Tag Archives: veterinarian

How to tell if your pet has fleas

So it’s actually pretty simple to tell if your animal has fleas. First, they can have fleas and you may never see a flea because they don’t actually live on the animal’s body. Fleas only jump on the animal for a meal.

Push your animals fur in the opposite direction from the way it grows so you can see the skin. Do this is a few different places, but the best place to look is near the base of their tail on their back. If you see what looks like black dandruff, or black specks, your pet has fleas. The black specks are flea poop. If you want, you can put some of the specks on a wet paper towel which will turn the specks red (because it has blood in it).

So now what do you do? Avoid buying flea products from the  pet store because, to put it simply, they don’t work. For cats my favorite flea product is Revolution. It is topical and absorbs through the skin on the back of the neck. I like Revolution because it doesn’t leave a sticky spot on your cats neck for a few days like other topical flea products. It costs about $20 per dose and you use 1 dose per month. Use for a minimum of 3 months to go through the compete life cycle of the fleas. If you have a cat who goes outdoors then year-round prevention is recommended.

***Please consider buying these products from your local veterinarian and not from large online pharmacies. Local businesses need your business to stay around. Buy local***


Revolution also is a heartworm preventative for both cats and dogs.

After you use a flea product the fleas won’t die immediately, but rather your cat is now a walking insecticide. So any new flea that bites that cat will no be able to reproduce and will die.

Flea life cycle

This image of the flea life cycle is from Capstar, which is a pill that you give to your pet that will kill adult fleas within 30 minutes. It is a great thing to use to start treating a flea infestation, but will have to be followed up with a prevents flea eggs from hatching. (Revolution and Capstar are only available from veterinarians or with a prescription from a veterinarian).

Any animal who goes outside will probably pick up fleas pretty quickly. Even indoor-only cats can get fleas, but I wouldn’t recommend getting a prevention unless you see evidence of a flea infestation.

***Drug companies will honor their product if there are any issues with it only if you buy them from your veterinarian, but not if you buy them from an online pharmacy. Another reason to buy local***

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Feline Chronic Renal Failure

I found my beautiful black kitty Maya about a year and a half ago. Well, maybe she found me.

Beautiful GirlAnyway, she has had urinary problems since I’ve had her. So when I got a job in a vet clinic I decided to bring her in to check a urine sample. He decided to take x-rays to make sure she didn’t have any bladder stones. On the x-ray there were no bladder stones but he notice her kidney was a little oddly shaped. So we did some blood work and the results were definitely not what I expected. Kidney disease, or in other words, chronic renal failure.

I just can’t catch a break. My late best-cat-friend-love-of-my-life, Boo, died from chronic renal failure. It is a hard way to go because they just waste away until there is nothing left. And it’s a hard thing to watch when it’s your baby.


So what is this disease all about? It is very common in cats so I’ll provide some information on it because  if you are an avid cat owner you will likely get firsthand experience with this at some point.

In order to know what happens when the kidneys fail, it first helps to know what the kidneys do while they are working.

  • erythropoietin production, which is a hormone that stimulates red blood cell production (without it anemia sets in).
  • filtration of waste products in the blood (a build up of waste in the blood is going to make anyone feel sick).
  • the ability to concentrate urine, which can affect hydration.
  • renin production, which is a hormone that helps regulate blood pressure.
  • electrolyte regulation

All of these functions are critical for a good quality of life. When these are impaired quality of life goes down, and will eventually get to a point where life ceases.

The bad thing about this disease is that symptoms don’t start to show up until the kidneys are about 70% destroyed. There is no cure but there are things you can do to slow the progression of the disease, although it will progress to the end unfortunately.

So what are the symptoms?

Maya’s symptom was an abnormal amount of water intake and urination. I kept thinking it was a UTI but it is actually one of the early symptoms of kidney disease. My advice to you: if you have a cat who is drinking a lot more than usual, spend the extra money on a blood test. Blood tests can either rule out kidney failure or show that it is happening. It is better to know early so you can start diet modifications and treatment, which in the end will extend the life of your companion.

Symptoms of more advanced renal failure include:

  • decrease in appetite
  • weight loss
  • dehydration
  • vomiting
  • lethargy
  • uremic breath (smells like ammonia)

There are different stages to kidney failure and the symptoms above don’t start to show up until the advanced stages. I could write a book on feline chronic renal failure so I’ll just stop with this introduction. I will add more posts at a later time with more specific information about this topic.


