Please note: We will be closed from Sunday, December 25th – Monday, December 26th for Christmas!

For Your Cat

Cats often act like royalty so why not treat them like it?

Whether it is that first-time check-up for your playful kitten or questions about the health of the sunbathing senior, we offer a full range of feline-friendly services. If you are new to the practice, feel free to visit our contact center, meet the team, or request an appointment. We are a Certified Cat Friendly Practice with a gold certification! The Cat Friendly Practice program is a global initiative designed to elevate care for cats by reducing stress and making visits easier for cats and caregivers. Our team members understand how to approach and handle cats in a gentle, empathetic, and caring manner.

FELINE SERVICES

Kitten Centre

Senior Pet Wellness

Feline Services

Routine “wellness” examinations, even on our healthy cats, is highly recommended. Often these exams are recommended once yearly or more frequently for our senior animals. These visits to the hospital are an important time for caregivers to bring up any concerns they may have about their pet. A thorough history of how your pet has been doing is taken, and our veterinarians perform a tip of the nose to tip of the tail hands-on full-body exam to check for any abnormalities. Other important components of wellness, such as nutrition and behaviour, are also addressed (check out our nutritional consultation, behavioural consultation services). This allows us to make any recommendations that will help achieve the utmost health and life quality for your pet. Vaccinations and parasite control are other important components of our yearly visits with your pet – we aim to build individualized vaccine and anti-parasitic protocols depending on each cat’s lifestyle.

Sick animal exams are needed whenever an unexpected illness or problem arises. If you feel like your pet is not acting like itself, our team is always happy to help. We will ask pertinent questions about the problem and thoroughly examine your pet. After an exam, we can then discuss recommendations and options for diagnostic testing and treatment to devise a plan of action that works best for you and your pet.

At Central Veterinary Services, we aim to make every visit for your pet as stress-free and pleasant as possible. We always offer compassion and patience to our clients and their pets as we know a visit to the vet is not always enjoyable. Furthermore, any questions you may have regarding your pet’s health and wellness are always more than welcome. Records of these check-ups are always available to you so that any information covered during your appointment is accessible to you at your convenience.

Vaccinations are typically administered by the veterinarian during a wellness exam. They are the BEST way to protect your pet from potentially fatal diseases that can be prevented. Certain vaccine protocols may be recommended depending on your cat’s lifestyle – indoor, outdoor, age and multiple cat households are all considered. For cats with previous reactions to vaccines, precautionary pre-treatments to prevent a reaction are offered. Another option is antibody titer checks against our common viruses for those who would prefer to avoid vaccination as much as possible.

The following vaccines (FRCP and Rabies) are considered ‘core’ vaccines and are always recommended to be kept up to date because infection with these viruses is often fatal. Many of these viruses are considered ubiquitous in the environment – this means that every cat will likely come in contact with these viruses at some point in their life. Luckily, vaccination is very effective in preventing these diseases from developing if your pet should be exposed.

1) FRCP – Feline Rhinotracheitis (caused by the herpes virus), Calicivirus and Panleukopenia (feline distemper caused by a parvovirus)

Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis – This disease is caused by feline herpes viral infections. It is highly contagious, and infection occurs almost always through direct contact with an infected cat. Kittens are most susceptible. The virus is considered to be ubiquitous (everywhere), meaning all cats will likely be exposed in their lifetime. Infected cats can often become chronically infected, causing waxing and waning respiratory infections for the rest of their lives. If a pregnant cat is infected, her unborn kittens can be affected.

Calicivirus is a highly contagious virus that causes severe upper respiratory disease, including ulcers and severe inflammation in the mouth. Infection occurs directly from nasal and oral secretions from an infected cat or from an infected environment (the virus can last for 10 days in the environment). These infections can be life-threatening, and cats surviving the disease can become chronically infected.

Panleukopenia – This disease is also called feline distemper. It is often fatal for infected kittens even with aggressive treatment, causing vomiting, diarrhea, bacteremia and neurological symptoms. If pregnant and infected, unborn kittens can be affected. The virus is hardy in the environment, leaving almost all cats exposed at some point in their life.

2) Rabies Vaccine – Rabies is a viral disease that is always fatal. It attacks the central nervous system and poses a dangerous public health risk, as this virus is also fatal to humans. Keeping this vaccine up to date is very important – if your cat is not up to date on their Rabies vaccine and happens to bite a human, a mandatory quarantine period is required.

