What To Feed Your New Kitten

French bulldog and kitten posing together on white backgroundAre you having trouble deciding on how and what to feed your kitten?  Firstly keep in mind that kittens use a large amount of energy.  Did you know that they require almost 30 times the amount of protein vs an adult cat?  Providing food that is formulated specifically for kittens, cats up to one year of age is important. In addition it is imperative that you have plenty of fresh water around.  Nutritional formulas for adult cats should not be fed to growing kittens.

When you read the labels/choose the food to give your growing kitten here are a few things to keep in mind:

The recommended protein range for healthy kitten growth is 35 – 50% on a dry matter (DM) basis with at least 9% dry matter from an animal source.   Essential fatty acids is a concentrated source of energy and it carries fat-soluble vitamins. However too much energy intake is risky and can lead to obesity and developmental orthopedic disease. For this reason, the fat content for kittens should be rationed between 18 – 35% on a dry matter basis.  The calcium content should contain 0.8 – 1.6% calcium on a dry matter basis.

Are you thinking about giving your pet a raw diet?  Please don’t.  It is not recommended.  Feeding your cat under-cooked or raw food carries high risk for salmonella for both you and your kitten.

Now that you know what to feed your kitten, here is a way to feed your cat that enables the kitten to have to work at getting their food, giving them more exercise and keeping them lean as they age.  In the wild cats previously had to hunt for their food.  By utilizing a  a food puzzle or the like when feeding your kitten it will make eating fun and a challenge..  This will help as some cats do become couch potatoes and are at risk of becoming overweight or even obese.  Having them work for their food will help them maintain a healthy weight.  Another option is to try hiding small quantities of food in different locations and letting your kitten hunt for the food. Again, your kitten will get exercise and will be entertained at the same time.

Please do not feed supermarket food to your cat, rather purchase a good quality food that will keep them healthy and happy.

Confusion of what flea and tick product to use?

Dog in natureConfusion of what flea and tick product to use?  We can’t blame you.  With all the new products on the market it is a bit overwhelming.  The important thing however is that you use one of the products to protect your pet.

There are various product that repels and kill ticks and adult fleas while also controlling all immature stages of fleas.  Killing of the immature stages is especially important with a flea infestation. Believe it or not the adult fleas that you see on your pet only accounts for five percent of the flea problem.  The flea eggs, larvae and pupae that are deposited in your home prior to treatment account for 95% of the problem.  It will take several months of using product until all the immature eggs etc. are eliminated.  Only at that time will the infestation in your home be over.  Do not stop using the product prematurely or you will be back to square one before you know it.  If you have a multipet household all pets must be treated.

What is the difference between the topical vs the newer tablets?

A topical product like Vectra will protect your pet “against fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other biting vectors.  Vectors are parasites that can transmit disease that can make your” pet very sick.   If you have a cat in the house as well please be sure to keep your dog and cat separated after applying the product to your dog.  Once the product is dry they can be as cozy with each other as they like.(the product is only toxic to cats if they ingest the liquid product.)   This product is water-resistant and available for both dogs and cats.  It begins working within two hours.

There are new tablets for dogs that also control fleas and ticks, given in a chew tablet.

Bravecto – a once every 12 week chew.  Kill’s adult fleas as well as the black legged tick, American dog tick, and brown dog tick for a 12 week duration.  Protection from the lone star tick will last for 8 weeks.   It is a tasty chew given once every 12 weeks.  This chew needs to be given with food.  This is a perfect product for someone who has a hard time remembering to use a once a month product.  It begins working within two hours.

NexGard- a once a month chewable is another excellent choice for a chewable tablet.  Perfect to give alongside your once a month heartworm protection tablet.  By giving both tablets at the same time you will be sure to remember.  This makes it effective and easy to use.  It will kills adult fleas as well as treatment and control of American Dog tick.  The other ticks are awaiting approval from the FDA and should occur shortly.   It can be given with or without food and begins working to kill flea 100% of live fleas within 24 hours.