My goal for my life at this point: Become a veterinarian and find a cure/really great affordable treatment for feline chronic renal failure.






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Feral Cat Awareness

What are feral cats?

They are the same species as the domesticated house cat, however, they are not socialized to humans. They cannot be kept as pets and should not be taken to an animal shelter because they will be euthanized because they are not adoptable.

Feral cats survive outside and should stay there-except to participate in a Trap-Neuter-Return program (it is what is sounds like). Most veterinarians cut off the tip of one of the ears of the cat so that animal rescuers can tell if the cat has already been spayed or neutered without having to take it to the vet. Ear tipping is somewhat controversial, but it does no permanent damage to the cat and it can prevent a future traumatic and unnecessary trip to the vet. Ear tipping a feral cat is in no way comparable to ear-cropping of certain dogs, which is purely cosmetic and wrong.

So you can help the feral cats by volunteering with a Trap-Neuter-Return program with your local shelter.

Visit http://www.alleycat.org for more information about feral cats.

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Dear Athens County Commissioners

They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but I believe that you can. There are so many other counties and entire states that choose not to use carbon monoxide for euthanasia purposes. They use euthanasia by injection (EBI) with sodium pentobarbital. This is the preferred method by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians and the National Animal Control Association.  These other counties and states use EBI even for aggressive dogs without regards to price. Money should not be the issue here-just because something is cheaper doesn’t make it right.

Aggressive animals do not only exist in Athens County yet these other counties and states figure out a way to humanely euthanize them. I am yet to hear a very logical reason for the Athens County Dog Shelter to continue using the gas chamber.

On top of that, the policy of adopting out animals who are not spayed or neutered only adds to the problem of euthanasia numbers in Athens County. Although I hear it is in the adoption contract that the animal must be spayed or neutered, everyone knows that people don’t always do it. Where do you think all the unwanted puppies end up? Probably back at the Dog Shelter and eventually euthanized. That costs the shelter money and the life of an animal. You have to stop this. Increase the adoption fee to cover the cost of the spaying and neutering, if that is what it takes. That is something that I believe must be changed-and the sooner the better.

I think the people in charge are afraid of change. We aren’t. And we aren’t going to give up. It may be a long fight but we will not give up until the demands of the people of Athens County are met. It’s not too late to learn a new trick. Change. We just hope that you can embrace this change with us and continue to work with the citizens for a better shelter.

In the words of our president, “We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.” We may not be millions, but we still have a voice, and Yes. We. Can.


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Declawing Alternative




Growing up my two cats Boo and Tiger were declawed. While it was nice not to have to worry about getting scratched with their front claws, I have decided not to declaw any of my future cats. I have also decided, as a future veterinarian, that I will not declaw cats (except in instances where someone has an immunodeficiency disease and can’t afford to get scratched and declawing the cat is the only alternative for it going to a shelter). It took me a long time to come to this conclusion because I grew up thinking having a declawed cat was way better than having one with claws. There weren’t any complications with Boo and Tiger’s little procedure but that doesn’t mean other cats don’t have problems with it.


I know that the new laser method seems more humane, and it is, but if you watch the procedure and see the cat waking up afterwards with bloody paws it just gets hard to watch. Also too many people are irresponsible with their pets. How is a declawed cat supposed to defend itself outside? When I’m a veterinarian, I’m not willing to take the risk of an owners situation changing and a declawed cat ending up outside.


The declawing procedure is equivalent to chopping off the end of your finger, below the nail. If you wouldn’t have that done to a person you probably shouldn’t do it to your cat.


I understand that getting scratched hurts and is annoying, and furniture getting destroyed isn’t fun, but there are alternatives. I’m a big fan of Soft Paws/Soft Claws. You can see them in action on Maya’s paws here. If your cat has catitude, you will need a veterinarian or groomer to apply them for you. They run about $15-20 for a pack of 40 plastic nail caps and they come in assorted colors. They last about a month before the first ones start falling off (longer if they are a really good fit). I got Maya’s put on in July and she still has a couple left on.

Soft Paws work really great though; if kitty tries to scratch you it does no good. If you are thinking about declawing, try out the nail caps first. If you bring in your own caps to the vet/groomer it usually only costs about $15 each application. (If you are brave or have a good kitty you can do it yourself at home for free)

You can buy them at:





Give them a try!





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No Vet No Pet

My sister made this:

(Spaying and neutering will actually save you money in the end)


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