What if I have an emergency?
If it is during normal business hours, call our clinic and we will help you figure out what to do. If it is after hours, call our clinic and the voicemail system will tell you how to reach the Emergency Clinic, MedVet Toledo at 2921 Douglas Rd, Toledo, OH 43606, (419)-473-0328. The emergency clinic will help you figure out if they need to see your pet right away for an after-hours examination and start some type of treatment, or if your pet has a condition that can wait until the next business day.
What constitutes an emergency for my cat?
- Being hit by a car
- Any eye injury or disease
- Pregnancy complications
- Antifreeze or other toxin ingestion
- Not able to walk
- Trouble breathing
- Combination of vomiting and diarrhea
- Vomiting with blood in it
- Difficulty urinating or being unable to urinate
- Swelling of head/neck/face
- Possible vaccine reaction
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of consciousness
- Profuse bleeding
- Combination of not eating and not drinking
- Disorientation and loss of balance
- Overheating or suspected heat stroke
- Being attacked by another animal
- Problems with a surgical incision
Common Toxins to avoid in my cat: Any type of onion, grapes/raisins, antifreeze (ethylene glycol), rodent poisons, many fertilizers and insecticides, xylitol (an artificial sweetener in some human foods), most OTC pain relievers and many other human medications, illicit drugs, chocolate, macadamia nuts, some newer glues/adhesives, many plants (daffodil, dieffenbachia, holly, honeysuckle, poinsettia, mistletoe, azalea, rhododendron, English ivy, narcissis, yew, and many types of lilies). Many other things are toxic if your cat gets enough of it, even salt. Never give your cat medications prescribed for dogs; many products that are safe for dogs are toxic to cats.
We also recommend not feeding pets any type of animal bones, especially if the bones are small, undercooked, or come from a bird. This is not an all-inclusive list; it covers the more common toxin/ingestion cases we see or are asked about.
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)
Feline leukemia virus is a retrovirus that causes a weak immune system and cancers in cats. The infection affects only cats, with no threat to humans or any other species of animal. The severity of the infection is unique to each cat.
Transmission of the virus from cat to cat is done easily. Most body secretions contain the virus, making it highly contagious. Cat-to-cat transmission can occur when cats groom each other or during fights, bite wounds are the most common. Female cats can also transfer the virus to kittens during nursing. Outdoor cats and cats in large populations are more at risk for contracting the virus.
Signs and Symptoms
FeLV can manifest in many different ways depending on the cat’s immune system. All body systems can be affected by FeLV as the immune system is unable to keep up with new threats to the body. Many cats will present with upper respiratory tract infections, persistent diarrhea, tooth and gum diseases, fever and wasting, chronic infections of the external ear and skin, and cancer.
FeLV can be diagnosed at your veterinarian’s office in a matter of minutes with a simple blood test. This is why we recommend testing all kittens in the first few months of life.
There is currently no cure for FeLV. Supportive care, including antibiotics for secondary infections, fluid therapy, dental surgery, and nutritional support may prolong the quality of life in many cats.
If your cat goes outside at all or has any contact with other cats that go outside, they should be vaccinated yearly against FeLV to prevent them from contracting the virus. As with all vaccinations, the FeLV vaccine is not 100% effective, but does greatly reduce the risk of contracting the virus. Keeping cats indoors and away from potentially infected cats also helps decrease the spread of the virus.
Thank you for your interest in your cat’s health! If you ever have any questions regarding your cat, please feel free to ask any member of the Blanchard Valley Veterinary Clinic team! We are here to help you keep your pet healthy!
What and how should I feed my cat?
What to Feed
We recommend feeding a high-quality food with a meat protein base (opposed to food based upon plant proteins). Vegetable proteins generally take longer to digest, and since carnivores tend to have shorter intestines than herbivores, they usually do better with animal-based proteins. This is even more important as an animal ages or has liver or kidney disease. Also, foods that are high in fiber or plant protein tend to take longer to digest which can make housetraining your puppy harder. Because plant proteins are not as easily digestible, they tend to make the stools softer, larger, and more often.
Store Bought Food
Premium foods are completely balanced and offer full nutrition to your pet so that extra vitamins and supplements are not necessary unless your pet has a specific disease condition. Spending a little extra money for premium food now can save you money in veterinary bills in the future and help your pet live a long and healthy life. Premium foods usually follow a fixed formula; this means the ingredients don’t change from month to month. Lower quality foods vary the amount of the ingredients from batch to batch, trying to use whichever product is cheapest. Also, you may need to feed more of a lower quality food to get the same nutrition as in a high-quality diet, so while the cost per bag may be less, the cost per meal may end up not being much less. Some common premium foods we recommend are Purina, Iams, Science Diet, and Royal Canin. Premium food companies can be trusted to have the contents of the bag match what is on the label, while other brands often do not contain what their label suggests.
