Category

Uncategorized

JUNE 1st – COVID PHASE ONE OPENING UPDATE/POLICIES

By UncategorizedNo Comments

UPDATE ON CLINIC HOURS AND PROCEDURES

(further updates to hours pending)

 

EFFECTIVE JUNE 1ST

MONDAY – THURSDAY 10 AM – 5 PM (DVM appointments limited to sick/urgent)

FRIDAY 1 PM – 5 PM (no DVM appointments for June)

 

EFFECTIVE MONDAY JUNE 8TH

We will start booking in:

ROUTINE APPOINTMENTS, DENTISTRIES, SPAYS AND NEUTERS

First priority will be to those on our reschedule list.  Please be patient as we will do our best to have your pet seen in a timely manner

 

**FOOD/MEDICATION DELIVERY NOW AVAILABLE IN THE HRM**

Spay Day Express is providing a delivery service for food and medications to our clients in the HRM.  Proceeds will go towards Spay Day HRM and all of their good works.  Options include one morning delivery/week and one evening delivery/week.  Orders must be received, confirmed and paid for in advance – at this time a week’s notice is needed.

 

PHASE ONE RE-OPENING CLINIC POLICIES:

Policies and restrictions are in place to limit the number of people waiting at any given time, to limit your time at the clinic and to ensure proper safety measures for all.

IF YOU OR ANYONE IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD HAS COVID SYMPTOMS OR HAS BEEN EXPOSED TO ANYONE WITH THEM IN THE PAST 2 WEEKS PLEASE ADVISE STAFF BEFORE YOU COME TO THE CLINIC.  ADDITIONAL MEASURES WILL HAVE TO BE TAKEN TO ENSURE EVEYRONE’S SAFETY

CLIENTS ARE NOT ALLOWED INSIDE THE CLINIC

(Unless a euthanasia)

PAYMENT is by debit or credit, prepayment by e-transfer

DVM EXAMS BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

 

ONLY ONE PERSON PER CAT

(unless a euthanasia)

 

ARRIVE NO MORE THAN 5 MINUTES BEFORE your scheduled appointment time  

If you have driven here and arrive earlier, wait in your car until 5 minutes before your scheduled time.

PLEASE BE PATIENT

With staff and those around you – we are all doing our best to provide services in this challenging time.  There is a great deal of additional work involved and we are still short staffed, everything is taking longer.

MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCING

WEAR A MASK

 HAND SANITIZER IS PROVIDED

ALL CATS MUST BE IN A CARRIER  For contactless transfer by staff into the clinic

MEDICATION REFILLS –  CALL AHEAD to order refills and allow staff time to prepare. Prepayment over the phone is encouraged.  A tentative pick up time will be set when you place your order.  These measures are to reduce the numbers of people in the hallway outside the clinic at any given time. If you do not phone ahead you will have to leave and return once the prescription is ready, you will not be allowed to wait until refilled – this is for everyone’s safety.

FOOD SALESCALL AHEAD to ensure we have the food you want in clinic before you make the trip to our clinic.  Having your order ready for you in advance will help to limit wait times and congestion of people in the hallway.  IF you are here with you cat for an appointment you can purchase food at the same time if it is available.

 CLIENT ACCOUNT required for ALL FOOD SALES  – The Department of Health requires that we can provide a list of all customers who have made purchases at the clinic every day, including their phone number, in the event that there is a case of COVID and contact tracing is required.  If you do not want to be added to our computer system then we will not be able to sell you any items

 

FAQ COVID, Your Pets and You

By UncategorizedNo Comments
We are living in  a very fluid world at this moment.  So much is changing so fast that it is hard to keep up at times.  

I wanted to share with you all a recent release of FAQ’s from a very reliable source regarding the latest information on COVID -19, you and your pets.  

