Tag Archives: cat

Getting To The Heart Of The Issue: KAH Talks About Feline Heart Disease

Cats are very resilient creatures, but they are still prone to certain health issues…one of the most common being heart disease. There are multiple types of heart disease, and as a cat-mom or cat-dad it can be devastating to learn that a beloved feline has such a serious health issue. Fortunately, the veterinary community has learned a lot about this problem over the past few years, and it continues to be a major focus of study. There are even

Dr. Lynch’s own kitty, Cricket, had heart issues, so this is a topic near and dear to her…heart. 🙂

dedicated pet cardiologists—we are lucky enough to have an office right here in Frederick!

To learn more about feline heart disease, we sat down with Dr. Jenny Lynch, one of Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s amazing veterinarians. Keep reading for some answers to the most commonly asked questions about heart disease in cats!

  1. What causes heart disease in cats? Is there anything that can prevent it?
    Dr. JL: Heart disease in cats can be caused by a taurine deficiency; lack of this amino acid can cause eye problems as well, so it is important to feed a diet with plenty of taurine in it! There are also certain breeds of cats that are genetically predisposed to heart disease, such as Maine Coons and other “fancy” cats.
  2. The veterinarian heard a heart murmur during my cat’s physical exam. What does this mean?
    Dr. JL: It could mean a lot of different things.  A heart murmur means that there is increased turbulence of blood flow through the heart.  This can sometimes be caused by anemia (a low red blood cell count) or by a systemic issue like hyperthyroidism or hypertension. Even a very high heart rate can cause a murmur. But sometimes a heart murmur is the first indication of heart disease.  It is very important to follow up on a heart murmur, because untreated heart disease causes blindness, congestive heart failure, blood clots that may lead to stroke or paralysis, collapse, and eventually loss of the pet’s life.
  3. What is the next step if my cat is diagnosed with a heart problem?

    Finding out a pet has heart disease can be scary. The caring staff at KAH is here to help!

    Dr. JL: The next step is to determine the cause of the heart murmur.  Visit the cardiologist for an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart. The cardiologist will measure the heart muscle and look at each of the valves of the heart to find the source of the murmur. Bloodwork can help to rule out anemia and hyperthyroidism, and there is even a special blood test that can be done to measure heart muscle damage.
    4. My kitty acts completely fine at home. How can I tell if s/he has heart disease?
    Dr. JL: Unfortunately, cats tend not to show symptoms of heart disease. The best thing to do is bring cats for regular check-ups at the vet; annually until they are 7 or 8 years old, then

    Monitoring cats for signs of heart disease starts at their first visit! Dr Kemper says little Molly’s heart sounds great.

    twice a year so we can stay on top of any potential issues. Early detection and intervention can slow the progression of heart disease and will add a few more quality years to a kitty’s life.
    5. Where can I find more information about this issue?
    Visit the CVCA website, or the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) website–and any of our veterinarians here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital are happy to answer any questions!

“How Do You Deal With It?” A Narrative by Nora

“Humane Euthanasia is a procedure I have become very grateful for over my 17 years in a small animal practice. People often say to me, ‘This must be the hardest part of your job.’ My response is that I’ve grown very appreciative of our ability to end suffering when other options are not available. I tell my clients that I have great confidence in our ability to perform

Ernie belonged to KAH technician Tiki, who said goodbye to her sweet boy in 2013.

euthanasia in a way that is peaceful and dignified for our patients. I explain every step of the process so they have a clear understanding of what’s to come. I never want them to fear this process or worry that it will be stressful or painful for their pet. I tell my clients they are brave and selfless as they make their decision to say goodbye to their loved one. I tell them their bravery affords their pet the gift of peace.”

KAH CSR Tiffany said goodbye to her beloved Chloe Clarice in early 2017.

Our pets give us so much unconditional love and acceptance and saying goodbye to them is so hard. I empathize with their suffering and tell them how sorry I am they have to suffer the grief of losing their pet. I do everything I can to assure them they have made a kind decision motivated by the best interest of their pet.”

