Capitol Illini Newsletter
In the Spring 2015 Issue ...
Feeding cats, sometimes not so simple.
As simple as feeding your cat seems, it can often get complicated; medical issues, multiple cat households, and the finicky feline can make things tricky.
We diagnose many medical problems that can benefit from dietary changes or restrictions. Often just feeding a specific diet can be the cure to, or prevent, reoccurrence of a medical ailment. We stock several prescription diet options that act as medication to specific diseases. Feeding your cat is often much easier than trying to give pills or liquid medications. Almost any medical issue can benefit from the appropriate diet. FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease), kidney disease, arthritis, hyperthyroidism, irritable bowel disease, anxiety, skin and ear problems, chronic weight loss in older cats and obesity are some of the most common conditions we are able to treat with diet change as a mainstay of treatment here at Capitol Illini.
As we try to provide our cats with optimal nutrition they can frequently choose otherwise. Changing a cat’s diet can be difficult when you have one cat but when you have multiple cats on multiple diets it can get even harder. Trying to find a diet that works for all cats is the easiest solution but may not always be possible. Training cats to meal feeding, feeding separately and keyed cat flap boxes (“sure flap” cat doors) can help with feeding each cat its appropriate food. After all else has been tried it may be necessary to “prioritize” which cat is in most need of a specific diet or find a diet that has multiple uses.
The finicky feline can often refuse to eat the diet that is best for them. Cats can be specific about the flavor, aroma, temperature and texture. Some cats may prefer pate’, while others will only eat flaked, minced or chunks in gravy. Slow transitions, can sometimes take months but may be necessary. With a finicky cat you often must start by simply placing the new diet next to the old food, sometimes several days in a row before mixing in or asking the cat to eat the new diet. It is important that a cat eats every day; you simply cannot take the approach of “she will eat it if she gets hungry enough”. If this is done you can risk a cat developing hepatic lipidosis, a liver condition that can be deadly. It is possible for a cat to develop a food aversion. This can happen when a cat has a bad experience with a certain food. He/she may never eat that diet again once this happens.
Feeding your cat appropriately for his/her specific needs can help increase longevity and quality of life. If you think your cat may benefit from a diet change it should always first be discussed with one of our Veterinarians or Veterinary technicians.
Having a microchip isn’t enough-registration is key!
Capitol Illini enjoys sharing Microchip success stories with our clients. There is nothing better than the heart-warming stories of families and pets being reunited thanks to a microchip! Unfortunately, not all pets are this lucky. Time after time pets are scanned, microchips are found, but the chip was never registered. Having a microchip isn't enough- registration is key! Make sure to keep your contact information up to date whenever you move or change phone numbers. Registering and updating is quick and easy to do via phone or internet. A microchip works forever if pet owners update information as needed. Give your lost pet the best chance to get home fast. For less than $50.00 you can get your pet microchipped and registered through Capitol Illini Veterinary Services with HomeAgain, a pet database committed to protecting and returning your lost pet. Dog and cat microchipping is a simple procedure. A veterinarian injects a microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, beneath the surface of your pets skin between the shoulder blades. The process is similar to a routine shot and takes only a few seconds. No anesthetic is required! Unsure if your pets are chipped? Bring them in for a free microchip scan today. Do you know they’re chipped, but are unsure of they’re registration status? Ask us how to find out. If you know your pet is not chipped, don’t wait. Get them chipped and registered today!
New Product: Hills Stews
Hills prescription diets- Now in “stew” formula and enhanced flavors.
Our pets can be particular about what they eat but it’s important we provide them the nutrition they need. Hills prescription diets are now being improved to be more palatable. They have enhanced the flavor to help your pet enjoy eating the appropriate diet. Hills has also come out with a line of “stew“ formulations. This allows animals that have a texture preference to get the nutrition they need. Hills’ is always looking to find the best ways to provide quality nutrition, and will soon be coming out with diets that are multipurpose to help animals with multiple medical issues get resolution.
Preparing your pet for warmer weather!
Despite the cold temperatures and snowfall, warmer weather is on the horizon. Outdoor activities and exercising will be increasing, as well as the parasites, injuries, and allergies that accompany them. You can help decrease these issues by taking proper precautions.