It is important to note that pets do not need a daily variation in food to be satisfied; they do better with a consistent diet. Any change in food type may lead to vomiting, soft stool, or diarrhea. In addition, frequent dietary changes may lead to finicky eaters. Pets should always have access to fresh water.
How Aging Affects Your Pets’ Diet:
As your pet ages, the nutritional requirements will change. Changes in sense of smell and taste also affect the appetite in senior pets. Changes in GI absorption and exercise also affect nutritional recommendations. Puppy foods are often enriched with extra EPA and DHA. Senior pet food is generally restricted in sodium, phosphorus and fat. If your pet has an age-related illness (such as liver or kidney disease), specific prescription products designed to meet special nutritional requirements will be recommended by your veterinarian. Lower fat and fiber levels are generally recommended in senior pets. If you feed puppy food to a senior pet, they will often become obese and may have other metabolic diseases develop. We generally change to senior foods between 6-8 years of age.
Avoiding table scraps is very important to the health of most pets. Avoiding foods high in fat, salt, or simple sugars is important. If you would like to give your pets treats, we recommend using regular dog food, vegetables that are high in fiber or water (such as small carrots), or small pieces of dog treats that amount to no more than 10% of your pet’s total calories for the day. Frozen vegetables not only make great treats, but they also help clean your pet’s teeth. All food and treats should be monitored so that pets do not become obese.
How to feed:
Nutritional excesses and deficiencies are possible and care should be taken to avoid them as much as possible. The number one excess is caloric intake, which leads to the number one disease we see in pets (and people): obesity.
Transitioning your pet to a new food should be done slowly, over a period of 5-10 days. Gradually mixing larger amounts of the new food with the old food over this time span often prevents your pet from developing vomiting or diarrhea from an abrupt change in diet.
Free choice feeding is discouraged in almost all cases. This promotes obesity in many pets and can be problematic later in life if certain diseases develop or medications need to be given on an empty or full stomach. We recommend feeding all toy breed puppies 3-6 times a day until they are 5 pounds (ask your doctor for specifics in the puppy examination series), and most other puppies 2-3 times daily. Once an adult, we recommend feeding most dogs 2-3 times a day at specific meal times that are convenient for your schedule. Young, small dogs need frequent meals to avoid low blood sugar and large breed adult dogs should not be fed only once a day to help prevent a GDV (bloat).
Obesity in pets is far too common. Obesity can reduce your pet’s lifespan along with increasing the risk of arthritis, diabetes, liver disease, heart problems, cancer, and respiratory problems. The number one cause of obesity in pets is over eating. This can be prevented by measuring out how much food your pet is supposed to eat in a day and only giving him/her that amount. If treats are a necessary part of your pet’s day, calculate them into the amount of allowed calories for the day. Other causes of obesity include lack of exercise, lowered metabolism, emotional trauma, hormonal imbalances, or other disease.
Treatment of obesity requires cooperation of everyone responsible for feeding the pet. Make sure that everyone is on the same page and understands how much the pet is allowed to eat in a day and what treats are allowed in the diet.
Thank you for your care and concern about your pet’s diet and feeding recommendations. If you have any questions or concerns about your pet, please feel free to ask any member of the Blanchard Valley Veterinary Clinic staff. We are happy to be able to help keep your pet happy and healthy.
Feline Vaccine Schedule
Core vaccines - highly recommend for all cats regardless of circumstances
FRCCP – Feline Rhinotracheitis, Chlamydia, Calici Virus, Panleukopenia
- These diseases are highly contagious and tend to affect the upper respiratory system, including sneezing, a runny nose and drooling.
- This series should begin between 6 and 8 weeks of age. It should be continued every 3 weeks with the final vaccine being at or after 16 weeks of age. Following this initial series, a booster should be given 12 months later and then every 3 years thereafter.
- Rabies is a deadly disease with no known treatment in cats but is also a human disease.
- Any time after 12 weeks of age rabies vaccine can be given but we typically give around 16 weeks of age. It is then booster after 12 months and then every 3 years thereafter.
Leukemia – Recommended for all kittens and cats who are outside
- Feline leukemia is a viral disease that can be transferred to kittens from their mother or through close contact with other infected cats. Kittens should be tested for FeLV prior to vaccination.
