Cat Whispers

A special e-mewsletter for our valued clients.

Each edition we bring you up to date on what's happening at the hospital as well as interesting information and facts on pets and pet healthcare.

Edition 17: Dec 2013

We cannot believe how quickly Christmas has come around again this year. We wish you all the absolute best holiday season. We thank you for your continued support and for entrusting our clinic and staff with the care of your beloved cats.

The Cat Clinic is set to open a new boarding cattery and cat boutique – The Catpad.

We are thrilled to announce that our long planned purpose built boarding cattery is set to open in mid-December, just in time for catpad-logo[1]Christmas. The property is a stones-throw from the clinic, at 456 Malvern Road. We have 28 fabulous bespoke boarding cages, with full environmental management and ventilation systems installed. In our cat shop, we will be stocking a fabulous range of cat foods, toys and many things to spoil your kitties rotten.

The same staff that have cared for your cats in our clinic’s cattery will continue looking after them in the new facility. The nurses & vets are only a hop, skip and a jump away when needed and will continue to be integral to the care of our boarding guests.  This means that in the New Year, we will sadly be ceasing boarding at The Cat Clinic. We will use this much needed space for a purpose built dental suite, as well as some much needed staff & office areas.
catpad[1]
We are so excited about this new venture and look forward to you touring the facility.

www.catpad.com.au

Staff News

It has been a busy end to the year for the clinic, with many personal mile-stones for our staff.

Congratulations to Jessie Scholes one of our senior nurses and her partner Rod, who are expecting their first child, due in April 2014.

Our longest serving nurse Melissa married her long-time partner Damien in October and enjoyed on a lovely Thailand honeymoon.

Dr Sally and her partner Toby (a Melbourne racehorse Veterinarian) were engaged this month.

Senior nurse & clinic co-ordinator, Georgia Puttock was thrilled to complete her Certificate IV in veterinary nursing.

Richard and Carolyn have been busy writing chapters for feline text books. Richard’s is on chronic pain management for ‘Feline Behavioural Medicine’ and Carolyn’s is regarding feline infectious diseases in August’s Consultations in Feline Internal Medicine. Keshe will be acting as examiner for next year’s feline membership exams.

Richard and Carolyn have also become founding directors of a not-for profit company, the Australasian Society of Feline Medicine. This society will provide further education for vets in Australia, New Zealand and throughout Asia that are interested in feline practice.

The Clinic welcomes new cattery attendant Brooke Wheeler, who has already proven herself a valuable staff member. For those of you who have feline friends board with us, Brooke will be one of the lucky ones, attending to their needs.

Christmas Dangers

As always Christmas is a time of added dangers to cats.christmas-dangers[1]

Watch out for items such as:

  • Ribbon, string and tinsel
  • Christmas decorations
  • Electrical cords
  • Christmas Lilies and Poinsettias are highly toxic
  • Cooked turkey bones

 

 

 

Even Cats eat the strangest things!

The vast majority of silly objects that cats sometimes eat never cease to amaze us here at The Cat Clinic.cooper[1]

Some of the more memorable things we have surgically removed from the digestive tracts of some of our patients include:

  • 23 large hair bands (from 1 cat!)
  • 1 a Corn cob (normally a dog trick)
  • 4 sewing Pins (ouch)
  • Window Silicone sealant pieces (removed from the same cat 3 times!)
  • A $2 coin & an American penny (from different patients)
  • A small plastic lobster toy …… and many more

This story is about Cooper, a gorgeous little 3yr old male Singapura that we can now add to the list of crazy things cat’s swallowed. Cooper presented to The Cat Clinic for acute vomiting. The previous evening he had scavenged a lamb bone from dinner scraps. The bone disappeared and Cooper seemed fine overnight so they didn’t worry.

coopers-xrays[1]

The next morning Cooper began vomiting. Progressively the vomit became pink tinged and so his owners brought him straight down to the clinic. Cooper was bright but seemed tense and painful when Dr Keshe palpated his abdomen. She could feel a thickened firmness in his stomach and recommended x-rays to investigate. The x-rays showed a long bony foreign body in the stomach, consistent with the shape of an whole lamb rib bone (goodness knows how he managed to swallow the entire bone in the first place!). There was no evidence of intestinal obstruction, but the bone required immediate removal.

Cooper was referred to a specialist surgeon who endoscopically retrieved the bone by passing a scope into the stomach and gently pulling it out with tiny forceps. Cooper even went home later that same night and made a full recovery.

 

 

 

 

Cat Clinic staff BIG CAT photos

Many of our staff just can’t help themselves whilst on holidays, with cats always sneaking into their holiday snaps.

georgia-and-lions[1]

georgia-n-lion[1]

lene2[1]lene[1]

 

brooke-and-tiger[1]

melissa-feeding-baby-tiger[1]

 

Gosia[1]

Gosia-2[1]

 

 

Edition 16: May 2013

The Cat Clinic’s smart phone App.

We are excited to have launched our smart phone App, one of the first stand alone Veterinary Apps in Australia. We hope it is another valuable resource in maintaining your cat’s health and accessing our many resources to do so.

Obviously, there is a streamlined way to book appointments, make a boarding request or even direct contact to one of Melbourne’s many emergency Veterinary centres.

We hope to introduce direct access to your cat’s health summary and opt in for health reminders, as well as an online pet store for all of your cat’s needs.

Both we and the App developers would love to hear from you as to how we may further improve this exciting new service.

app_store[1]android_app_store[1]

New faces at the Clinic

“Tama” is a fabulous big 2 year old Russian blue boy that presented to The Cat Clinic in February with a very sore left back leg.cathip   X-rays were performed, revealing poor Tama had a fracture to his left femoral neck (the ball at the top of the thigh bone had snapped off at the hip joint). This can happen through trauma or as suspected in his case, be a genetic weakness.

Historically in cats, this type of fracture has been managed by simple removing the ball from the hip socket, leaving the thigh muscles to support the weight to that leg.  This procedure has providing an adequate outcome in most cases, however these cats do not always recover 100% function to the leg.

For many years now, hip replacement surgery has been available for dogs, providing dogs the option to not simply manage their chronic pain, but to cure them of it. Many suffer from hip dysplasia – a debilitating condition that causes premature arthritis and degenerative hip pain. Hip replacements are of course common place in human health today. Only recently have we been able to introduce this procedure in cats.TamaWu 1

To our knowledge, “Tama” is the first cat in Victoria to have a hip replacement, performed by Specialist Small Animal Veterinary Surgeon Dr Guy Yates at Veterinary Referral Hospital in Hallam.

“Tama” is recovering well from the surgery.

