Capitol Illini Newsletter
In the Spring 2012 Issue ...
Feline resources checklist. Making a multiple cat house a happy home.
Having multiple cats is great, but it can also be tricky! Cats can keep each other company and play together or they can fight and stress each other to no end, usually it's a little of each. Keeping a multiple cat house a happy home for everyone is not easy. Making sure every cat has it's own resources can really help. Cats tend to become scared, stressed or angry when resources are not available, changed, or are "claimed" by house-mate cats. Think of it as environmental enrichment for your indoor kitty!
Here is a list of resources to consider to help ease tension in your multiple cat house. Though some of these tips seem simple they can make a significant difference in the happiness of your multiple cat home.
1-Are all basics like litter boxes, food and water in a convenient location that feel safe and private to your cats?
2– Does each cat have its own food bowl and water dish, washed daily?
3– Do you have 1 litter box for each cat plus 1 extra, scooped daily using unscented clumping litter?
4– Can each cat roam freely without being bothered by another?
5– Does each cat have access to scratching posts, resting places, and perches?
6– Do you leave the TV or radio on for the cats while gone or have bird feeders positioned outside window perches?
7-Does each cat have the option to play with other animals or you daily?
8– Does each cat get individual petting and play time from you daily?
9-Does each cat have access to toys that mimic prey movement, and toys that can be carried and batted?
10– Are toys rotated on a weekly basis?
(source: Clinician's brief Sept. 2011. Household resource checklist)
Lumps and bumps...could it be a mast cell tumor???
A common problem we see here at Capitol Illini is when a pet has a lump or bump. Many owners bring their pets in to be sure that these common lumps or bumps are not something serious. Often these lumps are nothing more than a benign fatty mass or an old age wart but there is only one way to be sure and that is to take a sample of it and look at it under the microscope. It could be a malignant mast cell tumor.
Mast cell tumors are very common malignant growths of the skin. Mast cell tumors can appear on any part of the skin. They can grow at varying speeds, they have no classic appearance, and may be many shapes, sizes or colors. Mast cell tumors are usually only locally invasive form of malignant (cancerous) skin tumor. Taking a sample through a small needle that is inserted into the tumor can allow us to diagnose if a lump is a mast cell tumor. Then surgical removal is the next step.
Surgical removal of mast cell tumors is usually curative but sending in the tumor be evaluated by a specialist is recommended to be sure further treatment is not necessary. Dogs are predominantly affected by mast cell tumors but cats can also be affected. Dogs that get one mast cell tumor frequently get more. Boxers and Boston Terriers have a higher incidence of occurrence.
Frequently there are no other symptoms and your pet may not even be bothered by the tumor. Mast cells can look similar to any benign tumor so it is important to have all growths checked by one of our Veterinarians here at Capitol Illini.
(Source: www. Vetmed. wsu.edu Oncology dept. )
Don't give fleas a fighting chance!
Fleas are always an issue but this spring promises to be an especially bad one. With winters becoming shorter and warmer the population is sure to explode once the warm spring weather begins as more fleas than usual will surely survive this winter.
Many people believe that all the fleas die in the winter, however some still sur-vive. Crawl spaces, basements, garages and wild animals all provide refuge for the fleas that will survive winter. Because of these dormant fleas, your pet can become infested in the winter. However, the bigger problem is that once warm weather comes all of the fleas that survived begin to reproduce at an alarming rate and with the weath-er warm they do not need a warm place to stay alive. They can search for their own host, your pet!
Fleas are not only a pesky problem but are able to transmit many harmful dis-eases to our pets. Skin problems, itchiness, and tapeworm infestation are the most common but even more serious diseases can be passed from flea to our pets. Some of the serious diseases fleas can transmit to our pets are: Tularemia (also known as rabbit fever) Bubonic plague, Typhus, cat scratch fever (bartonella), and Feline infec-tious anemia. Bubonic plague, Typhus, Tularemia, and cat scratch fever can all also be transmitted to humans and cause severe illness!!!
Prevention of flea infestation is the key to preventing disease transmission. Many products are available for prevention, many of which we carry here at Capitol Illini. Pet owners must use caution when using flea medications. Incorrect sizes, using inappropriate products on cats, and un-regulated over-the-counter products can all cause severe reactions. Some over-the-counter products can even be FAKES because of the lack of regulation over these products. Talk to your Veterinarian about what product will work best for your pet. Be sure all the pet's in your home are treated and stay on a good preventive product year round to prevent infestation.
Hills' prescription diets, medication in a food bag.
Feeding your dogs and cats is simple. Finding a diet that is appropriate for them when they have a medical condition can be more difficult. Many medi-cal needs can be met and treated by feeding the appropriate diet.
Hills' prescription foods really are "medicine in a food bag." Not only do they meet the simple nutritional requirements of being a reliable food to feed your pet; they also play a vital role in treating various medical problems. Hills' does extensive food trials to try to make their foods tasty and appropriate for medical conditions.
The diets are by prescription only because they are specifically formu-lated to treat certain conditions. They should only be fed under the supervision of a Veterinarian. For example, KD diet by Hills is one crucial part of treating kidney disease, however if strictly fed to a puppy could cause a deficiency in certain nutrients. Hills foods can be an important part of the treatment of your pet. Giving your pet its medications can sometimes be easy as pouring food in the bowl.
Tips to improve feline water intake and why it's important.
Water accounts for much of both our own and our cats' body weight; 60-75% of total body weight. Cats tend to avoid water but water is crucial to maintaining your cats' health. When cats become even slightly dehydrated it can cause them to have difficulty in maintaining good heath. Adequate hydration is crucial to treating many diseases that are prevalent in cats such as urinary tract issues, infections, as well as inflammatory bowel disease. Here are some ways to increase your cats' water intake:
1– Feed canned food. The increased moisture content is similar to what a cat would get if he/she was eating what they could catch in the wild. High quality canned diets come in many textures and flavors . Talking with your veterinarian can find a diet that is appropriate for your cat, even if your kitty has allergies, health problems, or is a picky eater.
2-Provide fresh clean water at all times. Be sure to change the water and wash the dish with a gentle detergent daily.
3-Try different water dishes, some cats prefer large vs. small dishes, and some prefer plastic, stainless steel or ceramic dishes.
4– Get a kitty water fountain, some cats prefer to drink from running, circulating or filtered water.
5-Provide multiple clean litter boxes in private places. Cats that are trying to avoid going to the litter box will drink less.
Always monitor your cats' food and water intake because subtle changes in consumption can be the first sign of a health problem. Making sure your cat stays hydrated will help your cat keep healthy.
" In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats."
- English proverb
Staff Corner: Meet Heather B. , Veterinary Assistant
Heather joined the Capitol Illini team in May, 2011. She graduated from Western Illinois University in 2011 with honors of Summa Cum Laude and a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Zoology. In her free time she enjoys spending as much time outside as possible with her boyfriend, Kyle and their Vizsla, Hyde. They also enjoy hunting deer and upland birds together. Heather plans to go on to Veterinary School in the future to pursue a DVM with an interest in large animals.