Guest Post: We Miss the Cats

We miss the cats…

Cats are unique in so many ways. Cats are an enigma. Cats appear so independent. They take care of themselves.

Dogs are just out there. What you see is what you get. Dogs are needier then cats. You often know day one when your dog is sick (my wife says dogs are like guys, I don’t see it). Dogs also are more specific in the signs and they show us where they hurt. 

Not cats! Are ya kiddin' me?! Cats are the great pretenders and compensators. This is a survival instinct.  If cats would show illness in the wild, they would be the first to be preyed upon. They will hide an illness until the last minute and they are rarely specific in their ailments, so when they do come in, they come in with what I call “sick cat syndrome”. Cats can really be a diagnostic challenge.

One of the big concerns in veterinary medicine is the decrease in cat visit to vets across the country.  People figure since the cat does not go out, why do they need to go to the vet? What possibly could inside cats get and how do they get sick living their cushy life inside?  Some cats, I know, are a pain in the rear end to get in the carrier to get them to the vet. But if you plan, you can make it a lot easier (here are some tips to help). They work.

Well… I will tell you why your cat needs a yearly exam, whether he gets vaccines or not. It is hard for owners to really gauge when a cat is losing weight. You see them every day. We weigh each animal we see, every time they come in. So what’s the big deal if my cat loses a pound since last year?  Well that is 10% of it’s body weight. It is like the average person losing 15 to 20 pounds.  We always hear a dog’s year is 7 human years. I would say for cat’s it is more like 5 years. A lot can change in 5 years. 

Causes in weight loss can be a myriad of things. Some of the most common are diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and kidney disease. All of these can be treated if caught early. 

One veterinary expert on cat diabetes, Dr Rand, estimates 90% of diabetic cats will not need long-term insulin, if caught early enough. 

Hyperthyroidism, a disease where the thyroid produces too much hormone, can be treated with a medication you rub in the inside of the ear. How easy is that! Kidney disease often can be managed with special foods if caught early. 

Cats are so easy to palpate, or feel.  Palpation of the abdomen by your vet, will easily tell your vet the size and shape of the internal organs, and it anything is there that shouldn’t be there. We often need to do blood work to see what is going inside of your pet as well.

Instead of regular visits, too often, we see cats in advanced stages of disease that treatment will not help; they have hidden their condition too long. Cats will use all of their nine lives before they will show signs of illness.

The take-home I want to impress upon you is your cat really does need to be examined yearly, even if you don’t see anything wrong, because the cat might just be hiding something from you.

Have you booked your annual appointment yet?

Related Posts 
April is Pet Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: We Miss the Cats

Other posts by Dr Riggs

 


Dr_RiggsDr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center, OH with his wife Nancy, their dogs Maggie and Ossa, and cat Franklin. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and cyclist, and enjoys travel and photography.



April is Pet Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

Even though you might have pet insurance to protect against costs from unexpected health events, the ideal situation is that your pet has no unexpected health events at all. Wouldn't that be nice?

To that effect, we're focusing this month on overall pet health and preventing health events as best we can.

And while we are talking of pet health this month, here are some excellent articles on the Embrace pet health site, The Water Bowl

And here's one final one for some Easter fun with your dog:

What do you do to keep your pet healthy? Is there any one thing you think has the most effect? 

 



Guest Post: Dr Rex Riggs on critical thinking and pet food

Dr GoogleWow, how many dog and cat foods are out there now!  Did you know, in our grocery stores, pet food is the number one grossing item?  It outsells the next 6 items combined!  In 2013, dog and cat owners in the United States, spent $21,000,000 dollars on food. Twenty one million dollars! Dog and cat food is BIG business. So it no wonder that the number of companies making pet food has exploded.  Some of these foods are good, some are heavily marketed with unsubstantiated claims.  Buyer beware.

What do they say about opinions?  Everyone has one.  I hear all the time, “my brother’s girlfriend’s brother worked in the kennel at a vet’s office and he said…..”  Maybe he is right, but you need to check it out yourself.  Do you go to the internet?  Just remember, there is no editor on the internet so anyone can say anything, and will, to sell a product.   Do you ask the people in the pet store? Maybe, but where are they getting their information?  More than likely from the company representative of the foods they are selling. They have a vested interest in having you buy that specific food, often the one with the highest profit margin. 

So where do I think you should turn to?  I would say your vet.  Now, I have heard many times people saying that they were told vets don’t get any training in pet nutrition.  Well don’t tell Dr Tony Buffington at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine that, he might wonder what he has been teaching vet students for so long. 

