In some cases it may be. I want to relay the story of our clinic cat Buddy. Buddy's Story Buddy came to us because of chronic pain and a behavioral issue. With the use of gabapentin, meloxicam, and diet, we were able to control the pain from his declaw and the behavior changed. We noticed that Buddy started drinking excessive amounts of water and his litter box was over flowing. He also had a dramatic increase in appetite and was losing weight. Diagnosis We did a physical examination and took some blood and urine. You get three guesses and the first two don’t count. Buddy had diabetes. We started him on insulin. As treatment went along, he did not seem to improve. We slowly increased his dosage and he was up to 7 units twice daily. Most cats only need 1 unit or sometime 2 twice daily. Something did not seem right. We started checking for other concurrent issues – hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, infection, acromegaly to help determine the reason for the insulin resistance. Everything came back normal, until we looked into acromegaly. This is a condition where the body is producing to much growth hormone. There is usually a pituitary tumor as the cause. The first screening test is a blood test that is sent to the reference lab at Michigan State University. After a week, the test came back elevated suspicious for acromegaly. Pet Insurance At this point, Buddy’s health care was in the lower thousands of dollars. Fortunately, we had taken out an insurance policy with Trupanionwhen Buddy came to live with us. We have a $500 deductible and the insurance company then pays 90% of his bills. MRI We took Buddy [...]
Why Won’t My Cat Eat? A Case From NOVA Cat Clinic This is a very common reason for cats coming to see us. There are a lot of reasons that this can happen. The first steps at the clinic are to get a good history. In this case, the cat would drink water, but when he tried to eat he would jerk his head back. He would also start to drool. This happened for 3 days. The first thing that happens is that all cats are weighed. He had lost a pound since his last visit. I usually start from the back and work my way forward. This insures that no issues are missed or neglect. Everything was with in normal limits except when we got to his mouth. He was very unhappy and would not allow for an examination. In these case, we often sedate to facilitate the examination. Other diagnostics discussed after the examination were blood work and x-rays. So this cat was sedate and a thorough mouth examination performed. A piece of string was found hanging from his mouth. Upon further examination look what we found. A thread and needle Cats can and do eat the strangest things. Once removed he responded very well and is doing great. I hope you enjoyed this case and we will bring more as they occur.
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 [...]
Kitten season is upon us, and Ellen is hard at work with her orphans. "Jaspurr" came to the Chris Griffey Memorial Foundation (CMGMFF) from the Washington Rescue League. He had a string wrapped around his left rear leg which cut off the circulation to the limb. They were afraid that he might have to lose his leg. Ellen has been hard at work to save his leg. She has been using cold laser therapy and wet to dry bandages daily. This picture show how "Jaspurr's" poor leg and foot looked like when he came to Ellen. The video shows him after a treatment. Please click here to donate to the CMGMFF if you would like to help these orphans in need. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvCm6jyCXFs&spfreload=10
The holidays are upon us and everyone is concerned about their weight. We should be concerned about our furry feline friends too. Keep cats from gaining weight in the first place is the best way to manage. If they do gain weight, there are clever ways to help them lose those pounds. This also helps keep your cat from becoming board. We need to remember that cats are hunters. We can help them be hunters indoors. This will help keep them from getting bored. There is a great new system called the NoBowl Feeding System. They have 5 mice that "teach" your cat how to hunt. The holes become smaller and smaller so it becomes more challenging. The system has a "skin" that helps mimic the feel of a mouse. We are trying this new system with our clinic cats, Emme and Buddy. You will see them around the clinic. We do have some NoBowls for sale and you can buy the system online. For more information please click here. If you like to DIY, here is a link to a web site that shows you how you can make your own feeding systems. Click here to see more Theses systems can help your cat stay active, entertained, and slim. Please feel free to ask us for help with environmental enrichment for your cat.
Gus is an adorable 3-year-old American Shorthair. He was living in Brussels with his family. Because of job opportunities, his family moved to Arlington, VA. Before the move Gus was having some issues with vomiting and was not eating well. A Belgian veterinarian examined before the move across the Atlantic. Blood work was performed and an x-ray taken. Everything was with in normal limits so Gus took the trip to America. Unfortunately, Gus did not improve and he was having more issues with the move. When cats are stressed, not eating is not uncommon. This seemed to last longer than expected. So Gus came to see us. On physical exam he did not seem painful and the only abnormality is that he lost 3 pounds since he left Europe. We ran a modified blood panel since he had blood work in Europe. The only abnormality was a slightly elevated white blood cell count. So we ran another rapid in house test, the fPLI. This is a test for pancreatitis. This test is either positive or negative. His result was positive. So that seemed to be the answer. We took an X-ray and the major abnormality was that he stomach was filled with air. Cats will gulp air and fill their stomachs with air when they are in pain. Pancreatitis is painful so we treated him for pain. He went home and ate for the first time in weeks. He seemed to be doing better. Well that lasted one day. Gus returned for an ultrasound to be better able to exam his gastrointestinal tract. The ultra sonographer found an unusual object mid way down Gus’ gastrointestinal tract. If you would like [...]