The following vaccine is optional but always recommended for all kittens, as well as cats that are exposed to other cats of unknown vaccination status (cats that freely roam outdoors or are in a household where new cats are often brought in)

3) Feline Leukemia – the feline leukemia virus can cause lifelong infection in cats and lead to the suppressed immune system (causing a higher incidence of infections and other diseases) as well as a higher incidence of cancer. Kittens are highly susceptible. Life span is very short for cats infected with feline leukemia. Animals are infected through close contact (nose to nose contact) with infected cats.

There are a variety of parasites that can infect our cats – especially those with the freedom to hunt and roam the world. Intestinal parasites can be especially debilitating for kittens, and on and off diarrhea is often attributed to a yet-to-be diagnosed case of intestinal parasitism. External parasites such as ear mites are very bothersome and can be passed easily between cats and even infect the family dogs. Also, some of the parasites infecting cats can infect humans, so it is important to be aware of these little bugs!

Read below for some information on the parasites we commonly find in our cats.

Intestinal Worms

There are several intestinal worms that we worry about infecting our cats – Roundworms and Tapeworms are the most common.  These intestinal parasites can affect growth and development in our kittens, cause decreased health in adult cats, and can also be a dangerous zoonotic risk if passed on to humans (especially children)!  Most infections can be found through routine fecal analysis looking for worm eggs. Treatment of intestinal worms often involves multiple treatments of medication spaced several weeks apart in order to ensure all adult worms are removed from the intestines. Below is some information on the most common intestinal worms we see in our cats.

Roundworms – Infection occurs through ingestion of infective eggs from the environment – either from contaminated soil (typically ingested through routine grooming), from ingesting an infected rodent, or through the mother’s placenta and/or milk ingested by newborn kittens. Once ingested, the larvae migrate throughout the cat’s intestines, liver and lungs (depending on species) before growing into an adult in the intestines and laying eggs that pass in the cat’s feces. These worms can grow up to 7 inches in the intestines.  This worm does pose a risk to humans! If a human ingests an infective egg, the larvae travel randomly throughout the body before dying, causing severe inflammation. Eggs are fairly hardy in the environment and can survive freezing temperatures.

Tapeworms – There are several types of tapeworms that can infect cats. All tapeworms go through a cycle that includes an intermediate host (that is, the cat sheds the tapeworm eggs, which are ingested by either a flea, a grazing mammal, or a rodent, for example, where the tapeworm develops further. The cat must then ingest the immature tapeworms from the intermediate host to finish the life cycle). Luckily tapeworms are easily treated, but care must be taken to treat flea infestations and/or prevent re-infection from occurring. Tapeworms can also infect humans through the same mechanisms, but not directly from cats.

Heartworms

Heartworm disease affects cats too! And it is a real risk in our area.  Immature heartworms are delivered directly to the blood of our pets via infected mosquitoes. The heartworm’s ideal host is a dog (or similar species) but can infect a cat. In cats, the larvae travel unpredictably throughout the heart and lungs, causing respiratory distress as well as heart disease. A respiratory crisis that appears to be ‘asthma attacks’ in our cats may, in fact, be due to heartworm infection.  At this time, there is no way to treat heartworm infections in cats, which is very scary. This makes it very important to prevent it from occurring in the first place with monthly heartworm prevention. Because mosquitoes often make it indoors, it is still important for cats who mostly live indoors to be on prevention as well.

External Parasites

Because cats are fastidious groomers, they can be less severely infected by external parasites compared to other pets, but they are not immune. Often, we can visualize external parasites if we look closely enough. However, parasites such as mites (which can burrow under the skin and hide) and even some cases of flea infections (they can jump on and off of our cats) can be almost impossible to visualize. Diagnosis often requires swabs or skin scrapings to look under the skin and, in some cases, medication trials. There are also several options for treatment that will prevent infection of fleas and ticks.

Mites – There are many different types of mites that can infect our cats. Ear mites and mange mites are the two most common types of mites to infect cats. Some of these infections cause extreme itchiness and secondary infections. Some are transmissible to humans. Ear mites are particularly common in cats and easily transmissible between feline and canine family members. Ear mites can cause extreme discomfort, causing self-trauma with excessive scratching at the ears.

Fleas – these little guys are often dropped off by infected wildlife and can quickly infest entire homes. Flea bites can cause an allergic reactions in cats leading to intense itchiness. Furthermore, fleas are the intermediate host in one type of tapeworm infection. These guys will bite humans too and can give tapeworms to humans if ingested.

