Tag Archives: cats

The Top 5 Reasons Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Is The Best At Cleaning Teeth

February is National Pet Dental Health month, and many veterinary clinics see an increase in the number of dental cleanings and procedures scheduled.  While virtually every veterinarian offers oral cleanings for their patients, all cleanings are not created equal. The staff at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD is excited to take a few minutes to share with all pet owners the Top 5 reasons that KAH is the best place to have an oral cleaning and evaluation!

1. We check pre-anesthetic bloodwork on all patients before any anesthetic procedure. This alerts the veterinarian to any issues with the patient’s liver, kidneys, hydration status, and oxygen-carrying ability of the blood. All of these factors are important to consider, especially because…

2. Our licensed technicians and veterinarians work together to custom-tailor the anesthesia for each patient. Rather than practice “cookie-cutter” medicine where each patient is treated the same, our staff considers every pet an individual. Certain drugs are included or avoided based on what is best for each particular

KAH technician Nora performs an oral cleaning, using the same instruments a human dentist uses.

patient.

3. All anesthesia patients are monitored 100% of the time by a licensed veterinary technician, who uses state-of-the-art anesthetic monitoring equipment as backup. From the minute a pet is sedated until recovery is complete, he or she is in the company of an experienced and educated professional whose first priority is patient safety.

Nora reviews the dental radiographs taken on her patient. This is vital information that helps the technicians and doctors make decisions about a pet’s oral health.

4. We include full-mouth digital dental x-rays with every cleaning. This important step allows the veterinarian to see above/below the pet’s gumlines at each tooth’s root.  Issues such as tooth root abscesses, retained root tips, and resorptive lesions would not be identified without these x-rays, meaning that in spite of

KAH patient Daisy’s mom proudly displays her OraVet home care kit. This is one of the many options we offer to help with home dental care!

everyone’s best intentions the patient may continue to have problems after a cleaning done without x-rays.

5. After the cleaning, our technicians and veterinarians will work with pet owners to find an oral home care regimen that will work for that patient. This will help extend the time between cleanings and set pets up for better periodontal health for the rest of their lives.

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Discusses Declawing

One of the more controversial topics in the pet owner world is declawing cats. Some owners are staunch supporters of this procedure, while others are fierce advocates. What is the big deal about declawing, anyway? Here are a few facts about declawing.

Scratching is a natural behavior for cats–it is how they keep their nails short and is a way for them to mark their territory. With good training, frequent nail trims, and alternative surfaces, most cats will learn to avoid scratching furniture and walls. Some cats, however, are more resistant to this idea or are fixated on a particular spot. These owners may elect to have their cat declawed.

Declawing, or onchyectomy, removes not only the claw but the entire first bone of each toe; imagine a human hand without all of its fingertips. This is a major surgical procedure, and is very painful for the cat. Generally, cats heal better and have less behavioral issues if the surgery is performed at a younger age–many times the procedure is performed along with a spay or neuter at around 6 months of age.

At Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, we will perform a declawing surgery as a last resort–only after all other measures have failed to curb the behavior. The biggest benefit to performing the surgery here is that we are able to use our surgical laser! The CO2 laser allows the veterinarian to simultaneously cauterize and cut, which makes the declawing less painful for the cat and negates the need for the bandages used after a traditional declaw. Another advantage is that KAH is very invested in pain control for our patients. Our Kingsbrook veterinarians will use multiple types of pain control both before and after the procedure to help keep the cat comfortable.  All of our veterinarians and staff are happy to answer any questions about this procedure.

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Focus On Food: Tips For Healthy Pet Nutrition

Continuing on Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s theme of New Years’ resolutions, many people vow to eat healthier or go on a diet starting in January.  Healthy eating can extend to our pets, too! There’s a lot of information available on animal nutrition, so it can be challenging to know fact from fiction. Here, KAH will provide our Top 5 Tips on Healthy Pet Nutrition.

 

  1. Most scientists agree that dogs are omnivores, and cats are carnivores. This means that “wild” dogs will eat plants, grains, and meat, while cats will eat almost exclusively (greater than 95%) meat. Be sure pets are getting appropriate levels of protein—too much can be as harmful as too little!
  2. Be sure to use a measuring cup or scoop to accurately measure how much each pet is eating. Make sure each cup is level (like the small scoop) not rounded at the top (like the bigger cup)!

    The type of protein is just as important as the amount. Unlike people, our pets don’t really need “variety” in their diets. To avoid food allergies and picky eaters, feed just one protein (such as chicken or lamb) and stick with it!

