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Kitten Information Package


We are extremely proud of our clinic and of our team consisting of over 20 caring and experienced staff. We are dedicated to providing excellence in care for our patients and their families since 1972. Our entire team cares deeply for your pet and will treat them with caring hands and a tender voice; their comfort and well-being is why we are here every day.

We are also very involved in our community through our popular Junior Vet program which has been running since 2003, and wildlife triage that we offer at no cost. We are delighted to be one of the veterinary clinics providing patient care for the Northumberland Humane Society. 

Please check out our website at for more information on these programs and on our clinic and staff. We look forward to being your other family doctor!

Beyond What You See

Both Doctors and Staff have your pet's best interest at heart and strive to make their stay with us as pleasant as possible. We encourage you to accompany your pet to their kennel to allow you the opportunity to see where they will stay and to help them to settle in. Every pet has his or her own separate kennel or run, furnished with a clean, dry, comfy towel or blanket. If your pet has a "special toy” or “security blanket" feel free to bring it in with them.

If your pet is to have a general anesthetic we would like you to know that we minimize the risks by providing exemplary care during their stay. We highly recommend a pre-anesthetic blood screen prior to a general anesthetic. Just as your doctor would run a blood test before your procedure we do the same for your pet. A pre-anesthetic blood test is like an internal physical exam that will check organ function and help identify unknown diseases. For this blood work, we collect a small sample of blood that is sent to an outside lab. Blood work must be submitted at least 24 hours before the procedure.

Veterinarians will do a physical exam the morning of surgery to ensure that your pet is healthy before undergoing general anesthetic. Patients are assessed individually to determine which anesthetics will be safest for them. We have anesthetics available for all ages, from the very young to our senior patients. We also carry anesthetics specific to our work with exotic pets.

The doctors adhere to strict sterile techniques, complete with a cap, mask, sterile gown, and gloves when performing surgery. A separate sterile surgical pack is used for each procedure to avoid infection and cross-contamination. The animals are surgically prepared both at their incision and intravenous sites. This involves first shaving the hair, then cleaning the skin with antibacterial solutions.

Prior to the anesthetic, every animal is placed on intravenous fluids. Intravenous fluids are important to help maintain optimal blood pressure during surgery as well as provide access that will allow us to administer drugs if an anesthetic emergency arises.

While under anesthesia, every pet is connected to a Cardell monitor for carbon dioxide, blood pressure, and heart monitoring. Each pet is provided with a warming blanket to manage its temperature during the anesthetic. As well, our Registered Veterinary Technicians continually assess the animals, during both the anesthetic and recovery periods. During recovery one of our technicians or assistants sit with your pet to comfort them as they recover from the anesthetic.

We are acutely aware of the level of pain of our patients and have very current protocols in place to help manage their pain while in the hospital as well medications for use at home to keep them comfortable.

Uncomplicated surgery cases are discharged the same day. This allows the animal to rest at home, which is usually less stressful for both patient and owner. We do keep some animals overnight if they require bandaging after surgery. We recommend that more complicated cases be transferred to the Animal Emergency Clinic in Whitby for overnight observation.

If you have any questions or would like to tour our facility, please ask any one of our staff members. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome as we strive to provide the best service possible for you and your pet.

Kitten Schedule

A protected response is what the veterinarian is aiming for when vaccinating your kitten. Vaccinations prime the immune system to produce antibodies and neutralize infectious organisms before they have a chance to cause disease. Ideally, this is achieved through a standard schedule involving vaccines at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age.

7-9 Weeks of Age

Full physical examination & consultation

Vaccination - FVRCP (1st) Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Panleukoperia (distemper)

Fecal analysis for parasites

Strategic deworming once every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age - Revolution

Flea control

12 Weeks of Age

Full physical examination & consultation

Vaccination FVRCP (2nd)

Vaccination - Feline Leukemia 1st (for at risk kittens)

Strategic deworming once every two weeks for 3 treatments

Flea control

16 Weeks of Age

Full physical examination & consultation

Vaccination - FVRCP (3rd)

Vaccination - Feline Leukemia 2nd (for at risk kittens)

Vaccination - Rabies

Repeat fecal analysis for parasites

Strategic deworming once every two weeks for 3 treatments

Flea control

6 Months of Age

Pre-anesthetic bloodwork / felv + FIV testing

Ovariohysterectomy (spay) - female cats

Castration (neuter) - male cats

Strategic deworming; flea control


Full physical examination & consultation

Vaccination - FVRCP

Vaccination - Feline Leukemia (for at risk)

Vaccination - Rabies

Preventative blood screening

Fecal analysis for parasites

Strategic deworming; flea control


Microchipping may be done at any time

Strategic Deworming

Why deworm regularly? Some of the most prevalant intestinal worms such as roundworm and hookworm may affect humans (zoonoses), especially children and people with suppressed immune systems. Which treatment is most appropriate for your pet? Please consult with the veterinarian.