- Begins at or after 8 weeks of age, then repeated 3 weeks later. This vaccine is then boostered every 12 months thereafter.
All vaccines are given after a risk assessment by the doctor. Vaccines stimulate the immune system to develop protective mechanisms for your pet. It may take 3 days to 3 weeks for vaccines to produce any effective results for your pet. All pets should be monitored after receiving vaccinations for adverse reactions, but thankfully these are rare. If a vaccine reaction has occurred, the doctor will discuss with you the risk of the disease to your pet verses the risk of vaccine reactions.
The above schedule is a general guideline and may be affected by many variables. Always follow the recommendations given by your current veterinarian. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask us about how to best care for your pet.
Why We Spay and Neuter
An ovariohysterectomy is the complete removal of both ovaries, and all uterine tissue to the level of the cervix. Our dog spays include opening the abdomen aseptically, removing the proper tissues, ligating all tissues properly with the correct sutures, and then closing each layer in separate suture patterns.
The reasons for performing a spay are numerous. Firstly, your female dog will not have the annoying signs attributed to heat such as behavioral changes, vocalization, or vaginal bleeding. Most importantly, properly spaying a female dog eliminates the risk of uterine infections and reduces the risk of reproductive cancers. Finally, spaying will help reduce the unwanted pet population.
Castration is the complete removal of the testicle, and distal portions of the spermatic cord (artery/vein, nerves, and vas deferens). Our cat neuters include opening the skin aseptically (the abdomen is not opened like in females), removing the proper tissues, ligating all tissues properly using the correct suture, and then closing with second intention of the body healing.
The reasons for performing a castration are also numerous. Firstly, it will make housebreaking and behavior training easier. It will also reduce the tendency for cats to develop many stereotypic behaviors (such as territorial aggression or marking all over the house/yard).
More About the Procedure
We are aware that spaying/neutering your pet can be expensive. We keep the prices for all of our spays/neuters as low as possible to encourage all clients to sterilize their pets because we believe it is so important. We are also aware that there are several choices in the Findlay area for this surgery. We offer several other services at the time of sterilization such as complimentary nail trim. We use preanesthetic blood testing to make sure there are no unknown diseases which may be affecting your pet, and microchipping with HomeAgain products. Keep in mind that this surgery is a once in a lifetime surgery which is elective, and we want to ensure that it is done correctly.
We encourage discussing with your veterinarian to determine when spaying and neutering would be best based off of individual recommendation for your pet. We want your pet to be old enough to handle the anesthetics well, be fully vaccinated and immune to common pathogens, and yet have the surgery prior to two years of age. It is certainly never too late to spay or neuter a dog, but some of the benefits (like cancer prevention) are not as great after several years of being intact.
If you have any questions or concerns about your pet, please feel free to ask any member of the Blanchard Valley Veterinary Clinic staff! We are happy to be able to help keep your pet happy and healthy!
Body Condition Score (BCS) for Cats
Body Condition Score of 1/9: Ribs are visible on short-haired cats, no palpable fat. There is a severe abdominal tuck and the lumbar vertebrae and wings of the pelvis are obvious and easily palpable.
Body Condition Score of 3/9: Ribs are easily palpable with minimal fat covering. Lumbar vertebrae are obvious waist behind ribs and minimal fat covering.
Body Condition Score of 5/9: Well proportioned, waist observed behind ribs. Ribs are palpable with slight fat covering. The abdominal fat pad is minimal.
Body Condition Score of 6/9: Shared characteristics of BCS 5 and 7
Body Condition Score of 7/9: Ribs not easily palpable with moderate fat covering. The waist is not obvious, there is rounding of the abdomen and there is an obvious abdominal fat pad.
Body Condition Score of 8/9: Shared characteristics of BCS of 7 and 9
Body Condition Score of 9/9: Ribs not palpable under heavy fat cover. There are heavy fat deposits over the lumbar area, face and limbs. The abdomen is distended with no waist. There is an extensive fat pad.
Citation: 2010 AAHA Nutritional Assessment Guidelines for Dogs and Cats. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aaha.org/professio...
Litter Box Care and Maintenance
Proper set up and maintenance of your cat’s litter box is just as important as making sure your cat is trained to use it. When a litter box is dirty or otherwise unappealing to your cat, it will find somewhere else to relieve itself. The main ideas to keep in mind in setting up and maintaining your cat’s litter box are:
- Keep it clean
- Don’t change the environment unless absolutely necessary.
- Don’t change the litter brand, scent, or type unless advised to do so by your veterinarian.