The fact is, yes we do get taught nutrition in school, and like any other professions, the dedicated doctors keep current through continuing education and reading. Many veterinary colleges have a veterinary nutritionist on staff to answers your questions (http://vet.osu.edu/vmc/nutrition-support).  

I, like most vets, only sell prescription foods in our hospital. So, there is no ulterior motive for us to have your animal on a particular food.  My only motive is to make sure your pet is on the right food for them. 

Be careful of the fads and hype.  In such a crowded arena, everyone is trying to grab a niche.  Some of these fads are based on pseudo-science, only to sell their product. During the last 3 years, the FDA recalls of pet foods has sky rocketed.  Coincidence?  I think not.

So…BE A CRITICAL THINKER.  If it sounds too good to be true or too far out, It just might be.  Go to your veterinary resources available, because… vets are the experts.

Here is an excellent Myth Busters article written by Dr. Freeman, a veterinary nutritionist at Tufts University College of Veterinary Medicine.  It will answer all your questions.

Related Posts
March is Pet Nutrition Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Podcast: Pet Nutrition with Dr Patrick Mahaney
Guest Post: Dr Rex Riggs on critical thinking and pet food


Other posts by Dr Riggs


Dr_RiggsDr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center, OH with his wife Nancy, their dogs Maggie and Ossa, and cat Franklin. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and cyclist, and enjoys travel and photography.

 



Podcast: Pet Nutrition with Dr Patrick Mahaney

I love talking pet nutrition with Dr Patrick Mahaney. There is always something new to learn. This month, we cover the following questions:

  1. How can I find a good guide for the number of calories my cats should eat per day. One goes out when there’s no polar vortex outside, the other two stay in. I don’t believe the suggested amounts on the food bags and cans I buy.
  2. Are there any other options besides prescription diets for pets with renal/kidney issues (c/d, s/d)? I'd really prefer to feed something that is healthier but will also help with struvite/oxolate crystals.
  3. Can you comment on dry vs wet vs raw food. What are your thoughts on a raw diet for allergies? or raw diets in general
  4. How long should a puppy be on puppy food?
  5. Does Patrick feel a puppy should be on probiotics during their vaccination series to reduce/eliminate allergies in the future?
  6. I've been hearing a lot of questions on the grain free diets come up lately. What is the verdict on these for dogs and cats? As well the by-products ingredients being bad - are they really and what exactly are they?

Click on the link below to hear the audio:

Laura Bennett & Dr Patrick Mahaney Pet Nutrition 2014


 One website that Dr Patrick mentions is a Basic Calorie Calculator that's provided by Ohio State's Veterinary Medical Center. You can calculate your dog's ideal caloric intake per day using the formula on this page.

Related Posts
March is Pet Nutrition Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Podcast: Pet Nutrition with Dr Patrick Mahaney
Guest Post: Dr Rex Riggs on critical thinking and pet food

Other posts by Dr Patrick Mahaney


Dr Patrick MahaneyDr. Mahaney is a veterinarian from the University of Pennsylvania and a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, having been inspired by his own chronic pain from Intervertebral Disc Disease to provide accupuncture to his veterinary clients. In addition to Dr Mahaney's house call integrative veterinary medicine business, California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness, he sees patients on an in-clinic basis at Veterinary Cancer Group in Culver City, CA. Dr Mahaney writes a veterinary column (Patrick's Blog) forwww.PatrickMahaney.com and contributes to a variety of media, including Perez Hilton's TeddyHilton.com, Fido Friendly, Veterinary Practice News, Healthy Pets and People with Dr Patrick on OutImpactRadio.com, and MSNBC Sunday with Alex Witt and Career Day. His first book, The Uncomfortable Vet, will be available in 2014 through Havenhurst Books



March is Pet Nutrition Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

When you think about it, our bodies, and those of our pets, are incredible machines. For example, these machines fix themselves (most times) when things break, and we don't have to eat precise diets to stay alive (not like my car that only takes a very certain type of very expensive liquid and my mechanic loves that my car doesn't fix itself.)

It doesn't mean though that all that we eat is good for us in the long run, and eating a better quality of food is one way we can improve our health without having to go to the doctor. It's very much the same situation for our pets, yet some people are still unaware that the quality of the food we feed our cats and dogs is incredibly important. Better and more appropriate foods really do make a difference for our pets.

We are going to talk about pet nutrition in this blog this month. In the meantime, we have some great articles on cat and dog nutrition on our website over at the Water Bowl. For example:

These are just a few of the excellent articles on the pet care page. I recommend you peruse the rest for some good tips and even a contest or two for freebies.

Related Posts
March is Pet Nutrition Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Podcast: Pet Nutrition with Dr Patrick Mahaney
Guest Post: Dr Rex Riggs on critical thinking and pet food





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