Why Spay or Neuter Your Pet?

Spaying a cat or dog involves the complete removal of your pet's ovaries and uterus. Neutering involves the removal of your pet's testicles. It is recommended to have this procedure done at 6 months of age, before females have their first estrus or heat cycle, or before males become sexually mature.

Reasons to spay your cat or dog:

  • Eliminate unwanted pregnancies. Each year thousands of unwanted animals are humanely euthanized because there aren't enough people to care for them.

  • Prevent birthing problems. Sometimes animals have difficulty giving birth when the unborn kitten or puppy becomes stuck, or if the uterus becomes twisted. These are life-threatening situations requiring immediate c-section.

  • Protection from uterine infections. Continuous exposure to heat cycles without breeding can prime the uterus for infections. These types of infections can be life-threatening and require immediate surgery and removal of the infected uterus, along with costly hospitalization, medication, and supportive care.

  • Decrease the chance of breast cancer. About one out of every four intact female dogs who experience one heat cycle will develop mammary tumors. In dogs, spaying before the first heat cycle can decrease the chance of mammary cancer to 0.5% of that of intact in dogs; in cats, there is a similar decrease in the chance of breast cancer with early spaying.

  • Avoid behavioral problems. While territorial marking and spaying are more commonly associated with males, this can occur with intact females. Spaying once these behaviours are developed does not guarantee the elimination of these undesirable habits; it is best to spay prior to these behaviours developing.

  • Avoid unwanted heat periods. Animals that are in heat can bleed, become excessively vocal, and can display the desire to mate. Spaying eliminates all of these.

Reasons to neuter your dog or cat:

  • Eliminate unwanted pregnancies. Each year thousands of unwanted animals are humanely euthanized because there aren't enough people to care for them. Just because male animals don't bring their offspring home doesn't mean they are not contributing to overpopulation.

  • Reduce the risk of testicular cancers and prostate infections. Continuous exposure to hormones like testosterone can make an intact animal more prone to prostatic disorders and infections. Although neutering does not prevent prostate cancer, the risk of prostate infections and testicular tumors is reduced with the early removal of the testicles.

  • Avoid behavioural problems. Territorial marking, spraying aggression, roaming, and fighting are all behaviorus that intact males can exhibit. Neutering once these behaviours are developed does not guarantee the elimination of these undesirable habits; it is best to neuter prior to these habits developing. However, even once developed, neutering can reduce aggressive behaviour in 60% of neutered dogs, inappropriate mounting in 70% of neutered dogs, and urine marking in 50% of castrated dogs.

Misconceptions about spaying or neutering:

  • FALSE: Animals that are spayed or neutered become fat and lazy.The reason behind weight gain in our adult animals is actually due to lifestyle and diet. The metabolism in spayed or neutered animals is lower than that of intact animals, so they need to be fed slightly less. Further, at 6 months of age these animals are reaching their mature stature, and their growth requirements are declining. It is important that all pets get fed the appropriate amount of a good quality, age-appropriate diet, and that they receive lots of regular exercise.

  • FALSE: An animal's personality is affected by spaying and neutering. Females are only undergoing heat cycles for certain periods of the year. The rest of the time, their reproductive cycle is dormant, similar to when they have spayed.

  • FALSE: Animals need to have their first heat period or a litter prior to spaying. As mentioned above, spaying prior to their first heat period can actually eliminate or greatly decrease the chance of dangerous diseases such as cancer. Please also consider the great number of unwanted animals currently looking for homes prior to bringing any more into this world.

Food for thought:

  • One female cat can give birth to two to four litters every year, consisting of 1-12 kitens. The female offspring of this cat can then have two to four litters every year. After seven years, the result could be more than 400,000 cats!

Please feel free to call us if you have any further questions regarding spaying or neutering your pet.

Choosing the Best Nutrition for Your Pet

Superior nutrition is as critical for pets as it is for people. It is important that your pet receives the benefit of a scientifically bases diet for optimal health. With so many different options available, choosing the right food for your dog or cat can be a challenge.

A nutritional expert was recently quoted as saying, "there are three things that can influence how long your pet will live: heredity, environment, and nutrition. The one that owners can influence most is what they choose to feed their pet." Your veterinary team is the best source for accurate information about nutrition for your pet. We have your pet's medical history and can work with you in choosing the appropriate diet, the amounts to feed, and can monitor your pet's response to their new diet.

Our veterinarians, registered veterinary technicians, and support staff are continously updating their knowledge of diets and nutrition. The diets we recommend are produced in processing facilities that have advanced safety standards and have had feeding trials performed. Feeding trials are the gold standard to determine how a pet will perform when fed a specific food.