IMG_0555B[1]

Good Luck Richard

Richard will be away from the practice from late May until the middle of June as he is having a minor surgical procedure on his Sick-richard[1]heart. Some of you may have noticed he has been a bit vague and not quite himself? That wasn’t his heart – it’s because he isn’t a morning person and hasn’t been able to drink lots of coffee with his condition. Hopefully, the surgery will cure him of his morning blues after his surgery and normal caffeine consumption resumes.

 

 

 

 

New 24hour Emergency and referral centre opening in Collingwood

We are thrilled with the opening of a brand new state of the art 24hr Referral and emergency centre in Collingwood.CareLogo2[1]

Dr. Guy Yates a registered Surgical specialist that has worked very closely with the clinic in recent years. He has provided our clinic with exceptional referral services to many of our patients at a practice in Hallam.

He has opened this clinic along with Dr Merrin Hicks a registered specialist in Emergency and Critical care. They are joined by Dr. Sophie Haynes a registered specialist in Internal medicine, providing a comprehensive and personalised referral service team for client and cat alike.

http://melbournevetemergency.com.au/

We hope the opening of this clinic will provide easier access for those of you in the inner city suburbs. We of course, truly hope that none of you ever have to use their services, but just in case, you should have peace of mind they are close by.

Edition 15: Dec 2012

Welcome to the Christmas 2012 issue of our E-Mewsletter.

It’s been a busy 2012 for us all. With Richard travelling around the world presenting talks on feline Osteoarthitis, Amy taking on a multitude of referrals in her capacity as Feline Specialist and Sally studying for, then passing her Feline Memberships with flying colours.catchristmas

The vets have been frantic and are no doubt looking forward to a small break over Christmas. The nurses have been busily getting on with things, notably Audra is expecting a baby in May (Congrats Audra!) and Lene is finishing planning her February wedding.

We’ve added two new members to the cattery team, Sara Jacobs who is working casually while she is studying a Doctorate of Vet Medicine at Melbourne University and Ellie Tiernan, who like so many of us was a client with her cat ‘Coco’ before joining the Cat Clinic team.

In other news, Dr Richard has made all the vets happy with his recent purchase of a state of the art digital x-ray machine.

As most of you would guess, our boarding cattery is full so make sure if you need to organise boarding for you cat this Christmas make sure you get on to it as soon as possible. Remember all boarding catteries require your feline to be up to date with their yearly flu vaccine.

This Christmas

  • Watch out for dangers such as tinsel, ribbon, x-mas decorations, electrical cords, Christmas Lillies and Ponsettias and cooked turkey bones.
  • Buy a loved one a charitable gift at: www.reallywildgifts.org.au
  • Make sure your kitty has some suitable stocking stuffers, We recommend a Da Bird and its feline frenzy making attachments!

How popular is your pets name?

In the 1950’s and 60’s pets were commonly given ‘pet’ names that illustrated their physical appearance such as ‘Blackie’ and ‘Spotty’. The 1980’s was the turning point where the top 10 most popular names were all human names.

One theory for the change is the increasing importance of pets in our lives as people have fewer or no children. What do you think? One trend we’ve noticed at the Cat Clinic lately is the amount of female cats with male names such as ‘Rodger’ and ‘Malcolm’. Is your cat in the top 10?

The 10 cat names for 2012 by Pet Company Bow Wow Meowcatsnames

  1. Oscar
  2. Max
  3. Tiger
  4. Sam
  5. Misty
  6. Simba
  7. Coco
  8. Chloe
  9. Lucy
  10. Missy

Toxoplasmosis – don’t panic

There’s been a bit of talk about the parasite Toxoplasmosis in the media recently following a story that aired on a major pregnantcatstelevision network. Cats are involved in the lifecycle and transmission of this parasite but are not the major source of infection.

The good news is that if you are pregnant, your cat does not need to be given away the minute the pregnancy test is positive. With knowledge and preventive measures, you can easily protect your unborn child from Toxoplasmosis.
Importantly:

  • Owning a cat does not in itself increase your risk of being infected by Toxoplasmosis
  • The majority of human infections are thought to occur through the ingestion of undercooked meat OR poor hygiene e.g not washing hands after gardening or not washing vegetables before serving
  • The risk of infection from cats is low except in young children playing in contaminated soil/sandpits
  • It is rare that pet cats suffer disease caused from Toxoplasmosis infections.

Toxoplasma_LifeCycle

 

For the most accurate information we suggest you refer to the following link:
http://www.fabcats.org/owners/toxoplasmosis/index.php

Where specific concerns are held regarding your health, please consult your Doctor or obstetrician – but please ensure they Love cats of course, for a balanced and fair view.

A Case of Pancreatitis

Meet Toby, a beautiful 11 year old domestic medium hair boy who has been a long term patient of the Cat Clinic.  Toby was born deaf (common in white cats), but has never let this get in the way of things!Toby[1]

Following a recent gastrointestinal upset, Toby stopped eating and started withdrawing from his normal routines, hiding in strange places and just acting “not quite right” (NQR).

Toby’s concerned owner brought him in for examination as he was lethargic and off his food.  He was dehydrated and quite nauseous and uncomfortable when his abdomen was palpated.  Blood tests were performed as well as an abdominal ultrasound, confirming a diagnosis of pancreatitis.

What is pancreatitis?
The pancreas is an organ in the abdomen which has two main functions – to produce digestive enzymes and insulin. The digestive enzymes pass down a duct and empty into the intestine to digest food.
In cats, the pancreatic duct joins with the common bile duct from the liver and enter the small intestine at the same location. Eating stimulates the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes, which digest meat, carbohydrates and fats.
When the pancreas becomes inflamed, some of these enzymes leak into the pancreas and tissues around the pancreas and it starts to ‘digest itself’, causing pain and inflammation. If the pancreas is severely inflamed, diabetes can occur; this can be temporary or permanent.
What causes pancreatitis?catpancreas
In the majority of cases (90%), the underlying cause of pancreatitis is not known. It is very common to see inflammation in the pancreas with concurrent inflammation in the intestines.  Therefore treatment may be targeted at treating underlying intestinal disorders.  Pancreatitis may also occur following: infection, trauma, toxin exposure and certain drugs. Pancreatitis can be acute or chronic. Once patients have had one episode of pancreatitis, they are more prone to experiencing repeat bouts.
Clinical Signs
Patients with pancreatitis may have signs of lethargy, inappetence, dehydration, low body temperature, vomiting, diarrhoea, jaundice, abdominal pain or an abdominal mass. Concurrent conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, cholangitis, hepatic lipidosis and diabetes, are common.

pancreasultrasound

inflamed pancreas ultrasound image

Diagnosis
Diagnosis is usually made on a combination of clinical signs, results of blood and urine tests and an abdominal ultrasound.