Please do not distance yourself from your pet unless you are showing symptoms yourself.  The human-animal bond is a powerful, healing and important part of our lives, helping us to cope when life is challenging.

https://iscaid.org/covid-19-faqs-for-pet-owners?mc_cid=f29374035c&mc_eid=ff0dedc95d&fbclid=IwAR2bj5NNHdxsffbIQ5Tl1TA1mEIPLZ-m_9NDzPWmTtcNaXJF3IQi2J3Oz9k

I’ve included a photo memory from a recent, happier time to cheer everyone up

FAQ about Healthcare for my pet during COVID-19 and NS State of Emergency

By UncategorizedNo Comments
  • Will my veterinarian be open during the current State of Emergency in Nova Scotia
    • Most veterinary clinics will remain open but with more limited hours and restricted access (My interpretation is a maximum of 5 team members and maximum of 5 people outside the clinic)
    • What does this mean? Every clinic may have slightly different measures in place.  For OUR CLINIC:
    • please call ahead before coming in to pick up purchases and if at all possible prepay over the phone
    • Call when you arrive in the parking lot, if driving, to ensure there are not too many people in the hallway outside the clinic
    • Only one person per pet in the building please to avoid clients exceeding the 5 person limit currently in place by the NS government

 

 

  • Will I still be able to get medical care for my pet
    • We are still seeing patients who need medical care. If your pet has vomiting, diarrhea, skin, urinary and eye issues, etc they can still be seen.  If they require an exam and testing for response to treatment or ongoing treatment they will be seen.  Routine visits for annual exams, vaccinations, etc are postponed at this time.  Phone ahead and we will discuss with you
    • If you are bringing your pet in staff will be asking you a series of questions regarding your pets recent history and changes at home.
    • You will be asked to wait in your car or in the hallway in front of our clinic, practicing social distancing of > 6 feet between all individuals
    • Limit of 5 individuals in the hallway at any one time
    • Staff will take your cat at the door (which is locked) and we will phone you (bring your cell phone) to discuss findings, recommendations and treatment
    • All transactions will be conducted at the door to minimize social contact

 

  • Will I still be able to get foods and medications for my pet
    • Yes you will. Please phone ahead so we can ensure we have what you require and your order ready for you.  Again, prepayment helps to limit social contact for all. 

 

  • Will it be safe for me to do so
    • We are taking measures to disinfect all surfaces in contact with the public. We are wearing gloves that are washed after every transaction. Hand sanitizer is provided by the door for all to use prior to and following their transactions. Social distancing is being enforced.  IF anyone starts to crowd in the hallway they will be asked to leave.  Limit of 5 individuals outside the clinic doorway at one time

 

  • We are currently working on implementing telemedicine to help facilitate care for more minor issues while limiting social contact

Diabetes – an important update for owners! Continuous Glucose Monitoring Device

By UncategorizedNo Comments

Your cat has Diabetes – that is something no owner wants to hear their veterinarian say.  The prospect of trying to manage this disease is enough to make many owners want to put their heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

There are a number of ways to manage the diabetic patient.  We find that with cats, there is a fairly high rate of success getting them to go into remission if we diagnose it early.  I have even had some patients who did so after being “diabetic” for several years. 

We have to look at ‘why’ are cats prone to diabetes in the first place?

1 – As a species they are prone to getting low grade pancreatitis or inflammation in the pancreas.  The cells that produce insulin in our bodies are located in the pancreas – if that area becomes inflamed it can stress those cells making it harder for them to produce insulin.  

2 – Cats are obligate carnivores.  Does that mean that they never eat carbohydrates in the wild – no.  Cats will often eat the stomach contents of their prey who are herbivores.  So some grains or plant matter are consumed.  Many cats love to graze on grasses (which does not make them vomit by the way, but some do only consume grass when queasy)  – this is very common in both cats and dogs.  Researchers have not been able to single out exactly why they do it, but there is one hypothesis that it may be to ‘mechanically’ help in clearing intestinal worms.  An interesting hypothesis that bears further research, but I digress…… There is a much greater quantity of carbohydrate that is used to manufacture kibble.  Carbohydrates are necessary for the extrusion process in the manufacture of dry kibble.  Carbs are also needed for chunks and gravy canned food but to a lesser degree.  Canned pate will have the lower carbohydrate content.  So excess carbohydrate can lead to more demand for insulin from the body (just like in people) – most cats can handle this need, but some do not.

