This blog is for informational purposes only. Please consult with a veterinarian if your pet is ill.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Expert Offers Free Digital Feline Husbandry Book for Breeders

Niels Pedersen DVM, professor at UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine wrote a well respected book that covers all aspects of managing feline health in catteries. That book is Feline Husbandry: Diseases and Management in the Multiple-Cat Environment (1991. American Veterinary Publications).

He talks about how overcrowding and poor husbandry in catteries can lead to infectious diseases, behavioral issues and nutritional problems - all of which can be avoided by breeders learning proper ways to raise cats for their optimal health.

This out of print book is always in demand but hard to find. In response, UC-Davis' Center for Companion Animal Health, which Pedersen directs, is offering a digital version of the 447-page book for free.

New and experienced cat breeders are invited to download a complimentary copy of Feline Husbandry at

Product Review: Pill Pockets

Most dogs will take pills easily wrapped up in some meat, cheese or treat. Cats on the other hand need extra coaxing to take their medications. I tried this product and love it. Not all cats will eat them but most do.

This treat which is chicken or salmon flavored for cats, is soft pliable and molds around pills and capsules. It contains a hole in which to hide the pill.

I find it helps greatly to give your cat an empty Pill Pocket first to see if he will eat it. If the pill is tiny, I cut the Pill Pocket in half and wrap it around the pill. If the pill is large, I find it works better to cut the pill in half or quarters and halve the Pill Pockets - makes for smaller treats and less extra treat around the pill. If the treat is too big compared to the pill inside sometimes the cat will spit out the pill and just eat the Pill Pocket.

A 1.6 ounce bag for dogs or cats contains 45 pockets and costs about $7.99. Most vet clinics carry them as well as Petco, Petsmart and other pet stores. One product is online at

February is National Pet Dental Month

If you are like me you don't relish trying to brush your dog or cat's teeth, never mind on a regular basis! But it is a very important health issue.

There is a strong correlation between our pets' teeth and their overall health. By age three, all pets have some degree of dental disease. Without daily brushing, a biofilm consisting of food debris, saliva and bacteria coats the teeth, mineralizes and becomes tartar. Bacteria can build up in the mouth, enter the bloodstream and damage the dog or cat's heart, kidneys, liver and other internal organs. Poor dental health also leads to broken or loose teeth.

It is a little easier to see inside a dog's mouth than a cat for checking their teeth. Prying open a cat's mouth requires skill and timing as well as tolerance from your cat. Yet daily brushing can save you hundreds of dollars a year and prevent your pet from having anesthesia, surgery and infectious diseases.

Ask your vet to suggest a dental cleaning kit for you to use on your pet. You brush and floss daily - why not Fido and Daisy?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Only and Two Spot Cuddling on Sunday Morning

These two brothers spend all their time together. Both had little black smudges on their heads as kittens. Looked like someone with a paint brush dabbed paint on them. Hence their names - Two spot had two spots and Only had only one. The spots faded and now people wonder what is behind the names????

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Book Review: The Veterinarians' Guide to Natural Remedies for Cats by Martin Zucker

Zucker has written this same book for dogs as well -- The Veterinarians' Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs, Safe and Effective Alternative Treatment and Healing Techniques from The Nation's Top Holistic Veterinarians.

It is a new book for me that I found at the local health food store while searching for holistic help for Ivy. Zucker has been writing about alternative health issues for many years and in this book has compiled information and opinions from vets around the country to help you determine what is best for your cat or dog.

Zucker talks about how to use alternative medicine and the importance of better diet. He goes on to explain all the different modalities - nutritional supplements, herbs, homeopathic remedies, flower essences, acupuncture, chiropractic and massage. He also discusses the vaccination debate.

The second part of the book covers the different ailments with options listed by top holistic vets around the USA.

I refer to this book now along with my other vet bibles by Pitcairn, Stein, Hamilton and Goldstein. It helps to see if one or many suggest the same treatment - then you can determine what to use. I like to try a combination of homeopathic, flower essences and herbs to achieve the right effect.

Well worth adding to your library.

Al Asleep on Garden Shoes

"Cats are rather delicate creatures

and they are subject to a good many

ailments, but I never heard of one

who suffered from insomnia."

