poster to promo Feliway friends with message " Are your cats friends or foes"

Helping Cats Get Along with Feliway Friends

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Ceva Animal Health has is introducing a new product called “Feliway Friends” which helps to reduce tension and conflict between cats.

Nursing mother cats naturally product a cat appeasing pheromone to help their kittens feel safe and secure and to create a harmonious bond between them.

Feliway Friends is a synthetic copy of this appeasing pheromone and helps promote harmony in multiple cat homes by reducing tension and conflict.

Behaviours associated with cat tension and conflict:

Blocking access to an area, staring, chasing, fighting, hiding from other cats, and hissing/growling.

Feliway Friends can be used as a stand alone response to these issues, or can be used in conjunction with Feliway Classic (for reassuring cats and controlling unwanted behaviour).

Thank you to for their video!

Do not hesitate to contact Beattie Pet Hospital of Hamilton with further questions!  Feliway Friends will be available in the New Year!



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Obesity has become an extremely important health problem in the Western world, not just for humans but for dogs and cats as well. Obesity in pets is associated with joint problems, diabetes mellitus, respiratory compromise, and decreased life span; recent estimations suggest that up to 35 percent of dogs and cats in the U.S. suffer from obesity. 

Cat and Dog Suffering from Obesity

Why Obesity is Bad 

A common justification for over-feeding treats is that a pet deserves a higher quality of life as a trade off for longevity. While this might on some level makes sense (after all, a pet munching on a treat is certainly getting a great deal of satisfaction from doing so), the other consequences do not make for higher life quality in the big picture. Here are some of problems that obese animals must contend with while they are not enjoying their treats and table scraps. 

Arthritis The over-weight animal has extra unneeded stress on joints, including the discs of the vertebrae. This extra stress leads to the progression of joint degeneration and creates more pain. Weight management alone decreases and can even eliminate the need for arthritis medications. The problem is compounded as joint pain leads to poorer mobility, which in turn leads to greater obesity.

Joints in Dogs Affected by Arthritis



Arthirtis in Joints of Dogs and Cats

feline_asthma_-_figure_4Respiratory Compromise The obese pet has a good inch or two of fat forming a constricting jacket around the chest. This makes the pet less able to take deep breaths as more work is required to move the respiratory muscles. Areas of the lung cannot fully inflate, so coughing results. The pet also overheats more easily. Many cases of tracheal collapse can be managed with only weight loss.



Diabetes Mellitus Extra body fat leads to insulin resistance in cats just as it does in humans. In fact, obese cats havebeen found to have a 50% decrease in insulin sensitivity. Weight management is especially important in decreasing a cats risk for the development of diabetes mellitus.

Hepatic Lipidosis When an overweight cat goes off food or partially off food because of illness or psychological stress, body fat is mobilized to provide calories. Unfortunately, the cats liver was not designed to process a large amount of body fat. The liver becomes infiltrated with fat and then fails. A stress that might have been relatively minor, such as a cold, becomes a life-threatening disaster.   

Reduced Life Span A study of age-matched Labrador retrievers found that dogs kept on the slender side of normal lived a median of 2.5 years longer than their overweight counterparts.    

Unwillingness to Accept Therapeutic Diets If the pet should develop a condition where a therapeutic diet is of great benefit, the pet that has been maintained primarily on a diet of table scraps may be unwilling to accept commercial pet food of any kind, much less a food modified to be beneficial for a specific disease process. This unwillingness will hamper treatment.    

Increased Surgical/Anesthetic Risk Obesity poses an extra anesthetic risk because drug dosing becomes less accurate. (It is hard to estimate a patients lean body mass for drug dosing if it is encased in a fat suit.) Furthermore, anesthesia is inherently suppressive to respiration and adding a constrictive jacket of fat only serves to make proper air exchange more challenging. And still further, surgery in the abdomen is hampered by the slippery nature of the extra fat as well as difficulty visualizing all the normal structures through the copious fat deposits. One never knows when a pet will require an emergency surgery (to say nothing of regular teeth cleanings).

So is the enjoyment of all those extra treats really worth it? 

