Abbeywood Cat Hospital Newsletter

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Introduction

The veterinarians and staff at Abbeywood Cat Hospital are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter of pet-related articles and news stories.

This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine. Get started by browsing the Current Newsletter Topics links that pertain to each article.

Please enjoy the newsletter!





Celebrity Pets: Chances Are They’re Wealthier Than You

Feel like Grumpy Cat is everywhere these days? It’s not just you.

The famously dour feline has had a big few years since her owner posted her on Reddit in 2012. With multiple books, licensed product lines, pet food endorsement deals and even a starring role in a made-for-TV-movie, Grumpy Cat has transformed from the star of a popular YouTube video to a full-fledged brand. From TV to the big stage, Grumpy Cat even had a Broadway debut in Cats in October 2016 for a one night only appearance.

Grumpy Cat’s owner won’t say how much the cat has made, but one tabloid pegged the figure at $100 million (a figure the owner denies). And yet, it’s still not enough to make Grumpy Cat smile.



Grumpy Cat isn’t the only living meme raking in dough. Boo, the Pomeranian dog, has signed off on licensing deals with companies like Crocs, published three books and secured a spokesdog gig with Virgin America Airlines. Of course, fame has a dark side: like many celebrities before him, he was the subject of a death hoax. Not to worry – Boo is alive and well.

Other rich pets include Chris P. Bacon, a pig who was born without the use of his hind legs who has learned to get around on wheel legs built out of toys by his owner; Lil’ Bub, a cat whose underdeveloped jaw gives him a permanent slack-jawed expression; and Tuna, a Chihuahua with an overbite that gives the pup a permanent expression somewhere between a grin and grimace. All three have millions of social media followers, book deals, product lines and endorsement deals that keep them raking in cash hand over paw.

Think your pet has what it takes to be the next A-list meme? Only one way to find out – break out the camera and get something cute on YouTube or post on Reddit. The good news for you is that it doesn’t look like the Internet’s love of animals is going away any time soon.

Deadly Toxins: How To Keep Your Pet Safe

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has compiled a list toxins commonly ingested by pets and for the first time ever, over-the-counter-medications proves the most problematic. Help keep your pet happy and healthy be keeping these dangerous items away from your pet.



Common potential pet toxins include:

Over-the-counter medications for humans - Acetaminophen, ibuprofen and herbal supplements were some of the most frequently ingested by pets

Prescription medications for humans - Heart medications, antidepressants, and pain killers were the most frequently ingested

Insecticides - Pet owners are encouraged to read the label of insecticides used in the yard and the home before possibly exposing pets to them

Food for humans - Garlic, onions, grapes, alcohol and xylitol are just a few of the many human foods that can be poisonous for dogs and other pets.

Household products - These include cleaning supplies, paint and fire logs

Veterinary medications - Pet owners should be cautious with veterinary medication, especially any chewable medication which is appealing to pets.

Chocolate - Chocolate, especially dark and baking chocolate, is extremely dangerous to pets if ingested.

Plants - Keeping some greenery inside helps with maintaining fresh air within your house, but they can also be toxic to pet, especially cats. Before adding plants to your household, check to see if they could be toxic to your pet.

Rodenticides - Using rodent poisons to rid your house of mice or rats is a common enough practice but those poisons also pose a potential hazard to your pets. Make sure to keep them out of reach so your pet doesn't accidentally ingest those poisons.

Lawn and Garden Products - While maintaining your yard, be aware of herbicides and fungicides and your pets. They can be dangerous and potentially lethal if ingested.

If your pet ingests something it shouldn’t, contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.

Clipping Your Pet's Nails

Pet owners vary in their level of comfort in clipping the nails of their dog, cat, rabbit or bird. But it is necessary to regularly clip nails to help maintain health and comfort. Nails which are uncared for can break or tear, and can affect the animal's ability to move about comfortably or cause the animal to injure itself when scratching. If you are uncomfortable clipping the animal's nails yourself, your vet or groomer can do this for you.



