Why Are Pet Food Labels So Hard To Read?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates pet foods in the United States. Here is link to their web site about pet foods AAFCO Some states also enforce their own labeling regulations. Many states have adopted the model pet food regulations established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). These regulations are more specific in nature, covering aspects of labeling such as the product name, the guaranteed analysis, the nutritional adequacy statement, feeding directions, and calorie statements. Virginia does have regulations.  Maryland is in the process of updating their laws. Pet Food Labels The labels can be very confusing.  The first place to start is that labels are “as fed”.  This means that it includes water.  So Canned or Tinned food is 70% - 80% water.  The amount of water is on the label. Dry or Kibble food is 10% water.  So how do we make this apples to apples and not mangos to oranges.  If you loved math, you are going to love this. Take the percentage of energy (lets’ use Protein).  Divide that by 100 – the percentage of water So a dry product has 30% on the label and 10% water- subtract 10 from 100 for the denominator (probably have not heard that word in awhile)  result of 90.  30 divided by  90 times 100 is 33% protein – Dry Matter A canned product has 9% protein.  Well that sounds like the dry has more protein.  So the canned product is 78% water .  100 minus 78 is 22.  9 divide by 22 times 100 is 40.9% protein.  Wow that seems tricky . Fortunately with the Internet you can use the calculator on the this web site to figure out [...]

By | September 21st, 2019|Wellness|0 Comments

How Can I Tell If My Cat Is In Pain?

(What Can I Do About It?) Cats are the masters of hiding disease.  It is in their DNA to not show any weakness.  They do feel pain and we humans have challenges recognizing when this is happening There are 2 types of pain – acute (post- surgery or injury) and chronic.  As anyone with chronic pain will tell you – this will greatly diminish your quality of life.  Evaluating pain and treatments We are using Dr Duncan Lascelles methods to evaluate chronic pain.  Click here to learn more We tend to focus on medications and there does appear to be a new class of drug that may become available.  This time we want to focus on non-pharmaceutical methods of pain management.  In particular using a cold laser for pain management. Cold Laser The cold laser uses photobiomodulation (PBM) to decrease inflammation Photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy results are achieved when a sufficient dose of light energy reaches target tissue and results in decreased inflammation, decreased pain, and accelerated healing. This can be used for both acute and chronic pain.  We have used it on some cats with chronic upper respiratory disease.  The procedure is non-invasive and don’t the cats look great with their goggles  

By | September 2nd, 2019|Wellness|0 Comments

How Should You Treat the Patient, and Not the Disease?

My cat with Pectus My little cat Cleopatra came to me during one of my summer externships in veterinary college.  On my last day at the clinic, they presented me with a tiny 6 week old kitten with a congenital defect.  She has pectus excavatum, which means that her sternum (breast bone) grew in instead of outward during development.  As a result, her heart is on one side of her body, and on a hot day she is winded quickly.  It is not as common in cats as it is in dogs, and it also occurs in people.  This is something that can be surgically fixed if it causes dyspnea (trouble breathing) and hypoxia (lack of oxygen).  Although when you look at her radiographs and you feel her “dent” in her chest it feels severe, Cleo is generally asymptomatic so we did not pursue surgery. Idiopathic Cystitis Cleo suffers from “Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease” or “Idiopathic Cystitis.”  Some cats, when they are extremely stressed, will suffer from urinary symptoms (bloody urine, pain when urinating, making frequent trips to the litter box, urinating small amounts) without having an infection.  There has been no rhyme or reason to what triggers Cleo’s flare ups during her lifetime, but luckily with medication she recovers quickly. Ultrasound To be thorough, I had her imaged by our traveling ultrasonography group MiVu.  Although her urinary tract system looked great, the astute veterinarian found a small cancerous mass in her stomach which has already spread to the lymph nodes.  Cardiology We are so lucky to live in an area with terrific specialists.  Cleo had a wonderful visit with Dr. Peckens, a cardiologist at CVCA, to clear her for surgery.  Because of her [...]