  1. Blood and urine tests – may indicate elevated white blood cells (inflammation), jaundice and/or dehydration. Blood tests also indicate if there is concurrent liver disease or diabetes.
  2. Feline pancreatic lipase (fPLi) – is a NEW blood test for pancreatitis in cats.
  3. Abdominal ultrasound – may reveal changes within the pancreas consistent with pancreatitis. Also allows evaluation of other abdominal organs which may be affected by concurrent disease.
  4. Biopsy – in some instances, a surgical biopsy of the pancreas is required to confirm pancreatitis.

Treatment
There are no specific ‘anti-pancreatitis’ drugs. Treatment involves removing the underlying cause of the pancreatitis (if known) and providing general support and symptomatic relief. Most cats require hospitalisation.

  1. Intravenous fluids – to maintain hydration
  2. Pain-relief – to assist with pain control
  3. Anti-nausea medications – to reduce vomiting
  4. Antibiotics may be used to prevent the damaged pancreas becoming infected
  5. Bland intestinal diet
  6. Management of other concurrent conditions if present

Prognosis
Most cats respond favourably to therapy. However, in some instances, the disease can be severe, and potentially fatal. Once patients have had one episode of pancreatitis, they are more prone to experiencing repeat bouts. Some cats may require a permanent diet change and long-term medications to prevent a relapse of the pancreatitis.
Toby was admitted, spending 48hrs on intravenous fluids with pain relief and anti-nausea medications.  He responded very well to treatment and  was back to his normal quirky self in no time.

Toby has been placed onto a bland, easy to digest diet and will likely remain on this diet long term to help reduce the risk of future flare ups

Edition 14: August 2012

Household Dangers

Cats are curious creatures but don’t let curiosity kill your cat! Watch out for these three potential dangers in your household:cay

1. Lilies
Ingestion of even a small part of the lily plant can cause toxicity and kidney failure in cats.

The flowers, leaves and pollen are all potentially toxic. Cats that lick a tiny amount of pollen from their coat or drink the water that the lilies are stored in can suffer toxicosis.

Following ingestion of the toxin, a cat may initially vomit but often this settles and the cat may seem to be back to normal. Kidney failure can then develop within 24 to 72 hours.

Potentially dangerous lily species include Easter lilies (Lilium longiflorum), tiger lilies(Lilium tigrinum), rubrum or Japanese showy lilies (Lilium speciosum and Lilium lancifolium), and various day lilies (Hemerocallis species).

Do not grow or keep lilies in your house and if you are given a bunch – throw them out! If you think your cat may have ingested part of a lily, call us as soon as possible.

2. Panadol
Paracetamol may be a common pain relief medication in humans but if given to a cat, it can cause death. Less than one regular strength paracetamol tablet can be fatal to a cat!paracetamolcats

Panadol toxicity can cause a life threatening anaemia by destroying the red blood cells of the body. It can also lead to liver failure and gastrointestinal damage. Typical signs include lethargy, vomiting, difficulty breathing and facial swelling.
If your pet has ingested paracetamol, it is important to seek veterinary attention immediately.

If you think your cat is in pain, do not give Panadol. Call us for advice as we have much safer pain relief available. Also take care not to leave Panadol (or other medications) in your cat’s reach.

3. String
String can kill your cat. If ingested, thread, yarn wool, ribbon and string can cause serious gastrointestinal problems. Cats are particularly attracted to string, especially if it has a toy attached.catstring

NEVER:
– Leave string in your cat’s reach
– Leave your cat unattended with toys that have string or yarn attached
– Pull at string dangling from your cat’s mouth or anus, call us immediately

If you suspect your cat may have swallow string, call us immediately for advice.

Are your microchip details up to date?

Thousands of pets become lost each year. Tragically, few are reunited with their owners. Many lost pets end up in shelters where microchipcatthey are adopted out to new homes or even euthanased making it important that your pet has identification at all times.

Collars and tags are essential, but they can fall off or become damaged. Technology has made it possible to equip your pet with a microchip for permanent identification, however, microchips only work when your contact details are up to date. Almost all pets that are found and reunited with their families are found because of their microchip.

Recently a deceased cat who had been hit by a car was handed in to us by a member of the public. The cat had a microchip but the details had never been updated from when the owners had purchased him from the breeder. Because of this we were unable to find his owner to tell them about the sad passing of their pet and to this day they would have no idea what had happened to him.

To stop this happening to your pet, make sure you have updated your details on the microchip registry. The most common registries are:

Central Animal Records  ph) 9706 3187 or www.car.com.au
Australasian Animal Registry  ph) 02 9704 1450 or www.aar.org.au

If you can’t find your registry try www.petaddress.com.au
or fell free to contact us at the clinic for more details.

TOP 5 Cat Applications

The Cat Clinic staff had a blast researching this one for you……
Here are our picks for the top 5 cat themed i-phone/i-pad applications for you and your cat.

1. Cat Toy – Free
This application is for cats everywhere. Best used for i-pad or tablets. Choose between a mouse that squeaks, a flapping butterfly, a spider that splats or a laser pointer that reacts to your cats touch. Incredibly entertaining viewing.

2. Vet Help Direct – $1.99
A great tool for assessing your pet’s health. This easy to use application will ask for symptoms and direct you to your vet if required.

3. PetSnap – $1.99
A brilliant tool to assist in pet photography. The application lets off a variety of sounds to capture your cats attention while you take a photo.

4. Human-to-Cat Translator – Free
A fun to use application that transforms your voice into meows to get your kitty’s attention. The translator actually performs audio analysis on your voice and regurgitates carefully bastardized meows according to your input. Sounds like fun right?

5. CatPaint – $0.99
Not enough cats in your life? Feel free to add them to all your photographs using Cat Paint. Endorsed by celebrities all over, this application is awesome.

STAFF PROFILE
10 Questions with Veterinary Nurse:
Georgia Puttock

1. How long have you worked at the Cat Clinic?georgia3[1]
Six years in October.

2. What is your favourite thing about working with cats?
Apart from all the purrs and cuddles that come with my job, I enjoy wrangling difficult cats, working out what will make a sick cat eat, and killing fleas.

3. What is your least favourite thing about working with cats?
My least favourite thing about working with cats is smelly cat poo.

4. How many pets do you own?
I have four beautiful indoor cats. ‘Rupert’ and ‘Bellatrix’ are Ragdolls I brought home from London, ‘Ari’ is a lilac Burmese and ‘Bertie’ is a Singapura.

Georgia---Bellatrix[1]

Georgia---Bertie[1]

Georgia---Ari[1]

 

 

 

 

 

5. What is your favourite breed and why?
A difficult question as there are so many wonderful breeds. For their needy, loving natures you can’t go wrong with a Burmese, I think I will always have one. Singapuras fascinate me with their little pixie faces and naughty, thieving personalities and I’ve met a couple of really cool

Cornish Rex’s. I’d definitely like one of those one day.

