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In late summer 2017, a new product to prevent fleas and ticks became available for cats: Bravecto for Cats is a topical or spot-on product that is applied to the skin on the back of the neck. It provides flea protection for 3 months and tick protection for 2-3 months. Flea protection for 3 months with one application is an exciting development for cat owners and veterinarians in Guelph!

At the Guelph Cat Clinic we have been seeing lots of pets with fleas after the wet summer of 2017. A single dose of Bravecto for all pets in the household may be enough to get rid of a flea problem. What could be easier?  And if you are just looking to prevent fleas on your cat in the summer/fall months, you can give a full summer of flea protection simply by applying Bravecto once in early June and again in early September.

Bravecto’s other benefit is that it kills ticks. While cats are immune to Lyme disease, which is the most serious tick-borne disease for people and dogs, it is still nice to know that Bravecto will kill ticks shortly after they bite a cat.  Up until now, Guelph veterinarians have not had a good product to prevent ticks on cats. Bravecto is an exciting new flea and tick prevention product that Guelph veterinarians can add to our “arsenal” of products in the fight against external parasites. Please contact us at the Guelph Cat Clinic for more information on Bravecto.

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It is that time of year again. The snow and ice have thawed from winter and spring is in the air. Outdoor temperatures are beginning to rise and flowers and plants are beginning to grow. This is also the time of year when animals and insects emerge from their winter hibernation. Our feline friends that like to venture outside will also be interested in going outdoors again. This is the time of year that we consider applying flea prevention to our cats that go outdoors, but what about our indoor cats? Are fleas a concern in our cats that stay indoors? The answer is yes. Even though indoor cats are kept safe from the elements of the outdoors, fleas are known to be very good travelers. Fleas can a hitch a ride on anyone or anything such as your pant leg to easily travel right inside your home. Fleas are also very good at jumping. In fact, a flea can jump 100 times its own height. Once the flea travels inside your home, the flea will jump onto your cat and this begins the flea life cycle and problems for your indoor cat!

The Flea Life Cycle Affecting Your Indoor Cat

After the flea has jumped onto your indoor cat, the flea will immediately take a blood meal from your cat. The flea will then lay hundreds of eggs that will fall off into the environment of your home. A female flea usually starts laying eggs within two days of finding a host. These flea eggs hatch fairly quickly into flea larvae. The larvae grow and develop into pupae that will encase themselves within a cocoon for further development into an adult flea. Once the adult flea has developed, the flea will emerge from the cocoon and will immediately seek out your indoor cat once again as a host. As a result, the flea life cycle will continue until your cat is treated for the fleas.

Fleas Can Cause Medical Problems for your Indoor Cat

Not only are fleas a nuisance to our indoor cats, they can also cause many other health related problems in our cats. The cat flea can carry the tapeworm larvae, Dipylidium caninum and therefore your indoor cat can become infected with tapeworms if a flea is swallowed through normal grooming. Some cats are allergic to even a single bite from a flea and may develop a very itchy rash called flea allergy dermatitis. Adult fleas feed on the blood of your cat, and this can cause weakness, anemia and even in death in young kittens.  Fleas also have the potential to spread the bacterium Bartonella hensellae which cause cat scratch disease between cats and humans.

Identifying Fleas in your Indoor Cat

It may be difficult to identify fleas in your indoor cat. Cats are known to be very good groomers and they often will ingest the fleas or flea dirt (flea waste) during a normal grooming session. Some cats may become very itchy as a result of the fleas and may scratch at themselves excessively, while others may not. The best way to identify fleas among your indoor cats is to comb your cat’s fur using a fine tooth “flea comb” looking for any live fleas or the flea dirt, which will appear as black specks. The presence of flea dirt can confirm the presence of fleas, even if adult fleas are not found. 

Treating your Indoor Cat for Fleas

The best treatment for fleas is flea prevention. It is recommended to treat indoor cats with a safe flea preventative, such as revolution each month starting in the early spring and continuing until the late fall. If your cat has already been diagnosed as having fleas, you can use the same flea prevention product as a flea treatment. Guelph Veterinarians recommend that you treat your cat with an appropriate flea treatment for 4 consecutive months in order to break the flea life cycle.  There are many different flea treatment preventative options available within Canada. Always ensure to consult with your Guelph Veterinarian before choosing a flea prevention. Some pet flea treatment products are only safe for dogs and are actually very toxic to cats!

