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How to make visits to the veterinarian less stressful for you and your cat

How to make visits to the veterinarian less stressful for you and your cat

1. It starts at home.
Your carrier should be out in your living room or kitchen several days, if not weeks before your scheduled appointment. During this time, you can leave treats and toys in the carrier for your cat to get acclimatized to it and not associate it only with going to the vet. Feeding your cat next to the carrier can also help. A special blanket with his scent or your scent can provide comfort. Also, a pheromone spray called Feliway can appease your cat very effectively. Spray Feliway in your carrier 20 minutes before your cat will be transported in it for the best result.

2. The car ride.
The trip in the car itself is often enough to stress your feline friend.
Try to make the trip the most pleasant possible. Studies have shown that most pets enjoy classical music- so re-acquaintance yourself with Bach and Beethoven. Your cat will feel most secure in a carrier and this is also safer than letting her roam loose. If it is very warm outside, start your car several minutes before leaving and turn on the air conditioner . The same goes for the winters- if it is very cold, warm up your car before placing your beloved friend in a cold, unpleasant vehicle.

3. Feeding your cat.
If at all possible, try not to feed your cat prior to her appointment.
Bring her food with you or better yet, if there is a tasty treat or some leftovers from your table that she enjoys, bring them with you for the appointment. Most cats that are hungry and have good food presented to them will eagerly eat during their veterinary visits, making the experience more pleasant for all involved.

4. Transporting your cat.
When carrying your cat in her carrier, it is best to hold the carrier steadily with both arms on the bottom of it instead of using the handles and swinging it back and fourth. Also, draping a towel over the carrier helps many cats relax and feel more secure.

5. The waiting game.
If there are other pets in the waiting room, ask the receptionist to move to a private waiting area where you can be alone with your cat away from noise. This will help reduce her anxiety.

6. Reducing stress and anxiety.
If you and your cat have had previously negative experiences at the hospital or during transport and you are concerned about your scheduled appointment, please do not hesitate to call us to discuss your concerns. In some instances, the veterinarian will prescribe sedatives for you to administer to your cat at home which are effective in reducing stress in your cat and can make her experience a more pleasant one.

7. At the hospital.
We will reduce anxiety for your pet in several ways:
We have Feliway pheromone sprays and plug ins placed in the hospital to appease your kitty
We use mats on the examination room tables so the surface is not cold or slippery
We have a separate waiting room available for privacy for you and your kitty
We have a variety of treats for her to enjoy
We utilize minimal restraint during the examination process

We hope that the above guidelines will make your experience at our hospital a purr-fect one !


Cats and Fleas

Cats and Fleas

How do cats get fleas?

The most common source of fleas is from newly emerged adult fleas in the home or outside. The flea life cycle includes: eggs, larvae, pupae and adults.  When adult fleas are on our cats, they bite them (ie. Take a blood meal) and then start laying eggs as soon as 2 days later. In ideal conditions, adults will emerge in as little as 2 weeks; in adverse conditions, eggs can develop into adults up to 1 year later. This means that fleas can develop in the house even over the winter months. Houses can provide ideal conditions for fleas to develop in: carpets and central heating provide  conditions for year round development of these parasites. It is very difficult to find fleas in the home since they are so small and hide in carpets and furniture. Eggs are tiny white specks the size of dust particles and larvae migrate deep in carpets, furniture and cracks in floors away from the light. So, often flea infestations go unnoticed by owners.

 What signs may my cat exhibit if he/she has fleas?

Many cats will groom or scratch excessively after being bitten by a flea. Some cats are allergic to flea bites and these cats scratch and bite themselves so much that they can develop patches of fur loss and skin infections secondary to the trauma they cause to themselves.

Fleas can also be a source of tapeworms. If a cat swallows a flea infected with tapeworms while grooming, the cat will likely develop a tapeworm infestation. Signs of tapeworm infection include weight loss, poor hair coat and diarrhea. Tapeworm segments look like grains of white rice stuck around your cat’s perianal area.

 How to get rid of fleas?

Fleas need to be eliminated from 3 sources: the cat, other cats and dogs in the home, and from the home and yard. Keep in mind…outdoor sources can be difficult to control since we cannot control wild animals, other people’s pets and other outdoor areas. Raccoons and squirrels are important sources of fleas to our pets.

 What safe products are available to treat my cat and the environment?

Flea shampoos and powders have limited efficacy because they only work a few hours after application. They will only kill the adults present on your cat at the time of application but have no residual effect. This means that fleas jumping on your cat over the next few days and weeks will not be killed and the flea cycle will continue.

Your veterinarian has several safe products that are effective at getting rid of fleas. Some kill adult fleas, larvae and eggs with residual activity lasting a month and are given orally or topically every month. Others contain insect growth regulators that work as a flea birth control and prevent females from laying eggs. Many of the above products also kill eggs and larvae developing in the home by being in the pet’s dander and when the dander has contact with the eggs and larvae in the home, it kills them.

Vacuuming weekly and throwing out the vacuum bag to prevent eggs and larvae from developing inside the vacuum cleaner will also help get rid of infestations. Pay particular attention to areas where your cat spends most of his/her time such as the bed, sofa, and carpets.

 My veterinarian is advising flea control even though I have not seen any fleas on my cat.

If your cat is scratching more than usual, has hair loss or is grooming excessively, your veterinarian may suspect a flea problem. When fleas are present in small numbers they can be very difficult to find. They move very quickly. They can usually be found near the neck, stomach and around the tail base area. Often your veterinarian will not see adults but see “flea dirt” instead. This is fecal matter from the flea that contains partially digested blood. It indicates that the cat has fleas. Flea dirt looks like small black specks and when placed on a damp tissue it leaves a reddish brown stain. Flea dirt can sometimes be seen on the cat’s bedding or anywhere the cat sleeps and spends most of his/her time.  Do not forget that cats spend most of their time grooming. Their tongue will remove fleas and flea dirt from your pet’s coat and make it hard to find evidence of a flea problem. So, even if no adult fleas or flea dirt is found, your veterinarian may still recommend treating for fleas if she/he thinks that is the source of the problem.


Water intake test

Water Intake Test

Water intake tests are very important to help us work out whether your dog is drinking too much water. Some diseases make dogs drink more water than they should.

Water intake can vary depending on many factors, including the weather, the type of food your dog eats and how much activity he or she does. Consequently the amount of water your dog drinks can vary from day to day. Because of this, we do a Water Intake Test over 3 consecutive days (3x 24 hour periods) so that we can average out how much is actually taken.

It is very difficult to assess water intake if there is more than one animal in the household, as they share water sources. To do a Water Intake Test accurately, animals may need to be kept separate over the time of the test. Alternatively they may need to be hospitalised so that they only get to drink from one source.

Step 1: Empty out all bowls or buckets that your dog normally drinks from, inside and outside the house.

Step 2: Measure exactly how much water you add to each bowl or bucket. Make a note of this.

Step 3: Don’t allow the bucket or bowl to be empty of water. Note down the amount of water you add to the bowl during the day and add this figure to the figure from Step 2.

Step 4: After 24 hours, measure exactly how much water is left in each bowl or bucket.

Step 5: Subtract the amount left over from the amount in Step 3.

Step 6: Repeat Steps 1-5 over 2 more 24-hour periods.

Bring your calculations into the clinic so we can assess the amount taken in and work out whether this is normal or abnormal.