How did my Pet get so Fat without Eating that much?  You might think weight management might be easier for a pet than it is for a human. After all, the pet relies completely on someone else for feeding and exercise so it should follow that if the humans in control can regulate feeding and exercise, the pet should lose weight. It seems like this would be true but, as with humans, there is tremendous individuality with how different pets store the food they have eaten. Beyond this, sometimes it is hard to know what a pet is eating or the owner may not have a good sense for how much should be fed. Here are some factors involved: 

A cup of food depends on the cup When food packages refer to a certain number of cups of kibble being appropriate for a certain body weight, they are referring to an actual measuring cup. This may seem obvious but many mugs, coffee cups, and other scooping cups may not be equal to a cup measure. If you do not have a cup measure, you can often get one from your veterinarians office as most manufacturers of reducing diets for pets provide free cup measures.  

The package guidelines are just guidelines Many packages of food include on their label some sort of feeding schedule that indicates how much food should be fed to a pet of a certain weight. This information is also available on most pet food web sites as well. The problem is that each pet is an individual and just as one person weighing 150 lbs can be obese and another person of the same weight may be skinny, the same is true of pets. These guidelines are meant as a starting point only. If your pet is too fat on the recommended feeding schedule, then you should reduce the amount of food or change to a diet that is higher in fiber so that a satisfying volume of food can still be eaten without adding calories.  

Genetics Some animals simply have the genes that predispose them to obesity. Dog breeds with genetic tendencies towards obesity include the: Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Beagle, Shetland Sheepdog, Boxer, Cairn Terrier, Basset Hound, Cairn Terrier, and Labrador Retriever.

Children at home It is almost impossible to keep children from providing extra treats to their dog. This may include snacks spilled during play (pets have no five-second rule) or purposely feeding the pet unwanted food under the dining table. Similarly, pets that are allowed to roam (usually cats) often find food left out by neighbors, either to purposely feed their own pets or strays, or as unsecured trash. It is almost impossible to control the diet of an outdoor cat.    

Slow metabolism Some pets do not burn calories efficiently; they simply have a slow metabolism. This might be genetic as mentioned or it might be the result of a disease such as hypothyroidism or Cushings disease. Testing for health problems such as these is helpful to get the best treatment for resolution of the obesity. It seems like increasing exercise and eating a healthier diet would be easy to accomplish for a pet but it generally does not turn out that way.    

Underestimation of the power of treats Many people express their affection for the pet by providing regular treats, and the pet happily obliges by begging or even performing cute behaviors. For some people, feeding treats to the pet constitutes a major part of the human-animal bond and they do not wish to give it up or reduce it. Pet treats are often high in calories, though, and four or five treats readily converts into an extra meals worth of added fat. Free feeding of dry food encourages the pet to snack as well; meal feeding represents better calorie control.    

Neutering Sterilizing a pet is good for public health (fewer strays means fewer dog bites, less public resources needed for animal shelters etc.), good for a better house pet (less urine marking, tendency to fight or roam), no unwanted litters, reduced risk of many diseases, etc. The change in the hormonal picture, though, creates a tendency to form more fat cells (creating increased fat storage capacity especially in female cats), and typically slows metabolism.  

Sometimes it is hard to recognize that your pet is overweight as the weight gain has come on gradually or it is hard to actually accept that your pet is more than just a little chubby and is now fully obese. To assist in this evaluation, body condition scoring has been developed and is fairly easy to accomplish. There are two scoring systems: a five-point system (where three out of five is considered optimal) and a nine-point system where four to five out of nine is considered optimal).  To evaluate your pet, feel for a small amount of padding over the ribs. It should be possible to feel the ribs and there should be a small tuck in the belly where the hind legs meet the body.  

Body Condition Score    

What can be done: Diet and Exercise 

This sounds simple but in fact when one simply tries to cut back on food, it just does not seem to work. As with humans, a more formal approach seems to work best. This means feeding a prescription diet made for weight loss (typically lite or less active diets are meant to prevent weight gain, not actually cause weight loss), feeding a measured amount, and coming in for regular weigh-ins at the vets office. 

This means:   There must be control over what the obese pet eats. Thats easy enough if there is only one pet and roaming is not allowed, but trickier if there is more than one pet in the home. Use your ingenuity to feed the pets separately.  Feed in meals. Leaving food out encourages snacking. Feeding in meals makes it easier to feed multiple pets different foods or different amounts of food.  Commit to regular weigh ins. Know what the goal weight is and how long it should take to reach this goal/or how to tell if the pet is on target. It is important not to try to go too fast. If the weight loss is not on track, sometimes it is necessary to feed more rather than less. Your veterinarian can contact the clinical nutritionists at the pet food company so as to make the best recommendations.  Consider interactive toys that can be used when you are not home or where your own participation is minimal.  

