Monday, February 17, 2014

The tooth about your cat's dental health

Fish breath got you down?
February is Pet Dental Health Month! Time to sit back and think about your cat's teeth!

Many people don't like to think about their cat's teeth - they're sharp, pointy reminders that your cat is a natural predator and would love to shower you with gifts of innocent birds and mice, or the occasional frog. We're reminded of their teeth when they love-nip our toes in the middle of the night, or when we get a whiff of fish-breath after dinner. However, the health of your cat's mouth is more critically important that you might realize!

Dental disease is linked to kidney disease, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Regular dental cleanings can often prevent dental disease and the need to extract teeth. It also gives us an opportunity to address other mouth abnormalities - check for cancer, broken teeth, misaligned teeth, etc. Read on to learn more about some of the conditions that can affect your cat's mouth.

If your cat has misaligned teeth, they can poke painfully into the lip, tongue, gums or the roof of the mouth. Additionally, crowded, extra, or missing teeth can cause the same trouble.

Tartar and plaque can build up underneath the gum line and destroy the tooth from below.

 Because most dental disease begins at the root of the tooth, and cat cavities (called "resorptive lesions") start from the inside and work their way to the surface, what appears to be a healthy tooth can actually be a tooth that is in the process of being destroyed.

 Bacteria and white blood cells build up at the base of the tooth and can enter the blood stream or build up a pocket of infection called an abscess, which can cause facial swelling, fever, nosebleeds or sneezing, and poor appetite. Sometimes this can occur even when most of the tooth has fallen out.

 This tooth is filled up with pus (white blood cells and bacteria).

That missing tooth left a big open hole that can fill with bacteria and cause infection. Besides the large blocks of tartar on the upper teeth, there is a large, painful cavity on one of the lower teeth, and a very painful area surrounding the exposed roots of another tooth affected by dental disease.

 This painful condition is "stomatitis" - a severe and extremely painful swelling and inflammation of the mouth. Ouch!

If your cat has never had his teeth cleaned before, you may wonder what happens during a dental cleaning or dental surgery. To find out, you may want to read more about why dental care costs so much in veterinary medicine.

Ask any one of our patients who has had a bad tooth removed! You may not realize it, but while most cats will not stop eating if their mouth is painful, they may play less, sleep more, and lose weight. Many people are simply amazed at the positive change in their cat's attitude and health after their teeth are cleaned. Ask Rowan!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Beware of Cat!: Avoiding the human hospital after visiting the veterinary hospital

Cute black and white kitten biting a hand
When you visit the veterinarian with your cat, and your cat is being a bit feisty and wiggly, a technician may be called into the room to hold your cat for you. You may wonder why that is - it's your cat, your loving companion, after all! You should be the one holding her, right?

Unfortunately, even the sweetest of cats may become unpredictable when frightened, and at that point, she may not care WHO is holding her. She just wants to get away to a safe, dark spot, and hide.

One of the reasons that we bring a technician in to hold a cat is that they have many years of experience holding unruly cats while remaining calm and gentle, but firm. They also have a lot of experience in avoiding getting bitten while still maintaining control of the situation, preventing others from getting bitten as well.

Why do we care so much about bites?
Well, besides the fact that they hurt - A LOT - cat bites have a high likelihood of becoming infected. According to a new study, about 1 in every three people who sought medical care for a cat bite more than 24 hours after the bite ended up being hospitalized for 3 or longer. As many as 72% of the hospitalized patients required surgical intervention for their bite wounds. Several of the patients needed multiple surgeries, and several had complications such as abscesses or lingering joint mobility issues. We don't want your visit with us to end up with a doctor visit for yourself!

At Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital, it is our goal to ensure that the safety of both our patients and our clients are of highest priority. For this reason, we hope that you understand when we ask you to sit back in your chair and relax while someone else holds your cat for the veterinarian. It's also one of the reasons why we might ask to take your cat "in the back".

 More information about cat bite related medical problems can be found here.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Meet Fabulous Mr. February!

Winter the Warlock

Age: 4 years
Weight: 10.05 pounds.
Gender: Neutered Male
Demeanor at the vet's office: Sweet and wiggly!

My husband and I had been window shopping for a kitty when we came across Winter (formerly Ringo) and Crystal (formerly Star) on the Adopt-A-Pet web site.  We were really only looking for one cat but we found out that he and his sister were deaf and the shelter was hoping they would be placed together, so we applied to adopt one or both.
They came from a mean breeder somewhere in Genesee County and once she realized that Winter & Crystal were deaf she was going to drown them due to the “defect”.  Luckily Adopt-A-Pet in Fenton intervened and they were rescued.  After that they were adopted out to a couple in the area but for some reason were then returned to Adopt-A-Pet.  These poor kitties couldn’t catch a break!
I remember the day we met them.  We went in the kitty room and Crystal jumped up on my husband’s lap and proceeded to adopt HIM.  Then Winter got on my lap and laid on his side and let me pet his super soft hair….the softest I have ever felt!  Crystal was the type of cat that was a no-brainer to adopt so she was leaving for sure.  Winter was also very sweet but we struggled with did we need to adopt a second cat.  Who were we kidding…Winter was such a LOVER!  After spending a little time with them we knew they were both coming home!
Winter has turned out to be a mamma’s boy and comes to me constantly for love and snuggles.  He likes to get his beauty sleep and groom his lovely coat, but also likes to zoom through the house and chase the girls.  He also loves to sneak up on his sister Crystal and jump on her…the fun of having a deaf sister!
His nick-name is Winter the Warlock and he is such a wise soul even though he is young. can just see it in his eyes.  He will constantly meow if he wants food or attention and he likes to “bite” your hand or arm if you aren’t paying enough attention to you.  His bite is gentle but he will hang on to you until he gets your FULL attention!  He loves canned food but if he doesn’t like what he is served will try to bury it….then we have to move to Fancy Feast.  He doesn’t play with toys too much but he loves to use his scratching post and zoom up the cat trees in the house. 

What a wonderful decision it was to adopt both of them…they have been a delightful addition to our family and even after several years they still hang out together, play with each other and snuggle.  They were destined to be together and we are so happy that we could make it happen!