Blog

Announcing Dr. Pam Chandler

January 18th, 2017 by Audrey Parker

We are pleased to aIMG_0164nnounce that we’ve added an additional doctor to our already stellar lineup. Dr. Pam Chandler, graduate of Mississippi State College of Veterinary Medicine in 1985, will be joining our team at our Downtown Memphis location starting Monday, January 23rd. Dr. Chandler has been certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society as a veterinary acupuncturist since 1992 and will utilize this modality of treatment mostly for arthritic and pain conditions. She has served in the U.S. Army National Guard and was an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve Veterinary Corps. We are looking forward to the contributions she will have to our practice.

The Great Debate: Litter Box Guidelines

January 17th, 2017 by Audrey Parker

boots

Boots, Dr. Taylor’s very own feline.

One of the most commonly discussed topics during new kitten visits are litter box guidelines. Common questions are: What type of box should I purchase? What type of litter? Should I really have more than one litter box available for my cat? Where should I place these litter boxes in my home? Feline behavior specialists have comprised a list of litter box criteria based on studies demonstrating what is preferable to cats:

1) Number of boxes: The number of boxes is dependent on the number of cats residing within the household. The rule is one litter box per household cat PLUS one additional box. For example, a house with three cats should have four boxes.

2) Type of  litter: Most cats prefer unscented clumping litter with a sand-like texture. Scented litters can be unpleasant for cats, and can even make them physically uncomfortable, as their sense of smell is much more sensitive than that of a human. Sandy textures are more similar to soil, which feels much more natural to cats. Cheaper litters typically create more dust, which is very undesirable to most cat owners. In addition, while some cats may tolerate some of the newer “natural” types of litters (corn, wheat, etc.), they are generally not preferred by most cats, and will not be tolerated in instances where the cat is unwell or experiencing anxiety/stress.

3) Size matters: The litter box should be large enough that the cat is comfortable moving around inside the box. I have even recommended the use of Rubbermaid totes in place of litter boxes with an opening cut out for a “doorway”. Some older, arthritic cats may require boxes with lower walls or a low doorway cut in the box.

4) Covered or uncovered: While most cats do not feel comfortable in a covered box, some cats prefer a box with high sides so that they can wipe their paws on the walls before exiting the box. Some cats also prefer the privacy of a partially-enclosed box. This typically requires a bit of “trial and error” to determine what your cat prefers.

5) Keep it clean: Cats are very fastidious creatures, and prefer a clean litter box. Scoop litter once to twice daily. Multi-cat households may require even more frequent scooping sessions. Empty out the litter tray once every one to two weeks, and clean the litter box with a mild detergent. Rinse well, and dry before adding new litter.

6) Location, Location, Location: Provide more than one location in the household for litter boxes. If your house has multiple floors, consider having one on each floor that your cat can access. Boxes should be placed in quiet areas of low-traffic, as cats do not like to feel exposed or vulnerable when eliminating. Avoid moving litter boxes around to prevent confusion.

7) Depth matters: Experiment with different depths of litter. Most cats prefer 1-1.5 inches of litter, while others may prefer deeper litter. Add a new litter box if attempting to try different litter depths (or types). Try not to alternate the litter depth or type within existing boxes. Take note of which litter boxes get used the most, and choose that depth of litter for the majority of the boxes. Some cats prefer to cover their feces and urine, while others are perfectly content to leave their waste on the top of the litter. If you have one cat that covers, and one that does not, don’t be surprised if the cat that covers will compulsively cover the waste of the cat that does not cover.

8) Negative associations: Keep litter boxes away from rooms that contain noisy appliances, such as furnaces or washing machines. The noises may frighten the cat while using the litter box, which can create a negative association with the litter box and develop into an aversion. Avoid administering medications or doing anything unpleasant to your cat while they are in or near the litter box.

