It is nail trim time at my house, and it’s not pretty.
I usually have help at nail trim time but this month I’m on my own, and the cats seem to know it. Manny the two-year-old was snoozing on my lap, Penny the deaf cat was crashed in the chair next to me, Jelly the Maine Coon was on her tower, and TJ the sook was cuddling with my foot. It was the perfect moment for a nail trim. The cat nail clippers are usually kept in a pencil cup in the living room for quick and easy access. I slowly leaned over to retrieve them, and Manny woke up. He watched as I picked up the clippers, his pupils getting huge. I went to turn him on my lap to start, and he rocketed off of me like his tail was on fire, leaving a pretty decent sized scratch on my thigh. Continue…
During the month of August, Guthrie Pet Hospital is celebrating National Immunization Month and National Check The Chip Day with monthly specials. Dr. Coffin will discuss the importance of vaccines and microchips. Continue…
Canine Influenza Virus, also known as dog flu, was first diagnosed in the United States in 2004. Since then, the virus has spread across the United States. The dog flu is a Type A Influenza virus which is highly contagious and affects dogs and cats. Continue…
To celebrate Adopt A Cat Month, Guthrie Pet Hospital is offering a free comprehensive examination to any cat adopted during the month of June. This time a year is a great time of year to adopt a momma cat or a bunch of kittens. Continue…
Dogs of all ages can develop lumps and bumps. It is important to know when these should be examined by a veterinarian. According to Nationwide Pet Insurance, lumps and bumps on dogs were the third most common medical reason why pets visited their veterinarian in 2016.
If your pet has a lump or bump that is larger than the size of a pea and has been present for longer than one month, then you need an appointment with your veterinarian. It is impossible to determine the cause of lumps and bumps on dogs without taking a sample from the mass. Looking and feeling the mass can help in the diagnosis but a definitive diagnosis can only be made by taking an aspirate of the mass.
Aspiration of the mass is a simple procedure that is no more painful than receiving an injection. This test can be performed in the examination room without anesthesia. The procedure involves sticking a needle in the mass and aspirating it onto a microscope slide. The slide is then prepared and stained. Determination of the lumps and bumps on dogs can then be determined by looking under the microscope. Certain types of skin cancer are easier to diagnose than others so your veterinarian may recommend sending the slide for a pathologist to review.
As dog’s age, they tend to develop more lumps and bumps so make sure to have them examined. If detected early, skin cancer can be completely resolved by surgical removal of the mass. Larger masses are more difficult to remove and leaving them can allow them to spread to other parts of the body.
Common lumps and bumps on dogs:
- Skin tags
- Lipoma (fatty tumor)
- Sebaceous cyst
- Histiocytoma (button cell tumor)
- Mast cell tumor
- Squamous cell tumor
- Cutaneous hemangiosarcoma
- Malignant melanoma
If you see something, do something about those lumps and bumps on dogs. Why wait? If your pet has a skin mass contact Guthrie Pet Hospital for a mass aspirate.
Because April is Heartworm Awareness Month, Dr. Anna Coffin will discuss a common scenario seen when diagnosing dogs with heartworms. Heartworm treatment can range from $500 to $1500 depending on the size of the dog. Because of the expense, some people are unable to afford treatment. Continue…
Heartworms are twelve-inch long worms that live in the heart of dogs. They are transmitted from one infected dog to another by mosquitoes. It is fifteen times more expensive to treat for heartworms than it is to prevent them, and missing one single dose of prevention can put your dog at risk to this deadly parasite.
“It’s cruel to keep kitty trapped inside. They need to go out and hunt!”
“My cat goes crazy if I try and keep him inside. He totally destroys the house!”
“My cat stays in my yard.” “My cat has his claws; he can defend himself.”
These are just a few of the reasons we hear every day as to why people let their cats go or live outside. But the fact of the matter is, by letting your cat out you are in effect shortening its lifespan. On average, cats that go or live outside have shorter lives than inside cats by as much as ten years. Cats that are allowed to roam often don’t live to see their fifth birthday. Cats that are kept inside average a lifespan of around 15 years.
There are many reasons the outside cats don’t fair as well. Indoor cats are less likely to be exposed to diseases, such as distemper or the nearly always fatal bobcat fever. Outside cats come in contact with more bacteria and infectious fungi. Parasites such as fleas and ticks are far more likely to be found on outdoor cats. And of course, there is the danger of predators. Outside cats may encounter hawks, snakes, skunks, opossum, dogs, or other cats. If the cat is not spayed or neutered the females will almost always become pregnant, and the males will father countless litters of kittens.
So, it is obvious that kitty is safer inside, but can they be content? Of course, they can. First, get your cat spayed or neutered, as it will deter the wanderlust and drive to get outside and find a mate. The vast majority of behavior problems can be addressed simply by having your cat fixed.
Second, give your inside kitty something to do. You’d go stir crazy too if you had nothing to do all day. Cats need interaction. They need to feel the satisfaction of a successful hunt. You can give them this through various methods of play. Toy mice are great for them to bat and toss, while balls in round tracks stimulate response to movement. Dragging a toy on a string gives them something real to chase. Treat dispensing toys can be filled with your cat’s dry food and used as a means for them to “hunt” for their dinner.
Make your home a cat-friendly environment. Give them window perches with bird feeders outside. Give them high shelves from which to watch the household activities. Consider getting them another cat to keep them company. While it is true that cats are more solitary by nature than dogs they still benefit from companionship. Kittens do better in pairs if for no other reason than they wear each other out while you are at work. A single kitten will just sleep until you get home and then want you to stay up all night and play!
While we all feel guilty when we see our cat looking longingly out the window, we have to weigh the consequences of letting them go outside. There are tremendous risks every single time we open that door, both from nature and from humans. If you have a cat that just refuses to be pacified with anything you try to make them happy indoors consider these options:
Making outside cats, happy inside:
- Build a “catio.” An enclosure on a patio or in your yard can be a great way to give your cat a safe outdoor playtime. Make sure it is large enough to include different height perches and plenty of scratching surfaces. Always provide fresh water for the outdoor recess, as well as shade as needed.
- Harness train your cat. This sounds slightly insane, but it is possible, especially if you start young! A harness on a cable slide will give your cat a sense of freedom, but make sure your feline harness is well-fitted.
- Teach your cat to walk on a leash. Again, some people will think this is impossible, but many cats have done quite well learning to explore at the end of a leash.
- Designate specific, controlled outdoor playtime for your cat. This means kitty wears a harness, you have control of a long lead, and you control the play activity for the time outside. As a general rule, STAY AWAY FROM TREES!
Having cats is a lot like having kids. They don’t always know or want what is best for them, and it is up to us to make the responsible choices. With a little imagination and work, you can keep your cat inside, safe, engaged, and around for many more years.
By Stacey Frazier
Spring is just around the corner and with warmer weather arriving, fleas will start to reappear. Fleas are very prolific parasites, in fact, one flea can produce 50-100 eggs/day. Guthrie Pet Hospital recommends preventative measures to prevent infestations. This week Dr. Coffin will discuss health issues in cats caused by fleas. Continue…