3 – Medications – steroids are an amazing and powerful class of drug that have the ability to make patients who suffer from allergies feel immediate relief.  But that does not come without cost.  For this reason they are not my first choice in treating an allergy patient.  Some patients will require them though if not responding to other treatments and/or if they have an immune-mediated disease in which case steroids can be a life-saver.  But….  they stimulate the mobilization of glucose into the bloodstream.  This is the body’s normal response to ‘fight or flight’ and steroids are normally produced in mammalian bodies to handle stress in exactly that way.  Some patients may be fine on steroids, others may be fine for a period of time and then develop elevated blood glucose levels, other individuals may develop high blood glucose the first time they receive steroids.  Often the patient’s blood glucose will normalize once the steroids are withdrawn (must be weaned off), but not always.  Some may require insulin therapy to help get the glucose down.

 

IF inflammation in the pancreas has led to diabetes in a feline patient we have a fairly good chance of getting them ‘into remission’ if we can keep their carbohydrate intake down +/- administer insulin to allow those cells to ‘rest’ until they have recovered and can start producing it again on their own.

I find that there are ~ 10-20% of my newly diagnosed diabetic patients that will go into remission with a diet change alone.  Up to 50 % after starting insulin administration, but some do not go into remission.

Insulin therapy is needed for most.  The prospect of this is daunting to most but can be managed.  Your veterinarian or veterinarian’s RVT will spend time with you going over how this is done.  Measuring the blood glucose is what seems to be the biggest stumbling block for some.  And I get it …… I have had to try to do so on my own cat, by myself.  The first time was easy – he didn’t know what I was doing.  After that it became increasingly challenging, especially since he’s black so his ear veins are not easy to see so trying to hold the cat, shine a light on the vein and poke all at once is not quite as simple as it might seem.  If possible, distraction with something super yummy may help.  For many that is enough.  For those that it is not… there is HELP.

Introducing the Libre Freestyle Continuous Glucose Monitoring Device.  This device was developed for human diabetics but is being increasingly utilized in veterinary medicine for cats and dogs too.  It is comprised of a small sampling catheter about the size of an insulin needle, that is attached to the sensor itself.  The sensor/device is round, about the same size as a Toonie coin and as thick as 2 stacked on top of each other – but much, much lighter weight.  The device has adhesive on it and for animals we apply additional drops of tissue glue to help it ‘stick’.  The area where it is going to be applied first needs to be shaved (surgical blades for close shave) to remove the fur.  Then cleaned with rubbing alcohol swabs that are provided, then dried off.  The device is applied over the prepared area with only a small amount of pressure.  It will take continuous readings of the glucose level in the ‘interstitial’ area (fluid between cells) so is not an actual blood glucose reading but correlates very well with blood glucose.   It may look/seem intimidating but let me tell you – we applied our first one last week to a patient that I was unsure would be cooperative/receptive and it was SO EASY! 

Amazingly enough, most patients do seem to leave them alone, but placing a ‘kitty sweater’ over the device or using an infant t-shirt with stretchy loose arm holes so the circulation is not cut off to the front legs and ensuring the neck opening is not too tight, may protect the device.  Most vets are not recommending applying to the neck area due to too much movement leading to premature loosening of it.  As well I have read that it may not read glucose as well if placed over the shoulder blades (scruff).  Remember this device is not measuring ‘blood’ glucose but the glucose level in the ‘interstitial’ fluid or the fluid that is between the cells in the area.  The side of the rib cage may be best but this is something to work out. 

The device will start producing readings for you after ~ 12 hours (I think, read the package insert but it is not immediate).  You can either download an app for your phone or purchase a separate reader for the device.  Once you use the app though you cannot use the reader and vice versa.   It will store data for up to 8 hours (again check the package insert) then it will start to overwrite the glucose readings – so at any time that you scan you will be able to see the readings over the previous 8 hours.  

The drawback is the device will only last for a maximum of 14 days.  Some patients will get it off in less time than that (as the fur grows back out, etc).  I have also read of the occasional device that just does not work properly which can be the case with anything.

The other drawback is cost – so I advise you contact your pharmacy first and ask what it will cost so you are prepared.

This is incredibly useful in trying to fine tune the dose of insulin for a patient, ensure that we are not administering too much insulin that can lead to hypoglycemia and then rebound high glucose levels.  It can also help for owners who cannot monitor glucose via traditional ear prick methods.  

