Cat Health and Wellness: The Cornerstone of a Happy Life

Cat health is an important part of cat veterinary careCats are amazing creatures. They are also, however, masters at hiding signs of pain or discomfort. This means we may not know something is wrong until it’s too late, which is why we want to take a moment to focus on cat health and wellness.

Survival Instincts

In the wild, cats who show weakness or disease are targets for predators, so it’s no surprise that they’ve developed a survival instinct to hide their pain. This means the best way to ensure your kitty is healthy (even if they seem ok) is with regularly scheduled veterinary exams.  

The Importance of Wellness Visits

The purpose of wellness exams (or preventive care exams) is to make sure your cat is in good health and to prevent problems from developing later on. Cats age much faster than humans, so it’s important that they be seen at least once a year. Young pets, senior pets, and those with chronic conditions should be seen more frequently. Continue…

5 Whys of Pet Wellness Visits

  • Animals mask illness.

    • Domesticated, well maybe but first and foremost your dog, cat, rabbit, bird etc… is still an animal and the number one rule in the animal kingdom is that the critter that shows weakness gets eaten first. Even if fluffy lives on the couch that fact is hardwired into his/her brain.

    • Wellness visits are our chance to circumvent to the “no talk rule.” They give us the information we need to catch brewing illnesses before they become major problems.

  • Preventative care costs much less than sick care.

    • Don’t like the cost of vaccines? Paying for the cost of treating Parvo, pneumonia or heartworm disease, far outweigh the cost of prevention.

    • Simple economics. Prevention is always less costly than treatment plus your pet doesn’t suffer damage to the organs that many diseases cause.

  • Your pet will live longer.

    • Good preventative care that catches problems early extends lifespan.

    • Good dental care adds even more.

  • Some of the things we prevent can make you sick too.

    • Most of us let our pets sleep with us so it’s a good idea to make sure they are healthy and parasite free.

  • It’s just the right thing to do.

    • Come on! Pets give us so much unconditional love, protection and service. Let’s do what we can to give them a long and healthy life in return.

Fit as a Fiddle: Why Pet Wellness Matters

Woman veterinarian listens dachshundThere are various obstacles that prevent owners from bringing their pets in for regular wellness visits. Some have financial concerns; others only schedule an appointment when their pets are sick or injured. And let’s not forget how resistant some felines can be to any travel at all.

However, there are just as many compelling reasons (if not more) to commit to routine pet wellness. Tending to your pet’s health goes far beyond saving money on costly emergency visits; you could actually end up extending the life of  your furry pal. Continue…

This Is Why Your Cat Has Greasy Fur

The look and feel of a healthy cat’s fur coat is a thing of beauty. It should be soft, shiny, and smooth. After all, they work hard to get the best results, spending up to half of their waking life self-grooming. But if your cat has greasy fur, it could signal underlying problems that should be addressed right away.

Importance of Cat Grooming

Cats self-groom to keep themselves clean but the practice also maintains a healthy body temperature and supports good circulation. With their rough tongues and top-notch flexibility, cats keep their entire coats extremely tidy by evenly distributing the skin’s natural oils. Not only does grooming keep the coat free of mats, parasites, and allergens, but provides an outlet when they are stressed out or anxious.

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Adopt a Senior Pet: Lifelong Friends

An aging black and white dog smiles in the sunshine

Senior pets end up in animal shelters for many reasons, usually having to do with some unexpected life change. But whether due to military deployment, divorce, death of an owner, or a move, millions of senior pets wait at shelters for their forever homes.

Sure, puppies and kittens are cute, but adopting a senior pet has its own advantages. Senior pets are usually house trained, calmer than their younger counterparts, and have plenty of love to give. Since November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, we could think of no better time to highlight these sweet seniors! 

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What to Expect When a Pet Goes Blind

A close-up of a blind brindle dog

Blindness is not uncommon in cats and especially in dogs. Blindness can occur rapidly, as with an injury, or over time when a pet develops macular degeneration. Since, like us, sight is a necessity for navigating the world, when a pet goes blind it can be frightening and can create several situations that will need to be changed in order for them to cope.

The team at Animal Family Veterinary Care wants to explain why some pets go blind, what you can do about it, and how to help a blind pet thrive despite their obstacles.

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Overweight Pet? The Sneaky Reasons Your Pet Isn’t Losing Weight

For pets and people alike, it’s easier to keep the weight off than to lose it. An overweight pet with even a few extra pounds can experience disastrous consequences to their long term health and wellness. However, weight-loss diets can be very difficult to maintain – especially once behavioral patterns are established to overeat, sneak treats, and munch on snacks throughout the day.  

The Heart of the Matter

The perils of pet obesity are becoming more commonly understood. Despite warnings of developing associated diseases (such as osetoarthritis, diabetes, cancer) and early mortality, a shockingly high number of pets are considered overweight or obese, especially seniors.

The Breakdown

Weight gain occurs when an individual consumes too many calories with insufficient opportunities to burn them off. Many pets live fairly sedentary lives and eat energy-dense food. Lots of naps combined with even a normal amount of food plus regular treats can be so much more damaging than you think.

An overweight pet simply needs less food and more exercise, right? It’s not always as easy as that.

The Measuring Cup

Overfeeding is the most obvious reason for added weight, but certain medical conditions like Cushing’s syndrome or hypothyroidism can affect a pet’s metabolism. Before you make changes to  your pet’s diet, we recommend ruling out what could be going on beneath the surface. 

Additionally, a wellness exam is helpful in discerning whether your pet is up for rigorous exercise from now on.

Trying to Lose Weight

There could be many other explanations behind why an overweight pet isn’t losing weight, or isn’t losing it fast enough. 

The ideal place to start is with an understanding of the Body Condition Score (BCS). Taking into account your pet’s species, breed, age and lifestyle we can determine their weight and exercise plan, all in order for them to achieve the optimal score on the BCS. 

A Greater Challenge

Once you know how much your pet should ideally weigh, you can determine their daily intake of food, snacks, treats, supplements, and people food. Take a long look at the ingredients lists on food labels, and call us with any questions

An overweight pet might benefit from shaving about 25-40% of their previous calorie count, but because they depend on critical vitamins and nutrients, cutting calories from their meals isn’t necessarily a healthy alternative. Instead, reduce the amount of extra calories they receive from snacks and treats. 

The Rx Solution

Prescription diets can help to ensure an overweight pet gets all the nutrition they need, without extra calories. We are happy to discuss viable options for your pet’s weight and lifestyle. 

While dieting, we recommend weighing your pet every 2-4 weeks and noting any changes on the BCS. It’s reasonable to aim for losing 1-2% of body weight every week. That being said, it can take over a month for pet owners to see any changes. Please let us know if no changes to weight have occurred after 4-6 weeks. 

Still Struggling

While restricting unnecessary calories is the foundation for weight loss, the process can be supported by increased exercise. Preserving muscle mass and increasing metabolism are just two benefits of exercising to lose weight.

Other options may involve:

  • Food puzzles
  • Slow feeders
  • Fresh veggies and fruits (to help your pet feel full during meals)
  • Ensuring that all family or household members are adhering to the dietary restrictions (and always use the same exact measuring cup!)
  • Camp Canine can keep your pup distracted from a rumbling tummy and will engage them in calorie-burning activities 

Dedication to an Overweight Pet

A few extra pounds put on over the course of many months can really sneak up on pet owners. Surely, preventing extra weight gain is the best option, but with daily discipline and dedication, an overweight pet can definitely achieve their optimal weight.

As always, if we can assist you with questions, please let us know at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center.

Should You Cuddle with Your Pet? The Answer May Surprise You

Whether they’re logical, reasonable, or purely indulgent, the reasons people choose to sleep with their pets vary considerably. Approximately 60% of American households own a pet, and roughly half of them are allowed to sleep alongside their people. In fact, many owners insist on co-sleeping. Pets and people naturally enjoy – and benefit from – close contact. But are there reasons why you shouldn’t cuddle with your pet?

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Animal Family Veterinary Care Center’s Top Pet Care Blogs of 2018

pet health

The new year is the perfect time to take stock of our blessings and reflect on our accomplishments. At this time of year, we can’t help but feel grateful for all our patients and clients, and think back with fondness to all the Davenport pets that we’ve helped.

We’re also thinking about how to make an even better year to come for ourselves, our families, and our pets. With that in mind, we’re taking a look back at our monthly pet care blogs to learn which posts you found most entertaining and educational, and we’ve compiled them for you here. Enjoy!

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Make Veterinary Visits Less Stressful for Your Cat

Feline veterinary visits are important for cat health

Did you know that cats actually out number dogs as pets in the U.S.? Yet, in spite of their greater numbers, we see far fewer felines at the clinic than we do dogs.

Traditionally, cats don’t like coming to the vet. They don’t like the carrier, the car ride, or the office visit. The great news is, there is something we can do to make things better. Cats can learn to tolerate, dare we say even enjoy, veterinary visits if we just take the time make things a little more cat friendly.

Planning for Feline Veterinary Visits Ahead of Time

As an owner, you can help decrease your cat’s stress by taking the time to get them used to the experiences associated with veterinary visits ahead of time. We have included a list below of some cat-friendly recommendations based on information provided by the International Society of Feline Medicine and American Association of Feline Practitioners.

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