9) Don’t soil where you eat: Food and water dishes should be kept in a separate room or more than 5 feet away from the litter boxes. Cats are fastidious by nature, and in the wild, they have endless location options for elimination purposes. We cannot expect them to eat near their waste.

 

By following these guidelines, you will succeed in avoiding problems with feline inappropriate elimination in your household. Be sure to bring up any problems or concerns with your veterinarian during your cat’s check-ups. We are happy to help you analyze your current litter box set up, and may suggest changes that will keep your kitty happy and healthy.

 

Dr. Christie Taylor

The Pet Hospitals– Lakeland

 

 

Feline Arthritis

January 3rd, 2017 by Audrey Parker

Most people recognize arthritis in dogs. But what about your cat?  Degenerative joint disease (DJD) is a very common but under-diagnosed condition in cats.   Frequency among age groups was EQUAL from cats as early as 6 months to 16 years!  Signs worsen with age.

Feline DJD is difficult to de1413379559_412a540d29_btect because of the cat’s ability to hide pain as a protective mechanism. Some breeds, such as the Scottish Fold, can have congenital DJD.

The primary sign of arthritis in cats is CHANGE IN BEHAVIOR! They may become more ‘grumpy’ with a house mate or the owner or be more clingy. They may stop jumping, they may hide, vocalize more, start house soiling, or just slow down.  They may not groom as much or they resist being petted like they used to.  Sometimes, aggression shown at the vet’s office can be because the cat is in pain! A thorough examination and radiographs help diagnose this disease.

A  great visual to see cats that have arthritis can be found by googling feline arthritis videos.

Treatment consists of many different approaches. Medications, modifying their home environment to allow easy access to favored places,  acupuncture, massage therapy and weight control are all important aspects of addressing this disease in cats! Talk to your veterinarian about assessing your cat for this disease.

 

Dr. Karen Gant

The Pet Hospitals- Collierville

Holiday Dangers For Pets

December 20th, 2016 by Audrey Parker

While the Holidays are the “most wonderful time of the year” for people, they can be a dangerous and stressful time for our pets. Here are some ways to keep your four legged family members safe during the holidays.

1) AVOID Holiday Food Items That Could Cause Problems For Your Pet

A general rule of thumb is to avoid feeding your pets “human food”. The following foods are actually toxic and can be harmful or even fatal to your pets.

  • Alcoholic beveragesholiday-treats
  • Chocolate (baker’s, semi-sweet, milk chocolate)
  • Coffee (grounds, beans, chocolate covered espresso beans)
  • Moldy or spoiled foods
  • Onions, onion powder
  • Fatty foods
  • Salt
  • Yeast dough

2) PLANTS

While holiday plants and flowers are beautiful, some can be very dangerous to our pets.

  • Lilies that may be found in holiday flower arrangements could be deadly to your cat. Many types of lily, such as Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, and the Casa Blanca, can cause kidney failure in cats.
  • poinsettaPoinsettias, if ingested,  can be irritating to the mouth and stomach, and may cause mild vomiting or nausea.
  • Mistletoe has the potential to cause cardiovascular problems. However, mistletoe ingestion usually only causes gastrointestinal upset.
  • Holly ingestion could cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and lethargy.

3) HAZARDS AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE

Remember Aunt Bethany’s cat in Christmas Vacation? The tree can pose many dangers for the pets in your house.

  • Christmas tree water may contain fertilizers, which, if ingested, can cause stomach upset. Stagnant tree water can be breeding grounds for bacteria, which can also lead to vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea, if ingested.
  • Electric cords– Avoid animal exposure to electric cords. If they were chewed, they could electrocute your pet. Cover up or hide electric cords, never let your pet chew on them.
  • Ribbons or tinsel can get caught up in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction.cat-tinsel
  • Batteries contain corrosives. If ingested they can cause ulceration to the mouth, tongue, and the rest of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Glass ornaments can cut the tissues of the gastrointestinal tract if ingested.
  • Potpourris are popular household fragrances commonly used during the holiday season. Liquid potpourris can cause burns on the skin and in the mouth while dry potpourris can cause problems due to foreign body and (possibly) toxic plant ingestion.