Here is a great app you can download that is educational and will help you identify various ticks.  The app was created by the Cornell cooperative extension.  \http://www.nysipm.cornell.edu/landscapes/tickclick.asp

As always if you have any questions, please stop by or give us a call.

Winter And Your Pets Paws

Golden with snow bootsOk, granted most of us do not take our dogs out hiking in the Alaska Tundra.  However, we still need to keep our pups feet protected from the elements.  The salt or chemicals in the driveway, sidewalks and street can be harmful to your pup.  The ice melters may burn their feet and can cause cuts and abrasions.  They may even lick their toes and ingest the chemicals as well.   Please protect their paws.  Apply some sort of waterproof boot to protect their feet.  We carry waterproof boots for your convenience.  In addition if possible, wash your pups feet when they come in after a jaunt in the snow!

When you take your dog out for a walk in the winter remember to keep in mind their cold tolerance.  i.e. the thickness of their coat, activity level and general health.  You may need to adjust your walk accordingly.  If your dog has short legs perhaps the belly is having more contact with the snow and your pup might be getting colder sooner than a dog that has longer legs who is not having as much direct contact with the snow.

A jacket or warm coat is a wonderful addition during the cold weather for our short haired dogs.

If you notice that your dog is whining, shivering, seems anxious, slows down or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow, get them back inside quickly because they are showing signs of hypothermia (lowering of the body temperature).  Please bring your dog in or call us with any questions.

Feline Urinary Issues/Dangers

Cat on the Toilet

Do you notice that your cat is straining in the litter box, vocalizing or crying out when urinating?  Showing an increase in the frequency of urination?  Has a loss of appetite or is vomiting?  Blood in the urine? These may be signs that your pet may be developing or has a urinary obstruction.  Urethral obstruction or FLUTD (obstructive feline lower urinary tract disease) is a common occurrence in male cats.  One of the causes can be sterile cystitis or an inflammation for the bladder wall.  Debris in the urine may also plug the urethra.

What may cause the inflammation of the bladder is unknown, but it may be due to a stress response or even an insufficient amount of water being taken in by your kitty.  Believe it or not your cat can associate painful urination with the litter box as well and stop using it.

However, increasing water consumption for your cat is something that can easily be accomplished with some simple steps.  Firstly, providing multiple water bowls throughout your home filled with fresh water that are large enough to accommodate your cats whiskers so that they will not touch the sides of the bowl can aid water consumption.  Additionally, some cats prefer drinking water from a moving source.  In that case we would recommend a pet water fountain rather than leaving the faucet dripping.  Perhaps if needed you can also add small amounts of tuna water to the water bowl, making it more palatable for our finicky friends.

Decreasing stress is another way we can help prevent/manage FLUTDS and bladder health problems.  Keep to a routine, i.e. feeding your kitty at the same time, even spending time playing with your kitty while you are at home can help alleviate stress.  In addition,  leave them with toys or a kitty condo so they can romp around when you are out and about.  The litter box should be placed in a quiet, well ventilated place and changed frequently as most cats may be hesitant to enter a litter box that in their eyes is unattractive.

If you cat is NOT urinating freely it is imperative that you bring him/her in immediately as it may be life threatening.

Microchip Your Pet

Sad puppy

Enough is enough.  We have had at least four lost/missing pets this past week alone.  This is four too many.  For the most part, assuming no foul play you can be reunited with your pet.  Signs can be put up both in your neighborhood, calls made to all the local area veterinarians. The animal care and control (http://nycacc.org/LostFound.htm) even has a website that allows you to both look for and post information about your lost pet.  However, the best way to get your pet back is by making sure your pet has a microchip.  A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice that is inserted behind the neck area of your pet via an injection.  The microchip has a number on it that is just for your pet.  The number needs to be registered with your contact information.  The microchip contact information must be kept up to date in order to be reunited with your pet.  If not, it will be very difficult if not impossible to reunite you with your pet.