Do not be misled by marketing tools that have no science or testing behind them. Recently there has been an influx of "natural", "organic", or "holistic" doc and cat foods to choose from. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of the lack of science behind these claims.

For example:

Organic - There is a myth that the terms natural and organic are interchangeable. This is not true. True organic foods must comply with Agri-Food Canada's very strict regulations. This is an expensive process and there are few if any truly organic pet foods available.

Natural -The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) regulates pet food in the USA, but unfortunately in Canada this is only used as a guideline, and is not a requirement.

Holistic - There is no legal definition of this term in pet foods. Any manufacturer can make claims of "holistic" in their literature (including web sites) regardless of diet content. Unfortunately it means nothing.

Human Grade - Claims that a product contains ingredients that are human-grade quality. It can be a misleading term since there is no policing of pet food content to ensure this is in fact so.

Things to consider when choosing a new diet:

Ingredients - Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Generally meats are listed first as they contain a lot of water and therefore weight more. The ingredient list is not nearly as important as the quality and nutritional value of each individual ingredient.

Guaranteed Analysis - This is the list of ingredients on the side of the bag of food provided as a guide to consumers. It is virtually impossible to compare foods by using the guaranteed analysis. It is the nutritional value of each ingredient blended together that delivers a product specific for a pet's age or condition. You could do a guaranteed analysis on an old leather boot that would compare to the guaranteed analysis of some pet foods. Obviously an old leather boot is not a digestible item, but unfortunately digestibility is not listed on the label.

"All" Life Stage Diets - Although they sound convenient, most of these diets are formulated for puppies since they have the highest nutritional requirements. However a diet like this should not be used for mature or senior dogs, as they can be dangerously high in protein if an older dog is starting to have kidney trouble, and are also not properly balanced in calories and minerals.

By Products - Foods that list by-products are not necessarily inferior products. By-products are commonly used in both human and pet foods and can include nutrient rich organ meats, ground bones, skin, and some meat. It does not include beaks, feet, and feathers as some people are led to believe. By-products are simply ingredients produced in the making of something else (i.e. when Vitamin E is extracted from soybeans the soybean meal that is left over is a highly nutritious by-product.)

Formulated vs. Feeding Trials - If a pet food label states that the food is "formulated" for a specific life stage it indicates that it is unlikely to have had a feeding trial done. Feeding trials are the Gold Standard for determining nutritional adequacy; therefore we sell only foods that have had feeding trials done i.e. veterinary diets made by Royal Canin and Hills.

The Corn Myth and Grain Free Diets - Recently foods with corn as a carbohydrate ingredient have been getting negative reviews. It is important to know that corn, as it is provided in high quality foods such as the veterinary Royal Canin diet is one of the best sources of grain protein, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants. Corn causes no more allergies in pets than other grains. Grains can be an excellent source of nutrition for omnivores like dogs. Grain free diets that are marketed frequently use potatoes as their source of carbohydrate, since carbohydrates are a necessary component of a well-balanced canine diet.

Safety - The veterinary diets that we recommend, Royal Canin and HIlls, have a very rigorous screening requirement to assure the safety and quality of their ingredients. Royal Canin diets use a high tech spectrophotometer to test each ingredient before they are allowed to enter the plant. A recent study indicated that little has been done to improve the safety of many other pet foods on the Canadian market.

Raw Diets - There has been an abundance of unsubstantiaed information regarding alternative foods available for pets on the internet and other sources. However, pet owners should be aware of the facts if they are considering an alternative food for their pets:

A - there is no scientific data to support beliefs commonly held by raw food supporters (bones and raw food); that feeding raw is "better" for your pet.

B - some raw food recipes contain excessive or insufficient levels of protein, calcium, and phosphorus.

C - raw foods pose a potential hazard for food poisoning and bacterial (salmonella) contamination for both humans and animals. Pets eating raw food can become carriers of these deadly bacteria and can accidentally transmit them to children, the elderly, or any person with a poor immune system, sometimes with very seriosu consequences.

D - in one study 90% of homemade diets were found to be nutritionally unbalanced.

E - bones can cause intestinal blockage and fractured teeth

Cost - A lot of people believe that veterinary diets are more expensive than pet store foods. This is often not the case. Ask us about cost per day and feeding amounts. Many of our diets are comporable to and in some cases cheaper than pet store diets.

Prescription Diets - We may recommend a specific veterinary diet for your pet depending on their medical diagnosis (i.e. pancreatitis, lower urinary tract disease.) In these cases please strictly follow your veterinarian's diet recommendations. Do not be tempted by pet store or grocery store brands that claim to do what a veterinary prescription diet can do. Since there is no policing of pet store foods in Canada, often these diets have not had any feeding trials done to prove that they do what they claim.