Other Parasites

Giardia – this protozoan parasite is picked up from a contaminated environment (often dirty water), similar to other intestinal parasites that are passed in the feces. It typically causes diarrhea and, depending on the species, can readily infect humans. This parasite is hardy in the environment.

Tritrichomonas – this little protozoan parasite is also picked up from a contaminated environment, often ending up on paws that are then licked clean, causing ingestion of the parasite. It can cause mucousy, bloody stool. Often infected older cats will no longer have diarrhea but can still infect other cats in the household, and diarrhea can flare up during times of stress.

Coccidia – this small parasite infects the intestine, causing diarrhea (sometimes bloody). Small infections will not always cause diarrhea, but will act as a source of infection for other animals by contaminating the environment. Some species of coccidia can infect humans (cryptosporidium is a particularly unpleasant example). Routine fecal analysis often will lead to detection of these little oocysts.

We understand that when your dog or cat is in for surgery, even a routine procedure, it can be a stressful time. All of our patients receive the utmost care and attention during their big day, and we always maintain an open line of communication with their families. It is our goal to make sure they have a fast and smooth recovery from any procedure.  We offer pre-anesthetic blood screening and intravenous fluids for all procedures (optional or required depending on the procedure, history, and age).

Below is a list of some of the surgeries that we offer within our hospital. We routinely provide an estimate of costs for any procedure prior to it being performed:

  • Spay
  • Neuter
  • Orthopedics, including cruciate repair by TPLO and fracture repairs
  • Abdominal laparotomy (cystostomy, gastropexy, intestinal foreign body removal, etc.)
  • Ophthalmic (cherry eye, enucleation, entropion, etc.)
  • Cesarean section
  • Emergency procedures (GDV, traumatic wounds, etc.)
  • Referral

Does your pet need a surgery that is not listed? Call and ask one of our veterinarians. If we handle that surgery, we will provide a consult and always give you an estimate. If we cannot perform the procedure at our clinic, we will refer you to a facility that can.

 

PRE-ANESTHETIC SCREENING AND IV FLUIDS

  • Pre-anesthetic blood work is an option that is offered with every procedure for extra safety when going under anesthetic for a routine or complicated procedure. This is screening blood work designed to detect problems that may compromise an animal going under anesthesia or undergoing surgery. Possible issues include.
    • Elevated liver enzymes
    • Elevated kidney enzymes
    • Dehydration
    • Low platelets counts
    • Infection
    • Low red blood cells
  • Depending on these results, the anesthetic drugs used may be modified, pre-treatments may be performed, or the surgery postponed for further testing.
  • For some older animals or pets with pre-existing medical conditions, we may ask for mandatory screening for safety purposes.
  • IV fluids are optional for some procedures and included for others. IV fluids help maintain blood pressure, which often decreases when under anesthesia, and maintains proper tissue perfusion/hydration and organ function.  We recommend IV fluids for all procedures.
  • These options will be reviewed by a technician on the morning of surgery.
Dental Health Decision Tree

Dental Health Decision Tree

Dental care is an extremely important part of the health of your pet. Good oral hygiene not only greatly improves a cat’s life quality, but may also promote longevity. Furthermore, poor dental health can contribute to very serious conditions such as heart disease and kidney disease and causes every day discomfort to affected animals. For this reason, a dental consult is complimentary to our clients and allows us to examine your pet and recommend appropriate dental care. 

Common signs of dental disease include:

  • Yellow or brown buildup (tartar) on the teeth
  • Sensitivity around the mouth
  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Changes in eating or chewing habits
  • Pawing at the face
  • Loose teeth
  • Depressions in teeth

Even if your dog or cat doesn’t have these symptoms, we recommend that you have a veterinarian evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. We can show you how to brush your pet’s teeth and recommend foods, treats, and water additives that will help combat plaque and tartar buildup.

Unfortunately, unlike people, pets aren’t able to sit still and say ‘aah’ while we explore and examine the mouth with sharp instruments, so dental procedures including cleaning/scaling/polishing and tooth extractions are performed under a general anesthetic. We take the same necessary precautions prior to any planned dental work, just like any other procedure that requires an anesthetic. We are progressive with pain management and dental techniques, aiming to make any dental work as painless as possible and recovery time minimal for our patients.

 

 

Advances in technology have greatly increased our ability and accuracy when diagnosing and treating disease.  Digital imaging allows us to share information and opinions with experts in the field worldwide and also share the images with you as an owner.