Be sure to rule out health issues that might specifically cause obesity as an initial step in obesity management. 


Nutrigenomics is the study of how food influences the expression of genes and how genes influence the disposition of nutrients. This field is still in its infancy but is rapidly developing such that one day nutritional programs can be designed based on one’s own individual genetic composition. We all have seen how different people metabolize the same food in completely different ways and how changing to a similar diet can have varying effects among individuals. There is currently only one commercial diet on the market that uses principles of nutrigenomics to activate genes of fat-burning and create a fat burning metabolism and that only available through veterinary clinics. This food system employs dry food, canned food, and treats in any combination but in amounts determined by the pet’s initial body composition and calculated healthy weight. This approach has not been found to be more effective with weight loss over the more traditional high fiber diets but at the end of the program when the desired weight had been achieved, the animals on the nutrigenomic diet had been metabolically altered to reduce storage of consumed fat. Pets on traditional weight loss plans were not metabolically altered and were still “fat storers” and potentially ready to regain the fat stores they had worked so hard to lose. This food is for sale only through veterinarians so if you are interested in this concept, talk to your veterinarian.  

For more specific information, consult your veterinarian, and see [ ] PetFit and [ ] Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. 

Copyright 2014 – 2016 by the Veterinary Information Network, Inc. All rights reserved.

Urinary Blockage – Emergency!!!

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Recognizing the Emergency 

We have already described the signs of feline idiopathic cystitis (F.I.C.) as straining to urinate, bloody urine etc. If the cat is a male, he is at risk for an especially life-threatening complication of this syndrome: the urinary blockage. 

Normal Positioning and Positioning for Straining

Normal Positioning and Positioning for Straining

Mucus, crystals and even tiny bladder stones can clump together to form a plug in the narrow male cat urethra. The opening is so small that it does not take a lot to completely or even partially obstruct urine flow. Only a few drops of urine are produced or sometimes no urine at all is produced. 

It is hard to tell when a cat is blocked as the inflammation, urgency, and non-productive straining also accompany cystitis whether or not there is a blockage. The easiest way to tell is by feeling in the belly for a distended bladder. It is often the size of a peach and if there is an obstruction the bladder will be about as hard and firm as a peach. (Normal bladders are usually soft like partly filled water balloons, and non-obstructed inflamed bladders are usually very small or empty). Still, while this size and texture difference is obvious to the veterinarian, most pet owners are not able to feel for the bladder correctly. If there is any question about whether a male cat is blocked, he should be taken to the vet for evaluation as soon as possible. 

If the blockage persists for longer than 24 hours, urinary toxins will have started to build up in the system.  DO NOT PUT OFF HAVING THE CAT CHECKED! 

Confirmation and Assessment 

The veterinarian will feel the bladder in the abdomen and attempt to express urine. Sometimes gentle pressure will actually expel the obstruction but usually the cat will require more aggressive means of relief. The blocked cat will be assessed for dehydration and toxin build up. The urinary toxins that build up in obstructions commonly cause vomiting, nausea, and appetite loss. They can also cause life-threatening heart rhythm disturbances. Your cat is assessed for all these complications as they will need to be addressed. 

A partial blockage can be just as serious as a complete blockage. Treatment is usually the same.  If the blockage persists 3 to 6 days, the toxin build up will result in death. 

Initial Treatment  

Cat Xray

The single most important thing for the obstructed cat is to have the blockage removed. This is done by placing a urinary catheter through the urethral opening and either through the obstruction itself, or using pulses of flushing solution to move the plug back into the bladder where it can be dissolved. This procedure is often painful and sedation will be needed. Some cats are unblocked with great difficulty only. Some cats cannot be unblocked and must have an emergency perineal urethrostomy to re-establish urine flow. 

Fortunately, most cats are successfully unblocked. The urinary catheter is sewn in place and will stay in place for a couple of days. Often a urinary collection bag is attached to the catheter so that urine production can be measured. Sometimes, the bladder is filled with sterile fluid and flushed out to remove crystals, inflammatory debris, and blood. 

When the blocked cat has filled his bladder to capacity, his kidneys stop making urine as there is nowhere for it to go. Once urine flow returns, the kidneys quickly begin to correct the metabolic disasters that have been taking place. Often an extremely sick blocked cat can be snatched literally from the jaws of death by having proper fluid support and by re-establishing urine production. It is amazing how efficient the working kidneys can be in restoring the body’s balance; still, it is important to realize that this is a serious condition and not every cat can be saved. 