  3. Choose a reputable brand of pet food made by a company that staffs certified nutritionists

    KAH technician Julie’s kitty Calvin poses with his food. Science Diet is one of the brands KAH recommends for good pet nutrition!

    and has solid quality control procedures in place. It’s even better if they have a good customer support department that can answer any questions owners may have. Kingsbrook Animal Hospital recommends Royal Canin, Hill’s Science Diet, and Purina ProPlan as excellent choices for any pet’s diet.

  4. Pet food bags usually overestimate the amount an animal should be eating. For example, most cats don’t need more than ½ a cup of dry food in a day. For exact recommendations for a specific pet, consult a veterinarian at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital.
  5. Meal feeding is always a better idea than free feeding. It’s much easier to monitor how much and how well a pet is eating if measured amounts are put down 2-3 times a day. Also, just like for humans, several small meals tend to keep metabolism higher than just one big meal every day.

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Fights The Battle Of The Bulge

January is well under way, and at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD there are a lot of New Year’s resolutions in progress! A popular resolution is to get in shape.  Unfortunately, about 53% of dogs and 58% of cats in the United States are overweight too. Obesity in pets, just like in people, predisposes our furry friends to diabetes, joint pain, and other health problems that don’t go away easily.

Getting out to enjoy the sunshine is a great way to strut your stuff…and burn some calories!

Since they can’t do it all on their own, here are Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Top 5 Tips for getting pets bikini-ready:

  1. Take a walk! The extra cardio will help you both get in shape. If visiting a dog park, be present when introducing new dogs and make sure all four-footed parties are fully vaccinated. Cats can go for walks, too! Pick up a cat harness from the pet store and introduce it slowly. Let Fluffy take the first steps outside all on her own. Click this link for more tips on walking cats.
  2. Adorable KAH patient Cooper shows off his new stuffy. Toys make everything more fun!

    Make time for play! Most cats love laser pointers, but every kitty has a favorite toy. Try a variety of low-cost options such as a crumpled piece of paper or a ping-pong ball. Try rope toys or a new Kong for a playful dog. For dogs who don’t play much, food puzzle toys can provide enrichment with a tasty reward.

  3. Add a salad! Try cutting back a little on the kibbles and mixing in some green beans or canned pumpkin. The fiber fills up pets for longer without adding calories. To get the exact amounts for a specific pet, please consult a veterinarian. Our KAH doctors are happy to help!
  4. Eat and run! Pets who constantly beg for food can make weight loss challenging. Measure out a portion for Fluffy or Rover, then throw each kibble to make the pet chase. Start with chasing a small amount and offering the rest in the pet’s normal bowl, and slowly work up to the whole meal. Another great idea is playing “hide and seek” by stashing small amounts of food here and

    Hills Metabolic prescription food helps where other weight loss methods have failed.

    there so the pet has to “forage” for dinner.

  5. When all else fails, ask a veterinarian about Hill’s Metabolic Diet. This prescription food, when fed as directed, is guaranteed to shed those stubborn pounds.

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Top 5 Things To Remember When Traveling With Your Pet

There’s no place like home for the holidays! Traveling with your pets can be a very exciting adventure…especially during the winter months. When traveling with pets during this holiday season there are even more things to consider too!
Here are the TOP 5 TRAVEL TIPS for winter-wanderings with your four-legged family:

Having a first aid kit on hand with some basic supplies is a great idea while traveling.

1. PET EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
Anything can happen; especially when having to stop for frequent potty breaks. Having a small first aid kit for your pet that includes things like clean water, a bowl, extra leash, baby wipes to clean off paws, Neosporen-type ointment, gauze squares, paper towels, and tweezers can be helpful in the event of a small accident. Also the addresses and phone numbers for emergency
animal hospitals along your route in the case of a big accident can be very helpful, or at the very least, put your mind at ease.
2. DOCUMENTATION
Making sure you have a current Rabies Certificate and up to date vaccine certificate is very
helpful when crossing state lines; depending on where you are traveling to, an Interstate Health
Certificate or an International Health Certificate may be needed. Certain pet-friendly hotels will
want documents like the Rabies Certificate as well to make sure they are allowing vaccinated
fur-guests into the rooms. Plus in the event that a stop at a vets office is necessary during your
trip, you can present them with Fido’s vaccine history.
3. CRATE OR SEAT BELT

KAH CSR Kelly’s sweet Wyatt loves to ride in the car! Use a seatbelt or tether to keep pets safely anchored in the backseat.