MEDICATIONS

Keep all prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs out of the reach of your pets, preferably in closed cabinets. Pain killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer, drugs, antidepressants, vitamins, and diet pills are common examples of human medication that could be potentially lethal even in small dosages. Remember that holiday houseguests may mean new medications in the house.

Never give your animal any medications unless under the directions of a veterinarian. Many medications that are used safely in humans can be deadly when used inappropriately.

OTHER WINTER HAZARDS

  • Antifreeze has a pleasant taste. Unfortunately, very small amounts can be lethal.  Automotive products such as gasoline, oil and antifreeze should be stored in areas that are inaccessible to your pets. Propylene glycol is a safer form of antifreeze. Low Tox™ brand antifreeze contains propylene glycol and is recommended to use in pet households.
  • Ice melting products can be irritating to skin and mouth.
  • Rat and mouse killers are used more commonly during colder weather. When using rat and mouse bait, place the products in areas that are inaccessible to your companion animals.

Many pet emergencies will happen after hours. At The Pet Hospitals, our Collierville (18 S. Byhalia Rd) and Downtown (660 Jefferson Ave) locations are open 7 days a week to handle your daytime weekend emergencies and we always have a doctor on call 24/7 (even holidays) to answers questions and give medical advice. Just call our regular office number, 901-850-7330, and follow the prompts to speak with the on call doctor.

Have a Happy (and safe) Holidays!

 

Dr. Drew McWatters

The Pet Hospitals- Germantown

 

Six Subscription Services Your Pet Needs

December 1st, 2016 by Audrey Parker

Movies and TV, makeup, books, groceries… These days it seems like there is a subscription service out there for anything you could imagine. The subscription service industry is booming and rightfully so! There is no better joy than coming home to a package waiting on your doorstep for you to open and enjoy. But what if we told you that you could share this same delight with Fluffy and Fido? There are TONS of subscription boxes out there that deliver right to your home with the most perfect accessories tailored just for your furry ones. We’re rounding up the best ones we’ve found for dogs and cats!

15232068_1357176100968858_6090601022697286175_nDogs:

1)BarkBox

One of the things we love the most about BarkBox is their promise to give 10% of their proceeds back to rescue organizations. Beyond that, they allow you to choose the size of the pet that will be receiving the box which gives them the ability to select toys and treats that are appropriate for their playtime. The owner can choose between a one time gift box, 6-month subscription, or 12-month subscription with automatic billing.

2)PawPack

Emphasizing on all-natural products and supporting small businesses, PawPack is great for any pet owner who focuses on being eco-friendly and wants their pet to do the same! All products are hand selected, all natural, and guaranteed to be loved by your pet. If not, they’ll replace the item with something they will love.

3) Pupjoy

If custom-ability is what you’re striving for then Pupjoy is what you need. You can choose between single or multi dog households, treats only, toys only, or treats and toys, even which preference your dog(s) have towards their treats and toys.  Pupjoy carries the most “premium” selection of boxes, but with an option for a single box, this could be a great gift idea.

 

Cats:

1) Meowbox

Promising to supply your kitty with only products they would give their own, Meowbox will surely impress your favorite feline. You can subscribe monthly or every other month and each box contains 4-6 items perfect for single or multi-cat homes.

2) KitNipBox

If your kitty has a sensitive tummy or other food allergies then the KitNipBox is the one for them. They do offer a box containing treats, but you could opt out of those and they will replace them with toys! Every toy selected is designed to encourage activity.

3) CatLadyBox

Not only does your kitty get to enjoy a surprise monthly with CatLadyBox, but you do as well! Every box contains two goodies for the cat and two cat-themed goodies for you. Items such as shirts, jewelry, accessories, and home decor with a feline touch fill the box.

 

Audrey Parker

The Pet Hospitals