Why are Royal Canin Veterinary diets our number one recommendation?

We have made Royal Canin Veterinary diets our number one recommendation for a number of reasons.

  • All Royal Canin Veterinary diets have undergone feeding trials

  • Ingredients are of excellent quality

  • Safety standards are unsurpassed

  • All of their diets are manufactured at their plant in Guelph, Ontario and 60% of their ingredients are purchased from Canadian farms

  • Several of our staff have visited the Royal Canin plant to assure ourselves that Royal Canin Veterinary dits are produced with pristine quality control measures and with outstanding science based nutritional content.

We were very happy with the dedication the Royal Canin Veterinary diet team demonstrated in fulfilling our requirements and since this visit have used Royal Canin as our trusted primary veterinary diet provider.

We believe that proper nutrition for your pet from their baby to their senior years is of vital importance. We know you want to provide superior nutrition for your pet, and encourage you to ask an of our team members if you have questions regarding diet.

Please let us help you keep your pet healthy and happy!

"Let food be your first medicine" - Hippocrates

Microchipping Your Pet

Why Identify

1. Lost Pet

The vast majority of stray animals entering shelters lack any form of identification. Many lost pets which are received by shelters are never identified or returned to their owners because the description by the owner does not match accurately the pets being held. This is particularly true in cats. Collars and other temporary forms of identification can become detached from the animals in its travels.

2. Injured Strays

Lack of owner identification is equally common in injured strays. The problem is acute when these pets require immediate medical attention. Although we administer emergency treatment to any stray pet to combat shock and control pain as required, we require permission from you to go ahead with other procedures to determine the extent of injury and then proceed appropriately.

Permanent Identification is Best

The microchip is permanent identification, which cannot be tampered with. The microchip is inserted just under the animal's skin between the shoulder blades and requires a special scanner to read. Permanent identification is highly recommended for your pet's safety and your peace of mind. With our microchip program your pet will also be registered on the Pet Lynx website which is provided free of charge through Pet Secure pet insurance.

What Does a Microchip Look Like?

The microchip is approximately 1/4 inch long and is inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades. Nothing will show on your pet after insertion. The microchip is implanted using a needle just like giving a vaccination therefore the discomfort that your pet will feel during the insertion is very minimal.

What Do I Do if I Have Lost My Pet?


  • Your regular veterinarian and veterinary hospitals in your area

  • Your local humane society

  • Your local animal control facility

  • If you move, be sure to inform your veterinarian and Petlynx so that your pet's record can be changed

What Do I Do if I Have Found a Lost Pet?

Contact one of the following:

  • Your regular veterinarian or veterinary hospitals in your area

  • Your local humane society

  • Your local animal control facility


These facilities should be able to scan the pet to see if there is a microchip present in order to track down the owner

Happy Cat Transport

More than half of cat owners report the reason they don't bring their cat to the vet is due to the stress of the trip and transport. Neither pet owners nor cats appreciate trying to wrestle the cat into a kennel and driving to the clinic with the cat yowling in the back seat. BUt it is important for cats to get annual health examinations, appropriate vaccinations and treatment when they are sick. Here are some tips for making these trips a bit easier for you and your feline friend.

  • Leave your cat's carrier out even when you are not using it. Cats like areas where they can hide, and they can get accustomed to the carrier and treat it as a bed, not a torture device.

  • Leave toys and soft bedding inside the carrier to make your cat as comfortable as possible. Familiar scents are reassuring your cat. Feed special treats in the kennel.

  • Once your cat is secured in the carrier, place a towel over the carrier to block out any scary sights.

  • While driving, try to avoid abrupt starts, stops and turns, and reduce the noise (honking, music, etc.) as much as possible.

  • To get your cat used to trips, try taking a drive around a couple of blocks and then returning home. The carrier and the car shouldn't always be about the vet clinic. Try to feed special treats while driving to associate positive feelings with the carrier.

Remember it is important that your at be seen for a health examination yearly (or more often, depending on its age and medical condition). Cats age differently, remember each year a cat goes without going to the vet is like you not seeing your doctor for seven years!

Feline Resource Checklist

This Feline Enrichment Checklist is a great checklist for indoor cats and helps to insure they will thrive and be fulfilled in an indoor environment.

Basic Resources

Are basics provided in a convenient location that provides safety and some privacy during use (ie, away from appliances or machinery that could start unexpectedly?)

Does each cat have its own food bowl?

Does each cat have its own water bowl?

Does each cat have its own litter box in a well ventilated location (1 litter box per cat +1)?

Is the litter kept clean and scooped as soon as possible after use or at least daily?

