding and see a doctor or veterinarian as soon as possible.

It is a rule within our clinic here at Snelgrove Vet, that any staff suffering from a cat bite wound go directly to a walk-in clinic in order to received appropriate treatment. This often means a round of antibiotics to fight infection. The feline patients we see here are up to date on their vaccines, so typically the doctor is not concerned about the potential for viral disease. However, if someone is bitten by a cat that is unknown to them or possibly feral, a doctor may recommend a rabies vaccine depending on the severity of the bite wound.

If you see a stray cat, it is best to call animal services if you want to help it. A stray or feral cat can be skittish and may lash out at an attempt to help them. Your intentions to aid an animal in distress may be sincere, but it is best to leave handling an unknown animal to the professionals, lest you risk a bite from those bacteria-laced mouths!

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION TIPS FOR FURRY FAMILY MEMBERS!

cup 5Happy New Year to all! It’s that time again! It’s time to think about how we want this year to go and what we want to do differently from last year. But wait, this doesn’t have to be just about ourselves. Let’s take a look at the entire family; furry and four-footed included. Do they have some bad food habits that should be kicked? Have they gotten lazy on their walks? Are they looking ’rounder’ than you remember?

We all know that making changes can be hard and that it is nice to have a supportive family there to help along the way. Our furry friends are a part of the family, so why not include them as well!

Here are a few helpful hints that everyone can use!
1. Portion control is helpful for everyone. Some experts recommend using smaller plates so that it looks like you have as much food as before. For pets, use a measuring cup that you don’t have to eye-ball. Make sure that the measurement is level. You’d be amazed by how much food this knocks off, you may even find that you save some money as your bag will last longer. 😉

2. Get active! Now that everyone is eating a bit less, we need to work the extra weight off. But don’t start off with a long hike if you’re not used to it. Use that as your goal and start off small with your dog. Start with two 15 minute walks and when that becomes easy, start increasing one of the walks by 5-10 minute increments. Before you know it, you and your dog will be hitting the trails!

3. Cats can be tricky to get motivated to move. We recommend looking over the inventory of toys you have and then putting most of them away where your cat can’t find them. (Tricky, we know) The idea is then to rotate the toys so that there is always something ‘new’ for your cat to play with. You can also use this time to figure out which types of toys your cat likes. Does she like catnip toys more, or does she prefer the laser light on the floor? You can try hiding their food so that they have to hunt for it is another idea to try. Basically, try anything that might get your cat moving and jumping.12640other_01Oct20135153_large

4. Don’t get discouraged when you pets don’t seem to lose as much weight as you are. In this case, the number of pounds(or Kgs) can be deceiving. Since dogs and cats weigh far less than us, losing a pound is a lot of weight when you consider the body proportions. Remember, slow and steady wins this race.

5. Factor in snacking. We all love having a little snack during the day and our pets are no exception. In fact most pets will diligently remind you if you’ve forgotten! Instead of cutting all treats, find ways to include it in your pet’s diet. Choose lower calorie snacks like carrots instead of milk bones. Call your vet clinic and see if they have a low-calorie treat that they recommend and carry in stock. Cut back the kibble to account for the treats given during the day. (If you call your vet, they’ll likely help with figuring out how much kibble and how many treats would be ideal.) There are many different ways to accommodate treats. Find what works for your family.

6. Talk to your family and get everyone on board. This only works if everyone understands the goal and is working towards it. Make sure everyone knows what the feeding plan is and what is available for treats and how many. One way to do this is make up a treat bag for each pet. This will include the number of treats per day that each pet can have. This will make it easy for the family to see if there are any more treats to be given in any given day. This can be done with the kibble as well, so it doesn’t have to be just one person feeding the pets. Everyone will feel included and help make your life a bit easier in the process.

7. Don’t be afraid to ask your vet for help. They have a wealth of information and experience to offer as well as support. They can help set up realistic weight goals, calculate how much food (and treats) to give, as well as track progress. Weight gain can also be a symptom of some diseases, so it is always good to talk to your vet before starting a weight loss program.