When a patient is ‘going’ into remission it is especially important to get those pre-insulin dosing readings of the glucose to ensure we do not over-medicate and that we maximize the likelihood of remission.  This device may make that possible for owners who otherwise would not be able to check glucose levels and end up medicating and hoping it is ‘right’ for their pet. 

Here is the link to the company’s website:

https://www.freestyle.abbott/ca/en/products/libre.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIjrTaxbry5QIVxJ6zCh0nRQgnEAAYASAAEgJ-0PD_BwE

A link to a write up about this kind of device for pet owners:

https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=9150771

And a link to a youtube video of it being applied to a cat (this is not us for those who might wonder 🙂 ) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6MyKk1vfuY

 

Easter Lilies (and other lilies) are Toxic to Cats!

By UncategorizedNo Comments

The Holidays are upon us again and many people partake in the tradition of giving an Easter Lily plant.   If there is a cat in the house, please do not do so as this may have fatal consequences.  

All parts of the Lily plant are toxic to plants – this includes Lilium sp. and Hemerocallis sp. – Easter, Tiger, Asiatic and Daylilies.   

Ingesting any part of the plant or touching the flowers and grooming the pollen off of their fur can lead to acute kidney failure – less than one leaf chewed upon, flower ingested, walking through or brushing against the pollen and licking it off the fur.  

If you suspect your cat may have come in such contact take them to your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately as time is of the essence in saving their kidney function and thus their lives.  

Signs that they may have ingested part of the lily can include:

– vomiting, inappetance, increased water intake, increased urination, lethargy, hiding

– once the kidneys shut down completely your cat may no longer urinate

Time is critical in treating lily ingestion/exposure.  If early enough you veterinarian may induce vomiting to remove any remaining lily substance from the stomach.  Then administer activated charcoal by mouth to try to absorb the toxins in the GI tract thus limiting them entering the bloodstream.  Your cat will also need IV fluid therapy, usually for 48 hours, to ensure the kidneys are flushed out and hydrated to preserve their function.  

If treated early enough the prognosis for a full recovery is good.  

Try incorporating a Cat-Friendly Flower into your Holiday Tradition instead.  For more information visit the ASPCA toxic plant website to find out what is and is not safe for your pets and what issues exposure may cause if toxic.

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic…

Sweet Relief – Is Your Cat in Pain?

By UncategorizedNo Comments

Most of you will have heard the saying “cats are masters of disguise” – it is true.  As a species they are not just hunters but also hunted – that means that displaying any signs of weakness (including pain) in the wild will dramatically decrease their chances of survival. 

Meet the Atlantic Cat Hospital’s very own Duck – our Office Manager and Head Receptionist.  Duck came to the cat hospital as a young cat with a fractured pelvis in 2009.  She recovered from her injuries and did well maintained on glucosamine supplements.  Duck has always enjoyed a game of chase/toss but these were usually limited in duration and frequency.  After a week on pain medication (gabapentin) she really has her “game on” – is far more involved, insistent and interactive with everoyne at the cat hospital, demanding more play time throughout the day versus the odd session.(photo coming soon…)

When Yoda came to me he had a number of ‘bad teeth’ in his mouth.  There were no outward signs that anything was amiss.  Prior to his dental surgery he was a happy cat and engaged in short periods of play each day, including his favourite “fetch the crinkle ball”.  Following dental surgery and removal of the problem teeth his play periods have increased dramatically in both frequency and duration.  It is obvious that while he was ‘happy’ before, he is much happier now that those issues and the associated discomfort have been dealt with. (photo coming soon…)

There are several categories of pain:  Acute, Chronic and Persistant. 

Acute is immediate or sudden onset of pain usually associated with an injury, surgery, etc

Chronic is longterm pain that is often associated with arthritis, dental disease, etc. 

Persistant may relate to an ongoing illness (such as cancer) that must be treated palliatively. 

If acute pain is unmanaged it can become ‘chronic’ pain which can involve another set of challenges in treatment affecting the choice of pain medication or combinations of medication (mulit-modal) chosen to treat.    Multi-modal therapy will target different areas of the pain pathway to enhance relief. 