- Have enough litter boxes for all of your cats.
- Work with your cat and maintain what makes your cat happy. Overall, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it; if your cat is maintaining good litter box behavior, don’t change anything that could lead to inappropriate elimination problems.
Keeping a Clean Litter box
Cleaning your cat’s litter box should be a routine activity that takes minimal time out of your day and will keep your cat happy and encouraged to use the litter box.
Daily cleaning should be done to remove waste. We recommend using a clumping litter to help with this daily task. A clumping litter will help remove feces as well as urine from the litter box each time you scoop. Fresh litter should be added to replace the soiled litter you remove. As a rule, at least 2 inches of litter should be kept in the litter box at all times. Your cat needs to be able to dig a hole to eliminate in and have enough litter to completely cover their waste after eliminating. Your cat may prefer more or less litter in the box, and you can always adjust this to your cat’s preferences.
Completely empty and refill the litter box at least weekly. This routine will help keep the litter fresh and inviting for your cat. Remember to refill the litter box with enough litter each time you empty it.
A complete cleaning of the litter box should be done monthly. This should include completely emptying the litter box and thoroughly scrubbing it with soap. Do not use an ammonia-based detergent to wash the litter box. These types of detergents may leave behind a scent which can deter your cat from using the litter box.
What Type of Litter Should I Use?
We recommend using a clumping litter that is not scented. The clumping characteristic allows the litter box to be cleaned easily. Litter with a deodorant or perfume often deters cats from using the litter box. A simple, clay-based clumping litter with no scent should be used to keep your cat coming back to the litter box.
What Type of Litter Box Should I Use?
Simple is best. Using a plain, plastic litter box is ideal. Your cat may not be inclined to use a litter box with a hood or that self cleans. The litter box should be large enough that your cat can walk in, turn completely around without stepping out of the box, dig a hole to eliminate in, turn back around, and walk forward to position themselves over the hole they dug. If this can’t happen in the litter box you are using, a bigger litter box is needed.
How Many Litter Boxes Should I Have?
Many cats will not share a litter box with other cats. To avoid any conflict or elimination problems, keep at least one litter box per cat plus one. For example, if you have 3 cats, you should have 4 litter boxes. There should also be access to litter boxes on each floor of the house.
Change is Bad!
As far as your cat is concerned, change is not good when it comes to their litter box. Most cats prefer the same type of litter, scent of litter, and color and size of litter box. Don’t change the location of the litter box (unless you’re moving) or expect multiple cats to share a litter box that haven’t done so before.
Periodontal disease is an infection resulting from build-up of soft dental plaque on the surfaces of the teeth around the gums. The bacteria in dental plaque irritate the gum tissue if plaque accumulates, leading to bleeding and oral pain. This may result in loss of appetite or dropping food from mouth while eating.
Dental plaque can lead to infection in the bone surrounding the teeth resulting in teeth becoming loose and falling out.
Bacteria surrounding the roots gain access to the blood stream ("bacteremia"). Studies have shown that dogs with severe periodontal disease have more severe microscopic damage in their kidneys, heart muscle and liver than do dogs with less severe periodontal disease.
Excellent oral health is maintained by daily oral hygiene. The gold standard is daily brushing. Daily chewing activities can also be effective in maintaining oral health.
Daily use of products that have been awarded the Veterinary Oral Health Council Seal (VOHC – www.vohc.org) will help to keep your pet’s teeth clean and the gum tissues and bone around the roots healthy.
The VOHC recommends periodic veterinary examination of the mouth and teeth of your dog or cat. Many pets, particularly middle-aged and older cats and dogs, require teeth cleaning consisting of periodic scaling in addition to on-going plaque control.
Teeth cleaning consists of ultrasonic scaling and polishing of all the teeth. We also perform dental radiographs which show us the roots, which are the two-thirds of the tooth below the gums. During the teeth cleaning, the health of all of the teeth in the mouth will be checked. Any infected or compromised teeth will be removed to relieve potential pain in the pet, as well as prevent the spread of infection.
Ear care is very important for the health of your pet. For some pets, routine cleaning of the ear canal is needed to maintain a healthy ear. Cat ears should not be over-cleaned as this can lead to infection. Try to get your pets accustom to having their ears touched when they are young because if the first time you try to clean your pet’s ears is when they are painful, the process will be very challenging.
When infected, ear cleaning is done per your veterinarian’s recommendation, then as needed to maintain a clean ear. Cleaning the ears is just as important to resolving ear infections as the medicated drops we prescribe. When cleaning your pet’s ears, you should closely follow these directions:
- Fill the ear canal to the top with the ear cleaning solution.
