What are the advantages of spaying my cat?
1) Prevention of unwanted litters of kittens
2) Avoid annoying behavior of a cat in heat
3) Prevention of health problems later in life
The main reason to consider spaying your cat is due to unwanted litters of kittens. The average fertile cat produces 1 to 2 litters per year. The average litter size is 4 to 6 kittens. According to the ASPCA about 1.3 million cats are euthanized each year. It is estimated there are 70 million stray cats in the US. The vast majority of cats entering shelters are not spayed.
Cats that are not spayed frequently develop mammary cancers or pyometra, a serious type of uterus infection, later in life. Spaying a cat early in life prevents these problems.
Do your part! Spay your cat! Keep her indoors. Provide exercise, a good diet and good health care. A cat should be taken to your veterinarian annually for a physical exam, vaccines, parasite protection and any other necessary health care needs. Remember – dogs and cats age much faster proportionately compared to humans.
If you’re a proud cat parent—particularly in a multi-cat household—you might occasionally witness a feeding frenzy that includes snarling, shoving, and swatting. Why? Because some cats get quite possessive of their kibble. A rare instance of this behavior is probably nothing to worry about, but if your cat’s mealtimes are routinely punctuated by hissing, growling, or full-on attacks on other pets and people, you could be dealing with food aggression, and it’s time to put the kibosh on it.Continue…
Most pet owners are on board with the fact that their dog needs some vaccinations to keep their furry family member safe and healthy. But what vaccines do dogs need? Are dog vaccines safe? When do you start to vaccinate a puppy? Dupont Veterinary Clinic has all the information you need when it comes to understanding dog vaccines.Continue…
The space that cats and their owners share is full of mutually beneficial affection, but it can also contain loads of bacteria. Fortunately, those of us with robust immune systems may never face the effects of disease carried by felines, but that doesn’t necessarily eliminate the risks. The fact remains: Cat scratch fever, or cat scratch disease (CSD), is a zoonotic disease that can easily pass from cat to person. Keep reading to learn how to protect yourself from the disease:Continue…
Modern living has a lot going for it. It’s safe, clean, and super efficient. But the sheer amount of choices from minute to minute can be exhausting. Fortunately, some decisions are easy to make, especially if there are far more advantages than drawbacks. Regarding the choice to spay or neuter a pet, the positive results are clear. It may not be a straightforward decision for some pet owners out there, and we’re happy to help you reach a conclusion that supports your pet’s health.Continue…
To be a cat owner, you have to be a cat lover. And to truly love cats, you have to support their overall health and day-to-day wellness. This means providing them with “creature comforts” and ensuring they remain safe from infectious diseases. While cat vaccinations are tailored to the unique needs of each pet, they’re a critical line of defense for cats in general.
Even avid cat lovers know what a nuisance feral cat colonies can be. Groups of cats multiply quickly, and with them come problems that can be devastating to watch. Thankfully, there has been more attention given to these felines in need, and programs are popping up all over the country to deal with feral populations.
Your friends at Dupont Veterinary Clinic know how much you care for kitties, and we think it’s important for all of our clients to know the proper way to deal with feral cat colonies.
1. Does my indoor cat need vaccines?
It seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? If my cat does not go outside and does not encounter disease, then why does he need vaccines every year? Here are a half-dozen good reasons your veterinarian wants to keep your cat up-to-date on vaccines. If you are unsure if your cat is up-to-date on vaccines, contact your veterinarian today to find out.
- Your cat could accidentally get outdoors. They are curious about that big exciting world outside their windows and will not hesitate to go exploring. It only takes a few hours outside for an indoor cat to come in contact with a stray cat or wild animal carrying disease.
- If your cat ends up at a shelter, he or she could be exposed to sick cats. We all hope that this never happens, but as mentioned before, cats can and do escape from their home. If your cat is found but does not have any identity, such as a collar or microchip, the next stop is the local animal shelter. The stress of being taken to the shelter along with crowded shelter conditions can make cats more susceptible to disease.
- You cat may have a lifestyle change. When you bring that adorable kitten home, you are most likely expecting to have him or her for life. However, sometimes life brings changes beyond our control, such as divorce, death in the family, or a move, which can all affect your cat’s lifestyle. There are numerous cats that start out as indoor kittens but later become outdoor cats.
- Stress can cause latent disease to flare-up. Cats are often exposed to the feline herpes virus early on in life, especially if they come from a shelter or contracted the disease in-utero. Cats without up-to-date vaccinations can more easily contract respiratory infections or other disease that can cause latent or dormant disease to flare up in an already sick cat.
- Viruses such as Calicivirus and Feline Herpesvirus can be spread by inanimate objects. A “fomite” is any inanimate object that can carry an infectious organism. Grooming supplies and even shoes and clothing can act as a fomite bringing disease into your home.
2. How can I help my pet’s dental health at home?
You have noticed recently that Buddy’s breath is less than fresh and you are wondering how to help him? Maybe you have noticed that Buddy does not like to chew on toys or dry kibble that he used to love? Depending on the stage of Buddy’s dental disease, there are some good home care remedies that help to keep tartar and gingivitis at bay.
A. Teeth Brushing: If your pet allows it, brushing their teeth daily with a pet toothpaste (NOT human toothpaste) is the gold-standard for treating dental disease. It’s more work but definitely helps the most.
B. Dental diet: We recommend Hill’s Science Diet T/D dental diet. The T/D diet is a complete, balanced diet that can be fed on a daily basis and has been proven to clinically reduce dental disease. The T/D diet can be fed as treats as well, but less frequent use decreases the positive results. T/D is available at Dupont Veterinary Clinic.
