Monthly Archives: February 2014

Feline Annual Exam

  We did it!  We are officially a cat-friendly practice (check it out at:!  And we have the distinction of being the only one in our zip code!  We are proud to hopefully use this designation to encourage more and more cat-owners to bring their cats in at least once a year for an exam.

  SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESMany people see cats as lower-maintenance than dogs- they don’t have to go outside on walks, they don’t often beg for attention, etc.- and oftentimes this translates to them not being seen by a veterinarian for most of their lives.

    Just as it is in people, the importance of preventative care for pets cannot be overstated.  There are a multitude of issues that Dr. Scarlett can identify during a typical physical exam that an owner may never notice, or that could progress, in the absence of an exam, into a life-threatening illness.  And cats, in particular, are amazingly skilled at hiding illness and injury.

    Think about a dog- constantly rolling on her back for belly rubs, giving kisses, getting ear scratches, shaking paws- there is easy access to most of a dog’s body.  Dog owners can often readily see or feel changes in their dog’s body.  Now think about a cat- does a cat typically want to get belly rubs or give kisses?  Some do, but many appreciate being left alone.

Even before she touches him, Dr. Scarlett can assess a cat with a well-trained eye and start her physical exam: she can see his mentation (is he bright and alert or quiet and uncomfortable), the condition of his fur, his weight and body condition, his gait, and any eye or nasal discharge.  Spending this time observing the cat lets him get used to the new environment of the exam room- the smells, sounds, and sights- before she even touches him.

  Dr. Scarlett then proceeds slowly and calmly to examine his body more closely, looking in his ears, eyes and mouth, listening to his lungs and heart, feeling him all over for lumps and bumps, all the while discussing everything she finds with the owner.  It is a practiced technique perfected to look like just a friendly encounter with a new person.  SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

    If your cat is stressed about going into the carrier to come see us, leave the carrier out and open all the time- try to let your cat make the carrier a safe, cozy place.  Keep it in a calm area, spray it with Feliway (feline pheromone), and put in a comfy blanket and some treats.  This can be the most important part of the trip to the vet- starting off calmly sets up the cat for a calm, pleasant visit.

    The bottom line is, we want to see your cat at least once a year.  We want to find potentials issues before they become life-threatening or cost you thousands of dollars to treat.  We will work with you on a plan to make the visit stress-free for both you and your cat.  Stop in anytime for a free “Getting Your Cat to the Veterinarian” pamphlet to help you start down the road to CEVA-Brochurehappy, healthy vet visits!

Grains are NOT evil!

Advocates of raw food diets often implicate the grains and “fillers” in processed, commercial foods as being bad nutrition for pets.  A “filler” is a food ingredient with little or no nutritional value.  This certainly doesn’t apply to corn or other grains.  Corn, oats, rice, barley, wheat, and other grains contain protein, vitamins, and minerals.  Corn provides a lot of needed amino acids and is a highly digestible carbohydrate the body uses for energy.  While cats require a meat-based diet, there is nothing inherently wrong with feeding food that contains some grains.  Pets with allergies MIGHT have a sensitivity to wheat or corn, but it could also be to chicken, lamb, seafood, or beef.  Talk to your veterinarian about trying a “novel protein” diet and see if that helps before trying a raw food diet.

Many people are trying a gluten-free diet, but celiac disease is very rare in dogs and has been reported primarily in Irish Setters.  Pets (and people) with celiac disease react to the proteins (gluten) in wheat, rye, and barley.  The protein in corn gluten does NOT cause GI problems, even in individuals with celiac disease.  If your pet is doing just fine (ie. no vomiting, normal stool, nice coat) on the food you are currently feeding, there is no need to switch to one without corn or grains.

Remember, your veterinarian is your BEST source of nutritional advice, not the sales clerk at a pet store.  What works for one pet may not be optimal for your pet, so sometimes trying different foods is necessary.