- Massage the ear for several moments with the ear cleaning solution in it to help break up the debris in the ear.
- Holding the ear tip upright, wipe out any debris and fluid with cotton. This may be done several times with fresh cotton. DO NOT USE COTTON SWABS. Cotton swabs can push debris further down the ear canal and can cause more problems, or cause pain.
If medication is needed, wait 10 minutes after cleaning the ears to apply. This ensures that the cleaning solution won’t interfere with the medication’s action.
Ear infections can be caused by underlying allergies, moisture in the ear (such as bathing or from swimming), or even conformation of the ear. Every infection is unique for the pet, and even for each ear. For this reason, we highly recommend an ear swab and cytology before prescribing medication. The common culprits for infections are yeast and bacteria, either cocci or rods, and each infection might need to be treated differently.
An ear mite infestation can cause your pet to scratch at its ears and shake its head. We recommend application of Milbemite into both ears after a thorough cleaning. Alternatively, Revolution Plus, will kill the ear mites as well as fleas, prevent your pet from contracting heartworm disease and some major intestinal parasites. All pets in contact with the affected pet should also be treated for ear mites. Ear mites are not contagious from pets to humans.
Average Cost Per Year of Our Pets
Pet care costs are rising quickly, just like many other costs in the past few years. There is quite a large variation in cost of care for pets depending on which species or breed of animal, what level of care owners wish to provide, and overall health of the pet. In general, the best way to reduce costs for the long term care of your pet is to buy a high quality food and feed appropriate amounts, pick the right type of pet (species and breed) for your family, provide preventive care as recommended by your veterinarian, spay/neuter your pet, attend training classes, save for senior care expenses, and consider pet health insurance for emergency situations.
Estimated yearly costs for 2010 are (see Consumer Reports, USA Today, and ASPCA):
- Medium size healthy dog: $1700 annually, additional $900 for a new puppy in 1st year
- Healthy cat: $1000 annually, additional $630 for a new kitten in 1st year
These costs assume no health conditions are present and include food, bedding, collars, leashes, licenses, identification tags, food dishes, routine veterinary vaccines, preventive medications, and spay/neuter surgery at puberty.
This is quite a large expense to incur, but pets are a great addition to most families. Owners need to have enough discretional income to cover the cost of pet ownership before acquiring one. We usually recommend adopting a pet from a local humane society or rescue organization. There are many other places to obtain pets from, but many unwanted, yet highly adoptable animals are euthanized each year at animal shelters and veterinarians do all we can to reduce this unfortunate reality. Another plus is that these animals have often been health-screened, spayed or neutered, and are current on vaccinations.
To help make emergency care more affordable, we recommend pet health insurance. There are many options for pet health insurance currently, but numerous pet health insurance companies have gone bankrupt and owners have lost their coverage as well as the premiums they paid. For this reason, we recommend Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI). If you choose another company, please research its background and history carefully.
VPI has many plans available, and they have a record of consistent customer service and financial stability. One of their brochures is included in your puppy or kitten pack. The pet health insurance is a shared indemnity plan; this means you pay your bill in full at the time services are provided by the veterinarian, you then submit a claim and copy of the receipt to the VPI, and VPI repays you a percentage of the cost based upon the type of policy you purchased from VPI. Because insurance can be complicated, make sure you read the fine print on all policy information and call VPI if you have any specific questions. Don’t hesitate to ask us about pet insurance if you have any general questions.
Additionally, CareCredit is a healthcare credit card. It's a way to pay for the costs of many treatments and procedures and allows you to make convenient monthly payments. Invoice balances over $200 offers 6 months interest free payment. Apply at http://www.CareCredit.com or Call 800-365-8295
It’s not a trip to the spa!
Many people believe that declawing is simply a nail trim. Sadly, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Declawing involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. The human equivalent would be surgically removing the last knuckle of each of your fingers.
Cat’s need to scratch. It helps them exercise and mark their territory. Below are some kinder solutions than declawing to protect your furniture!
- Purchase a sturdy tall scratching posts, and put them where your cat currently scratch. This may mean you have a post in front of your sofa for a little while. You can move it once she/he come to like it.
- Dangle a toy on a wand around appropriate scratching surfaces to entice her/him to use them.
- Clap your hand when you catch her/him scratching inappropriately and entice her/him to the scratching post.
- Use a product like sticky paws or two-sided tape to protect the furniture.
- Keep the nails trimmed, or use nail covers like Soft Paws to prevent damage.