Tag Archives: cat

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Weighs In On Pet Obesity

Pet obesity can be difficult to talk about –but avoiding the issue isn’t helping. Come on out and see a KAH veterinarian so we can start helping your furry friend.

What is the most common health problem our veterinarians see at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital? Easy guesses might be kidney disease, or oral disease, so the answer might be surprising: it’s obesity. Chances are, everyone knows someone with a chubby dog or a fat cat. This is because America’s furry friends have a big problem: pet obesity rates are at an all-time high. In 2018, 56% of dogs and 60% of cats were overweight. Obese pets are at significantly increased risk for joint disease such as osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia, as well as overall health problems such as type II diabetes and hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease).

KAH assistant Aaron and technician Robin showcase  body condition scoring systems. Ask a KAH veterinarian for a copy at your pet’s next visit!

How exactly is pet obesity defined? Here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, our veterinarians use the Purina Body Condition System to assess a pet’s weight. Each pet is assigned a score from 1 to 9, with a 4-to-5 as the “ideal” weight. At a 5 on the scale, pets have a defined, easily visible waist as well as an obvious abdominal tuck. A 6 or a 7 is an overweight animal, with 8s and 9s qualifying as obese. An easy way to check if a pet is at a good weight is to feel along the animal’s rib cage. The ribs should be felt in the same way as the bones across the back of a human hand. If they are more prominent, the pet is underweight, but if they can only be felt by pressing hard or can’t be felt at all, the pet is overweight.

Once a pet has reached overweight or obese status, what is the best way to help him or her lose the weight?  This depends on a lot of factors, such as: the animal’s age and normal activity level; whether it is a dog, a cat, or a rabbit; and what the pet’s current diet is. The veterinarians at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital work closely with pet owners to create a custom weight loss plan based on all of these factors. Sometimes it is as simple as cutting each meal back by 20%, or switching to a

KAH assistant Kayla is checking pooch Bruce’s weight. KAH staffers will happily conduct free weight checks for any pet–call today to schedule a tech appointment!

weight-management diet. Pets on grain-free diets are more likely to pack on the weight since grain-free diets are usually more calorically dense (have more calories per cup) than diets that contain grains, so a switch to a different food altogether may help Fluffy or Rover slim down.  For obese pets in need of a rigorous diet plan, KAH veterinarians sometimes recommend Hill’s Metabolic Diet, a prescription-only food that is formulated specifically to help pets feel full while increasing their metabolism.  Each dog or cat started on Metabolic is measured to determine their target weight and given a weight loss-over-time plan.  This is because It is dangerous for animals, especially cats, to lose weight too quickly! Rapid weight loss, whether it is intended or not, is a sign that a pet needs to see a veterinarian.

KAH patient Piper has lost almost 30 pounds this year! Check out her weight chart, displayed by KAH technician Katie.

Perhaps the most compelling argument to get the pounds off the pooch is a recent study from the University of Liverpool in England. Researchers found that dogs who were overweight live an average of two-and-a-half less years than dogs who were a healthy weight. All of us want as many years as possible with our fur-babies, and we want them to be good, healthy years, right? Please make an appointment with a veterinarian at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital so that we can help with any weight-loss woes!

Spring (Cleaning) Has Sprung: Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Top 5 Must-Clean Items This Spring

The weather is (slowly) getting warmer and everyone is anxious to get back outside! Even here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, that means it’s time to give everything a thorough scrubbing. Here are the top 5 pet items not to overlook during a thorough Spring Cleaning:

  • Pet Bowls

Did you know that a study done by the National Safety Federation found that pet bowls are the 4th germiest item in the home? Gross! If pet bowls are dishwasher safe, place them on the top rack for an easy clean. Otherwise, wash with hot water and a mild detergent (Dawn® is great & gets rid of stuck on debris!). Aim to wash all pets’ bowls daily.

  • Toys

KAH CSR Kelly’s pooch Sugar can rest easy knowing her toys are all clean for spring!

Pet toys are the 7th germiest item, according to the same National Safety Federation study. It makes sense – those toys spend a lot of time in your pet’s mouth! Rubber toys can easily be cleaned & sanitized in the top rack of a dishwasher. Fabric toys can be hand washed with hot water and a mild detergent, or tossed in the washing machine if they’re more durable. Remember to be sure fabric toys are thoroughly dry before giving them back to Fido or Fluffy. This is also an opportunity to evaluate the types of toys pets have–are they too hard, posing a chew hazard? Is there a rip in a seam, exposing that “tasty” stuffing and squeaker? Replace any damaged or risky toys for safety.

  • Bedding

Pets often bring dirt, debris & allergens in to your house after playing outside. These things can accumulate on your pet’s bedding, creating the perfect environment for germs. Bedding can be vacuumed to get rid of hair & debris. All bedding should be washed weekly with hot water & a mild detergent. Again, be sure bedding is completely dry before returning it to a pet. Also, try wiping off those furry feet each time pets come inside to reduce the amount of dirt/allergens tracked in.

  • Litterbox

Ideally, every litterbox should be thoroughly cleaned weekly-monthly, depending on how often it is scooped out and how many cats are in the house. To clean & sanitize, toss all litter and allow the litterbox to soak in hot, soapy water for 10 minutes. Make sure to use a non-scented soap, as strong odors of any kind can deter cats from using the box! Don’t forget to clean the lid (if there is one) and the litter scoop. Allow box to dry completely before adding litter. Best practice is to replace each litterbox every 6 months.

  • Collars

KAH CSR Tiffany is giving her fur-baby Jorie a bath. This is a great time to clean that dog collar!

We know to bathe pets regularly, but when’s the last time that collar was cleaned? This is often forgotten during regular grooming.  Collars can accumulate dirt and grime quickly, potentially causing skin irritation & infections…but spring is the perfect chance to get that collar squeaky clean again! Put some hot water in a bowl and add a small amount of pet shampoo. Allow the collar to soak for 15 minutes and let it air dry completely before replacing it. Remember that only 2 fingers should fit between the collar and the pet’s neck…any less is too tight, and any more means your pet could easily slip out of it. While you are cleaning the collar(s), make sure pets stay indoors or have backup collar(s). This is also a great time to think about a microchip! 

As always, please ask a staff member at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital any questions about cleaning products, toys, or anything pet-related…we are here to keep pets happy and healthy!

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!