Occasionally a cat is brought in soon after blocking and achieves an excellent urinary stream immediately after unblocking. These cats may be able to proceed with treatment without having to spend a few days in the hospital or without having to have the catheter sewn into place. Most blocked cats do not fit into this category but is important to realize that some cats are able to avoid more aggressive treatment. 

What Happens during Hospitalization? 

Hospitalized Kitty

The kidneys do most of the work during the recovery phase. The cat must wear a type of collar that prevents biting at or removing the crucial urinary catheter. Urine production is monitored closely as after the obstruction is relieved often dramatic urine volumes are produced. (This is called post obstructive diuresis and if the cat is not drinking on his own, it is crucial that his fluid therapy matches the volumes produced as urine. If they do not, he will dehydrate.) Fluid therapy is given either intravenously or under the skin, depending on the degree of support needed by the cat. Medications are given to relieve pain and relax the irritated urethra. 

After a couple of days of catheterization, the catheter is removed and the patient is observed for re-blockage. He will not be allowed to go home until his urine stream seems strong and relatively easy. Some cats will leak urine at this point as it is painful for them to engage in normal pushing; this is generally a temporary problem. Once he seems to be urinating reliably on his own, he will be released for home care. 

What to Watch for at Home after Discharge from the Hospital 

In an ideal world, owners can learn how to feel the abdomen for a firm obstructed bladder. This is hard to teach at discharge mostly because at this point, the cat is pretty sore. There will usually be medications and dietary recommendations to go home with the cat.  It is crucial to realize that the cat is at risk for re-blocking for a good week or two from the time of discharge.  

This is because the irritation syndrome that led to blocking in the first place is still continuing and as long as the episode continues, blocking is a possibility. 

At home, the same straining and possibly bloody urine will still be produced. It is important for the owner to be aware of urine volume being produced and of bladder size, if possible. Any loss of appetite or vomiting should be reported to the veterinarian at once. If there is any concern about reblocking, the veterinarian can determine fairly easily if the cat has re-blocked. 

Occasionally the bladder over-stretches while it is blocked and is permanently damaged. Such cats require medication to help them contract and empty their bladders normally. This is unusual but one should be aware of the possibility. 

The Perineal Urethrostomy Urinary blockage is almost exclusively a problem reserved for males. This is because the female urethra is shorter and broader and thus far more difficult to obstruct. When urinary blockage becomes recurrent in a male cat, it becomes time to consider surgical reconstruction of the genitalia to create a more female-like opening. This surgery is called the perineal urethrostomy or PU for short. Basically, the penis is removed and a new urinary opening is made. 

Before considering this surgery, here are some considerations: This surgery is done to prevent obstruction of the urinary tract. It does not prevent feline idiopathic cystitis. This means the cat is likely to continue to experience recurring bloody urine, straining etc. He just will not be able to block and complicate the situation.  Cats with perineal urethrostomies are predisposed to bladder infections and infection-related bladder stones. The University of Minnesota currently recommends that male cats with perineal urethrostomies have regular periodic urine cultures even if they are asymptomatic. This basically means that your cat should go to the vet to be tested 3 or 4 times a year for urine cultures.  

Copyright 2010 – 2016 by the Veterinary Information Network, Inc. All rights reserved.

Separation Anxiety

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Helpful Idea’s for those that have a fur baby with Separation Anxiety:

Often the dog begins the anxiety display when he perceives cues that the owner is about to leave (i.e., the owner puts on cologne for work, gets the car keys, takes a shower, makes coffee etc.).  Separation anxiety problems can be precipitated by moving to a new home, loss of another pet in the home, or by prolonged separation from the owner. Prior to these events, the dog may have shown no separation anxiety whatsoever. Pets owned by single owners are 2.5 times as likely to have signs of separation anxiety as are pets living with more than one person. Senior pets are predisposed to separation anxiety as they develop cognitive changes associated with aging.  

Separation Anxiety vs. Boredom 

It seems intuitively obvious that boredom and anxiety are opposite mental states but when you consider that dogs cannot talk, it becomes easier to see how you might misinterpret a dog’s behavior. You may come home to find the front door scratched up beyond recognition or the sofa reduced to a pile of stuffing. Was he reacting to his fear of being alone? Was he bored and looking for fun? Was he frustrated because he did not know when to expect his owner to be home? Some dogs exhibit what has been called barrier frustration, in which they become destructive and attempt escape simply in response to being confined. 