All dogs should have a microchip.  Dog’s can get off their leash, be left in the yard or run out of an open door in a matter of seconds.  However, a microchip is not only for dogs.     But…my cat is an indoor cat, it can’t get out.  Really?  For the most part that may be true, however what about the rare instance when the door is left open and your kitty wanders out, and down the hall etc.  Sounds far-fetched, but it does happen.  Or are you one of these people that think that your cat needs to go outside?  Bad idea, you may be asking for trouble.  They can get into fights, contract fleas and become lost.  Please keep your cat indoors and safe.

If you have adopted your pet from a shelter or rescue group, they usually have a microchip inserted.  Did you register the chip in your name?  Not sure?  No worries.  If you have the chip number you can check online at www.petmicrochiplookup.org   If you do not know the number of the microchip we can scan your pet.  The scanner is able to ascertain if a chip has been inserted and indicates the number of the chip.

Summer Heat and How to Protect our Pets

Bull dog on pool floatSummer is almost here.  Hooray!  After this past winter, the summer heat is almost welcome. Here are some tips to keep your pets happy and healthy during the summer.

Never ever leave your dog in a closed vehicle on a hot day. The temperature inside a car can rise to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes.  Even if the windows are open.

Always provide plenty of cool, fresh water.  On those extremely hot days it is best to take walks in the early mornings or evenings, when the sun’s heat is less intense. Try to avoid prolonged exposure to hot asphalt or sand, which can burn your dog’s paws.  When your dog is outside in the yard on a hot day, make sure he has a shady spot to rest in as well as plenty of water.

Strenuous exercise during extreme heat should be limited or postponed until the weather cools off a bit.  If you have a dog that is brachycephalic (short-faced), such as Bulldogs, Boxers, Pugs to name a few, they may have an especially hard time in the heat.  These dogs are not able to pant as well to dissipate heat like larger dogs.  Keep your brachycephalic dog inside with air-conditioning.  Limit time outdoors to the early morning or late afternoons.

Here are some early warning signs of heat stroke.

  • Heavy panting.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Bright red gums and tongue.
  • Standing 4-square, posting or spreading out in an attempt to maintain balance.

If you pet does become overheated immediately move him to a cooler area.  The Humane Society suggests the following steps should be implemented to cool your pet down.

  • Gradually lower his body temperature by applying cool (not cold) water all over his body or soaking him in a cool bath.
  • Place cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, in the armpits, and in the groin area. You may also wet the ear flaps and paws with cool water. Direct a fan on the wet areas to speed evaporative cooling.
  • You may offer fresh, cool water if your dog is alert and wants to drink. Do not force your pet to drink.

If you require more information feel free to contact us at Steinway Court Vet

The Importance of Giving Heartworm Preventative

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition. It is heartworms in the hear of a dogcaused by parasitic worms living in the arteries of the lungs and occasionally in the right side of the heart in dogs, cats and other species.

Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitos. For example, a mosquito bites a dog. In turn, the mosquito bites another dog. The infective larva enters the dog through the bite wound. In a little over six months the heartworm larvae turn into worms. Believe it or not the worms can live up to seven years, causing havoc and illness.

If your dog has recently been infected it may not show any clinical symptoms. In other dogs, they may exhibit a mild, persistent cough, reluctance to move or exercise, fatigue after only moderate exercise, reduced appetite and weight loss. Cats on the other hand may have symptoms that can mimic many other illnesses. A blood test is the only way to be able to detect heartworm disease. The blood test must be done after the pet has been infected for seven months. Prior to seven months the heartworm test will not show enough larvae to test positive. This is also the reason that we do not test puppies prior to seven months of age. Test too soon and the larvae aren’t able to be seen.

The good news is that Heartworm is 100% preventable. Heartworm is treatable, however there are risks involved and is quite expensive. Prevention is the safest and easiest way to deal with heartworm disease. Many heartworm preventives also provide protection against internal parasites like roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms. As an added bonus most have some sort of flea protection. All of these parasites are harmful to your pets as well. Keep your pet parasite free. Give the heartworm preventative year round.