Digital Radiology – X-rays at a glance, images are clear, concise and immediately available. X-rays can be used to detect foreign bodies in the abdomen, changes in heart size and shape, changes in lung patterns, fractured bones, inflammation in joints….. and the list goes on. X-rays are one of the most versatile tools we have to help detect problems in many different body systems.

Digital Ultrasound – We are pleased to offer full abdominal ultrasound services for our clients and by referral. Ultrasound is more precise in detecting changes in soft tissue and organs that we cannot visualize otherwise. Ultrasound can be used on its own or in conjunction with other testing to improve diagnosing and treating disease. 

When investigating a disease or condition, we often need to run tests to get more information on what may be causing the problem. At Central Veterinary Services, we run most of our testing “in-house,” which means that we have the necessary equipment to diagnose and treat your pets faster. This is also very important in emergencies and after hours.  The following diagnostics are run in the clinic:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Serum biochemistry
  • SDMA Testing
  • Cortisol Testing
  • UPC Testing
  • Digital Radiology
  • Ultrasound (Abdominal/Cardiac)
  • Blood pressure
  • ECG
  • Blood glucose curve
  • Microscopic cytology

Certain conditions require very specific testing and specialized equipment. For these tests we refer to different laboratories depending on the test required.

The role of diet and nutrition is often overlooked in our pets, each animal is unique, and there is no “one size fits all” diet that can accommodate the broad and varied requirements of our beloved companions.  Diets will differ based on the life stage of the animal (development, adult, senior), dietary restrictions, medical conditions, and financial considerations. Often overlooked when we are considering environmental enrichment, diet can absolutely play a part in keeping your pet’s life interesting. Understanding the importance of diet is the key to a long and happy life.

Analyzing the diet is also important when we are looking to manage and treat many diseases in our pets. Ongoing research and development allow us to better treat a variety of medical conditions with specific diets, including obesity, kidney disease, urinary tract disease, allergies, gastrointestinal disorders and arthritis.

The market for diets is often driven by labelling and advertising. It is important to educate yourself on how to look past the marketing ploys and be able to understand what information should be included on a pet food bag. Make sure the information there is describing a diet that is right for your pet. The WSAVA Global Nutrition Committee has put together an important list of questions that the manufacturer of a brand of pet food should be able to answer – if they cannot or will not answer these questions, it is a huge red flag about their manufacturing process and potentially the quality of their diets. You can find these questions here.

We will routinely discuss your pet’s diet during wellness exams and will recommend any changes that may be indicated based on your pet’s health (more or less calorie dense, higher or lower protein, for example).  This is also the perfect time to bring up any questions you may have about your cat’s diet! We will always do our best to  give you unbiased and truthful information regarding the variety of diets available to your pet.

Click below for additional resources:

 

  1. Obesity
  2. Body Condition Scoring

During a wellness exam with your veterinarian, your cat’s behaviour should always be discussed. Of course, changes in behaviour can often indicate a medical condition, so it should be addressed promptly. Once a medical condition is ruled out as the cause of the change, we are often left wondering what we can do to improve or change unwanted behaviours. Unfortunately, unwanted behaviours such as scratching/chewing, fighting with other animals in the house, and urinating outside the litter box can put a significant strain on the relationship between animal and caregiver, leading to frustration. There are many resources available to help. Because we believe in creating an enriched environment for your pet, as well as a stress-free life as possible, we are always willing to discuss and help when unwanted behaviours arise. For those interested, we offer consults with Dr. Landsberg; a board-certified small animal behaviourist. Together, we can discuss various ways to enrich your cat’s environment which can lead to a happier, less stressful life for your companion. Visit our Environmental Enrichment section in our Kitten Centre for more information.

Visit this site for a pdf questionnaire (scroll to the bottom of page) to assess your animal’s behaviour (this, along with a medical history form filled out by your veterinarian, is sent to Dr. Landsberg for analysis): http://www.northtorontovets.com/behaviour-services.pml

Visit this resource for many common behaviour problems and how to address them: http://drsophiayin.com/resources/cat_behavior

Another resource for behavioural guidelines:http://www.catvets.com/public/PDFs/PracticeGuidelines/FelineBehaviorGLS.pdf

We are available to our clients for emergencies 24/7, 365 days a year. If you have an emergency after hours, please contact the clinic at (204) 275 – 2038 for the emergency number.