Separation anxiety is about two things: Separation and anxiety (or fear). Some clues that the problem is separation anxiety and not something else are:   The behavior occurs only when the pet is left alone or anticipates being left alone. (The dog who is destructive for fun may well be destructive when he is not left alone.)  The pet is hyper attached to the owner. The hyper attached pet follows the owner from room to room and/or constantly wants to be held. Many people enjoy being loved by a dog to this extent, but it is important to realize when some independence must be learned.  Destruction is oriented against barriers such as doors (especially the door where the owner was last seen by the pet).  Vocalization during the episode tends to be high pitched and in repeated yips. (This is a regression to a young puppy’s distress call in the time of separation from its mother.)  The episode begins in the first 30 minutes from the time the owner leaves.  

Not every one of these signs must be fulfilled for the diagnosis of separation anxiety to be made but the point is that an effort should be made to determine if the dog is actually showing separation anxiety or if there is some other motivation at work. 


Living with a destructive animal is an on-going nightmare. You never know what disaster will be waiting on the other side of the front door and the simple luxury of finding your things where you left them becomes an impossible dream. It would be wonderful if you could simply give the dog a pill and solve the problem; unfortunately, training is the primary focus of solving separation anxiety and medication is an adjunct. Often the owner needs as much training as the dog. 

Step One: Discourage Hyper attachment 

Dogs will often solicit attention from their owners. Resist the temptation of petting the dog with separation anxiety when approached for play or contact. Be aloof when greeted upon arriving home. Instead the human should be the initiator of contact with the dog. 

Do not allow the dog to settle down in close proximity (within one yard) of where the owner is settling down. Arrange objects on the bed or sofa or on the floor so that the dog must settle at a greater distance. If possible, verbally reward the dog for settling at a distance (though take care as continued attention may be seen by the dog as an invitation to approach which is not what we want.) If the dog normally sleeps on the owner’s bed, provide the dog with his own bed. You may need to start with the dog bed at the foot of the human bed before ultimately the dog bed is moved to the floor or even outside the room. 

If there are other people in the home besides the primary dog caretaker, try to divide the care giving among the different people so that the dog is not as dependent on one person. 

Encourage independent play by using interactive toys that do not require human participation (like a Kong toy containing a food reward). 

Step Two: Relaxation During Separation 

It is also important to create a positive environment while you are gone. There are several ways to achieve this. 

Provide a special treat (food, toy or both) only available when the pet is left alone. Do not forget to remove the item when you return home. 

The D.A.P. (dog appeasement pheromone) diffuser is a plug-in scent-releasing device. The material released is a genetically engineered pheromone normally secreted by mother dogs to their puppies as a message telling them to relax and that everything is all right. The pheromone is odorless to humans. A pump spray is also available but the diffuser continuously releases its message to hopefully keep the anxious dog calm. More recently, a D.A.P. pheromone collar has become available so that the dog simply carries the biochemical message around with him. 

Leave the TV or radio on. The dog will not be fooled into thinking that someone is home; the point is to recreate a sense of cozy relaxation. Most people at home relax while listening to the radio or watching TV and the dog often sits in the room relaxed, too. The sound of the broadcast becomes a classically conditioned cue to the dog and may be helpful in creating a sense of comfort. 

Step Three: Desensitization to Separation 

Dogs readily learn the cues that indicate that the owner will be leaving the house soon. It is helpful to uncouple these cues from the actual leaving. At random times, the owner can go through some of the rituals of leaving: put on cologne, shower, wear work clothes, jingle the car keys, even go outside and lock the door – but then come in again. This helps the dog to remain relaxed when he hears or sees these cues at the times when the owner is actually leaving. It is important to repeat these cues so many times daily that they become meaningless to the dog.  Do not punish the dog for behavior demonstrated in fear. This usually only leads to more fear or more anxiety. Second, unless the animal is actually in the process of performing the behavior you wish to discourage, the dog will not understand what behavior is being punished. 

Separation anxiety is an area that not all veterinarians are comfortable treating. Discuss with your veterinarian whether referral to a behavior specialist would be best for you and your pet.  

Copyright 2016 – 2016 by the Veterinary Information Network, Inc. All rights reserved.


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Fleas: Know your Enemy


Despite numerous technological advances, fleas continue to represent a potentially lethal plague upon our pets.

What Kind of Damage Can Fleas Cause?