Having your pet sit on your lap or ride ‘shotgun’ with you may seem like a good idea, but slippery conditions can be unpredictable due to the weather changing so quickly during this time of year. Having your pet secure in the car is the best option for their safety (and yours)! A kennel, carrier or pet-specific seat belt is a great way to make sure that they don’t go flying in the event of a car accident or sudden stop.
4. ‘BUSY’ PRODUCTS
Providing toys, chews or treats is a great way to make sure your furry family member is occupied during long trips. Making things like a Kong Pupsicle is a great way to keep Rover busy for a while! (soak their kibble in water, smush it into a Kong toy then freeze- VOILA!). You may want to avoid things like stuffed animals that can be destroyed and ingested since you’ll be driving and unable to keep a continuous eye on them.
5. THE ‘USUAL’
Having your pets everyday items are a must for traveling with them. Food and
water bowls, daily medications, food, collar/harness, leash and ID tags are an
absolute must. Having extra bowls, leashes and collars are a really good idea to
have ‘just-in-case’. Absorbent towels and plastic bags are a staple item during the
winter time- nothings worse than a wet dog and 8 more hours to drive!

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 Proves You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks!

Many people believe that it’s next to impossible to train an older pet to do…well, pretty much anything. Is there any truth to the old adage “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?”  Positive-reinforcement trainer Laurie Luck, owner of Smart Dog University, took a few moments to share some insights on working with more mature pets.

KAH senior patient Sasha practices her training on a soft, non-slip mat

KAH senior patient Sasha practices her training on a soft, non-slip mat.

“It’s not harder at all to teach an older dog, as long as you’re training a new behavior,” Laurie says.  “If you’re trying to un-train a bad habit and then train a new one, it will definitely take longer. But dogs are capable of learning at any age.”

While working with older dogs, keep in mind they may have some physical limitations (such as hearing or vision loss, or arthritis) that make training more of a challenge. It’s best to train the word along with a hand signal, and to train on a non-slip surface like a mat or carpet.  Shorter sessions are best, because more senior dogs may not have the physical endurance that a young dog does.  If the dog doesn’t have any previous training, he or she needs to “learn how to learn” before training can progress.  The easiest way to do this is to start with a simple command like “focus” or “touch.”  Finally, cut back on Rover’s regular rations if using food to train; less active

KAH senior patient Baker waves to the camera!

KAH senior patient Baker waves to the camera!

pets can pack on the pounds quickly if too many extra calories become part of their diets.

 

On the flip side, there are a lot of great advantages to training an older dog!  Their attention spans are much longer than that of puppies, and they are less distractable.  Going into training with a senior dog also means knowing their likes, dislikes, and triggers.  For example, is this a food-motivated dog? Or does a favorite toy work better as a reward?  The best benefit of all, though, is that “training an older dog is really a kindness,” Laurie shared.  “Physically, maybe they can’t go for walks anymore, but they can definitely use their brains!”

KAH assistant Robin's senior kitty Widget proves that cats are just as smart as dogs!

KAH assistant Robin’s senior kitty Widget proves that cats are just as smart as dogs!

 

Cat lovers, take note—it’s absolutely possible to train cats, too! Cats are just as smart as dogs are, but they tend to not be as motivated to please or to respond to commands as are their canine counterparts. A favorite treat or even catnip can be a reward. For some cats, pieces of dry cat food work well too. Cats can be taught to sit, speak, come when called, and even fetch! The Humane Society of the US has some great beginner’s advice on training cats here.

Healthy, Happy Senior Pets at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital

The staff at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD, takes pride in providing excellent life-long care for our patients. As our patients age, our recommendations for their care change, too, because we want to help all animals live the longest, healthiest lives possible! Here, we’ll outline care for our patients who reach “senior” status.

KAH technician Julie's sweet kitty Calvin poses with his dinner--Science Diet Senior canned food. Yummy!

KAH technician Julie’s sweet kitty Calvin poses with his dinner–Science Diet Senior canned food. Yummy!

One commonly asked question is “When is my pet considered a senior?” At Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, all patients over the age of 8 are considered seniors. As a side note, smaller-breed dogs such as Chihuahuas age more slowly than large-breed dogs like Labrador Retrievers. Good preventative health care is equally important for dogs of all sizes, though, so it’s important to be proactive with any patient’s care regardless of size! One easy way to do this is to switch a pet to a senior diet at the appropriate age. Senior diets contain lower levels of calcium, fats, and carbohydrates. This helps prevent less-active furry friends from becoming overweight, and it also puts less stress on their digestive tract and other organ systems. Most brands of pet food offer a senior formula, and KAH’s veterinarians are glad to discuss any nutrition questions during each physical exam.