By | May 11th, 2019|Wellness|0 Comments

Acupuncture and Aging

Slowing natural aging Everywhere you look, there is a significant amount of research dedicated to aging in our western society.  Ways to try to slow it, creams to reduce our wrinkles, supplements to help creaky joints and different puzzles to stimulate our minds.  Aging is not species dependent and our older kitties need special attention as well. Along with twice yearly physical exams, comprehensive labwork, parasite screening, appropriate diets and exercise, there may be supplements available to help our cats develop more gracefully in their senior years.  Essential Fatty Acids (like omega 3s) and glucosamine are some examples of supplements that may help decrease signs of joint disease in our aging cats.  Essential Fatty Acids are also know to help with mind health. Acupuncture can help Acupuncture may be a great addition as well.  One question we ask at every senior exam is, “How is our friend moving around?”  At least half of our wonderful owners reply, “They’re slowing down, but that’s just because they are old.”  Although some of that may be correct (I know I don’t always have the energy to keep up with my kids!), I would venture to ask why.  Why are they slowing down?  Is it due to pain from arthritis?  Are they losing muscle mass and cannot jump as high?  Is there abdominal pain so they do not want to jump?  Is there a lesion somewhere?  Are they having a harder time seeing the jump?  Do they just have a general lack of energy?  A good Eastern exam may help clue us in to some of these nuances.  Flexibility Another concern with aging is being less flexible, or having a harder time with change.  Cats tend to dislike change [...]

By | April 28th, 2019|Wellness|0 Comments

Would You Like Your Cats’ Food Shipped To You?

Who doesn’t love the convenience of online shopping? You shop when it works for you and it comes to your front door.  Every day is like your birthday.  Hill’s Pet Nutrition has started a direct delivery service.  The food goes directly from their warehouse near BWI to your door. On the approval end from the doctors, it is much more streamlined than other third party services.  The Hill's web site integrates with our veterinary software.  Other services send us faxes and those are posted for the doctors to approve.  The Hill’s system is completely digital. They offer a discount on your first purchase and no shipping charges if you chose Autoship.  You select the time interval for when you want the diet to arrive.  All purchases are guaranteed, and your money will be refunded if you (or your cat) are not happy with the diet . Just send us an email to request a diet. You must be an active client to participate. Royal Canin has partnered with Vet’s First Choice, our online pharmacy.  Their web site also integrates with our software.  They offer a discount which makes this one of the least expensive places to purchase diet.  There is no shipping charge with Autoship.  The process is completely digital. If you are interested in getting started with Royal Canin, here is a link. You must be an active client to participate. Vet’s First Choice is the only online pharmacy that we use.  We will give you a written prescription if you wish to use another pharmacy.   Here is a link to a previous blog that explains. Please feel free to call or email us with any questions. 

By | February 3rd, 2019|Community, Wellness|0 Comments

Dental Health Month Plans and Quiz Contest

Dental Health Month  Plans and Quiz Contest      This year NOVA Cat Clinic has decided to add another program to our usually Dental Quiz. We are offering Dental Plans to help our furloughed federal workers budget their furry friends dental care.  The plan extends the pay period for dental cleaning and possible extractions over a 6 month period.  If you veterinarian recommends a dental cleaning, your cat can be prepared with an ECG and blood work.  The day of the procedure you make your first payment and then 5 more payments monthly. Price do vary but should range from $97 - $208/month.  The amount will depend on your cat’s age and need for oral surgery. We are happy to explain the plan. Please feel free to ask us for details. We have a different plan option for new clients. We have run a quiz contest annually. The prize is a free dental cleaning and radiographs. Oral surgery and pain management are not included.  Follow this link to enter.  Those who answer all the questions correctly will be put into a drawing.

By | January 27th, 2019|Wellness|0 Comments

How Can I Get My Cat To The Vet?

How Can I Get My Cat To The Vet? Dr Barron and Ellen's coffee talk is back https://youtu.be/b86eCafhp3A All right. Hi everybody, we're back. Ta-da. Anyway, my name is Dr. Erica Barron, and this is our head technician at Nova Cat Clinic, Ellen Carozza. And I am back from maternity leave. So we are back to doing our coffee with cats stuff, our discussions. And, today, we're going to talk about something that makes our lives easier when you do it. And it makes your lives easier when you do it. And your cat will be happy. So we're going to talk about how to successfully start a cat vet-visit at home. That was kind of hard to say. You mean to get your cat to the vet clinic at home? Yeah. We have to start for success by starting at home. At home. To get the cat to the vet clinic. That's what I'm trying to say [laughter]. I have an infant, so I'm a little tired. So we're just going to put it out there. So I'm sorry ahead of time. Anyway, whenever I think of the best ways to get your cat to the vet, I always think of two people. I think of Dr. Ilona Rodan and I think of Samantha Martin. Samantha Martin's with the Amazing Acro-Cats. And both of them really talk about how to train your cat to get into a carrier. In fact, Dr. Rodan has many pictures in her book, and throughout her websites and things like that, with just how the cat carriers just live out, not in the closet. They're always just out. And the cats sort of treat them kind of like dogs [...]