6. What is the most common question asked by clients?
One question I hear pretty often is “Why does my cat need to be vaccinated for cat flu when it is indoors only”. The reason for this is twofold. Most cats are asymptomatic carriers of cat flu from birth. Therefore they don’t need to come into contact with another cat for flu symptoms to emerge. Also, the health check that accompanies a vaccination is vitally important and is often when the vet will find problems with your cat that you may not have noticed.

7. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever encountered during your time as a Veterinary nurse?
A weird thing I’ll never forget is when an owner called up worried that her cat had a button stuck on its foot that she couldn’t pull off. It sounded very strange, so I told her to come in and we would have a look. When the cat arrived, we looked at its paw and it did look a bit like a button was stuck on it, but it was actually an enormously long toe nail that had grown so long it had curled around into a circle.

8. What is the biggest misconception about cats?
That they are somehow inferior to dogs as a pet! Cats are smart, loyal companions with much more complex personalities then their canine counterparts (not to say dogs aren’t also good pets). Cats just make you work a little harder for their affection which appeals to me.

9. What do you enjoy doing after hours?
After hours I like to read, shop, go to the gym and hang out with my husband and friends.

10. What is the most memorable case you’ve been involved in working at the clinic and what was the outcome?
My most memorable case would be a few years ago, when an old Burmese patient of ours who had a few health issues was dropped into the clinic as he hadn’t been 100%. I was holding him after he’d been admitted and he suddenly took a strange turn in my arms and started agonal breathing. I yelled for Dr Richard, who examined him while I put him on oxygen and found his heart had stopped. Richard gave him adrenaline and we did CPCR taking turns doing chest compressions and manually ventilating him. It wasn’t looking good as less than 6% of cats who suffer cardiac arrest survive to go home, but eventually his heart started back up. I manually ventilated him for 2 hours and after that we closely monitored him for the rest of the day. After about 10 hours he got up and started walking around. And he is still with us today!

Edition 13: April 2012

Welcome to The Cat Clinic’s first e-Mewsletter for 2012.

In staff news we have some arrivals and departures. Audra Papworth joins us from Forest Hills Vet Clinic as a full time senior nurse. Audra has completed Certificate 4 in Veterinary Nursing and loves cats, just like the rest of us. She has a trio of black and white moggies named Harry, Ruby and Sooty.

Lene Moerch has been a client at The Cat Clinic for 5 years, first with her cat Bellatrix (Amy published a report of Bellatrix’s condition) and now with Rambo and Marbles. Lene has a degree in Animation and has left the world of retail for a position of cattery attendant and junior nurse here at The Cat Clinic.

Richard recently spent a few days in Hong Kong attending a Feline Conference as well as meeting with the International Society of isfm[1]Feline Medicine (www.isfm.net) to discuss the establishment of an Australian feline Veterinary group. The trip was a success and we look forward to seeing what develops this year.

Sadly, Sarah Bourke, one of our senior nurses is leaving us for a clinic closer to home. She won’t miss the long commute, but we will miss her!
Best of luck Sarah.

Easter Opening Times:EasterKitty300[1]

Closed: Good Friday 6th April, Easter Sunday & Monday 9th april
Open: 9am-1pm Easter Saturday 7th April

Please see our website for Emergency clinics if your cat is unlucky enough to require any Veterinary attention during this holiday period. Your cats are allowed a tiny piece of your Easter chocolates – but remember large amounts are toxic to cats and especially dogs.

CAT CLINIC PHOTO COMPETITION
WIN 1 of 5 Da Bird Prize Packsstirling[1]

Any of our clients who have had the pleasure of a consultation with Dr Richard will know that he considers his cat Stirling to be “The BEST Cat in the world”; certainly this is not biased at all? Therefore, the nurses at The Cat Clinic think it is high time we proved to Richard that there are so many other cool cats out there!

Please enter our competition to win 1 of 5 Da Bird Prize packs and your cat’s photo published in our next e-Mewsletter, by submitting one fabulous photo via our facebook page. The Competition will close on 15th of April and winners will be chosen by the nursing team. Do enter, as we are all dying to see your cool cat photos.

Click here

STAFF PROFILE
10 Questions with Veterinary Nurse:
AUDRA PAPWORTH

1. How long have you worked at the Cat Clinic?audra2[1]
I’ve worked at the Cat Clinic since November 2011

2. What is your favourite thing about working with cats?
I love their beautiful natures, everlasting friendships and koala cuddles.

3. What is your least favourite thing about working with cats?
Sharp teeth and sharp claws!

4. How many pets do you own?
I own three beautiful domestic cats, 2 boys and a girl.

5. What is your favourite breed and why?
I am partial to Domestics, you get a mix of everything, lots of varieties.

6. What is the most common question asked by clients?
When is my appointment time again?

7. What is the strangest thing you’ve encountered during your time as a veterinary nurse?
One client from the last clinic I worked at wanted to keep all of their dog’s clipped hair. Turned out she was having it spun into a yarn to knit with!

8. What is the biggest misconception about cats?
The biggest misconception about cats is that pregnant women can’t live with them. It is totally untrue!

9. What do you enjoy doing after hours?
I most enjoy spending time with my feline babies, friends and family as well as keeping fit and volunteering at animal shelters.

10. What is the most memorable case you’ve been involved in working at The Cat Clinic and what was the outcome.
The most memorable case for me yet is “Dutchy” a 5 year old dude of a cat who was very badly injured recently after being hit by a car. He presented with major soft tissue trauma to his face, was in shock, had dislocated his hip and damaged his eye. This was the second time he had been hit by a car. After initial emergency care, surgery then months of recovery, he is now fighting fit and protecting his owners once more. (For more on ‘Dutchy’ see our case study)

CAT CLINIC CASE STUDY – “Dutchy”

This is the traumatic story of what happened to Dutchy – (the story does has a happy ending).Dutchy-before-incident[1]

He is a lovely 6 year old black and white Domestic boy. Dutchy was a strictly indoor cat, as he had already had a run in with a car several years earlier. Due to the trauma from this incident – he lost his front right leg and his tail. Sadly, Dutchy was spooked when his parent’s house was burgled and ran out onto the road where he was knocked by a car for the second time in his short life.

A passer by saw the incident (a client of the clinic) and rushed him straight down. He was in a terrible state of shock. He was givenDutchy-after-surgery[1] emergency treatment and pain relief to which he responded very quickly. Sadly, it was Dutchy’s head that bore the brunt of his impact. He fractured almost all of his facial bones including his jaw and hard palate, as well as irreparable damage to his left eye. Amazingly, all his body sustained was a dislocated hip. We stabilized him over a week, but due to his oral trauma, he was fed through a tube to speed his recovery and had basic surgery to repair some skin wounds and remove his damaged eye.