If you decide to do it yourself, here are a few tips:

• Remember, the nail is living tissue. Do not clip too close to the quick. If this occurs, the animal will experience pain and the nail will bleed.

• There are two types of nail clippers available: the scissor type (which resembles a traditional scissors) or the guillotine type (which surrounds the whole nail). Both are effective. Choose the one that is most comfortable for you and your pet.

• Many animals resist nail clipping. One way to get them accustomed to it is to handle their paws or feet from a very early age.

• Maintain your pet's nail clippers so that they're sharp. A dull blade and crush and fracture the nail, which is painful for your pet.

Summer Exacerbates Your Pet’s Breathing Problems



With summer in the air, it’s getting particularly hard for some animals to breath. This is especially the case for short-nosed – or flat-faced dogs such as the Pekingese, pug, bulldog, boxer, shih tzu and chihuahua. However, these airway problems, which are typically due to narrow nostrils, a long soft palate or collapsed voice box, can also affect our feline friends, such as Himalayans and exotic shorthairs. This condition (known as the Brachycephalic airway syndrome) is largely due to the dog or cat’s unique head shape, so there isn’t much you can do to entirely avoid it.

However, there are certain factors that can increase the risk and further complicate their breathing condition. These include:

  1. Allergies
  2. Obesity
  3. Over-excitement
  4. Exercise: Panting may also naturally increase in the summer months as the weather gets hotter and more humid.

Treatment options largely depend on the symptoms exhibited by your dog or cat. In some cases, surgical procedures may be your pet’s best option. So don’t let the summer heat waves stop your pet from getting a breath of fresh air. For more information about symptoms and treatments, talk to your local veterinarian.

All About Your Cat's Teeth

During its lifetime, a cat has two sets of teeth, a deciduous set and a permanent set. Kittens have 26 deciduous teeth (molars are absent); adult cats have a total of 30 teeth.

Deciduous or "milk teeth", begin to appear when the kitten is about 4 weeks of age. At 6 weeks of age, all 26 deciduous teeth are present. From 11 to 30 weeks of age, kittens lose their deciduous teeth. During this time they may eat less due to sore gums.

When the deciduous teeth fall out, they are replaced by 30 permanent teeth. The permanent teeth should be in place by about 6 months of age.



A cat’s teeth are well-suited to rip and cut. Twelve tiny teeth (incisors) in the front of the mouth - six in the upper jaw, six in the lower jaw - do some scraping. They are flanked by two upper and lower canines, sometimes described as "fangs," designed to hold prey and to tear flesh. Ten sharp premolars and four molars act together to cut food.


A cat occasionally retains a deciduous tooth after the permanent tooth appears. This deciduous tooth should be removed as soon as possible to avoid displacing the permanent tooth.

Extra teeth are occasionally found in cats. They should be removed by a veterinarian if they cause crowding or injury to soft tissue or other teeth.

Cat Behavior and What It Means

Domestic cats are descendants of the African wildcat, and many of the characteristic behaviors of these ancestors are still exhibited by cats today. An understanding of the origin and purpose of such behaviors can help cat owners appreciate their feline companions more fully and lead to an enhanced human-animal relationship.




Social Behavior

Once thought to be a social animals, it is now recognized that domestic cats can form complex social groupings. Studies have repeatedly shown that they form territories or ranges in which they live and defend these from intruders. In stable situations, cat territories can overlap without overt antagonistic interactions.

Communication

The cat has three primary methods of communication: vocal, visual and olfactory. Vocal communication involves a variety of sounds that convey different messages. Visual communication involves the body posture and facial expressions. For example, the position of the ears, hair and tail can offer important information about the emotional state of the cat. Olfactory communication plays a very important role in communication. The deposition of scents via facial marking, anal secretions and urine marking is an important communication tool for the feline.

