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Flea Prevention

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Every year as the weather warms up pesky critter start to come back to annoy your furry friends.

Prevention is always the best decision as it is much easier and less expensive than trying to get rid of an infestation. Flea larvae can lay dormant in your house for as long as 7 months before hatching and require more products to get rid of than to prevent. It is also extremely uncomfortable for your cat and/or dog (as one can pass it quite easily to the other).

However, be careful with the over the counter products as it is not as safe as the medication from your veterinary professional.

Don’t wait for your cat to get fleas, contact your veterinarian for more information and pricing or feel free to contact us and keep your cat healthy and happy!

Feline Asthma

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What is Asthma?

Asthma is a recurring condition that causes inflammation and constriction of airways in the lungs. In cats, the symptoms of asthma can range from a persistent, daily cough and possibly wheezing to severe respiratory distress causing a life-threating event. Treatment is focused on relieving and preventing airway constriction. Feline Asthma is very similar to human asthma.

How is the diagnosis made?

Cats with asthma can experience a great deal of difficulty moving air in and out of the lungs due to the constricted airways. They can experience very shallow, rapid breaths while their abdomen appears to be working very hard to move the air in and out. In severe situations, the cat may even need to open their mouth to breath. This is a cat with respiratory distress and requires immediate veterinary attention.

Radiographs (X-rays) are the next step to make a diagnosis of feline asthma, once the patient is stable enough for them to be taken. As inflammation and mucus build up within the airways, it causes the walls of the airways to appear thickened. These can be seen in the radiographs.

Treatment

With Asthma, the underlying problem is constriction of the airways. It is important to control the inflammation when treating Asthma. In an emergency situation, epinephrine can reverse the asthmatic crisis within about 15 minutes. However, corticosteroids are administered for long term management. This can be done either orally or by inhaler. Treatment is usually started with oral corticosteroids (prednisolone) but long term use of this type of medication has side effects. The use of inhalers minimizes the side effects of the drugs to the rest of the body while maximizing the drug in the lungs. However, cats obviously cannot be told when to inhale and they tend to object to the ‘puff’ delivered by the inhaler. Interestingly, these same problems also existed for human infants diagnosed with asthma and a device called a pediatric spacer was invented. This is a tubular chamber with the inhaler on one end and a face mask on the other end. The contents of the inhaler is ‘puffed’ into the chamber and the infant simply breaths in the contents of the chamber. This device has been adapted for our feline patients with great success. The cat takes 10 breaths from the face mask to be properly dosed. Corticosteroid inhalers, of which Flovent is the most popular, are typically used every 12 hours.

Occasionally, additional medications, including oral bronchodilators, are also required.

Effects Of Catnip

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Rolling, salivating, vocalizing and kneading, and are among the interesting behaviours that can be observed with cats that come in contact with Catnip.  Exotic cats are also known to respond to the effects of catnip and it can be used in zoos as a method to enrich their environment.  Catnip is an herb that is a member of the mint family.  The ingredient that cats respond to is an essential oil that is not considered toxic to cats.  There is actually a great deal of variation in the response to catnip.  Some cats do not respond at all.  The ability for cats to respond is genetic.  If they do not inherit the gene, they do not respond to catnip.  However, the majority of cats will have some response.  Age and experience also influence the degree of response.  Cats less than 2 months of age, do not respond.  Usually full response is reached at about 6 months of age, which is the time when they reach puberty.  The exact sensation experienced by the cats is not clear but it has been speculated that cats detect catnip through cells in their nose and it elicits visual and auditory hallucinations.  The effect is transient, lasting only a few minutes.   Catnip is sold either fresh or dried.  It is the dried catnip that has the highest concentration of the ingredient that cats respond to.