---Joseph wood Krutch

Food Allergy Hit List

When I was taking Ivy to the vet for her seizures the vet mentioned food allergies as a main culprit in seizures. This list is compiled by Dr Alfred Plechner DMV a food allergy expert. The foods may surprise you and they are listed in order of high sensitivity to lowest. I am feeding Ivy foods from the lower end of the list or not on the list like venison, rabbit, duck etc.

Beef and beef by-products
Yeast and brewer's yeast
Corn and corn oil
Fish and fish oils
Wheat and wheat by-products

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome

After taking Ivy to her vet, it seems she has Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome also known as "rolling skin syndrome," and is in some ways very similar to a seizure disorder. It appears to be more common in Siamese cats, but other cases have been reported. FHS usually appears between the ages of 1-4. Unfortunately, there is very little known about this disorder, and information is difficult to find.

Symptoms of FHS:

Dilated pupils
Twitching of the tail
Appearing to be annoyed with the tail
Biting at the tip of the tail, sometimes to the point of mutilation
Behavior may change from loving, to scared and depressed
Sensitive to touch around the tail
Staring into space
Persistent, loud meowing
Dashing off madly and aimlessly around the house or yard
Rippling skin on the back just above the tail

These symptoms are not always triggered by unpleasant events, but can occur while you are petting your cat loving, or when touching your cat near the tail.

It is difficult to make conclusions as to why this disorder occurs, but it is believed by some that over-vaccinating, flea infestations, OCB, food allergy, low quality diets, preservatives and chemicals may be leading to this problem.

The vet took a blood test from which we will get the results this week to
rule out other health problems such as Thyroid, Diabetes, Cancer, Liver or Kidney disease. A health problem may be triggering these episodes.

We have switched her to either all chicken with some seafood diet of better canned brands like Wellness, Pet Guard, Innova etc. Sometimes it is a food allergy. Beef is a prime culprit in food allergies in this situation. My vet has seen dogs go into seizures from eating a rawhide beef bone.

Research has shown that a low quality diet -- meaning a diet loaded with chemicals, fillers, stabilizers, coloring agents, sodium nitrate (found to produce epileptic-like changes in the brain activity of rats who ate it regularly) and by-products -- can lead to allergies, nervousness, hypertension, diabetes, weight problems, dry skin, and many other common ailments.

Because of what goes into pet foods today and what does not, it is important to know how to read labels, and know the history of the company manufacturing the pet food.

Some pets suffer from hypoglycemia, which is a medical term meaning low blood sugar. The causes of hypoglycemia are overproduction of insulin, excessive exercise, heredity, or an inadequate diet. Some symptoms of hypoglycemia are very similar to Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome.

Symptoms of a hypoglycemic attack are:

Staggering, collapse or dashing around
Glassy eyes, dilated pupils

Because the symptoms of hypoglycemia and FHS tend to be similar, feeding structured meals is suggested. When you feed one meal a day, your pet's body produces insulin. High levels of insulin cause low levels of fat burning and high levels of fat storing, the reverse of what you may think. When insulin is not stable in the body, it throws the hormones and brain chemicals out of whack and the body starts storing fat to save itself.

Therefore, it is extremely important to feed 3~4 times a day. When you feed several small meals a day, the body burns fat more effectively, and speeds up the metabolism so your pet can burn more calories.

Ivy had fleas in spite of using flea control products so my vet asked me to use Capstar and Revolution on Ivy and all the cats in the house. Plus I have been vacuuming daily. This seems to be helping a great deal. Ivy has had only one seizure since the vet visit. I have two other cats who have severe skin issues due to flea allergies and they too have cleared up since using Capstar and Revolution.

I am also treating Ivy with a calming herbal extract with Skullcap, St. John's Wort, Calendula, Chamomile, California Poppy, Oat, Valerian two to three times a day in milk.

Homeopathic remedies Phosphorus and Belladonna also help the seizure activity lessen.

This illness is a trial and error process to find the right combination of things that keep the seizures and behavior in check. Some animals can live with minor episodes and have no other issues. I am hoping we can get Ivy to that point and soon.


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin