Run Oskee, Run!

Run Oskee, Run!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Turkey Time!!

Gobble Gobble!!!

November can be such a pretty time of year and is the kick off to the season of good food and family fun. It can also be a time where we see an increase in emergencies with our furry little friends. Most of the time an emergency arises when the pet eats something they are not use to or should be eating. The following are some tips on how to keep your furry family member out of the ER this holiday season.

Number 1: Make No Bones About It!!
Weather you have ham, beef or the all famous Thanksgiving Trukey for dinner, meat bones can cause serious illness to your pet. These bones, raw or cooked, can splinter and cause damage to the stomach and intestines. Make sure all bones are secured in the treat where your pet cannot get into them!
Number 2: Pet's Are Not for Stuffing!
While they will give you those cute puppy dog eyes, stay away from feeding your pet food they are not use to. Too many fatty, unfamiliar, seasoned foods can cause many illnesses in your pet like pancreatitis, gastritis and/or enteritis. The illnesses can cause your pet to experience vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite and they can become dehydrated. These illnesses are painful and can be fatal.
Number 3: Fudge, Cakes, and Pies...Oh My!
Many desserts during the holidays are made with ingredients that may be toxic to your pet. These ingredients can include Chocolate and raisins. Be sure to keep all desserts out of reach from your pet.
Number 4: The nose will get the best of them!
Speaking from experience, be sure to keep the trash secured and closed away from your pet. Even if they are not usually dumpster divers, the yummy smells and new foods can draw them into the trash., not only making a mess in the middle of dinner but also exposing them to those unwanted foods described above! (believe me, I've been there!)   
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Doc E

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cats, Claws and Controversy!

Traditionally,an onychectomy, or declawing  has been a standard among feline owners wanting to keep their kitties inside. It is thought by a lot of our feline pet parents that declawing is just something you do, like spaying or vaccinating. However, in the veterinary and animal welfare world there is much more controversy than some might know. There are groups and even countries that are strongly against declawing and even have laws against such a practice. Myself and my colleagues try to follow the guidelines set forth by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) as close as we can. Below are the links to each website for information. 

For the AVMA go to

For the AAFP go to

Pro declawers usually do so to avoid the destruction of furniture or carpet. There also may be medical reasons, like the owner is immuno-compromised or older and cat scratches could cause wounds and infections they may have difficulty healing from. Other owners are not fully aware of the procedure and the complications and healing time that goes along with it. 

People who are against declawing say that cats are born with claws so they should keep them. Technically the surgery is not difficult to perform but complications can occur with declawing. When declawing you actually remove the first bone of each digit. Its like cutting off the tip of your finger. There are several different techniques used and different veterinarians prefer different techniques. Personally, I like to declaw by disarticulating the bones using a laser. The surgical laser helps to prevent severe bleeding. I then use tissue glue to close the incision and bandage the feet. Bandages are removed the next day. All declaw cats are sent home wearing an e-collar and a special litter called Yesterday's News that will not stick to their feet. Recovery from declawing can take weeks to months. Cats put most of their weight on their paw pads. When declawing it can be difficult to avoid cutting the paw pads which can cause your cat pain for months! Infection is also a concern when declawing along with bleeding and prolonged incision healing. If you are considering declawing you should talk with your veterinarian about which method they are going to use and what complications you should expect. 

Some ways to avoid declawing are by training your cat the use a scratching post. I would have a tall vertical and horizontal scratching post available for your cat to use. If making one yourself try to avoid materials that are already in your house. For example do not use extra carpet you have laying around that is the same carpet in your living room. Using treats and cat nip on and around the scratching posts can be helpful in training your cat to use them. If your cat is clawing at furniture or the carpet you must be careful when disciplining them. Cats will associate the discipline with you and not the unwanted behavior. They will learn to avoid you when sitting on the couch or scratching the carpet but it will not actually fix the behavior. They will even learn to scratch only when you are not around. 

An example of a cat post that has different heights of vertical posts and horizontal posts.

There are also silicone nail covers (see picture below) that can be glued over you cat's nails. I have seen these used rarely, not because they are ineffective but because of maintenance. They must be reapplied almost monthly as they do wear off, but they sure do look cute! ;-) 

Some animal behaviorist have started recommending Feliway to prevent cats from scratching in unwanted places. Feliway is a pheromone that can be sprayed on furniture. The idea behind this is that cats will not mark, or want to scratch where previous cats have been.  Cats will smell the pheromone (Feliway) and ideally would not want to scratch in that area. I have not personally used Feliway in that way but I can see the logic behind it and would be willing to try this method.

This article is meant to educate cat owners on the surgical procedure of declawing, why there is controversy and ways you can avoid declawing. At Greenhaven Animal Clinic and Best Friends Animal Hospital we do declaw but we do try and have these conversations with owners as well. When I have an owner come in with a kitten I try to educate them on both sides of declawing. Scratching for cats is a natural behavior and they instinctively will try to sharpen their claws. I try to work with owners and help them find ways around declawing. This procedure, like any surgery, is painful and will cause your kitty discomfort. With that said, I personally, would never want a cat to be relinquished or worse, euthanized, just because it has claws. Sometimes declawing is necessary and sometimes it is not. You need to have these conversations with you veterinarian to know what is best for your furry family member and you. 

If you have any questions or further concerns please do not hesitate to ask!

Thanks for reading!
Doc E

Click here to visit Greenhaven's
and Best Friend's Website!