Dr. Cook performs a physical exam on adorable patient Quinn. Exams provide lots of information about the health of a patient!

Dr. Cook performs a physical exam on adorable patient Quinn. Exams provide lots of information about the health of a patient!

Speaking of exams…Kingsbrook Animal Hospital recommends biannual office visits for all senior patients. This enables the veterinarian to perform a physical exam every 6 months, and catch any changes or issues much sooner. A good physical exam includes obtaining an up-to-date, accurate weight on a pet; listening to heart and lungs with a stethoscope; checking vital signs like body temperature and capillary refill time; feeling the patient for lumps and bumps; and looking inside the mouth at the teeth and gums. The exam is also an excellent time for pet owners to mention any changes noticed at home–for example: slow to get up in the mornings, not eating as well, or trouble seeing. Combining this information with the findings of the patient’s physical exam allows the veterinarian to determine if there are any issues that need to be medically addressed.

KAH assistant Robin and technician Rush draw blood on Maggie. Annual bloodwork for senior patients is one of the most important diagnostics in veterinary medicine.

KAH assistant Robin and technician Rush draw blood on Maggie. Annual bloodwork for senior patients is one of the most important diagnostics in veterinary medicine.

Another important recommendation is senior bloodwork. While many owners cringe a little at the financial implications, Kingsbrook Animal Hospital recommends performing lab work on all “senior” patients at least once a year. The blood work most often requested by the doctor includes a complete blood count (CBC), a serum chemistry panel, and a urinalysis. For cats, it will also screen for thyroid levels. The CBC portion looks at red and white blood cell counts, and differentiates between different types of these cells. Some problems detected by a CBC include anemia, dehydration, infection, and even certain bone marrow disorders. The serum chemistry gives values of over 25 different enzymes and proteins found in the blood. These enzymes help internal organ function.

KAH technician Morgan is reading a urinalysis! All urine samples submitted to KAH are read in-house.

KAH technician Morgan is reading a urinalysis! All urine samples submitted to KAH are read in-house.

Catching any changes to the liver or kidneys early can make an enormous difference in treatment and prognosis for a beloved pet. A urinalysis is an important adjunct to the blood panel, as it gives more information about the kidneys and allows the veterinarian to notice problems earlier than bloodwork alone will indicate them. Thyroid screening in older cats is very important, since hyperthyroidism is very common and can cause many other problems such as kidney failure, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, and digestive issues.

 

The staff at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital may make additional recommendations for senior patients–every pet is an individual!

Microchip Media Alert at Kingsbrook Animal Hopital!

A few weeks ago, Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick posted a blog about the importance of microchipping our pets. Just recently, we were all reminded of just why it is such a good idea to microchip every pet in Maryland!

One of Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s longtime clients found a tabby cat with white feet in her driveway almost a week ago. This kitty was very sweet and a perfect guest in the client’s home.  When our client brought the cat in for an exam, the first thing we did was to scan for a microchip–and the kitty had one! We contacted the microchip company and discovered that the chip was registered to a family right here in Frederick. We gave them a call and found out that this kitty’s name is Roxy…

…and she had been missing for two whole years!

While Roxy’s family was on vacation two years ago, Roxy escaped out the door when the pet sitter came in to feed her. Roxy’s family tried very hard to find her, but eventually gave up–except for Regan, Roxy’s human sister.  No one was more excited than Regan to have Roxy back home.  She wished and prayed every day to be reunited with her kitty. Thanks to Roxy’s owners’ decision to have Roxy microchipped, Regan’s wish came true. A special thanks goes out from Roxy’s family and from the entire Kingsbrook Animal Hospital staff to our Good Samaritan client who brought Roxy in and graciously arranged for her to be returned to her family!

microchipping

KAH Assistant Robin (right) with Roxy and her family–reunited at last!

One of the most common reasons owners cite for not microchipping a cat is that he or she is “indoors only.” Actually, indoor cats benefit the most from microchipping. They are not able to find their way home as well as their outdoor counterparts, and since they are used to living in a house they are more likely to “adopt” a new family and return to an indoor lifestyle.  Microchipping is inexpensive and safe, and is a great way to ensure a lost pet is returned to his/her owner. Please ask a veterinarian at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick about a microchip for your beloved pet!