Is assisting with humane euthanasia the hardest part of my job? No. Seeing animals suffer is the hardest part of my job. I have come to embrace euthanasia as a kind and peaceful means of ending that suffering.  If I can help someone gain some peace and resolve in their decision to say goodbye to their pet, these are the moments in my job that I find most gratifying. I am very grateful for my ability to positively influence my clients and patients through the process of humane euthanasia.”

~Nora McKay-Clark, RVT

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s 2016 Reflections: What We’re Thankful For

As 2016 draws to a close, the staff at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD took a moment to reflect on what we’re grateful for.

Besides ♥each other♥, here are the top 5 answers!

  1. KAH technician Julie with our wonderful client Shelly during Santa Paws 2016

    Our fantastic clients Self-explanatory, and number 1 for a reason. Thank you all so much for choosing KAH to help care for those adorable fur babies!

  2. Our new dental x-ray unit

    The new dental x-ray unit Our new machine takes great quality radiographs that help us identify potential problem areas during all of our Oral Evaluation & Cleanings.

  3. Dr. Davis demonstrates the use of our surgical CO2 laser…on an orange?!

    Our CO2 surgery laser Having this special piece of equipment (we are the only veterinary clinic in the area that has a CO2 laser!) allows us to perform surgeries more quickly and less painfully than traditional methods.

  4.  The opportunity to give back This year, our staff was able to donate to 2 Frederick families in need to give them a wonderful Christmas. We also utilized the Kylie & Cricket Fund to make a food & toy donation to Frederick County Animal Control—click here to learn more!
  5. KAH assistant Robin (left) and technician Abby (right) deliver toys, food, and holiday candy (for people only!) to FCAC on 12/21.

    Everything we have planned for 2017 So far, we have several exciting events and topics scheduled for our clients and patients during the New Year. We can’t wait to share them!

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Festive Feline Faux-Pas

Welcome back for the Kingsbrook Animal Hospital‘s holiday hazards: cats edition (last week we considered holiday hazards for dogs).  There are cross-over hazards to beware of for both dogs and cats that were discussed last week, such as:

  • Blog star Johnny Blaze is back with a message for all cats everywhere: don't eat holiday plants!

    Blog star Johnny Blaze is back with a message for all cats everywhere: don’t eat holiday plants!

    watching to make sure pets are not eating people foods that can make them sick, like raw bread dough, chocolate, xylitol, and alcohol

  • being diligent about not giving in to overindulgence to prevent GI upset
  • keeping festive plants in places pets do not have access to, or considering fake plants, as many holiday plants are toxic
  • keeping medications out of reach
  • monitoring your pet’s access to the Christmas tree or if unable to do that or placing ornaments higher on the tree so they are not at a good “batting or chewing” height
  • and unplugging your electrical cords when pets are not being supervised.

    Here are some other holiday hazards that are more cat specific:

    KAH client service rep Kelly's "cousin" Buddy decides to decorate himself for Christmas! Many cats are attracted to garland and will chew or even ingest pieces of it.

    KAH client service rep Kelly’s “cousin” Buddy decides to decorate himself for Christmas! Many cats are attracted to garland and will chew or even ingest pieces of it.

    Tinsel, ribbon, and strings– Few cats are able to pass by this stuff without stopping to bat, chew or ingest it! In fact, strings are one of the top foreign bodies seen in cats year-round.
    Liquid potpourri or candles– These candles and warmers can help our homes smell wonderful during the holiday season and throughout the year, but do pose a burn risk for cats. If you have a counter-surfing cat then please unplug or blow out while the cat is not under your direct supervision.
    Finally, some cats find it thrilling to attempt to climb the Christmas tree. Create an unpleasant barrier (tin foil, double-sided sticky tape) around the base of the tree to help deter them from climbing. It is always a good idea to securely anchor your tree as well- just to be safe.
    Allowing a “safe zone” for your feline friend to retreat to as needed where it is quieter and away from the festivities can provide them with a much appreciated break.

    While you cannot always prevent emergencies from happening, we hope this list helps keep your pets safe and happy during the holidays. It can be very helpful to have your veterinarian’s phone number, as well as a local emergency hospital’s number, pre-programmed into your phone to be prepared in case of emergency. The veterinarians and veterinary staff here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD wish you and your fur babies a happy holiday season!