At Central Veterinary Services, we take pride in our mixed animal practise dedicated to the well-being of your animals. As our community grows and our Central Veterinary Services family expands, we continue to ensure that you and your animal receive the utmost in veterinary care. Some changes include upgrades to our large and small animal facilities, as well as the addition of doctors, veterinary technologists and assistants to our team.

As a member of our family and as a valued client, we would like to alert you to a change you may have noticed in our on-call service: After-hours emergencies for our small animal patients (cats and dogs) are referred to an emergency veterinary hospital. Please note that our after-hours emergency services will remain unchanged for our large animal/livestock patients.

After significant discussion and years of experience, we made this decision in order to ensure that our companion animal patients receive the best care, without delay, in case of an after-hours emergency. As our clinic is not staffed after hours, we feel that it is important that emergencies be seen at a 24-hour care facility that can address your pet’s needs with an entire veterinary team available. This is also to ensure that urgent care can be delivered in a timely manner, as there are occasions when emergencies arise and our doctor is unavailable due to another on-farm emergency.

As a courtesy to our clients, we will still be available by phone outside of business hours for urgent questions and advice. We realize that there are times when the simple question will arise of whether your animal is truly experiencing an emergency. And we realize that it can be scary to go to a new clinic, especially during an emergency. We want to assure you that we will listen, as we always have, to your concerns and advise you on your next best course of action. If we deem that it is truly an emergency, we will then refer you to the closest 24hr care facility to ensure your animal’s comfort, health and wellness. If, however we find the issue to be non-urgent in nature, we will advise you on when your animal can be examined at our clinic on the next business day.

We thank you kindly for your understanding in this matter, and we look forward to continuing to provide your animals with the best care, as your family veterinarian.

Kitten Services

Just like dogs, cats also require vaccines to prevent potentially devastating diseases that can occur throughout their life. Vaccination is just as important for kittens who will be indoors only because most of the diseases we vaccinate against are viruses that are very hardy in the environment – meaning they can easily be brought into the household on your shoes or with the dog, for example. Also, if it would ever happen that your kitten or grown cat should escape for an outdoor adventure, they could be exposed. For information on each disease, we vaccinate against, visit our Vaccination section. Below is the general vaccine protocol we recommend for kittens:

First Vaccines (starting at 8 weeks): 3-way vaccine (Feline herpes virus, panleukopenia, and calicivirus) and Deworming

Second Vaccines (starting at 12 weeks): 3-way booster, Feline Leukemia, and Deworming

Third Vaccines (Starting at 16 weeks): 3-way booster, Feline Leukemia booster, and Rabies

Parasite Control

Parasite control and deworming in kittens is very important since they can be infected with intestinal worms before they are born from their mothers, as well as in their early weeks from their environment.  Intestinal parasites especially can greatly affect growth and development and have the potential to infect human members of the family, so they must be addressed as soon as possible. Transmitted by mosquitoes, the heartworm parasite can infect kittens and cats and is becoming increasingly suspected of being the cause of acute respiratory distress in young cats making the need for heartworm prevention starting in the first year of life important to consider as well.

There are many options for the treatment and prevention of parasites. It is always a good idea to have your vet analyze a stool sample so that specific parasites may be identified. Broad-spectrum dewormers are available in both pill or liquid form and topical options for those tough kittens and cats.  There are also several treatment options that will cover Heartworm protection, ear mites as well as intestinal parasites. Kittens can be dewormed as young as 2 weeks old, so it is never too early to talk to your vet about a deworming protocol for your kitten. Often, it is best to administer deworming treatment up to every 2 weeks in young cats for several months to get infections cleared from the body and the environment.

What should I be feeding my new kitten?

Nutrition and obesity play a large role in how long an individual will live. So, investing some time in learning what and how your new kitten will be eating is very important as it can set them on the right path for life-long health! It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with how to read a pet food label so that you can look past the extensive marketing gimmicks to chose a diet that is best for your little friend – check out our Nutrition page for more information on this.

Kittens need growth diets designed specifically for kittens.  Every organ, including the brain, is growing rapidly in a kitten, and therefore, they have higher requirements in many areas: They need more energy (more energy dense foods) for growth and keeping their body temperature regulated; higher levels of protein to allow the rapid growth; increased fat (essential fatty acids for brain development and fat to allow specific vitamin uptake); and minerals such as calcium and phoshorus for muscle and skeleton development. For example, diets for kittens should have a minimum crude protein of 30% dry matter basis, and 18-35% of fat on a dry matter basis. The chosen diet may be a combination of dry food, wet/canned food or home-made food.