Foods To Share With Fido!

abby eats

With Christmas just around the corner, here are 5 suggestions if you feel the need to share

We’ve all heard about the human foods we should not be sharing with our canine companions: chocolate, avocado, grapes/raisins, onions… The list goes on and on. For your dog, these and many other foods can be dangerous or even toxic! But what about foods that you actually can share with your dog? Naturally, a veterinarian recommended diet is always the best option for your pet, but if you really want to share a special treat with your dog once in a while, here are our top 5 picks:

Carrots

Carrots are a fun, crunchy choice for your furry friend. They are an easy treat to prepare (just wash them!) as well as being low in calories and high in fiber.

Cooked Chicken

Chicken is a fantastic source of protein for your dog. Just be sure that it is thoroughly cooked and free of any bones. Raw meat can play host to all kinds of bacteria (including salmonella and e. coli) and chicken bones can actually splinter when chewed, which could result in a laceration or blockage within the digestive system.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is extremely palatable for your pup! It’s a great treat because it is full of nutrients. Just be careful to give it in small doses – peanut butter is also very high in calories.

Cheese

Cheese is another popular choice among dog owners. It is a great source of calcium and protein. Just be careful – some dogs can be lactose intolerant, and cheese could also hinder the absorption of some medications if they are given simultaneously. And again, keep portions small, cheese is also one of those high calorie choices!

Rice

Rice may not be the most exciting thing to give your dog, but it certainly has its benefits. Plain boiled rice is a very easily digestible carbohydrate, so it is often recommended when your dog is having tummy troubles. It can also provide a good source of energy for older dogs.

So, there you have it – our top 5 suggestions for human foods that you can share with your canine. Remember that moderation is key when it comes to treats. We don’t want to end up with an overweight, unhealthy pet! Extra food should be in addition to a balanced diet, and shouldn’t make up any more than about 25% of your dog’s daily food allowance. You should also be mindful of where and when you give treats. Tossing your pet a morsel off of your plate while seated at the dinner table will only encourage begging, and nobody wants that! Feed treats away from the table and only if your pet is eating his regular food on a consistent basis.

Bon Appétit!

– Kait.

Why dogs turn around before laying down

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Dogs, unlike humans, don’t just plop down in bed when they are tired.They spend lots of time preparing their bed before snuggling in for the night. Sleepy dogs turn around in circles and do kind of a dance before going to sleep. This bedtime ritual is a bit compulsive and sleep evades them until they complete their nightly dance routine.

How does circling help with survival?

Dog behaviorists believe that a dog’s need to perform the bedtime ritual of turning around in circles before lying down is inherited. Canine ancestors like wild wolves did the same thing, and domestic dogs retained this genetic predisposition. Evolutionary behaviors like this one are aimed at self-preservation and are strong influences that persist for generations in the animal kingdom.

Turning in circles before lying down is an act of self-preservation in that the dog may innately know that he needs to position himself in a certain way to ward off an attack in the wild. Some wildlife enthusiasts believe that wolves sleep with their noses to the wind so that they can quickly pick up on a threatening scent. Circling allows the wolf to determine the direction of the wind so that he can best position himself. With a quick whiff, the wolf knows that he may be in danger and is alerted for a potential attack.

Most domestic dogs are pets that sleep in our homes or in another safe, controlled environment. Even though they aren’t subject to attack by wild animals, our canine friends retained this evolutionary protective trait. So, like their ancestors, our dogs turn around a few times before lying down.

How does circling help dogs travelling in packs?

There is another evolutionary explanation for this circling behavior. Wild canids, like wolves, foxes, and coyotes, travel in packs that include many family members. The entire group is protective of the members of the pack and is on constant lookout for stragglers. Turning around helps group leaders assess the pack and survey the area for members that may have fallen behind.

Turning around 360 degrees also provides an opportunity to take one last look for potential predators before bedtime. So, again, this bedtime rotation is actually a form of self-preservation and protection.

Every pack has an established hierarchy. Some members are more dominant while others are submissive. The bedtime turning routine may also be part of a ritual that identifies a wolf’s place in the pecking order of the pack.

 How does circling help with comfort?

Here’s a more basic reason for canine circling. Dogs in the wild don’t have the luxury of manufactured doggie beds and pillows. They make their own “beds” in nature. To make their sleeping quarters more comfortable, dogs pat down tall grass and move prickly underbrush and stickers before lying down. They root out rocks and fallen tree branches. In colder climates, dogs circle to reposition snow banks. This “nesting” procedure also uncovers unwanted inhabitants like snakes or insects. Dogs don’t like to share their beds with intruders. Moreover, changing the format of an area by moving grass, snow, or leaves indicates to other wild dogs in the area that this particular spot is taken for the night.

