Although your cat probably thinks it should be every month, September is officially Happy Cat Month. The love and care you provide your cat makes a big difference in his longevity and overall well-being. Cats are wonderful companions who really ask for so little in exchange for the purrs, snuggles, and unconditional love. In honor of this special month, here are some things you can do to give your cat the happy life he deserves:
• Provide several places to sleep and hide throughout your home. Cats need a place to retreat when they feel fearful in addition to wanting privacy from time to time.
• Get your cat microchipped and provide her with a collar and identification tag. This greatly increases the chances of a happy reunion should she ever become separated from you.
• Feed your cat nutritious food, limit treats, and make him work for his food sometimes. Place it inside of a toy or in different places around the house to satisfy his natural hunting instinct. This also gives him much-needed exercise.
• Make sure your cat has plenty of toys and spend a few minutes each day playing with her. Cats are just as entertained batting at a piece of string as they are with an expensive toy from the pet store. Playing with your cat encourages exercise, mental stimulation, and the human-feline bond.
• Place scratching posts in a few different areas of your home to give your cat the chance to sharpen his claws as well as release the natural need to scratch. This saves your furniture too.
Regular Veterinary Care is the Most Important of All
A 2013 study by the American Association of Feline Practitioners indicates that more than half of all cats don't see the veterinarian regularly. Although more than 80 percent visit the vet during their first year of life, cat owners seem to only bring them in when they are sick or injured after that. At McCulloch County Veterinary Hospital, we encourage all cat owners to schedule a physical exam at least once a year. This is important for early diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of feline diseases as well as to track your cat's growth. Dr. Pace looks forward to seeing you and your cat soon.
It's August, which means that National Immunization Month is here. Just like people, animals need vaccines to protect them from the devastating effects of several contagious diseases. Keeping up with your pet's regularly scheduled vaccines is one of the most important things you can do to ensure her long-term good health. This is true even if she mostly stays inside. Many serious animal illnesses are spread through airborne contact, which means your pet could pick up a virus through an open window. Germs can also spread quickly among unvaccinated pets in places such as grooming salons, boarding kennels, and dog parks.
Essential and Optional Vaccines for Cats and Dogs
The feline distemper shot, also called the FVRCP, protects cats against the serious and highly contagious diseases of Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia. The canine distemper shot, also called the DHPP, protects your dog from Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus. Most states also enforce mandatory rabies vaccinations for both cats and dogs.
For cats, Dr. Pace may recommend a vaccine for Bordetella, Chlamydia, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), and Feline Leukemia based on your cat's lifestyle, breed, and other factors. For dogs, he may advise you to get a vaccine for Bordetella, Canine Influenza, Canine Virus, Leptospirosis, or Lyme Disease.
We also recommend the Rattlesnake Toxoid Vaccine due to our location. Each year, nearly 300,000 dogs and cats are bitten by venemous snakes and experience swelling, pain, tissue damage, disfigurement, and even death. Dr. Pace always takes your feedback into consideration when making these recommendations.
Kittens and puppies should start their FVRCP or DHPP series between six and eight weeks of age. This involves getting the original dose followed by several boosters to ensure strong immunity. If your adult cat or dog is behind on his shots, we can get him caught up at McCulloch County Veterinary Hospital. We are happy to discuss your pet's vaccination schedule at his next well visit exam, by phone, or through electronic messaging.
Unlike people, animals don’t sweat to relieve excess body heat. They only eliminate heat from their bodies through the pads of their feet and by panting. Because of this, up to half of all pets who develop heat stroke will die from it. By knowing how to prevent heat stroke and recognize it when it does occur, you could be saving your dog or cat’s life.
Heat Stroke Symptoms in Companion Animals
Please seek treatment at [Clinic Name] immediately if you notice any of these symptoms in your pet:
• 103 degrees or greater body temperature
• Excessive panting
• Sticky saliva
• Tongue is bright red
Keep in mind that some pets are at higher risk of heat stroke than others. Puppies, kittens, senior pets, obese pets, and those with respiratory disease or who have been conditioned for long periods of strenuous exercise are especially vulnerable.
Before you reach our clinic, get your dog or cat out of the heat and use a damp cloth to cool down her skin. If she’s responsive, offer her cold water to drink or allow her to lick ice cubes without eating them.
Heat Stroke Prevention Tips
Pets who are well hydrated are less prone to heat stroke than those who have limited access to water during the day. If your dog will be outside for more than a few minutes, make sure it’s in a shady area and that plenty of fresh water is available to him. During periods of intense heat, keep cats indoors entirely and only let dogs out to relieve themselves if possible.
Should your dog’s behavior become unmanageable because she’s kept indoors, let her out in the early morning or later evening hours when the sun’s rays are less intense. Also, please don’t leave your pet in a hot car for even one minute. The temperature in the interior of your vehicle can climb to 160 degrees in a short time, which can cause severe illness or instant death. It’s better to leave your pet at home when the temperature and humidity reach the high points of the summer.