Common pain medications used include: buprenorphine, gabapentin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories.  Additional classes of pain medication may be used for in hospital patients.

Your veterinarian will discuss with you to determine the best options for your cat if needed. 

For more information visit:  https://catfriendly.com/feline-diseases/signs-symptoms/know-cat-pain/

Cat Handling 101

By UncategorizedNo Comments

There are some very important tips when it comes to approaching and handling cats, especially one that is new to you, who is unfamiliar with you. 

Visit: https://catfriendly.com/be-a-cat-friendly-caregiver/best-ways-handle-pet-cats/

Several observations for cats in the clinic:  in the exam room you will find that I position your cat to face you at the start of the exam.  This decreases their level of intimidation and does aid in relaxation.  It helps for the kitty to be able to see their human(s) during the process.  We will have your friend on a towel on top of the exam table.  This allows us to turn your cat (magic carpet ride) without having to pick him/her up physically, thus reducing stress.  I approach and go slowly through my examination as cats are not ones to appreciate being rushed. 

We have Feliway plugin diffusers placed in the exam rooms.  These devices deliver a synthetic calming pheromone which helps decrease your cat’s stress during their visit. 

I usually have a staff member ‘restraining’ your friend.  We have a pattern or routine we follow for my examinations with specific techniques for holding and positioning – following that routine ensures that I am not likely to overlook anything during the physical examination. 

Often when owners are nervous they may pet their cat more ‘enthusiastically’ than normal.  This can lead to the kitty becoming overstimulated and lashing out (see the link above) so keep all of your contact ‘soft’ and ‘quiet’ when your cat is in a stressful situation, like the exam room. 

SEPARATION ANXIETY

By UncategorizedNo Comments

Separation anxiety is a commonly recognized problem in dogs, but far less so in our feline companions.  Working in a cat-only practice I have come across a number of patients who do have this issue, including our late clinic cat, Danny, when he stayed at Sandy’s home.  

The most common complaint from owners is excessive vocaliztion when they leave their home.  Their cat may also cling to them when they are home, getting upset if their owner is out of their sight.  Some clients feel that their cats will eliminate outside the litterpan because of this. 

If your cat has become more vocal there may be a medical reason and you should take him/her in to your veterinarian for an exam and evaluation.  Hyperthyroidism, hypertension, decreased sensory input (hearing and vision loss), dementia and pain are all potential causes of increased vocalization. 

 

While separation anxiety may lead to inappropriate elimination  it is important to ensure there is not a medical issue such as urinary tract infections, crystals in the urine, arthritis and constipation.  Then there is Feline Interstitial Cystitis (FIC) which is a stress driven inflammation in the bladder that can lead to spasms that cause them to urinate outside the pan.   

If excessive vocalization and ‘clinging’ are not ‘new’ behaviours then you may be dealing with separation anxiety.  It is quite possible to have both a medical condition and separation anxiety coexisting.  Their anxiety may be driven by the underlying medical condition so having your cat examined by your veterinarian to get a ‘baseline’ is important.

Treatment of separation anxiety is directed at trying to encourage your cat to become more independent through environmental enrichment.  Each cat will be different as to the things that may interest or entice them.   

Food puzzels or dispensing toys can help those who are food motivated.  Putting these in locations that are away from you may encourage the cat to venture further from your side even into other rooms in the home.  You may have to start with the toy at your feet and over time, start placing it further away working up to putting it in a separate room.  

The “No Bowl” system can be helpful for those food motivated cats as can other food puzzles.  Visit: http://foodpuzzlesforcats.com/

Clicker training may be beneficial for food motivated cats: https://clickertraining.com/cat-training?source=navbar

Other interactive toys may be beneficial in this regard.   For cats who like to chase laser pointers and do not get too worked up about it, you can purchase a ceiling mounted laser pointer with a remote control that you can program to go off and entertain your friend.  There are many interactive toys available for cats.

There are numerous computer apps now available for cats that may help to distract and entertain them.  A simple “google” search for apps for cats will bring any number of options to your fingertip, some of which are free   https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/best-apps-for-cats/

There are calming supplements or diets that you can utilize to help reduce anxiety – Zylkene is a milk protein based supplement you can add to their food and Royal Canin makes a “Calm” diet and Hill’s “c/d stress” diet with the supplement incorporated into it.  