It would be a grave mistake to think of the flea as simply a nuisance. A heavy flea burden is lethal, especially to smaller or younger animals. The cat flea is not at all selective about its host and has been known to kill dairy calves through heavy infestation. Conditions brought about via flea infestation include:

• Flea Allergic Dermatitis (fleas do not make animals itchy unless there a flea bite allergy)

• Flea Anemia

• Feline Infectious Anemia (a life-threatening blood parasite carried by fleas)

• Common Tapeworm infection (not harmful but cosmetically unappealing)

Fleas can kill pets.

This is so important that we will say it again: Most people have no idea that fleas can kill. On some level, it is obvious that fleas are blood-sucking insects but most people never put it together that enough fleas can cause a slow but still life-threatening blood loss. This is especially a problem for elderly cats who are allowed to go outside. These animals do not groom well and are often debilitated by other diseases. The last thing a geriatric pet needs to worry about is a lethal flea infestation and it is important that these animals be well protected.

Biggest Myths Veterinarians Hear Nearly Every Day

• My pet cannot have fleas because he lives entirely indoors. Fleas thrive particularly well in the well-regulated temperatures in the home.

• We do not have fleas because we have only hard wood floors. Fleas love to develop in the cracks between the boards of hard wood floors.

• My pet cannot have fleas because I would see them. You cannot expect to see fleas as many animals are adept at licking them away. Sometimes all that is seen is the characteristic skin disease.

Fleas are adaptive and their life cycle is always active: eggs are laid, larvae are developing, pupae are growing, etc. The environmental temperature controls how fast this occurs. If you want to eradicate the flea population in a specific home, it is best to attack when numbers are low in the winter. It is a mistake to stop flea control products in the winter as it will be much harder to gain the upper hand in the spring and summer when the populations are rising.



The Flea Life Cycle

Learn it, know it, live it. There are four life stages of the flea and it is important to know how to break this life cycle in more than one place. This two-step approach provides the most rapid control and the least resistance to flea control agents in future flea generations.

The Egg

At any given time about one third of the flea population in someone’s home is in the egg stage. The adult female flea lays up to 40 eggs daily. The eggs are laid on the host where they fall off to hatch in the environment. Eggs incubate best in high humidity and temperatures of 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. (18.3-26.6 Celsius).

The Larvae

At any given time about 57% of the fleas in someone’s home are in the larval stage. Larvae are like little caterpillars crawling around grazing on the flea dirt that is generally in their vicinity. Flea eggs and flea dirt both fall off the host. When the eggs hatch, there is a bounty of food prepared lovingly by all the host’s fleas waiting for the hatchlings.

The time between hatching and pupating (i.e., the time spent in the larval stage) depends on environmental conditions. It can be as short as 9 days.

The Pupae

By this life stage most young fleas have been killed off by an assortment of environmental factors. Only 8% make it to the pupal stage but once they have spun cocoons they are nearly invincible. The cocoon is sticky and readily picks up dust and dirt. Inside the developing cocoon, the pupa is turning into the flea that we are familiar with. They are especially protected under carpet, which is why carpet has developed such a reputation as a shelter for fleas.

The pupa can remain dormant in its cocoon for many months, maybe even up to a year as it waits for the right time to emerge.

The Unfed Adult Flea

After the pupa develops, it does not automatically emerge from its cocoon. Instead, it is able to remain in the cocoon until it detects a nearby host. The mature pupa is able to detect the vibrations of an approaching host, carbon dioxide gradients, and sound and light patterns. When the mature pupa feels the time is right, he emerges from the cocoon, hungry and eager to find a host.

A common scenario occurs when a dog is boarded during the owner’s vacation. The owner picks up the dog from the boarding kennel and returns home. The mature pupae have been waiting for a host and when the dog enters the home, a huge number of adult fleas emerge at once and attack the dog creating a sudden, heavy infestation. Often the boarding kennel is blamed for giving the dog fleas. What really happened was that the pupae waited to emerge while there was no host present and then they all emerged suddenly when the host arrived.

The Fed Flea

After the adult flea finds a host and takes its first blood meal, metabolic changes occur that alter the flea forever. The flea is now called a fed flea and, if separated from its host, will die in only a few weeks without a blood meal. The female flea begins to produce eggs within 24 to 48 hours of her first blood meal and will lay eggs continually until she dies.

The average life span of the adult flea is 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the grooming abilities of the host.