Is unscented clumping litter used?

Are containers washed weekly with plain soap or a mild, unscented detergent, such as dishwashing liquid?

If a new resource is provided, is it placed next to the familiar one so the cat can choose whether or not to use it?

Structural Features

Can each cat move about freely, exploring, climbing, stretching, and playing when (if) it chooses?

Are climbing structures or opportunities provided?

Does each cat have its own scratching post?

Does each cat have its own resting area?

Does each cat have a “perch” so it can look down on its surroundings?

Is a radio or television on when the cat is home alone?

Social Contact

Does each cat have the opportunity to engage in play with other animals or the owner if it chooses on a daily basis?

Do you spend individual time petting each cat? (If yes, for how many minutes?)

Do you spend individual time playing with each cat? (If yes, for how long?)

Body Care & Activity

Does each cat have toys that mimic quickly moving prey?

Does each cat have toys that can be picked up, carried, and tossed in the air?

Are toys rotated on a regular basis (at least weekly) to provide novelty?


Life Cycle

The flea life cycle ranges from 16 days to 1 year. The female lays her eggs on the pet following a blood meal, and may lay several hundred eggs in her lifetime. These eggs fall off the pet to contaminate bedding, floors, carpets, etc. and the outside environment. Eggs hatch in approximately 7 days and the larvae eat organic debris (mostly adult flea feces). After 4 to 14 days they form a pupa and in as little as 14 or more days the pupa hatch in response to vibration and higher carbon dioxide levels in the household or environment.

The adult flea represents only a small percentage of the population in your home and environment as adults only live for 7 to 17 days. The majority of the flea population that will be in your home is in the egg, larval and pupal stages.

Fortunately, only 5% of a flea infestation is on your pet……Unfortunately, the other 95% is in your home!

5% of fleas are typically present as adults on the pet and begin laying eggs 24-48 hours after finding a host.

95% of fleas are present as developing adults (50% eggs, 35% larvae and 10% pupae) and they can be found on your sofa, bed, carpets and other places throughout your home. They can continue to hatch out for up to one year. Therefore, treating a flea infestation can take up to one year.

Treating Your Pet

Simparica (Tablets) - Our #1 Choice for Flea and Tick Prevention

  • Kills fleas and ticks

  • A tasty chewable tablet given every month; year round

  • Comes in a package of 3 chews

  • Broadest tick coverage on label

Read product insert for full instructions and cautions

Sentinel (Tablets) (Dogs Only) - Our #2 Choice for Flea Prevention (and Intestinal Parasites) in Dogs

  • Prevents flea infestation and heartworm disease by killing the flea egg and also the immature form of heartworm in the bloodstream

  • Helps keep intestinal parasites under control

  • The pet must have a negative heartworm test before giving the tablets, and should be tested yearly after that

  • Give 1 tablet on the same day each month (with a full meal) year round to prevent fleas, heartworm, and intestinal parasites

  • If you are taking your pet south in the winter please contact our office about requirements for flea and heartworm prevention

  • All pets in the household must be treated

Read product insert for full instructions and cautions

Revolution (Topical) - Our #1 Choice for Flea Prevention in Cats

  • Prevents flea infestation, heartworm disease, ear mites and a treatment of some internal and external parasites

  • Apply contents of 1 tube onto the skin at the base of the neck between the shoulder blades once monthly year round

  • Breaks the flea life cycle at 3 stages… effective against adult fleas, eggs and larvae

  • For the treatment and control of ear mites in cats and dogs

  • Has been proven safe for adult dogs and cats as well as breeding dogs and cats and puppies and kittens six weeks of age or older

  • Bathing or shampooing will not affect the product as long as bathing is done at least two hours after applying

  • The fur should be dry when Revolution is applied

  • Your dog must have a negative heartworm test before applying, and should be tested yearly after that

  • All pets in the household must be treated

Read product insert for full instructions and cautions

Advantage Multi (Topical) - for Treatment/Control (Dogs and Cats)

  • Once monthly topical application for dogs and cats

  • For the treatment and control of roundworms and hookworms in cats and dogs

  • An aid in the treatment and control of the adult stage of whipworms in dogs

  • Heartworm prevention in cats and dogs

  • Your dog must have a negative heartworm test before applying and should be treated yearly after that

  • Proven flea portection in dogs and cats (remains on the skin to kill adult fleas fast with no biting required)

  • For the treatment and control of ear mites in cats and dogs

  • For the treatment and control of sarcoptic mange mites in dogs

  • An aid in the treatment and control of generalized demodectic mange in dogs

  • Shampooing or bathing 90 minutes after treatment does not reduce effectiveness in heartworm prevention