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It is that time of year once again when we celebrate our feline friend’s oral health during Pet Dental Health Month in February. As February approaches, it is important to understand the components of our cat’s oral dental health. Many cats are also at risk of developing dental disease. In fact, 85% of cats aged three years and older have some sort of dental disease and only approximately 10 percent of cats will go through life without experiencing a dental problem.  Dental disease begins with the accumulation of dental plaque, which is a film of bacteria that develops on the surfaces of the teeth. When the plaque is left undisturbed it can harden and calcify to become tartar or calculus. This tartar or calculus that has formed on the surfaces of the teeth can cause mild to severe periodontal disease.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis involves the inflammation of the gums or gingiva in a cat’s mouth. Gingivitis is common in cats that have a large amount of plaque and tartar on their teeth surfaces. Gum recession may occur in cats with severe gingivitis. Severe gingivitis can also be very painful for your cat. In order to treat feline gingivitis, it is recommended that your Guelph Veterinarian performs a professional dental cleaning on your cat under general anesthetic. In most cases, the scaling and polishing of the teeth is the only necessary treatment. In cases of severe gingivitis, gum recession or when the tooth root is exposed, the tooth may be required to be extracted.

Feline Stomatitis

Feline stomatitis involves the inflammation of the oral cavity. This inflammation spreads from the gingiva to other areas of the mouth. The exact cause of the development of stomatitis is still unknown, but some cases are associated with viral feline diseases such as Feline Immunodeficiency virus and Feline Calicivirus. Some theories suggest that feline stomatitis may occur as a result of a cat’s own immune system responding too aggressively to the presence of bacteria or other infectious agents in the mouth. Stomatitis is most often a very painful oral disease and cats may display difficulties eating, drooling or pawing at their mouths. In order to treat feline stomatitis, it is recommended that your Guelph Veterinarian performs a professional dental cleaning on your cat under general anesthetic. In severe cases of stomatitis, the extraction of all the cheek teeth is recommended as a means of treating the stomatitis.

Periodontitis

Periodontitis involves advanced gum disease in which the gingiva is very inflamed and there are large amounts of tartar on the teeth surfaces. Gum inflammation and recession cause the ligaments that surround and support the teeth to weaken and this causes teeth to be very unstable. Bacterial infection is also very common at this stage of periodontal disease. At this stage, extraction of the tooth under general anesthesia is the only effective treatment.

Feline Resorptive Lesions

Feline Resorptive Lesions are common among both young and older cats. It involves erosion of the tooth. The cause of the formation of a resorptive lesion is currently unknown. They are commonly formed around the gum line, but can also be found below the gum line as well in some cats. This makes identifying and diagnosing a resorptive lesion very difficult. Feline resorptive lesions are best diagnosed by your Guelph Veterinarian by probing the teeth and gums under general anesthesia and by taking dental radiographs.  Resorptive lesions are extremely sensitive and cats will often exhibit oral pain. If the resorptive lesion is left untreated, the gradual erosion of the tooth will continue to progress until the crown of the tooth fractures off, leaving just the tooth roots behind. Extraction of the tooth is always necessary to treat a resorptive lesion.

Dental Fractures

In the situation in which your cat’s tooth becomes fractured, it is important for this tooth to be assessed further while your cat is under a general anesthetic. Your Guelph Veterinarian will probe the fractured tooth and will take dental radiographs to determine if the fractured tooth in question will need to be extracted. Fractured teeth are usually required to be extracted if the pulp cavity is exposed, which contains the nerve and blood supply for the tooth.

The Importance of Dental Radiographs

It is always recommended to take dental radiographs each time your cat is under general anesthetic for a professional dental cleaning and assessment. Cats cannot tell us when their teeth are diseased and sore and most cats also do not exhibit signs of oral pain either. Dental radiographs are important because they show the roots of the tooth under the gum line, which is not visible to the naked eye. Dental radiographs are the only means for your Guelph Veterinarian to know if there is a dental problem and to determine the best way to treat the particular dental problem. It is impossible to practice veterinary dentistry without dental radiographs.

It is important to remember that when it comes to your cat’s health, maintaining healthy teeth and gums is important. Dr. Maggs and the staff of the Guelph Cat Clinic, your Guelph Veterinarian for cats, would like to remind everyone that even though, February is National Pet Dental Health Month, it is important to practice good oral hygiene in our feline friends all year around!