**Special thanks to VSPN**

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

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Feline lower urinary tract disease or FLUTD describes the following group of clinical signs:  

– bloody urine, straining to urinate (can easily be mistaken for straining to defecate), urinating in unusual places, urinary blockage (almost exclusively a male cat problem), licking the urinary opening (usually due to pain)  

FLUTD Rad with stones

A cat with lower urinary tract disease may have some or even all of these signs. 

It makes sense that effective treatment requires knowing the cause of the symptoms. The problem is that just about any inflammatory condition in the feline lower urinary tract creates the same signs. Tumor, infection, bladder stone, etc. all form the same clinical picture. 

What are the Possible Causes? 

It turns out that the age of the cat is tremendously relevant regarding which underlying causes are most likely. If we look at all cats with lower urinary tract symptoms, here is what we find:   50% will not have a cause that can be determined despite extensive testing (meaning they have what is called idiopathic cystitis).
20% will have bladder stones (females have a slightly higher incidence).
20% will have a urethral blockage.
1-5% will have a true urinary tract infection.
1-5% will have a urinary tract cancer.
1-5% will have had trauma to the urinary tract (have been hit by a car, etc.)
1-5% will have both a bladder stone and an infection. 
The average age for symptoms is 4 years. 

If we separate out the cats that are 10 years of age or older and only look at their cases, a different statistical picture emerges:   50% will have true urinary tract infections.
10% will have bladder stones.
17% will have both infection and bladder stones.
7% will have urethral blockage.
3% will have urinary tract cancer.
5% will not have a cause that can be determined despite extensive testing.
66% will be in some stage of kidney failure.
5% will have urinary incontinence.   

Sorting out Causes 

Testing is used to help sort patients into the correct group. A urinalysis is commonly performed. With a 50% incidence of infection in older cats, a urine culture would be extremely important for a cat age 10 or more but not as important for a younger cat. Radiographs to rule out bladder stones might be performed. Often testing is omitted for younger cats unless the symptoms become a recurring problem. 

Notice the large percentage of young adult cats for whom no clear underlying cause can be identified. For these cats there are many theories on how to proceed as you will see from the links below. 

If your cat is a young adult with lower urinary symptoms.   It is important to note that lower urinary symptoms in male cats can indicate a urinary blockage that is an emergency.

If you’re not sure your cat is able to express urine, assume it could be an emergency and call your veterinarian’s office at once.   

Copyright 2015 – 2016 by the Veterinary Information Network, Inc. All rights reserved.

Holiday Safety for Your Fur Babies!

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Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow!!!!
Happy Holiday’s Everyone!!
As we are all very aware, the holidays are upon us. Wreaths on our doors, lights all around the house and windows, and most of all… the Beautiful Christmas Tree! Let us also remember our amazing holiday meals as well! All of these wonderful things that we enjoy, are also being enjoyed by our Pets. This holiday season, remember and be mindful of things that may harm our Fur Babies.

Please do not hesitate to call if you have any concerns over the Holiday Season.  Our Ancaster location hours are as follows:

December 24th 9am to 5pm

December 25th – Closed

December 26th – 9am to 7pm

December 27 to 30th – Normal Hours

December 31st – 9am to 5pm

January 1st – Closed

Our Beattie Pet Hospital – Stoney Creek location – will be open 24hrs during the Holidays for any emergencies.

Holiday Safety

10 Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

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Halloween can be a festive and fun time for children and families. But for pets? Let’s face it, it can be a downright nightmare. Forgo the stress and dangers this year by following these 10 easy tips.

1. Trick-or-treat candies are not for pets.
All forms of chocolate — especially baking or dark chocolate — can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Halloween candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures. And while xylitol toxicity in cats has yet to be established, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

2. Don’t leave pets out in the yard on Halloween.
Surprisingly, vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on Halloween night. Inexcusable? Yes! But preventable nonetheless.

3. Keep pets confined and away from the door.
Not only will your door be constantly opening and closing on Halloween, but strangers will be dressed in unusual costumes and yelling loudly for their candy. This, of course, is scary for our furry friends. Dogs are especially territorial and may become anxious and growl at innocent trick-or-treaters. Putting your dog or cat in a secure room away from the front door will also prevent them from darting outside into the night … a night when no one wants to be searching for a lost loved one.

4. Keep your outdoor cats inside several days before and several days after Halloween.
Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. In fact, many shelters do not adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution.