The following week, Dutchy was sent to a see a surgical specialist Dr Guy Yates (www.petreferrals.com.au) . He performed a new technique to replace and anchor his hip in place – you will see from his xrays a “button” like device that has now secured the joint to good as newHip-after-surgery[1]

So, 6 weeks later – Dutchy’s hair has all grown back, the wires holding his jaw together have been removed and he is back to running jumping and being a totally normal cat – Minus an arm, a tail and an eye. But he is still a super cool boy.

Dutchy-2-months-after-surgery[1]

FELINE CYSTITIS

What is cystitis?

Cystitis means inflammation of the bladder and urethra. It is also known as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). Feline  ccccCystitis is found in both female and male cats. It is more commonly found in female cats; however, when male cats are affected by the disease it is much more dangerous. The urethra in male cats (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body) can become blocked causing damage to the kidneys and dangerous levels of toxins to build up in the cat’s body. Cystitis affects the bladder resulting in the production of tiny crystals and bloody urine. Cat’s often urinating much more frequently than normal, usually only passing a few drops of urine at a time in the litter tray or none at all. This can be confused with constipation. Many cats will also urinate in places other than the litter box due to the irritation, pain and resulting distress caused by the disease.

There are several possible causes including;

  • Idiopathic (no known cause) – the most common cause of cystitis
  • Bacterial infection
  • Urinary / bladder crystals and or stones

Is my cat showing any of these signs or symptoms? What to look out for:

  • Frequent trips to the litter box / tray
  • Suddenly not wanting to use the litter tray at all
  • Attempting to go to the toilet with little or no urine being passed
  • Straining or pain when urinating
  • Blood present in the urine – it will look red or orange tinted
  • Irritability in personality or behavior
  • Urinating in other places of the house; other than the litter tray/ box
  • Licking their genitals
  • Laying on cold surfaces, such as tiled floors & showers (cold surfaces help ease pain)
  • Experiencing pain during urination (crying) or meowing when urinating
  • Increased thirst – your cat may be drinking more than normal

If the urethra in male cats in particular becomes blocked completely, there may be any of the following symptoms in addition to the above which are a medical emergency:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Collapse

Why does my cat have this?
We are not completely sure of the cause of this disease but a number of risk factors are linked with the development of cystitis which includes:

  • Neutering
  • Low water consumption
  • Feeding dry cat food
  • Feeding very frequently
  • Lack of exercise
  • Living indoors
  • Obesity
  • Use of litter trays
  • Anxiety and or nervous behavior
  • Cats aged between 2-6 years – (Adult cats)
  • Multi-cat households
  • High population of cats in your area (living outdoors)

How can it be managed? Can it be prevented? 
Once your cat has had an episode of cystitis the chances of contracting the disease again is very high. They often have repeat episodes within 6 – 12 months. Here are some ways you can help reduce your cat contracting the disease:

  • Increasing your cats water intake
  • Feed wet (canned) food specialty diets
  • Use synthetic feline pheromones to help reduce stress in your cat’s environment
  • Increase environmental enrichment through play / attention / grooming or toys
  • Make sure your cat has access to multiple clean trays containing good quality absorbent litter
  • Increase the number of water bowls, fountains or automatic dispensers around the house to encourage drinking
  • Making sure your cat has private areas to eat, sleep or relax away from other cats, especially in a multi-cat household

Any cat that is repeatedly entering the litter box / tray but not passing any urine is in need of immediate medical cystitis1[1]attention. It is extremely important to note that difficulty urinating is a medical emergency as failure to act quickly can result in death. If you are noticing your cat showing any of the above signs or symptoms please contact us at The Cat Clinic so we can treat your cat accordingly.

Eukanuba Prescription Diets

Eukanuba has recently developed a great new range of Veterinary Diets for felines with special health requirements. Included in the range is ‘Intestinal Plus’ an intestinal formula that we recommend for patients currently using Royal Canin Intestinal as it will soon be unavailable. So far we’ve had great feedback from clients using this diet and as with all premium pet foods we stock, it had a money back guarantee for our fussy friends.

The new range also includes ‘Renal Plus’ and ‘Urinary Plus’ as well as a wet variety of the ‘Intestinal Plus’. As with all prescription diets, please always consult with your veterinarian before commencing feeding them to your pet.

Edition 12: Dec 2011

2011 – what a great year

As we approach the end of 2011, everyone at The Cat Clinic wishes all our valued client’s season’s greetings and a happy and safe new christmas-kitty[1]year. We have had the pleasure of welcoming new staff, Sarah, Audra and Natalee, but also said fond goodbyes to Faye and Louise to motherhood, and Jackie to sunny Queensland. We have also said sad goodbyes to some of our very special patients, but met some charming kittens that we look forward to getting to know over the coming years.
Congratulations are in order for Sarah, Audra and Melissa for becoming engaged to their respective partners. Wishing them all the happiness in the world!

2011 has been an exciting year for the vets at The Cat Clinic, with Richard and Amy having part of their research interests published and attending several international conferences. Richard was fortunate enough to be invited to present lectures in China, Hong Kong, Spain and here in Australia. Amy has been kept very busy as secretary of the Australian Veterinary College chapter of Feline Medicine. Amy will be travelling to the UK to be an examiner for the College exams in Feline Medicine. We wish Sally the best of luck with her studies as she sits these same exams next year. Thank you to all the wonderful cats that make our job so rewarding & enjoyable.

Christmas opening/closing times

The clinic will be closed on all public holidays and open usual business hours at all other times.

CLOSED: December 25th, 26th, 27th +chr
January 1st & 2nd.

We hope you and your fabulous cats have a safe and festive holiday. Below is a list of after hour and emergency clinics – we hope none of you require these services, but it is always better to be prepared.

Southern Animal Emergency Centre – HIGHETT –www.sarc.com.au
Animal Emergency – MOUNT WAVERLEY, HALLAM – www.aecvets.com.au
Advanced Vet Care – KENSINGTON – www.advancedvetcare.com.au

For non-urgent enquiries, you can still email us here

Feel free to post your cat’s Christmas photos to our facebook page.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cat-Clinic/152417744581

 

Tips for getting you & your cat to the Vet

For some cats the trip to the vet is scarier than the actual examination.ccar

Loud vocalising, panting, growling, hissing, shivering, sweaty paws, urinating, defecating and vomiting are common signs of anxiety that some cats exhibit on their journey to and from the vet clinic. Many cats thoroughly enjoy the ride, experiencing new sights and smells & taking it all in their stride. So what is the best way to transport your cat and assuage any fears & anxieties?

As it is now law to have cats in a carrier while travelling in a car, using a sturdy carrier when transporting your cat is important. Driving with a loose cat roaming around the car may seem like a fun idea, but in actuality it is quite dangerous. There is the possibility of the cat wedging itself under the pedals, as well as the distraction of a free cat, that can cause accidents in seconds. Being secure in a cage will also prevent any escapees jumping from your arms or from the car into the traffic and out of your life. Some cats do fantastically on a harness and can be kept secure during travel. If the harness is fitted correctly, then they are unable to escape.