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Presents: Much Ado About Microchipping in MD

Did you know that according to statistics, 1 in 3 pets will become lost at one point in their lives?  Or that more pets are lost July 4th weekend than any other time of the year?  The entire Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s staff’s hearts broke when we heard about all of the animals that were unable to be reunited with their families after Hurricane Katrina.  Microchipping would have been able to help so many of those pets return to their families during and after that crisis!  Our veterinarians and staff at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital feel strongly about microchipping our pets to give them every advantage if they ever become lost. 

 

Microchipped pets who go missing get extra help to find their way home!

Microchipped pets who go missing get extra help to find their way home!

 

So, what is a microchip? Microchips are safe and permanent methods of identifying our fur babies, and act as an ideal back-up for their ID tags—they stay on the pet, even when the collar comes off.  A microchip is considered a RFID, or radio-frequency identification device. As passive RFIDs, microchips do not emit any harmful frequencies. They are slightly larger than a grain of rice and are implanted under your pet’s skin with a sterile applicator. The microchips we use come with a lifetime guarantee, so if for some reason they stop working, the manufacturer will issue a free replacement. Our veterinarians like to microchip pets in conjunction with a sedated event (like a spay), or a local anesthetic can be used to minimize any discomfort if it’s done while the pet is awake.  Once the microchip is placed, Kingsbrook Animal Hospital submits a registration form with contact information for the pet’s owner. This information is maintained in a database accessible online for veterinarians and animal shelters.  

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KAH Assistant Heather placing a microchip


Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s own Katie Bruner, RVT, shared: “I used to work at a shelter before coming to Kingsbrook, and I cannot tell you how many animals came through the doors that made me think, this must be someone’s pet.”  The first thing shelter workers will do is scan a pet for a microchip, using a universal scanner.  The chip number is then run through the database to get the owner’s contact information. Katie also notes, “Another important lesson is that the chip is only as good as the information behind it!”  It is important to remember to update contact information if it changes—such as after a move or getting a new phone number.  Another situation that requires updating contact info is if your pet is a rescue. Many shelters will place a microchip in pets that don’t already have one, but the chip will be registered to the shelter—if the pet becomes lost, that’s where he or she will be returned to if the contact information isn’t updated by the new owner.

A microchip (top) and a universal microchip scanner

A microchip (top) and a universal microchip scanner

Nobody ever plans for their pet to go missing, but it does happen.  Make sure your pet has the best chance to be reunited with you!  Please talk with any of our veterinarians or veterinary technicians at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD if you have any questions about microchipping your pet.

Crafting with KAH: Build your own cat hideout in Frederick, MD

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s DIY Cat Hideout!

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Indoor cats benefit greatly from enrichment items, especially cat hideouts! It gives them an acceptable area to stretch their claws and provides a hiding spot for napping and/or playing. Kingsbrook RVT, Julie, has 2 cats and here is a picture of one of their well used cat hideouts. As you can see, it was time for a replacement and an upgrade! Here is step by step how Julie and her Dad built a new, bigger and even more cat-friendly cat hide out!

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First- gather materials!

(Most of the materials can be found at any local Frederick hardware store.)

-Concrete tube form, 3/4 pine board, 2×4, screws, carpet, hemp rope, contact cement, recycled satellite dish
(Having a Dad or friend with some tools will make this project much easier!)

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Using concrete tube form, trace the arch for internal perches onto the 3/4 pine board. Cut out with a scroll saw.

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Stagger your perches inside the concrete tube form. Secure them with drywall screws.

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Measure and cut out scrap carpet. Attach with contact cement. **This part is very smelly!  Allow to dry for several days to help the smell to dissipate.IMG_7401

Measure and cut out opening in the satellite dish. Attach the dish to the concrete form tube with drywall screws.
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Cut out cat doors with a scroll saw.
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Measure and cut carpet scraps to fit around the concrete tube form.

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Using liquid nails in a caulking gun, glue the hemp rope around the cylinder.

Wrap cylinder with bungee cords to secure carpet as it dries.IMG_7411

After glue is dry and oder has dissipated, present the cat hide out to your buddies!

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Tip: There is no wrong way to build a cat hide out! Have fun with it 🙂

And remember to send pictures of your finished project to your favorite veterinarian- Kingsbrook Animal Hospital!