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As we begin 2017, resolutions are made for the upcoming year.  Many pet owners make New Year’s resolutions for their pets. There are a few New Year resolutions we can make for our feline friends that will allow them to become a new cat for the New Year. One such New Year’s Resolution is to help our cat’s look and feel the best they can be through regular grooming. Cats are very effective self-groomers, but they can benefit from a thorough grooming and grooming also strengthens the human feline bond. Here are some grooming tips from your Guelph Veterinarian for cats to help you follow through with your cat’s New Year’s Resolution. 

The Benefits of Grooming your Cat

Regular grooming of our feline friends can be challenging but, there are many benefits. Some of the benefits of regular grooming are:

1)      Helps prevent hairball formation by reducing hair ingestion.

2)      Helps stimulate oil production within the skin which promotes a healthy and shiny coat.

3)      Allows the opportunity to check for fleas, ear mites, lumps and other abnormalities of the skin.

4)      Creates a bond between you and your cat

Grooming Short-Haired Cats

Short-haired cats only require being brushed about once a week and if your cat’s coat is not too tangled or matted it should not take any longer than 10-15 minutes. The best grooming tools to use on for a short hair coat is to use a fine-toothed flea comb, bristle brush and a grooming mitten or pad. Ensure that your cat is relaxed and happy before you start to groom. Use the flea comb to check for fleas or flea dirt. If you find any fleas or the flea dirt, call your Guelph veterinarian to discuss your cat’s flea treatment options. Use the brush or grooming pad to gently brush your cat from the head to the tail, removing any dead hair.  If your cat seems agitated by the grooming, it is best to stop and try again at another time. Always end the grooming session with praise or treats for your cat.

Grooming Long-Haired Cats

Longer-haired cats should be brushed once daily or at least a couple times a week. Long-haired cats often form mats in their coats and require regular grooming to brush these mats out. The best grooming tools to use for a long-haired coat is to use a wide-toothed comb and a rubber grooming mitten or grooming pad.  Rakes and slicker brushes also work well for long-haired cats. As for short-haired cats, ensure that your cat is relaxed and happy before proceeding with the groom. Start at the head and make your way to the tail using the wide-toothed come to remove any dead hairs. You can use the rubber grooming mitten or slicker brush to remove any excess of dead hair. Again, if your cat seems agitated during any point of the grooming session, it is best to stop and try the grooming again at another time.

Bathing your Cat

Most short-haired cats DO NOT require bathing unless they are unusually dirty, have skin allergies or another skin condition.  Even long haired cats rarely need bathing. If you do decide to bathe your cat, it is very important to use a cat friendly shampoo, not a human shampoo due to pH differences in the skin. It is also important to remove matts before you shampoo. Thorough rinsing of shampoo is also very important.

What to do if your Cat’s Coat is Matted

Mats usually occur in longer-haired cats, but can also form on the coats of short-haired cats, especially if the cat is not able to groom him or herself very well due to increased age or weight. These mats can become very uncomfortable for the cat and can be difficult to remove. If you find a mat on your cat, NEVER try to use scissors to remove the mat, since it is very easy to cut your cat’s skin! Gently tease the mat apart using your fingers working from the root to the end of the hair. Sometimes, the matting is so severe that the mats must be shaved off. In the case, professional grooming is required. Here at the Guelph Cat Clinic, we offer grooming services for cats. We offer dematting services as well as complete shave downs, also called a “Lion Cut.” The lion cut clip leaves your cat with fur on the tail, head and lower legs. Some cats may require sedation for grooming, depending on how matted the coat is and on their personality. Some owners also choose lion cuts in the spring and summer just to prevent matting! Please contact us if you have questions about grooming. We are happy to help.

Dr. Maggs, Dr. Macgregor and the staff at the Guelph Cat Clinic hope that these grooming tips will help you and your cats have a Happy New Year!

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Christmas is just around the corner. The hustle and bustle of Christmas is the busiest time of the year, and there is an added stress if you are travelling. Many travel far and wide to visit family and friends during this festive time of the year.  And you may be wondering if you should bring your feline friends along with you on your Christmas holiday. But, some cats are not good travelers and become very stressed when leaving their normal environments and traveling to the unfamiliar. Here are some travel tips to ensure that you and your cat have a safe and happy holiday season. 

Determine if your Cat will be a Good Traveler

Some cats are good travelers while other cats are not. To determine if your cat is a comfortable traveler, try a test run before the trip. If your cat becomes very stressed after just a short trip in the car, it may be a good indication that your feline friend is not a good traveler and it may be best if your cat stays home for the holidays. It is also very important to have your cat familiar with its carrier before your trip.