The best carriers are inexpensive and hard sided, with openings at the front and top and are also able to be taken apart from the middle. A quick release removable top is perfect for a fearful or agitated cat that will prefer to remain in the base of the cage during examination. Newer cat carriers can be made of soft fabrics and are collapsible for easy storage.

What if my cat doesn’t want to get into the cage?

This is a very commonly asked question as many cats will dash under the bed at the first sound of a cage being opened. It’s almost as if they heard you making the appointment with the clinic – they just know! Leaving the cage around the house so it is a familiar item can really help. Putting a towel over the cage or a couple of sprays with the cat pheromone Feliway can sometimes convince your cat that it is a good place to hide, as it’s nice and dark. If not, try closing the cat into the bathroom or another room where there are no tricky hiding spots. Then quietly bring the cage covered in the towel into the bathroom. If the cat still resists being placed in the cage, turn the cage up on its back end so the open door is facing upwards. Take a light scruff at the back of your cat’s neck (just like their mum would have done) and with the cat facing away from you, gently lower it into the open mouth of the cage – let gravity help your kitty into the cage. Leaving the towel covering the cage can reassure anxious, fearful cats – see no evil, hear no evil.

Though your cats may be best friends at home, the stress of visiting the vet or the cattery can sometimes bring on inter-cat aggression. The fear and anxiety makes them act and respond differently than at home. This can unnerve some cats and when their sibling sees this “different” cat, they can retaliate and feed off the other’s anxieties. This is something we see at The Cat Clinic quite often and is why we feel that most cats will benefit from having their own secure carry cage instead of sharing with their siblings.

Lining the cage with newspaper, a thick towel or a blanket is the best idea for cats that are prone to “accidents” on the way to and from the clinic. The nurses at The Cat Clinic will be happy to clean the cage out as accidents do happen with nervous kitties. Overall, the vet experience can be a stressful one for you and your cat, so preparing well at home is part of making this as pleasant as possible. You know your cat’s personality and what works best for them.

http://catvets.com/uploads/PDF/2011FelineFriendlyClientHandout.pdf

Ordering Medications and repeat scripts
from The Cat clinic

There are many options when it comes to medicating cats. Medications can come in tablets, pastes, liquids, capsules, as well as gelsmed that can be absorbed through the skin. At The Cat Clinic, we understand that medicating cats can be difficult. That’s why we offer some medications as “compounded” medications. This means that we can send a prescription to a special type of pharmacist, who can make most medications into more palatable forms, such as pastes or liquids. Often these forms of the medications also have a flavour that makes them tastier to cats, such as anchovy or chicken. They can also make the “transdermal” gels that were mentioned earlier, so you simply have to place some of the gel on to the cat (often on the inner ear tip) and it is absorbed through the skin. If your cat has an ongoing medical problem that requires medication, and you find medicating your cat difficult, please talk to our vets about the possibility of compounded medications.

In the case of repeat prescriptions for compounded medications, we do require that you call the clinic a few days in advance, as we don’t make the medications on site. This gives us time to write and send the prescription, and then time for it to be made and sent back to us. We will give you a call once it arrives. If your animal is on a regular medication long term and you need a repeat of that medication, please also ensure that you call us at least a couple of hours before you arrive to collect it, to ensure that we have it in stock and that there is a veterinarian available to dispense it. This means we can also ensure that one of our veterinarians has approved the dispensing of a repeat prescription, as in some instances your cat may need to be re-examined prior to another repeat of the medication in order to comply with the veterinary dispensing regulations. We will let you know when this is necessary through our reminders system.

There are obviously legal requirements when it comes to dispensing medications for animals, just as there are for humans. The animal must be under the direct care of the veterinarian and must have been seen by that veterinarian recently. No one else (such as veterinary nurses) other than the veterinarian is able to dispense the medication, unless under direct supervision. There must also be a label attached to the drug outlining several things, including the name of the animal and owner, the name of the drug and detailed directions on how to administer the drug. This is one reason why if you need to request a repeat prescription for your cat, we will ask you how much and when the medication is given. This is to ensure that the correct dose is being given and that this is recorded correctly on the label.

Edition 11: Sept 2011

On 5th September Richard and Amy are lucky enough to be jetting off to Seville, Spain to attend the prestigious Congress of The European College of Internal Medicine.

Richard has been asked to present a talk on one of his fields of interest, the use of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Metacam) as treatment for osteoarthritis in older cats. We will expect them home from 20th September. Bon Voyage Richard and Amy, have a great time and don’t forget to bring your hard working nurses home a present!

Dr Sally Coggins will be looking after the clinic in Richard and Amy’s absence with the help of Richard & Amy’s friends and feline colleague, Dr Alison Montgomery BVSc(Hons), MACVSc(Feline Medicine).

Dr Ali graduated with honours from Sydney University in 1994, worked in small animal practice for several years, then packed up Dr_ali[1]and went travelling through South-East Asia with her husband. Whilst in Thailand, she spent two years setting up an International visiting vet program to benefit the welfare of Thailand’s animals, as well as working with the Bali street dog and cat foundation. She returned to clinical practice in 2001, accepting an offer to work in a small animal hospital in Hong Kong. During this time she decided to further develop her passion for all things feline and in 2004 became a Member of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists in Feline Medicine.

Since then she has been a dedicated feline practitioner, currently working at 9 Lives Cat Hospital in Hong Kong. She is really looking forward to working at The Cat Clinic and coming back to Australia to see her family with her two young daughters.

CHRISTMAS BOARDING

Due to the tiny size of our boarding cattery (only 16 cages!) we are unfortunately, fully booked over the Christmas and New Year period. If you require a boarding facility for you feline friend over the holidays please have a look at our alternate boarding cattery list on our website.

The holiday period is an incredibly busy time for catteries, so we recommend making arrangements as soon as possible to prevent your holiday plans going awry.

Georgia visits the Cat Practice in New York

137 Fifth Avenue, New York
http://www.thecatpractice.com

I realised recently how little time I spend away from cats. With four cats at home and a full-time job nursing at The Cat Clinic, when I am away from my favourite animal I feel it quite keenly. This was made apparent to me recently when I spent three days at a friend’s (cat-less) ski lodge. The lodge was named ‘Wombat’ and sported several taxidermied varieties of Wombat that I kept seeing out of the corner of my eye and approaching to pat. It was really quite disturbing.

So as my three week holiday to the USA came closer, I did a bit of research and discovered the multitudes of Clinic’s operating in georgia_newyork1[1]the US which, like ours in Prahran cater exclusively for cats. It is a much more common concept over there and they have the population to support it.