Feliway pheromone sprays and diffusers may help  – these are calming pheromone products that help decrease stress in cats: https://www.feliway.com/ca_en

I have some patients who have responded well to a variety of anxiety issues with Thundershirts:  http://www.thundershirt.com/thundershirt/thundershirt-cats.html

Some patients may need medication to help overcome their separation anxiety but medication should always be combined with environmental enrichment and behaviour modification as described above. 

Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH) – Cats who “Walk The Walk”

By UncategorizedNo Comments

CH is a non-painful, developmental condition that affects cats to varying degrees.  I am featuring 2 such cats here. 

Brad, an adorable kitten who is severely affected with CH.  He is looking for a home, but it will have to be a special home where he can get the care and attention that he needs. 

See a photo of Brad, and hopefully we’ll have video soon,  on our facebook page at: www.facebook.com/atlanticcathospital/

Wil – an adult rescue who graced my life from 2008 – 2013.  He was moderately affected with CH.  He was one of the most loving and quirky felines I have ever known.  It is his paw that is in my hand in our “Partners for Life” image.  He is the wanna be’ flame point siamese-type cat in many of the images on this webpage.  Holding hands/paws, greeting me at the door and leaping up to be picked up and hugging were his favorite past times. 

CH is a developmental defect in the cerebellum of the brain, the area responsible for balance and coordination among other things.  The most common cause of this condition is exposure to ‘panleukopenia’ virus during developement in utero or in the early neonatal period.  Development of the core, FVRCP vaccine that we recommend for all cats, greatly decreased the incidence of panleukopenia but cases still occur.  If you have a pregnant cat consult your veterinarian before proceeding with vaccines.  

These cats have ataxia (poor balance), hypermetria (exagerated step), body swaying, wide based stance, spasticity, intention tremors (if they focus on something their head moves) and some also have nystagmus (eyes move rapidly back and forth) and a head tilt.  This becomes evident when the kitten starts to walk.

If the cat has CH but no other developmental defects then symptoms do not progress.

These cats are not in pain they are just uncoordinated.  They can live a long and healthy, happy life in the right home.  Consider opening your heart and home to one today!

Cats – Masters of Sleep Disruption!

By UncategorizedNo Comments

Hey Doc, Why does my cat wake me up at 3 or 4 AM?

This is a very common question from cat owners. 

The answer is really quite simple – it’s what cats were designed to do.  By nature they are a crepuscular animal and no, that doesn’t have to do with their muscles 😉     This means they are most active during twilight or the transition time between night and day and day and night.   Cats are not the only animals with that claim to fame – deer and rabbits also join them in that title.  

Humans on the other hand are diurnal in nature (most of us anyway) – being most active during daylight hours.  

So we humans have taken an animal who is most active at dawn and dusk, brought them into live in our homes and then expect them to assume our diurnal pattern of activity.  Is it any wonder that some of them do not conform? 

But don’t despair that you will never be able to sleep through the night again without having your friend walk across your face or drop their favourite toy by your head at 3 AM.  

It is possible to discourage this behaviour, but it is really hard to do because you will have to control your natural reaction, which is just that – don’t react.  

If you interact with your cat, whether it is to tell them to go away, to throw something across the room to distract them or heaven forbid you get up and feed them, you have just rewarded that behaviour you despise and encouraged them to do it again… and again… and again with ever increasing persistence.  

So from the time you bring a new feline friend into your home there are several key things to remember:

Intense play before bedtime can help to wear them out – even if only for a few minutes.

Do not react if they wake you up at night. Do not talk to them, play with them, feed them or swear at them.  As hard as it is, try to pretend you are still asleep.  If your cat is very determined then you may have to close him/her out of your room.  This may lead to them banging on the door, putting their paw under the door and rattling it back and forth, yowling at the door, scratching at the door, etc.  If you want to break the cycle or pattern you will have to ignore this and it can take time.  Weeks even.  But if you are able to persevere, evenutally, your feline friend will learn that their human is no fun at that time of night and will leave you alone.