- Watch for Signs of Seasonal Allergies - With warmer weather comes new plants, meaning pollen season is approaching. Rather than absorbing allergens through their respiratory system like people do, pets absorb allergens through their skin. Watch for excessive scratching or ear problems to identify seasonal allergies. While there is no way to prevent these allergies, your veterinarian can assist you in finding ways to help keep your pet comfortable during the allergy season.
- Slowly Increase your Pet’s Exercise - Most families will go through a considerable decline of activity in the colder months, meaning their pets will also undergo this change. Warmer weather means more opportunities for outdoor activities. It is important to increase your pets exercise gradually over time, as pets can become injured by being introduced to the routine too quickly.
- Continue Heartworm Prevention - Many owners will discontinue giving their pet heartworm prevention in the colder months, as insect numbers considerably decrease during this time. However, it is important to keep your pet on year round heartworm prevention. Heartworms are carried and transmitted by mosquitoes. You can protect your pet by being proactive and making sure that you provide the protection they need.
- Continue Flea and Tick Prevention - During winter, fleas become dormant outside. However, you can still see them all year round, and once they make themselves known, it becomes exceedingly difficult to get rid of them. Once you see one flea, you can be sure that there are many more. Once a flea infests a dog or cat, it begins feeding and reproducing within 5 minutes. Other than the effects of the insect bite itself, fleas are also known to carry different types of diseases and parasites as well, including Bartonella and tapeworms. Ticks are also a concern with the warmer weather approaching. They are known to carry diseases, such as Lyme disease and Erlichiosis. These insects typically breed around late April-June, so it is very important to get a head start and make sure your pets are protected. If you have any questions regarding your pets health, Please call one of our locations for assistance
Environmental enrichment for cats and dogs
We want to give our pets every opportunity to be happy and healthy. Providing them some entertainment and enjoyment in life - beyond the basics - can greatly improve their happiness and health. Environmental enrichment is the process of changing your pet’s environment in order to encourage increased activity and natural behaviors to provide physical and psychological satisfaction. Doing this for our cats and dogs can decrease stress and increase the human-animal bond. Decreased stress can lead to fewer health problems in animals just like it would for you! Pets that are provided stimulation and a positive environment are less likely to have psychological or behavioral issues- a happy dog or cat makes a happy owner.
Environmental enrichment can be achieved several ways: food enrichment, training, socialization, toys and play, and sensory enrichment. Think about things that would be new, interesting and entertaining to your pet.
- Food enrichment- Food and treat puzzles or Kong toys. Make your cat hunt for small meals placed through the house, or toss kibbles across the floor for a game of chase with dinner.
- Training- teach a new trick, or brush up on the old ones and let your dog show off when friends or family are over. You can also enroll your pet in obedience or agility classes. Cats can learn tricks too!
- Socialization- go to the park with your dog, go for a hike, or take your dog swimming if she likes it. Do everything you can to encourage positive social relationships between pets in a multiple pet house. Train your pet to enjoy coming to see us by a quick trip to the Veterinarian for a weight check and a treat.
- Toys and play- Alternate and change toys frequently, rub your cats’ toys with catnip, and provide different types of toys. Engage your cat with a laser pointer or feather wand.
- Sensory enrichment- Provide cat perches to look out the window, or place a bird feeder outside the window. Walking your dog provides new sights a smells outside the back yard.
- Every pet is different, and environmental enrichment can be customized to fit each pet. “Healthy pets make happy people” and I would say happy pets help to make healthy pets! For more information you can visit www.indoorpet.osu.edu
Kayla was born and raised in Southern California and joined the Capitol Illini team in July of 2014 as a veterinary assistant and is currently working on becoming a CVT. Since her childhood years, she has always had a love of animals and wanted a job where she could work closely with them. Kayla lives with her wonderful fiancée Adam, her two dogs - Reggie, a German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix, and Zoey – a Pit Bull Terrier. She also has two cats- Todd and Harley Quinn. In her free time she enjoys playing video games, reading, and spending time with her family.