Preparing your Cat for Travel

Whether you are traveling with your cat by plane or automobile, here are some preparations that are recommended before your departure.

1)Ensure your cat has proper identification using a collar and ID tag or a microchip. This is essential if your cat becomes lost on your trip.

2Schedule a visit for your cat with your Guelph Veterinarian to ensure that your feline friend is in good health to travel and is up to date on all necessary vaccinations. In particular, your veterinarian should asses your cat’s cardiac status and kidney health.

3For air travel, ensure that the proper travel documentation has been competed including a Health Certificate signed by your Guelph Veterinarian. The travel documentation will depend on the travel destination. Domestic air travel is usually fairly simple and only requires a health certificate for travel. International travel can be more complex and the travel documentation process can take up to 6 months to complete. Allow yourself plenty of time to complete this essential documentation for your cat before your departure date.

4Ensure that your cat’s carrier is suitable for travel. For air travel, it is best to use a soft-sided airline approved carrier if your cat will be traveling in the cabin of the plane with you. Speak with your air line provider regarding pet travel before planning your trip with your cat. For automobile travel, it is best to ensure that your cat is secured in a sturdy carrier in the back seat when traveling. Do not allow your cat to roam free in the car or sit in your lap. Although a tempting way to help reduce your cat’s stress, this causes driving distractions and could cause a potential accident. If possible, have someone sit next to your cat in the carrier to help reduce traveling stress for your feline friend.

5)Plan ahead for accommodation on road trips. Some hotels and motels do not allow cats to stay or require an extra fee or cleaning deposit. It is best to call hotels or motels ahead of time to ensure that your cat has a place to stay while on the road. If you and your cat will be staying with relatives or friends, ensure that your cat will have access to their own sanctuary room. The sanctuary room should have a litter box, water, food dishes and hiding places. This gives your cat all the comforts of home, in a confined, safe place which increases their sense of security. 

6)Consider travel remedies to ease your cat’s travel anxieties. If your cat is still experiencing travel anxiety, there are a few remedies that can help. Feliway is a cat pheromone product that can be sprayed in the carrier prior to travel and can be an effective way to calm your cat’s travel anxiety. If your cat becomes stressed while travelling, you can speak to your Guelph veterinarian about prescribing tranquilizers or sedatives for the travel. Tranquilizer or sedatives are not recommended for any pets that will be travelling in the cargo area of an air plane. Also, such medications should only be given under the supervision of your Guelph veterinarian. 

There is No Place like Home

To some cats and their owners, the thought of traveling may be simply too stressful. In this situation, your cat may benefit from a stay-vacation while you are away. You may elect to keep your cat in your home and have a pet sitter look after your cat daily. You may also chose to board your cat at a cat lodging facility in Guelph. Here at the Guelph Cat Clinic’s Kitty Condo’s, we provide a 5-star vacation that allows your cat to feel like home.  The Kitty Condos provide the comforts of home through live budgies providing 24 hours round the clock entertainment to their guests, relaxing garden window views, climbers and scratchers that promote exercise in your kitty, and twice daily meal times. The Kitty Condos also feature spacious suites with multi-level living areas and a private litter box area that allows your cat to feel just as comfortable as being at home. Your cat will enjoy their stay-vacation at the Kitty Condos.

For more information about the Kitty Condos, please visit: https://www.guelphcatboarding.com/

Dr. Maggs and the staff at the Guelph Cat Clinic, hope that these travel tips will help you and your cats have happy and safe travel, whether for the holiday season, or any time of the year.  

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Thanksgiving is almost here! Thanksgiving is a time when family and friends gather around the table to give thanks for plentiful foods. Though this is a busy time of the year, it is important for pet owners to take some precautionary measures to help their feline friends enjoy a safe Thanksgiving season. Guelph veterinarians offer the following safety tips, especially if your cat is intent on joining you and yours at the Thanksgiving table.

 

Prevent your Cat from Straying from their Normal Diet

Meals served at Thanksgiving are different than our normal diets. We all know that tummy upsets can be the aftermath of overindulgence and the same is true for pets! Therefore, it is best to only serve our feline friends their normal daily diet for their thanksgiving feast.