Hello and welcome to the NOVA CAT FOSTER blog! Here you get to watch our fosters grow, how we manage their various illnesses and learn excellent tips and tricks on raising your bottle baby and caring for foster kittens. Not every story is going to have a happy ending, but we feel that everyone needs to learn just how delicate these babies really are and how much work goes into rescuing them. We hope you enjoy seeing them and learning about good kitten care. Please feel free to to email us with any questions or comments. One of our current batches of kittens has an upper respiratory infection and will not be out in the main lobby until we get the infection under control. They currently reside in our isolation unit and still get plenty of love and attention from the staff while they recuperate from their illness. Upper respiratory infections in kittens are possibly the most frustrating illnesses to treat in my opinion. One day they are simply sneezing and the next they look like they have the plague. An upper respiratory infection (URI) can go on for weeks at a time and multiple antibiotics are used when there is a secondary bacterial infection present. Believe us! We get just as frustrated treating our babies for a URI as you are as a client when your cat has one. To learn more about kitten upper respiratory infections click here. The babies are receiving lots of tender loving care and medical attention. Unfortunately viruses do have to run their course, but there are things we can do to speed up the process. This includes l-lysine and anti-viral eye drops. We will have them in the [...]
In June of 2013, Ellie had her twice annual senior exam with Dr. Barron, just after her 15th birthday. Up until this visit, she had been very healthy - only needing dental cleanings every few years. Although her 'mom' didn't notice that she was eating less and urinating more, Ellie lost 1 pound over six months which was significant considering her small size. The sudden loss of weight and urine coloring indicated a possible kidney problem. After lab results returned, suspicions were confirmed and Ellie was diagnosed with Stage 3 kidney disease. Dr. Barron's treatment plan was a kidney friendly diet and acupuncture. As soon as scheduled, Ellie started acupuncture therapy every 2 weeks and has continued faithfully ever since. As you can see, she seems to like the treatments (and Dr. Barron), remaining calm and relaxed during each visit .... a model patient! Unfortunately, she didn't like the "kidney friendly diet", but that was okay. Her 'mom' noticed immediate improvement in Ellie's appetite with her regular food and in her activity level. In August, lab tests revealed that her kidney values were unchanged - this was good news since it meant no progression in her kidney disease. Now she could go three weeks between acupuncture treatments. 'Mom' continued to report very good appetite, activity levels, and a wonderful side benefit - Ellie was acting as affectionate and inquisitive as when she was a kitten! The acupuncture treatments continued and in January, Dr. Barron repeated the lab tests. This time the results were INCREDIBLE .... Ellie's kidney values had actually IMPROVED, which changed her diagnosis from Stage 3 to the lower Stage 2 of kidney disease! We are thrilled with these results, and going forward, [...]
A few weeks ago, we began fostering a batch of 'Holiday Kittens'. We started out with seven kittens. Within a matter of days all but two were adopted out. The two little black kittens we had named Coal and Soot. One Saturday Coal was adopted, leaving little Soot all alone. Days and days went by. Many people would come in and play with him in the lobby, but little Soot was still waiting for his furrever home. Most of the staff here at NOVA Cat Clinic would take turns taking him home overnight and quickly fell in love with him. One staff member in particular, Clint, was really smitten with this kitten. Not only him, but his entire family - parents, brother, sister and all. Soot was becoming a part of the family through these regular visits. He was also having a great time playing in the various cardboard 'forts' Clint had built for him. It seemed apparent that Soot had already found his new home, it just needed to be made official. Clint wanted to surprise his family on Christmas day with Soot. First, he laid the groundwork. He told his family that Soot had been adopted by a client. His family believed him, but also seemed to hold out a glimmer of hope that Soot could still be theirs. On Christmas morning, Clint came in to take care of the boarding cats, dressed Soot up in holiday fare, took him home, and hid him. His parents, brother, and sister were somewhat hopeful, but Clint was persistent that Soot had already been adopted. Then a few minutes later, to much cheers and rejoicing, Clint presented Soot to his family. Soot was the perfect gift [...]
Lucy was one of the many kittens that was fostered by the NOVA Cat Clinic. You may remember her under her original name Sox. Lucy (Sox) stole my heart from the start and when she came home she fit in the palm of my hand. Like all cats she never passed up a paper bag, a dangling toy, or pretty much anything her older brother Charlie was into. As she was reaching her first birthday I noticed Lucy favoring her back left paw. Worried she had injured herself I took her in to see Dr. Barron. The x-ray showed nothing was broken. Lucy was treated with an anti-inflammatory which seemed to do the trick. But the favoring returned and during her annual exam Dr. Barron noticed Lucy was uncomfortable as she checked Lucy's spine. An x-ray of her spine showed Lucy had arthritis. The recommended therapy was a series of 6 laser treatments. The first treatment was given to Lucy while she was still sedated from her spinal x-ray which led to the hilarious photo here. It's like she is having a day at the spa. Lucy was not sedated during the rest of her treatments and was a good patient under the TLC of Ellen and rest of the staff. Lucy was a little stiff after each treatment but it never lasted long. About half way through the series she was back to her old self and no paper bag was safe. Recently I got a laser pointer and she can't get enough of that red dot. Before, she would have played for about 30 seconds and given up because it meant moving too much. Now it's me that gets tired. I ended up [...]