How does circling help with temperature?

Dogdog2s in the wild had no control over weather conditions and had to survive extreme changes in temperature. They couldn’t turn down a thermostat when it was hot or grab a blanket when it was cold, so they adapted by “denning” to moderate the temperature of their sleeping quarters.

Outdoor dogs in hotter climates scratched at the ground to clear away topsoil and grass that retained and radiated the sun’s warmth. Removing the topsoil exposed cooler soil underneath. Scratching and turning allowed them to find a more comfortable temperature for sleeping.

Wild canids in colder climates circled to wind themselves into tight balls to conserve personal body heat. The tighter the tuck, the warmer the dog. In addition, other pack members gathered together in a tight circle to effectively share body heat. So, the bedtime turning ritual had a biological basis, too.

How does circling help our pet dogs?

These are all good reasons for dogs to circle before lying down in the wild, but how does this relate to our contemporary, domestic dogs that lead comfortable lives within our homes and yards?

The desire for comfort is innate, so one explanation is that our dogs circle before lying down to get their beds just the way they want them. Unlike us, a quick plump of the pillow won’t do. But their bedtime ritual is more than that. It’s a repeat performance of the actions their ancestors took before going to sleep under the stars.

What if the circling is excessive?

While watching our dogs turn around before bedding down is amusing, it can also be a signal that something is wrong. Dogs that are in pain will circle excessively as they struggle to find a more comfortable position. They may also crouch then rise several times before completely reclining.

If your dog has difficulty settling down even after making several revolutions, consult your veterinarian. Orthopedic disorders like arthritis and neurological disorders like spinal cord or back problems can “turn” the routine nighttime “turning” into a painful experience. With proper evaluation and therapy, bedtime can once again become a comforting “turning” into a painful experience. With proper evaluation and therapy, bedtime can once again become a comforting AND comfortable ritual.

This client information sheet is based on material written by: Lynn Buzhardt, DVM © Copyright 2015 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license

 

My Cat Has What?

My Cat Has What?

Everley

Here at Snelgrove Vet Services, we often receive calls from cat owners concerned that their cats have “dirty” chins or “weird, black dots” on their chin. Sounds bizarre, right? Actually, this is a very common complaint in the world of feline medicine! More often than not, it is simply a case of feline chin acne. That’s right, a cat can get acne, just like a human! This condition can appear at any age, in both male and female cats, and the severity can range from small “blackheads” to inflamed crusty lesions or even painful pustules, all of which can appear on the chin, as well as the upper and lower lips. Luckily, this condition is typically easy to diagnose and treat, although some cases can be more extreme than others.

While the official cause of feline chin acne is up for debate, there are several contributing factors that are universally agreed upon within the veterinary community:

  • Poor Grooming Habits
  • Stress or Hormone Changes
  • Bacterial Overload
  • Overproduction of Sebum (natural oils produced by skin)
  • Coinciding Infection or Disease

Diagnosis of feline chin acne is based on both clinical signs, as well as the cat’s medical history. When you bring your cat in for a physical exam, the doctor will want to rule out alternative causes, such as fungal or bacterial infections, or fleas or mites. With more severe cases that present larger lesions or pustules, the doctor may feel that biopsies, cultures or skin scrapings could also be necessary.

Following diagnosis, treatment and control of feline chin acne ranges. Often, simply changing from a plastic food bowl or scoop to something that is stainless steel, glass or ceramic can resolve chin acne. Other times, a veterinary recommended cleanser or fatty acid supplement is enough. In the more severe cases, antibiotics or prescription strength topicals can do the trick. As always, never, ever use human products or prescriptions on your pet. Their skin is very different from ours and sometimes good intentions can create even more problems for your furry family member!

When it comes to feline chin acne, the key to a quick recovery is early diagnosis and treatment. If you notice that your cat has a “dirty” chin, give us a call to set up an appointment. Timely treatment reduces the risk of secondary infections, and will get your kitty feeling back-to-normal a lot quicker!

 

If you have any additional questions regarding feline chin acne, please don’t hesitate to call our office at 905-846-3316

Thank you for reading,

Kait.