By | August 13th, 2018|Wellness|0 Comments

My Cat Has A Heart Murmur. How Do I Proceed?

My Cat Has A Heart Murmur. How Do I Proceed? My cat has a heart murmur. The murmur was defected when he was very small. Murmur can be heard throughout life and different disease can cause a murmur. Heart disease is a younger cat disease. This seem odd since in people heart disease tends to be in older people. When older cats have murmurs hyperthyroidism and hypertension are our two main rule outs. In younger cats, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) or benign valve regurgitation are the most common causes. For my kitten, we were concerned that it was something congenital. We made our appointment to see the cardiologist at Chesapeake Veterinary Cardiology Associates (CVCA). They are the largest veterinary cardiology group in the United States and have offices in various Maryland and Virginia. To learn more about CVCA please click here. Both the doctor and technician were great with Bart. Kittens like children do not have a lot of patience and the echocardiogram took about an hour. During the examination, the doctor was great about explaining what she was seeing. Bart has a hole in his heart or a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). This allows blood to flow from the bottom left ventricle to the right side. He has two holes on in the muscle and one in the membrane. This unfortunately is more severe than if it were just the membrane. This defect is also enlarging both the left and right upper chambers. Bart is at risk for left and right sided congestive heart failure. He has been placed on Plavix to help prevent blood clots. He is also on an ACE inhibitor to help his heart not have to push as hard. We are [...]

By | July 23rd, 2018|Wellness|0 Comments

How Do I Stop My Cat From Scratching?

We all love our cats, and we want to maintain a great relationship. Destruction of furniture can put a wedge in the relationship. First thing, scratching is a natural marking behavior. We are going to teach you how to encourage another natural behavior instead, rubbing. Synthetic pheromones are your friend in this case. We will show you how to apply them - it is VERY easy. Next we show you how to apply another product that will attract your cat to things you would like him to scratch. You will be amazed at how easy this is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybuyAw7OmAE Hi, everyone. Tonight, we're going to teach you how to keep your cat from scratching your couch. So the first thing you going to need is a little bottle of FELIWAY spray. And all you have to do is spritz this on your couch once a day and instead of scratching your cat will rub. So pretty easy. Watch as I do this. Just a gentle little spritz. Great. And that's it. It all you have to do. Now, you want to make sure you provide your cat with something to scratch. So here we have a couple of scratching posts, scratching material. And FELIWAY has a FELISCRATCH product that you open up. Let me put this on here, where you want them to scratch. So you need to snip it open. Pretty easy. Be careful though. The stuff does stain, so it's going to turn things blue.   The blue also attracts the cats to scratch as well as the smell. So you just cut it open and dab it on the material that you want them to scratch instead of a couch. So pretty easy to [...]

By | April 30th, 2018|Wellness|0 Comments

How Do I Understand Cat Food Labels? Or Getting That Summer Body In The Winter

Today I’m going to discuss general nutrition - what to look for on the bag, what all that mumbo jumbo even means, and food puzzles! If you have an overweight cat or two at home we have plenty of room in Team FatCat bootcamp! Just contact the clinic and we’ll get you in touch with one of our assistants who specialize in feline nutrition (Sophie speaking, hello!) Reading the Bag – What to Look For When selecting a pet food, there is nothing more critical than an AAFCO statement. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has conducted a lot of research and they are the organization that maintains the standards for complete and balanced nutrition for our pets. All commercially sold pet foods should have an AAFCO statement that confirms they maintain the nutritional requirements our pets need – if they do not provide an AAFCO statement, drop that bag like it’s hot!   Ok, so it’s AAFCO approved, what does that even mean? Unlike humans, who have to delicately construct our diets from different foods in all the categories of the food pyramid, our pets depend on their food to provide all the nutrients they need in the proportions that they need them in. Pet food companies can meet the standards set by AAFCO in one of two ways: feeding trials or formulations. If a company has conducted a feeding trial, they have physically feed their product to animals and studied how they respond. A feeding trial AAFCO statement will state “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that ___ provides complete and balanced nutrition for __ of __ cats.” Alternatively, pet food companies can simply formulate their foods to meet AAFCO [...]