  • All pets in the household must be treated

Read product insert for full instructions and cautions

Advantage (Topical) for Treatment/Prevention (Dogs and Cats)

  • Once monthly topical liquid for dogs or cats which distributes on the surface of theskin at teh hair root level to kill adult fleas on contact

  • Apply direclty to the skin on the back of the neck, or in the case of large dogs also along the back

  • All pets in the household must be treated

  • Shampooing of the pet may shorten the duration of the flea proteciton, therefore, re-apply after shampooing

  • If re-treatment is necessary earlier than the four weeks, do not re-treat more than once weekly

  • Do not use on nursing animals or pets under 8 weeks of age

Read product insert for full instrucitons and cautions

Capstar (tablets) for Treatment (Dogs and Cats)

  • Oral tablet

  • Kills adult fleas starting within 15 minutes, kills 98% of adult fleas on the pet within 6 hours, 100% within 24 hours

  • Works by interfering with the nerve transmission of the flea

  • Use twice weekly until you no longer see adult fleas

  • May be used as often as daily if required, does not affect your pet or humans

  • Capstar does not stay in the body for more than 24 to 48 hours

  • May be used in puppies and kittens over 5 weeks of age and 1kg body weight

Read product insert for full instructions and cautions

If you have any questions about the products we recommend or about "store bought" products, please don't hesitate to contact our office.

Cat Dental Care Guidelines

Contrary to popular belief, “doggy breath” is not normal. If your pet’s bad breath keeps the two of you from snuggling or you wish you could give your pet a mint, it could be the first sign that he has dental disease, a painful condition caused by bacteria infecting his gums and teeth. What’s even worse, it can lead to serious health issues as infection spreads throughout the body.

Since maintaining oral hygiene is crucial to keeping cats and dogs healthy and happy, AAHA created dental care guidelines to help your veterinarian provide top-notch care. Here are the top 10 things you need to know about these guidelines:

  1. Dental disease begins early in life. Cats can begin to develop dental disease as early as nine months old. By the time they’ve reached their third birthday, most cats begin showing signs of dental disease, such as bad breath, yellow tartar buildup on the teeth, and red, swollen gums. Left untreated, throbbing pain and inflammation can cause pets to drop food, drool excessively, paw at their mouths, or become reactive to petting. But, because most dogs and cats are experts at hiding pain, many suffer in silence.

  2. Early detection is key. As a part of your pet’s annual veterinary checkup, we recommend dental evaluations at least once a year when your cat reaches one year old, or when your large breed dog turns two.

  3. “X-ray vision” is essential for diagnosing dental disease. After examining dental radiographs (X-ray images) of cats and dogs with teeth that appeared normal to the naked eye, veterinarians found 27.8% of dogs and 41.7% of cats had diseased teeth. In pets with abnormal-looking teeth, veterinarians found additional diseased teeth in 50% of dogs and 53% of cats.

  4. Anesthesia makes dental evaluation and treatment safer and less stressful for your pet. Animals don’t like to hold still while their teeth are cleaned. Anesthetized dental cleanings allow veterinarians to make a more accurate diagnosis and decrease the chance of complications, like inhaling water or bacteria produced during the cleaning.

  5. Anesthesia is much safer than you think. Our protocols include steps to increase the safety of anesthesia, even in older pets. For example, one trained professional is dedicated to continuously monitoring, recording vital signs, and communicating the findings to the veterinarian. Before anesthesia, your pet will also be carefully screened with bloodwork and other tests to ensure he is free from underlying disease.

  6. Removing plaque from teeth beneath the gums is vital. In fact, it’s even more important than scaling the portion of the teeth we can see. Bacteria thrive under the gumline, causing infections deep in the tooth root and jaw that can spread throughout the body and affect other organs, such as the heart or kidneys.

  7. There are many similarities between human and veterinary dentistry. Licensed veterinarians and credentialed technicians use sharp, sterilized instruments, just like those you see in your dentist’s office. Board-certified veterinary dentists go through extensive residency training to perform advanced procedures like root canals, tooth extractions, and crowns. You might even feel the same sense of guilt when your veterinarian asks, “How often do you brush his teeth?” as when you’re asked, “How often do you floss?”

  8. We will create a personalized pain protocol to keep your pet comfortable. Although your dog or cat will be anesthetized during a tooth extraction, numbing medications will decrease the amount of general anesthetic needed and can last up to eight hours after the procedure, allowing your pet to rest in comfort. Your veterinarian can tailor your pet’s prescription pain medication to match the procedure so he’ll recover peacefully at home.

  9. Don’t forget to brush! Brushing your cat or dog’s teeth every day will promote good oral health and prevent potentially expensive surgeries down the line. It’s easier than you think: There are even special pet toothpastes flavored like beef, chicken, fish, and peanut butter. (Note: Never use human toothpaste, which can contain ingredients like xylitol that are toxic to animals.)