I found ‘The Cat Practice’ at 137 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York around 23rd Street, (glamorous address!) and dragged my poor husband there to check it out. Founded in 1972, it is quite a small clinic with only one vet working on the day I visited. It was very interesting for me to see how another cat-only clinic worked and the differences and similarities between their practice and ours. It made me very proud to work here as we have such talented and compassionate vets as well as sophisticated diagnostic equipment that just isn’t available everywhere.

I had a long chat with the full time vet at ‘The Cat Practice’ who was very passionate about feline medicine and who showed me around the clinic and introduced me to some of the patients in hospital and boarders in the cattery.

georgia_newyork2[1]

One big difference that struck me straight away was the large number of ‘Clinic cats’ cruising around the hospital. They were everywhere. They were all rescue cats and all enormously friendly and it was great to have a bit of ‘cat time’ with them. Clinic cats are found in many vet practices and although it is lovely for the rescue cats to have somewhere safe to live, it isn’t as nice for sick visiting cats staying in hospital. They can often become quite scared and intimidated by the cats who are allowed to roam around freely. This is one reason we don’t have them at The Cat Clinic. We would prefer your cats to feel as safe as possible in our hospital and cattery.

With my need for some ‘cat contact’ fulfilled I was then able to turn my mind to other New York sights and destinations – like Katz’s deli! Thanks to everyone at The Cat Practice for showing me around. Next item on my agenda – establishing an international Cat Clinic exchange program!

Fleas – a guide

Fleas were responsible for claiming more victims than all the wars ever fought, as a result of diseases such as the “bubonic” (Black flea-image[1]Death) plague that they spread throughout the world in the 14th century causing the deaths of over 200 million people. Now, these insects are better known for their irritation and pest status worldwide. Fleas can cause scratching, skin irritation and they can also transmit tape worm and blood parasites such as infectious anaemia.

Be warned! Keeping your cat indoors won’t necessarily protect them from the little bloodsuckers. During the last few months we have seen a number of seriously infested cats. When a large flea burden is accumulated it can be really hard to get rid of. Products like Revolution, Advantage and Advocate are fantastic if you diligently apply then every month, but flea pupae are able to lie dormant for up to 9 months so even if you apply flea prevention for half a year and haven’t seen one in all that time, you can still have fleas hatching out in the carpet, floorboards, all over the house the minute you stop. We can also walk fleas into the house on our clothes, as they can inhabit grasses etc. outdoors too.

How do I know if my cat has fleas? Fleas can be hard to spot, but they do leave tell tale signs. Is your cat scratching? Some cats don’t scratch at all, especially if they are not allergic to fleas. Have a close-up look at your cat. Part its fur in several places on its body, or use a fine tooth ‘flea-comb’. Fleas leave behind a small black gritty substance that will turn red if you wipe a damp tissue over it. Why does it turn red? Because it is dried digested blood….EWW! You may find a little bit of this ‘flea-dirt’ or a lot of it, on your cat, it’s bedding, or anywhere your cat spends it’s time. Due to the fastidious nature with which cats groom themselves, sometimes no flea dirt is evident at all. Cats can often develop flea allergies. Any strange twitching or over-grooming of fur, redness around the ears or anywhere on the body can also be signs of a flea infestation.

What do I do if my cat has fleas? If your cat has a few fleas we recommend using Advantage® spot on flea treatment control or Revolution® or Advocate® spot on parasite control which will kill fleas and worms. Supermarket products do help but are just not as effective as the ones mentioned. Sadly, we also see Frontline® becoming less effective than in past years. Thereforewe do not recommend it based on these observations. Make sure you get the appropriate weight range for your cat and never use DOG flea products on your cat unless under strict guidance from a Veterinarian. These are to be applied once a month every month on the back of your cats head to keep fleas at bay. We also recommend a thorough vacuum. Placing a flea collar in the bag of the vacuum cleaner can be a good way of killing what your vacuum collects. Any other household pets should be flea treated also. If you have a heavy infestation and a monthly spot on just isn’t doing the trick, try the following:

  • Apply an Advantage® topspot fortnightly for 2-3 months, then monthly long term to all animals (cats, dogs, rabbits) Note that you may continue to find live fleas on your cat during these first few months. This is does not mean the product is not working but more a sign of a heavy environmental burden, as new fleas must hatch out and take a bite of the animal before the product will kill them.
  • Capstar® tablets will kill any fleas living on your pet in 30 minutes; it will not kill fleas living in your environment. You can give one Capstar® tablet every second day for the first week of treatment then one tablet everyday a live flea is seen.
  • Vacuum twice weekly for the first 2-3 months, especially focus on areas pets spend the most time, including soft furnishings, sofas etc.
  • Wash all bedding in a hot wash weekly for the first 2-3 months.
  • Consider flea bombs for very heavy infestations.

If this all sounds like a lot of work, why not get your pets onto a good quality flea control today?

STAFF PROFILE

10 Questions with Veterinary Nurse:
Sarah Bourke

1. How long have you worked at the Cat Clinic?sarah2[1]
I am the newest nurse and have been here just 2 months.

2. What is your favourite thing about working with cats? 
I love seeing all the different breeds and getting to know individual cats and their owners.

3. What is your least favourite thing about working with cats?
The worst thing is seeing any cruelty cases (thankfully none at the Cat Clinic) and I’m also not a fan of the grumpy, swipey cats.

4. How many pets do you own?
I have 4 cats – Jackson, Milo, Bohdi and Saffron as well as 2 dogs – Tori and Axel and a tank full of fish.

5. What is your favourite breed and why? 
Burmese are my favourite breed of cat because of they are so beautiful and have fantastic personality’s being very outgoing, friendly and talkative.

6. What is the most common question asked by clients? 
Most clients want to know what food their cat should be eating and a lot of people also have questions about behavioural problems such as inappropriate urination or scratching.

7. What is the most rewarding memory you have of being a Veterinary Nurse
My most rewarding memory would have to be from my time as a vet nurse at the Animal Emergency Centre. We had a cat come in who had been hit by a car and had a fractured jaw, chest and massive facial injuries. His owners were adamant that he would recover and were willing to try any treatment to help him. He ended up staying in hospital for almost two weeks, during which time he had his jaw wired and a feeding tube placed, as well as numerous xrays to assess his lung function and treatments to help his facial injuries. During this time, everyone in the clinic fell in love with him as he was so friendly, even though he must have been uncomfortable. His owners were so happy when he could go home and it made us all very proud to be a part of his recuperation.

8. What is the biggest misconception about cats?
That they only purr when they are happy. Purring can cover a whole range of emotions!

9. What do you enjoy doing after hours?
I love cooking, reading and spending time with my pets. I also enjoy hand rearing and re-homing kittens and fundraising at “The Cat Corner” in Boronia.
http://www.thecatcorner.com.au

10. What is the most memorable case you’ve been involved in working at the clinic and what was the outcome?
The most memorable case I’ve seen so far was a cat who ate around 10 hair elastics. The hair bands caused an obstruction that had to be removed surgically. He recovered really well and went home to an elastic band-free home!