5. Keep Halloween plants such as pumpkins and corn out of reach.
Although they are relatively nontoxic, such plants can induce gastrointestinal upset should your pets ingest them in large quantities. Intestinal blockage can even occur if large pieces are swallowed. And speaking of pumpkins …

6. Don’t keep lit pumpkins around pets.
Should they get too close, they run the risk of burning themselves or knocking it over and causing a fire.

7. Keep wires and electric light cords out of reach.
If chewed, your pet could cut himself or herself on shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

8. Don’t dress your pet in a costume unless you know they’ll love it.
If you do decide that Fido or Kitty needs a costume, make sure it isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict movement, hearing, or the ability to breathe or bark and meow.

9. Try on pet costumes before the big night.
If they seem distressed, allergic, or show abnormal behavior, consider letting them go in their “birthday suit”. Festive bandanas usually work for party poopers, too.

10. IDs, please!
If your dog or cat should escape and become lost, having the proper identification will increase the chances that they will be returned. Just make sure the information is up-to-date, even if your pet does have one of those fancy-schmancy embedded microchips.

The above information can be found on Pet

How to Ease the Back to School Transition For Pets

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How to Ease the Back to School Transition For Pets

Parents may be jumping for joy now that kids are back in school (I admit; I’m happy to have my dedicated work time back!) but you know who’s not jumping for joy? The family pets.

Most pet love summertime when the kids are at home. There’s more action, more walks, more playtime, more treats…just more fun. Pets thrive on routine and all summer that routine has been F-U-N.

So it’s no surprise there’s a let down when the more exciting, active members of the household are gone all day and the routine your pets have grown used to changes.

Pets get lonely. They get depressed. They get anxious. Yes, it’s a thing. And, no offense adults, but even if you’re home all day, you’re just not as awesome as the kids.

How can you tell when a pet is feeling some back-to-school blues? Dr. Kurt Venator fromPurina offers a few indicators:

♥ Inappropriate urination or defecation
♥ Excessive barking or howling
♥ Chewing windowsills, doorframes, etc.
♥ Change in appetite
♥ Nervous pacing

Of course, if your pet is exhibiting any of these behaviors, take him to the vet for a check up, just to make sure there is nothing physically wrong with your furbaby.

Then, take some steps to help your pet ease into the new routine. Here’s what Dr. Kurt recommends:

Create a new schedule and stick to it

Since pets do well with routine (most of us do, after all!) look at your new school day routine and try to stick with the same sequence of events each day. For example, as soon as the kids come home, the dog gets to go for a walk or play in the yard.

Speaking of play…make sure to have designated play time

Play time is bonding time and impacts your pet’s positive health and wellbeing. Make sure your kids spend time each day playing with your pet. As mentioned above, perhaps incorporate the play time into your routine so everyone knows when to expect the fun to commence!
Play ball with your dog in the backyard, break out the feather wand for your cat, put the hamster in his wheel, whatever! Just make sure you to make time for your pets.

Be present for your pets

This is a big one for all of your important relationships. It’s tough, especially with homework, packing lunches, sports activities and more. But make it a point to really be there with your pet when you are giving him attention. Instead of giving him a hurried pat on the head, get on the floor with your pet, talk to him, look him in the eyes and connect. This “presence” has the added benefit of helping reduce stress in humans; something you are going to need during the hectic school year so, YAY.

Get your pet some exercise

Hoo, boy. We can all use this one. Get yourself, your pet and your kids on a walk schedule. Walk before school/work and after school/work. Get active. Make time for it. Your pets need it. And, don’t kid yourself, you need it too.

Find some interesting distractions

Dr. Kurt says find some things to distract your pet and keep him busy while he’s home. Chew toys for dogs are great. Food puzzles for dogs and cats can keep them busy for quite a while when they’re home alone. Some people suggest leaving TV or radio on when you’re out of the house, too.

Even if your pet’s not exhibiting signs of loneliness and anxiety, it doesn’t mean he isn’t impacted. Incorporate the tips above and your pet and your entire family will more easily transition into the new school year. Well, other than the homework part. We can’t help you with that one! Sorry!

Article provided by Crayons and Collars, Life with Kids and Pets

Trouble on The Homefront; The Importance of Vaccination/Prevention

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Trouble is hitting close to home; the first confirmed case of rabies this year was found in a Caledonia feline which has sent chills down pet owners spines! It is always better to be safe than sorry and vaccinating your pets as well as using parasite/virus prevention medications is the best way to be sure everyone stays safe! Here’s some tips and information about how to protect yourselves and your pets!

News letter brought to you by Hamilton One Health Initiative.