  10. Consider using other dental products if brushing isn’t an option. Oral rinses, gels, sprays, water additives, and chews can help with your pet’s dental hygiene. Be sure to look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval on all pet dental products, and be wary of any dental chew that doesn’t bend or break easily as these can fracture teeth.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Urine produced in a healthy urinary tract contains a great deal of dissolved minerals. In cats with feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), mineral crystal collect in the urinary tract, especially in the bladder and its outflow tract (urethra). The accumulating crystals irritate the lining of the urinary tract and may clump together to form "stones" in the bladder or obstruct the outflow or urine. Obstructions are relatively common in male cats and may be fatal if not treated promptly.

Signs of FLUTD include excessive licking of the genitalia, frequent voiding of small amounts of urine, straining or evidence of pain during urination and unproductive attempts to urinate. Total urinary obstruction results in depression, lack of appetite, vomiting and eventually coma and death.

Despite intense study, no single cause for FLUTD has been discovered. We are, however, aware of several factors that may lead to FLUTD. These factors include bacterial and viral infections, diet, obesity, reduced physical activity, low water consumption and prolonged urine retention. Surgical neutering does not cause FLUTD.

Important Points in Treatment

FLUTD is an emergency and prompt treatment is essential. Many cats require hospitlization for treatment. Treatment is designed to relieve the obstruction, flush the crystalline material from the urinary tract, treat any infections, correct any fluid imbalances and institute preventive dietary therapy. Despite treatment, some cats die from irreversible kidney damage.

Dietary control is essential to treatment and prevention of FLUTD. Veterinary prescription diets designed to treat or prevent FLUTD contain minimum magnesium levels, and cause increased water consumption and production of acidic urine. Neither ash content nor magnesium levels alone are responsible for this disorder. Grocery or pet store "Low Ash" diets may not have sufficiently low magnesium levels to help revent FLUTD. Urine pH is the most relevent factor in the management of FLUTD. Producing urine with the correct pH helps to prevent the formation of mineral crystals. The best diets for preventing FLUTD are "Royal Canin Urinary S/O" and "Hill's c/d", feeding half canned food and half dry food. These diets are only available as prescription diets through yout veterinary clinic. Please ask us about them.

Notify the Veterinarian if Any of the Following Occur:

  • Your cat strains and/or cries when urinating

  • Your cat frequently passes small volumes of urine

  • Your cat has blood in the urine or urinates in odd places

  • Your cat refuses to eat, seems depressed or vomits.

Encouraging Your Cat to Drink Water

  1. Provide fresh, cold water every day. Cats seem to be very aware of the temperature and taste of water.

  2. Make sure the water bowl is filled to the brim at all times. Cats have very sensitive whiskers and do not like putting their face into a bowl.

  3. Use a large size bowl, a size that their whiskers will not touch the edges when drinking.

  4. Some cats do not like the taste of tap water. You might wish to:

    1. Refridgerate the tap water to improve its taste

    2. Try Brita (filtered) water

    3. Try distilled water

    4. Try bottled water

    5. Try a few types and see what your cat prefers

  5. Some cats will drink more water if a drop or two of tuna juice (tuna in water or clam juice) is provided. If you try this, always make sure a seperate bowl of fresh water is available.

  6. Some cats enjoy ice cubes made from flavored broth (tuna or salmon juice mixed with water and frozen).

  7. If your cat prefers to drink from a tap, make sure it can always get to the tap (don't lock it out of the bathroom if that is where it likes to drink). If your schedule permits, turn the tap on for the cat as often as possible throughout the day. Water fountains can be purchased for cats that like fresh, moving water.

  8. Keep the food and water bowls away from the litter box area.

  9. Keep the water bowl clean (cats have a keen sense of smell and are easily turned off by odors on the edge of the bowl). Stainless steel or ceramic dishes are easier to keep clean and oder free vs. plastic dishes. The water dish should be washed at least every other day if possible.

  10. Some cats seem to prefer a shallow, glass bowl from which to drink (expirement with different water bowls).

  11. Canned food is an excellent way to encourage water consumption because it is high in water content and most cats love the taste. It can always be warmed up in the microwave to enhace its smell for the fussy cat. Try to feed at least some canned food two to three times a day. You can also slowly add water to the canned food.

House Soiling

Remove or Block Four Basic Causes of House-Soiling

1 - Environmental and Social Factors

Cats by nature are very clean and need adequate unsoiled locations to eliminate, especially in a multi-cat household. Some cats may avoid using a litter box located in a high traffic area or near cat doors or flaps. In a multi-cat household, the presence of a more dominant cat near the litter box area may cause a less confident cat to seek out other places for elimination. House-soiling may occur if a cat had a negative experience while it was in or near the litter box (e.g. someone administered medications, family members or children trapped a cat in the box for any reason, a dirty litter box, or even being startled by sudden noises from nearby furnaces for other loud appliances.