C. Chew Products: OraVet Oral Chews (by the makers of Heartgard and Nexgard) are daily oral chews that reduce both halitosisand tartar accumulation. CET Rawhide Chews are rawhide treats coated with enzymes to help inhibit plaque and tartar. Blue Buffalo Dental Bones are another simple option to help reduce tartar. All are available at our hospital.
D. Food Additives: We recommend Clenz-a-dent Food Additive as another easy aid in slowing down plaque and tartar accumulation.
Here is an image displaying the 4 stages of dental disease. Make an appointment with your veterinarian at Dupont Veterinary Clinic to determine if your pet needs a professional cleaning and polishing. Some pets, especially those in stages 3 and 4, can start to lose teeth if your veterinarian does not step in to help your pet.
3. Is my pet overweight?
Obesity in pets is on a steady incline in the United States. Overweight pets are at a much higher risk for developing arthritis, orthopedic disease, cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses. It is important to first determine if your pet is overweight and then determine what his or her ideal weight would be. Click on the following link to be directed to a resource that will walk you through these steps. This article will show you a body fat index risk chart to determine how overweight your pet truly is, then on the second page it will determine what your pet’s ideal weight should be. Feel free to stop by Dupont Veterinary Clinic at any time to put your pet on the scale for a more accurate weight, especially while they are losing weight. There are diseases, such as hypothyroidism, that can lead to weight loss because of a decreased metabolism. If you are concerned about your pet’s weight, contact your veterinarian to have them help you develop a diet plan or recommend a diet for your pet and look for any illness that may be preventing your pet from losing weight.
4. What food should I be feeding my pet?
There are numerous foods on the store shelves and it can be overwhelming when trying to select the appropriate one for your pet. For puppies, make sure to get a food that is labeled for puppies as this provides better overall nutrition for their growing bodies. If you have a large or giant breed puppy, make sure to get a large breed puppy food because this helps provide better nutrition for their large, rapidly growing joints. Hill’s Science Diet has a great large breed puppy, toy breed puppy, or even puppy food (for those puppies of average size) for those youngsters at home. If your pet is between the ages of 1 to 7 and does not have any other dietary restrictions, we recommend selecting a diet labeled for adult dogs. If your pet is 8 years or older, we recommend a senior diet because this type of diet provides less calories for our less active pets as well as added nutrients to support joint health. We do not recommend selecting a diet that is listed for “all life stages” (this label is often listed on the back of the label) as this type of diet provides the same nutrients and calories that would be appropriate for a lactating mother or puppy as it would for a less active senior pet! Just like humans, pets have different nutritional needs at different stages of their life and we need to change their diets accordingly. If you are unsure of the food that you are feeding your pet, feel free to bring the food bag into your vet to have them give you a better nutritional assessment.
5. How do I remove a tick from my pet?
With the warm weather upon us we are seeing an increasing number of ticks on our pets. Here is a link to a short video that can help walk you through safe removal of a tick from your pet and signs and symptoms to look out for after the tick is removed. If you are concerned about removing a tick from your pet, you can schedule an appointment with the technicians at Dupont Veterinary Clinic to have them help you remove the tick. It is important, especially if you are noticing ticks on your pet, to put your pet on a tick preventative. If you are not sure if the monthly preventative your pet is on works against ticks, call your veterinarian to have them help you pick out the best product for your pet.
By Ashley Dawes, DVM
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is pre-anesthetic blood work really necessary? Yes. Pre-anesthetic blood work is used to find the “1 in 50” cats that might have an unforeseen health problem. This information is needed to assess concerns and minimize anesthetic risk.
How long will my cat stay in the veterinary hospital? Usually a cat spay is an outpatient procedure. In most clinics, your cat would come in the morning and go home in the afternoon.
Is a cat spay expensive? A cat spay is relatively cheap, especially when you consider the advantages to the alternative. The cost to spay a cat is cheaper than raising a litter of kittens for a year. Remember, the cheapest place in town is probably not the place to have your cat spayed. What is the reason they are cheaper? A veterinary hospital can not provide competent doctors and technicians, high quality surgical supplies and modern anesthetics, pain medications and fluids for nothing. Don’t sacrifice your cat’s safety for a few dollars.
Can I have my cat declawed at the same time as the spay? Talk to your veterinarian. Often if you and your veterinarian decide that declawing is in your cat’s best interest, it is prudent to do both at the same time. This avoids additional costs and two separate anesthetics.
My cat gets stressed at the vet office. Is there anything I can do? We recommend using a cat carrier and a fluffy towel for your cat to hide in. Some cats do better with a product called Feliway – a calming spray that is applied to the carrier. Find a veterinarian with a separate cat waiting area or one that will allow you to quickly go into an exam room to avoid the stress of barking dogs in the waiting area.
Will I need to give my cat pain drugs? Yes. Your cat should receive medication to control post-op surgical pain just as we would after a surgical procedure. An oral medication should be prescribed. These are often given just once daily. A liquid is sometimes easier to give.
At what age should I spay my cat? A cat should be spayed before it begins to go into “heat”. Typically 5 to 6 months of age is the best time to spay a cat.
Will my cat gain weight after her spay? Your cat may have a slight predisposition to gain weight after a spay is performed. Of course as a cat reaches maturity they have a tendency to become less active and gain weight too. Regardless, exercise and a quality diet in appropriate amounts is important.
Will my cat continue to have heat cycles? No. Your cat will no longer go through heat cycles.