What is an “all-life stages” diet?

These diets are marketed as being suitable for animals young and old, including lactating and pregnant animals. So, these diets are typically quite energy dense and will meet a growing animal’s needs. However, these diets are often formulated to meet minimum requirements only, and added components such as essential fatty acids are often not included in these diets. This is why diets specifically designed for growth and development are still ideal. Also, because these diets are so energy dense, they are often NOT best for grown, adult animals who have much lower energy requirements and can result in obesity.

Most nutritionists do NOT recommend raw food diets for growing animals.

This has mainly to do with food safety issues as kittens are more susceptible to disease caused by harmful bacteria that can be present due to contamination and improper handling and storage of the raw diets. Furthermore, many raw food diets are not properly balanced, and will not meet the nutritional requirements of a growing animal.

Once the growth phase is complete, there are some pets with individual food sensitivities and/or gastrointestinal issues that can do very well on these foods BUT there are some dogs and cats that do not tolerate raw food.  We recommend that people using raw food diets are very cautious with handling these foods, especially if there are very young, or very old family members or household members with chronic illnesses or are immunosuppressed (including other pets!) in contact with the dog eating the raw food diet.

General Guidelines

Your kitten’s nutrition will routinely be assessed during your visit with the vet, considering it is such an important aspect to their health and wellness. If your kitten is neither underweight or overweight, is having approximately 2 solid bowel movements a day, has a lot of energy, and has a shiny hair coat, it is likely on a diet that is meeting his or her demands! If your kitten has loose stools or more than 2-3 bm’s per day, flatulence, vomiting, a dry, flakey skin and haircoat, is overweight or underweight, has behavioural issues and has not been diagnosed with an underlying medical condition, you should consider switching their kitten food, as these are all signs that they may not be getting enough nutrients from their current diet, or may not be tolerating their diet for other reasons, leading to health and/or behavioural problems.

If you have any questions, please let us know!  We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have about your kitten’s diet and help you chose a diet that is right for you.

Socialization is just as important in kittens as it is in puppies. Kittens who are well socialized at a young age will grow up to be much more interactive with the family and be able to handle the stressors of life (visitors, moving, new cats to the neighbourhood, etc.) than kittens who are not well socialized. When kittens are young (especially younger than 4 months), they are very sensitive to training and social learning, making it an ideal time to teach them positive associations.

Visit this excellent resource for more information on the importance of socialization and how to get started: http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/kitten-socialization

When it comes to various behaviours your kitten is exhibiting, why is it important to consider what is and isn’t normal in your kitten’s behaviours? For example, is your kitten’s tendency to attack your feet as you walk past normal? Is the fact that he runs and hides whenever someone new comes into the house a normal behavior? Also, activities such as scratching your living room furniture and attacking house plants do stem from a cat’s innate need to explore and play, but there are ways to stimulate your kitten and re-direct the play to preserve household items and keep you and your kitten safe. Also, by addressing unwanted behaviour early on, we are much more likely to reverse the behaviour and have a positive outcome – leading to a happier relationship between cat and caregiver!

Visit this resource for many common behaviour problems and how to address them: http://drsophiayin.com/resources/cat_behavior

Another resource for behavioural guidelines: http://www.catvets.com/public/PDFs/PracticeGuidelines/FelineBehaviorGLS.pdf

Whether to keep your new kitten as an indoor-only pet or allow some (or a lot) of outdoor time is a personal decision. The indoor lifestyle is definitely a safer one for our cat friends IF their environment is enriched in such a way that allows and supports innate behaviours (for general indoor cat considerations, visit: Basic Indoor Cat Needs).  Kittens and cats lacking appropriate environmental enrichment are more likely to have behavioural problems such as anxiety-related excess grooming and spraying/urinating outside the litterbox, as well as conflict among house-mates, and medical problems such as Idiopathic Cystitis that can result in life-threatening blockage of urine outflow. By critically evaluating the home you are providing your kitten, you address potential stressors and develop the best environment possible.

There are several components that should be addressed when aiming to enrich the environment:

1) The ‘physical system’ – are there areas where the cat will feel safe, is there a predictability to its day, etc.

2) The ‘nutritional system’ – addressing what and how your cat eats, offering enrichment through toys that allow slow release of food through play, for example,

3) The ‘elimination system’ – does their litter box allow normal voiding behaviours, do they feel safe while voiding?

4) The ‘social system’ – this includes all living creatures within the household. Different cats have different preferences for the amount of human contact, and other animals present can be perceived as either a threat, a prey target, or competitor for resources.

5) The ‘behavioural system’ – the enriched environment allows a kitten to express natural behaviours such as playing, scratching and chewing. By providing approved outlets for these behaviours, destruction of household items can be avoided.

For more detailed information on this topic please visit: https://indoorpet.osu.edu/sites/indoorpet/files/assets/documents/Herron10_EE_for_Indoor_Cats.pdf

Dental Care

It is never too early to start thinking about dental care with your kitten. Getting into routines such as teeth brushing early is the best way to prevent problems in the future. Routinely looking into your kitten’s mouth will also allow you to see problems as they arise, such as retained teeth or cracked teeth. Good oral hygiene not only greatly improves a cat’s life quality but may also promote longevity.

Your kitten is going to start to lose his/her baby teeth at about 4 months old, and he/she should have a whole new set of adult teeth at 6 months old.

BUT

The health of your kitten’s baby teeth has an impact on the adult teeth. So it is best to care for those teeth starting right away.

Daily teeth-brushing is the BEST way to remove plaque and slow the progress of tooth decay. There are adult diets, toys and water additives that can be helpful as well, but nothing beats the brush! We would be more than happy to help you make brushing your kitten’s teeth a positive experience for you both – we can give you tips and help you get started if you are interested.

Also, be very careful with choosing appropriate chew-toys as injured baby teeth can affect the adult teeth. Once the adult teeth come in, they will look really bright and shiny, but they do not yet have a fully developed root. So, they are still quite fragile. Avoid aggressive chewing, rough pulling and tug-of-war games to protect your kitten’s baby and newly erupted adult teeth!

Examine your kitten’s mouth routinely, if you are noticing anything abnormal, or have questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

Spaying and Neutering

Pet overpopulation is a real problem, with unwanted animals being euthanized every day. Although there are always pros and cons to any procedure, spaying or neutering your new kitten is always recommended. It is one of the most responsible choices you can make as a pet owner. The health benefits of spaying or neutering your kitten are also important to consider.

What is involved with ‘Spaying’ or ‘Neutering’? We use the term ‘Spay’ when we remove the ovaries and uterus of the female cat. We use the term ‘Neuter’ when we remove both testicles from a male cat. For any surgical procedure, optional blood work can be performed (to screen for abnormalities in the blood that could indicate organ dysfunction) at an additional fee. Pain medication is used, and intravenous fluid therapy is administered (always with spays, optional with neuters), then placed under general anesthesia for the procedure. Once the ovaries/uterus are removed, the incision is closed using sutures that are under the skin and absorb over time. We monitor our surgical patients very carefully throughout their stay to make sure they are recovering without complications.  Usually, your kitten will be able to go home the same day so that he or she can spend the evening in the comfort of their own home. We recommend that your kitten be given several days to recover (a week for a spay), with minimal running and no jumping or stairs. Your kitten should wear a cone so that it cannot lick at its incision as it heals, as this can cause infection and dehiscence.

Preparing Yourself Financially

It is very important to consider the cost of caring for your new kitten and to formulate a plan. The food they will need to eat, the toys and utensils they will need (cat bed, food bowls), the veterinary visits they will need, and kitten classes that are always recommended should all be considered. If your new kitten ends up having any life-long conditions, such as allergies or has an emergency situation (some kittens like to swallow their toys!), costs can keep adding up.

Options to aid with finances –

  1. Pet Insurance – Pet insurance options continue to improve. This is the best way to cover yourself in case of emergency or if your puppy develops a condition that needs continued therapy. Certain packages even cover yearly exams and vaccines as well as therapeutic diets if needed.  It is definitely something to consider if your new puppy is a breed that is highly predisposed to having problems requiring veterinary attention. Some breed examples include: Bulldogs, Boxers, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Cocker Spaniels. An excellent website, although American based, can help you decide if pet insurance is right for you: www.pet-insurance-university.com
  2. Setting up a savings account for your pet – Every month, you could put aside a pre-determined amount of money, $50, even $20 monthly can help. If you happen to have a pet emergency, you will have a place to pull money from to cover the costs.
  3. Financial Assistance Programs

Why pet insurance?

Many people think about getting pet insurance because they think it will save them money.

Pet Insurance should not be thought of as a way to save money. It should be thought of as a way to soften an unexpected economic hit.

When you purchase pet insurance, you are putting yourself in a position so that if something unexpected and costly comes along, you will be able to deal with it without it putting you in a bad situation financially.

Saving’s Accounts

Putting away a set amount of money every month for the care of your pet is another approach to budgeting for pet care. This works best for expected veterinary procedures like annual exams and vaccines, routine surgeries such as spaying and neutering, routine dental care and so on, BUT it will not necessarily work well for unexpected events such as accidents/emergencies or illnesses that can be costly. For example, an emergency surgery to remove a foreign object from the intestine, along with the hospitalization and aftercare, can be as much as, or even more than, $2000 depending on the veterinary hospital. If you are unable to afford or borrow money for an unforeseen bill such as this, it is a good idea to consider pet insurance. The $50 you had been putting away monthly for your 6-month-old puppy (a total of $200 saved) won’t make it very far in some emergency situations.

Ideally, you could implement both of the above – keep a chunk of money saved to pay off a deductible, for example – to be absolutely prepared.

Financial Assistance Programs – There are also alternative options such as PetCard, which is a financial assistance program that is basically a loan that needs to be paid back. This can also help with unexpected bills. However it should not be relied on solely for paying for your pet’s care.

We are available to our clients for emergencies 24/7, 365 days a year. If you have an emergency after hours, please contact the clinic at (204) 275 – 2038 for the emergency number.

At Central Veterinary Services, we take pride in our mixed animal practise dedicated to the well-being of your animals. As our community grows and our Central Veterinary Services family expands, we continue to ensure that you and your animal receive the utmost in veterinary care. Some changes include upgrades to our large and small animal facilities, as well as the addition of doctors, veterinary technologists and assistants to our team.

As a member of our family and as a valued client, we would like to alert you to a change you may have noticed in our on-call service: After-hours emergencies for our small animal patients (cats and dogs) are referred to an emergency veterinary hospital. Please note that our after-hours emergency services will remain unchanged for our large animal/livestock patients.

After significant discussion and years of experience, we made this decision in order to ensure that our companion animal patients receive the best care, without delay, in case of an after-hours emergency. As our clinic is not staffed after hours, we feel that it is important that emergencies be seen at a 24-hour care facility that can address your pet’s needs with an entire veterinary team available. This is also to ensure that urgent care can be delivered in a timely manner, as there are occasions when emergencies arise and our doctor is unavailable due to another on-farm emergency.

As a courtesy to our clients, we will still be available by phone outside of business hours for urgent questions and advice. We realize that there are times when the simple question will arise of whether your animal is truly experiencing an emergency. And we realize that it can be scary to go to a new clinic, especially during an emergency. We want to assure you that we will listen, as we always have, to your concerns and advise you on your next best course of action. If we deem that it is truly an emergency, we will then refer you to the closest 24hr care facility to ensure your animal’s comfort, health and wellness. If, however, we find the issue to be non-urgent in nature, we will advise you on when your animal can be examined at our clinic on the next business day.

We thank you kindly for your understanding in this matter, and we look forward to continuing to provide your animals with the best care as your family veterinarian.

Senior Care

WHEN IS MY PET A “SENIOR”?

It can be difficult to pinpoint when a pet has entered his or her “senior years”, but on average, around the age of 8 or 9 years old depending on breed/size. It is often around this age that we start to see a change in physical health in our pets, and when recommended screening and wellness checks are brought up.

Why do we care about promoting optimal care and providing preventative and therapeutic medicine for our senior pets?

For starters, we are our animal’s caregivers, therefore we are responsible for providing our pets with a life that is as close to free from pain and discomfort as possible. Our best chance at achieving this is through preventative medicine (preventing serious problems before they start) as well as early detection of problems, allowing us to come up with effective treatment plans.  As your veterinary providers, it is up to us to carefully examine your pet, ask in-depth questions about how your animal is doing at home, go over options for tests that can give us insight into your pet’s body systems, and recommend activities, medications, supplements and diet changes that may make a big difference in your senior pet’s health and comfort.

In some cases, it is easy to get frustrated and feel disconnected with an ageing pet that is beginning to have health problems that take time to manage at home and require frequent veterinary care. It can be hard to understand what is going on with your once healthy happy pet, and guilt can set in, wondering if you’re providing your pet with what it needs. As a veterinary team, we aim to keep the human-animal bond strong by taking away the frustration, guilt, and confusion that can come with caring for a senior pet.