Sexual Behavior

Female cats are seasonally polyestrus, with peaks in the Northern Hemisphere occurring from January to March and again from May to June. If they are not bred, estrus will last about 10 days and the female will cycle every three weeks for several months. During estrus, the female will engage in increased activity, vocalizations and marking with urine and other glandular secretions. Crouching with rear end elevated and rolling are common body postures that a female may exhibit during estrus.

Eating Behavior

In the wild, the cat developed as a solitary hunter that targeted various small prey. This led to an eating pattern of multiple small meals with considerable variety in the diet. Many domesticated cats continue this pattern and exhibit a preference for a variety of foods.

Bathroom Behavior

Kittens start to eliminate independently at about 4 weeks of age. They instinctively prefer to eliminate in fine particulate material with good drainage. Most cats will investigate a potential spot, dig a hole and pass urine or feces in the squatting position. Cats usually will then cover the elimination.

Sleeping Patterns

Although cats have traditionally been described as nocturnal creatures, they are actually crepuscular by nature, which means that they are more active in the twilight and evening hours. The average adult cat spends 10 hours per day sleeping and an additional five hours resting.

Emergency Kit For Your Pet

Of course, the best way to handle emergency situations is to avoid them by keeping your pet safe and healthy. However, in spite of your best efforts, accidents can happen. Here are some tips to consider before you need to use them.

Pet First Aid Kit

Always keep within reach the phone numbers for your veterinarian, emergency clinic, poison control center, etc. Keep a copy of your pet's health records where you can easily find them. You may also want to invest in a book that covers first aid procedures. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations. For example, the ASPCA's Complete Dog Care Manual and Complete Cat Care Manual have excellent information on first aid principles, as well as what to do in case of traffic injury. The book also contains useful information on how to perform artificial respiration and what steps to follow in case of poisoning, burns, insect bites, etc.

Have a pet carrier so you can safely transport your pet to an emergency clinic or veterinary hospital. Remember: An injured or ill pet may not act like its normal, sweet-tempered self. Handle the pet with care so you don't get bitten or scratched and need emergency treatment yourself!

Keep an emergency kit on hand with such items as:

• Bandages

• Adhesive tape

• Cotton

• Antiseptic cream

• Sterile dressings

• Gauze

• Thermometer

• Tweezers

• Scissors

• Blanket

5 Common Litter Box Mistakes to Avoid

If your cat is like most, he or she probably possesses rigid standards when it comes to its private bathroom quarters. Cleaning needs to be routine, the location needs to be ‘purr-fect,’ and the litter better be up to par. To ensure your cat utilizes its litter box regularly and properly, avoid these five common mistakes:

1. The Wrong Box – Most cats prefer more space rather than barely enough. Your cat should be able to stand and sit to do his or her business without being crowded or hanging over any edges. Sidewalls should be of a height your cat can manage stepping over and a hooded litter box can create a dark, odor-trapped environment your cat may not enjoy.

2. The Wrong Spot – Most cats don’t require a litter box overlooking a stream or active backyard birdfeeder, but the location of their bathroom does matter. The spot should be quiet, private, uninterrupted and not too far away from their regular hangout if there is only one in your large home.

3. The Wrong Litter – Your cat probably won’t hassle you to buy the brand it saw on a television commercial, but they often have preferences when it comes to heavily perfumed litters or those with different textures. Their sensitive noses may be driven away by scents designed to suit human tastes rather than their own.



4. Too Dirty – Felines are cleanly creatures and don’t enjoy reusing dirty litter. Boxes should be scooped at least once daily and cleaned thoroughly at least once a week.

5. Too Few – If you have multiple cats, you should maintain a litter box for each – and maybe even one extra. Some cats will agree to sharing, but this is the exception rather than the rule. Some cats even require two boxes, one for each separate duty.

Becoming familiar with your cat’s or cats’ unique litter box preferences will make for a more adjusted, happy and healthy pet. Should your cat ever begin to start urinating or defecating outside of its litter box for unknown reasons, it could be the result of a behavior or health concern. A consultation with your veterinarian will help quickly rule out one or the other.