If you really want to help your cat celebrate Thanksgiving, small amounts of lean white meat are adequate.  It is important to be sure your pet does not get access to the skin and bones of the turkey carcass. Should your cat ingest a turkey bone, you need to monitor carefully for vomiting or lack of appetite over the next few days. Contact your Guelph veterinarian if this continues longer than 24 hours.

Give your Pet Some Privacy!

If you are hosting Thanksgiving at your home, remember how disruptive this can be for your pet. Cats are creatures of routine and any upset in that routine may thrown them off their daily schedule for eating, sleeping and toileting. If your pet seems worried when guests arrive, it is best to provide a quiet area for them in a room with a closed door. Don’t forget to put food, water and a litter box in the room too!

If you are travelling with your pet, consult your veterinarian for travel tips. Previous blogs about getting your cat used to a cat carrier, and pet boarding can be found on our website.

At the destination, your cat should be given a quiet room with litter and water, behind a closed door while you give them time to adjust to the new environment.

Dr. Maggs and staff the Guelph Cat Clinic wish you and your pet a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Throughout the world on September 28th, veterinarians, doctors, public health officials and advocates will be celebrating World Rabies Day. World Rabies day was first introduced in 2007 by the Global Alliance of Rabies Control. This day was created to raise awareness of the risk of rabies transmission and to educate the public about the importance of rabies vaccinations and rabies control.  As the 2016 World Rabies day approaches, it is important to understand that our pets have the potential to be exposed to rabies through their everyday lives. In fact, rabies has been reported in cats more than any other domestic animal species in the United States. Rabies outbreaks among wildlife have also been on the rise this year in Ontario. In July of 2016, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency identified 28 cases of raccoons, skunks and bats that tested positive for rabies. This increase in the amount of rabid wildlife,greatly increase our pets’ risk of contracting rabies. Just recently, a rabies positive cat was brought into a Caledonia veterinary clinic. Most likely this cat was exposed to wildlife that also tested positive for rabies.  Guelph Veterinarians would like you to know these important facts about rabies and how we can help prevent rabies in our pet cats.

Rabies Disease in Cats

Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system of mammals. The rabies virus is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal through either a direct bite wound or through contact with an open wound. Rabies is considered a zoonotic disease, which means that the virus has the potential to also be transmitted to not only wildlife,

domestic animals, or livestock, but also humans.  Rabies is almost always fatal once the clinical signs of rabies appear.  Cats and other animals that are infected with the rabies virus and are displaying clinical signs typically die within a few days. Most cats will begin to show signs of rabies within 2 weeks
of being exposed, but other times, it may take many months before any clinical signs begin to appear. However, an infected cat can transmit the rabies virus to other mammals and even humans up to 10 days before any clinical signs of the virus appear. As a result, if you suspect that your cat has been exposed to rabies, or if you have been bitten by a cat that may have been exposed to rabies, it is important to contact your local Public Health Unit, and Guelph Veterinarian.

Clinical Signs of Rabies in Cats

In the event that the rabies virus has been transmitted to your cat, the following clinical signs may be observed:

1)      Dramatic behaviour changes such as becoming more depressed or quiet, becoming unusually friendly or becoming more aggressive towards people, animals, or objects.

2)      Loss of appetite.

3)       Difficulty eating or drinking.

4)      Meowing differently.

5)      Excessive drooling.

6)      Biting at the wound that caused the transmission of the rabies virus.

7)      Sensitivity to touch, sound or light.

8)      Staggering or falling over.

9)      Partial or complete paralysis.

Again, it is imperative to contact your Guelph Veterinarian if you suspect that your cat has been exposed to the rabies virus and is exhibiting clinical signs.

Preventing Rabies in Cats

The most effective and easiest way to prevent the transmission of rabies to our pets is to ensure they are properly vaccinated against rabies. In fact, in most parts of Ontario, including Wellington County, it is legally required that your cat be vaccinated for rabies as a kitten and kept up to date throughout his or her entire life. It is even important for indoor-only cats to have up to date yearly rabies vaccinations. The transmission of rabies can also be prevented by ensuring that our feline friends do not roam freely outdoors, especially at night when bats, foxes, raccoons and skunks are the most active. These animals are the primary carriers of the rabies virus in Canada. If your unvaccinated cat does come into contact with one of these suspected carriers, he or she will need to be quarantined for at least 3-6 months without any contact with other animals or humans.

Therefore, the best rabies prevention for your cat starts with you! Ensure that your cat regularly visits their Guelph Veterinarian and is vaccinated yearly for rabies prevention!

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