2 - Marking Behavior

Urine spraying is a normal part of feline behavior in which a cat marks to leave its scent. Marking behaviors can include scratching, rubbing, urine spraying, and middening (depositing feces). Unneutered male cats and most unspayed females will mark as part of their sexual behavior. Spaying and neutering dramatically reduces this behavior. Anxiety-related marking occurs in response to a change in the cat's environment, especially the core area where the cat eats, sleeps, and plays. Cats often target items with new or unrecognized smells such as backpacks and shoes. Marking behavior that starts at windows and doors usually suggests that the perceived threat is coming from outside the home. Marking in stairways, hallways, doorways, or the center of rooms usually indicates stress or threats from inside the home, such as other pets or new people in the household, active children, or remodeling.

3 - Medical Causes and Problems

Medical issues can cause a cat to exhibit behavior changes such as house-soiling. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose or rule out any medical conditions that could be a factor in the house-soiling behavior.

Every cat that starts to house-soil requires a thorough physical examination and urinalysis to check for medical problems such as infections, cystitis, arthritis, kidney problems, diabetes, and other medical issues. If your veterinarian believes the house-soiling behavior is caused by a medical reason, he or she may perform additional tests such as a urine culture, abdominal radiographs, abdominal ultrasound, complete blood count, and biochemical profile. digital rectal exams or fecal testing may be needed for cases of house-soiling with feces.

4 - Feline Idiopathic Cystitis

Feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) is a ferquent medical cause of house-soiling Cats suffering from FIC have increased frequency of urination, diffuclty and pain when urinating, and can have blood in their urine. This inflammatory condition can increase and decrease in severity over time and is aggravated by stress, changes in diet, and other issues.

Treatment and Management of House-Soiling

The design and management of the litter box are critical for encouraging acceptable toileting habits. When house-soiling occurs always evaluate the litter box. Designing the optimal litter box:

Number - The general rule of thumb is to have one litter box for each cat, plus one extra box in multiple locations around your home. Socially affiliated cats, which are two or more cats that are familiar to each other, share a territory, and exhibit behaviors such as grooming, playing, or resting together, may be more willing to share litter boxes. Because more than one social group may occur in a home, providing adequate resources for each group is important to decrease the chance of adverse behaviors.

Location - Take a look at the floor plan of your home and where your litter boxes are located. Avoid placing food and water close to the litter box. Cats usually prefer quiet, private places. Avoid busy areas of the home and locations where a cat could be cornered in, blocked off, or unable to flee. Cats can be cornered in the litter box so they are unable to flee (e.g. if the box is in a closet or small room where another cat can block the exit).

Size - In general, bigger is better and many commercial litter boxes are too small. Litter boxes should be 1.5 times the length of the cat from the nose to the base of the tail. Suitable alternatives can include concrete mixing trays or storage containers. You can place the lid behind the box to protect the wall. Older cats need a low entry so you can cut down the side but inspect for any sharp edges.

Litter -If your cat is exhibiting house-soiling behaviors, you may need to try different types of litter until the cat indicates its preference. For preference evaluation, provide multiple boxes with different litters and variable litter depths. Many cats dislike aromatic or dusty litters, litter deodorizers, and box liners. Most cats prefer soft unscented clumping litters.

Managing the Litter Box - Remove waste at a minimum of once per day and add litter as needed. Wash the litter box every 1-4 weeks using soap and hot water only. Avoid strong chemicals or any ammonia based products.

Remove Marking Triggers - Neuter or spay your cat to eliminate sexually-related marking behavior. Restrict the potential threat of other cats; outdoor roaming cats encroaching on the household can act as triggers. Tips: if the resident cat resides indoors only (never goes outside), use motion activated water sprinklers to make the yard unattractive to feline visitors. Laying plastic carpet protectors upside down in front of sliding glass doors creates an uncomfortable surface and may dissuade other cats from sitting close to the house and intimidating your cat. Remove or block cat doors that allow roaming cats to enter the household. Tip: use microchip or magnet-operated devices to only allow access to your cat.

Cleaning urine-marked areas frequently will reduce a cat's habit of refreshing its scent on the marking site. Use a black light (UV) to find soiled areas. Clean affected areas with a good quality urine odor and stain remover according to the type of surface that the cat has soiled. Test products on an inconspicuous area first and clean a sufficiently large area to remove the odor, which may be up to three times the size of the soiled area. Avoid using ammonia-based cleaners, which smell like urine to a cat.