New Toy – Da Bird Cat Catcher

This toys design mimics the motion of a real bird in flight.Cat_Catcher-mouse[1]

NO CAT CAN RESIST IT! It’s recommended by veterinarians as a great way for your cat to exercise.

There are loads of cool attachments you can buy to mix things up a bit. These include mice, rabbit and feathers.

These toys are flying out the door, but we should have a new delivery in soon. Check Out this Youtube Link:
http://youtu.be/OiswAJmg3rY

Edition 10: July 2011

Staff News

As many of you may have noted, Faye had been developing a baby bump over the past months. Faye and her partner Tim are faye-2[1]about to welcome a baby boy to their family of 2 fur kids. Sadly, this means Faye will be leaving the Cat Clinic to start her family. Faye has been with us almost from the day we opened. She has helped guide our practice to where it is today. She has likely nursed many of your cats during a hospital stay or answered a question about your cat’s health. I know we will all miss her and I would like to thank her sincerely for the wonderful time she has spent with our practice. Best of luck Faye, Tim, Gucci & Mac.

It’s not all sad news, as we have a new fabulous nurse to add to our team; Sarah. She has joined us after spending the past 2 years working at one of the large pet emergency clinics her in Melbourne. She loves cats having 4 herself, and has always looked to work at a cat only practice. She does also have 2 large dogs as well, but we won’t hold this against her. Sarah has completed her certificate IV in Veterinary nursing and brings with her great experience in critical care and intensive nursing. Sarah is also a qualified occupational therapist, but she knew animal care was her true passion.

Richard has finally had his paper accepted for publication in theJournal of Feline Medicine and Surgery – regarding the long term management of cats with Osteoarthritis.

sarah2[1]

623051[1]It is the first paper of its kind and will hopefully lead to a greater recognition of arthritis in cats as well as a guide as to how to effectively and safely manage chronic pain, especially in older cats. Thank you to all those cats and clients that were involved in this important publication.

Retrospective case control study of the effects of long-term dosing with meloxicam on renal function in aged cats with degenerative joint disease.
Richard Gowan BVSc MACVSc (Feline Medicine)
The Cat Clinic, 1 Miller Street, Prahran, Melbourne, Australia

Royal Canin Intestinal & Sensitivity Dry Formula availability

Supply of Royal Canin Intestinal & Sensitivity DRY Formula will be interrupted in coming months due to changes in regulations made by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service. This has arisen due to a ruling by AQIS in regards to the maximum allowed percentage of egg product in all imported pet foods. This has affected many lines of dry food from all pet food companies.
Rather than just removing the ingredient, Royal Canin will reformulate and re-trial the Intestinal Formula to make sure it meets all criteria, including palatability, to live up to Royal Canin’s high standards.

The Cat Clinic realises a lot of your feline friends rely on these formulas as part of their health care. Therefore we have taken measures to ensure we have as much stock available as possible, as we cannot know how long it will take for the new formulation to be made available. Please be aware that though we currently have a lot in stock, it is possible that we will run out before the new formulation is available.

The Case of the disappearing hair bands?

Recently, a lovely little cat was presented to Dr. Sally as he was vomiting and losing weight. He was still eating well, but Dr. Sally cat-xray[1]was concerned as she could feel he had a thickened irregular stomach. She initially performed an ultrasound of his abdomen to help eliminate some of the more common reasons that cause vomiting and weight loss. The images were inconclusive but his stomach walls were very unhappy and thickened. His blood tests were unremarkable, so excluded kidney and liver disease as a cause for his vomiting.

Dr. Sally still wasn’t sure as to the exact nature behind the vomiting, so she took an X-ray. From the X-rays you can clearly see there are “things” in the stomach that should not be there – but what we were not sure?

When Vets and nurses see images like this, there is always guessing and speculation as to what object/s the cat may have eaten. The best way to find out and remove the objects was surgerysurgery-pic[1]

He was taken to surgery where a small incision was made into his stomach and 14 various hair elastics and hair ties were successfully removed.

The great news is that he spent a further 48hrs in hospital and made a full recovery. This haul is way short of our record of 38 hair bands successfully removed from the stomach of a patient 4 years ago (still going strong).

This believe it or not is a very common scenario, which has allowed us to build up an amazing collection of foreign materials that have become lodged in the intestinal tract of our patients.

From hair ties, to sewing needles, cat toys, plastic shopping bags, bread bag clips, paper clips and even various pieces of clothing. elastic-bands[1]Most of these can be easily removed. However a much nastier scenario occurs when cats eat string or cotton. This is termed a linear foreign body and can cause terrible damage to their intestinal tract as the string can act as a saw internally. The surgery to remove these is much more complicated and many days or weeks in hospital can be required afterwards.

Cats love hunting and chewing on all sorts of toys and foreign objects. Our two new kittens will play with anything from leaves, balls of paper and really anything left lying around. But this also gets some cats into real trouble. So, please be careful of what toys and objects your cats are allowed to play with.

Breed profile: Russian Blue

It is believed that the majestic Russian Blue a naturally occurring breed, was brought to Britain and Northern Europe by sailors who worked on board merchant vessels travelling from the shore of the White Sea, Arkhangelsk, which led them to become known as the “Archangel Cat”. In the late 1800’s they became a recognised breed with the Governing Cat Council and were classed as the “Russian Blue”. Rumor also has the Russian Blue as a descendant of the Royal Cat of the Russian Czars and as a favoured pet of Queen Victoria. russian_blue[1]

The Russian is a stunning looking cat with a plush double coat shimmering with silver highlights and their sleepy emerald green eyes. Some Russian Blues are born with “ghost stripes” as kittens, but these generally fade with age to the familiar, solid silvery blue of adulthood. They have prominent whisker pads and should almost appear as if they are smiling. Their nose leather and paw pads are soft and lilac in colour. The head is sometimes described as cobra-like which aptly describes the broad, medium wedge and flat profiles. The large, pointed ears are wide at the base and set rakishly toward the side of the head. The body of the Russian Blue is fine-boned, long, and firmly muscled. The clean lines and graceful carriage of the Russian Blue give it a regal appearance all its own.

Those attracted by the physical beauty of the Russian Blue find the disposition of these unassuming cats equally appealing. Russian Blues are quiet, clean cats who are playful and loving companions. Despite their shy nature, Russians are devoted and quite affectionate towards their loved ones. They are very intelligent and have been reported to open doors and teach their owners to fetch. Sensitive to the mood of the house, Russians will ‘clown’ to quiet a crying baby or sit patting your face to chase away the blues. They get along well with children and other pets.

A Russian Blue is a good choice for the modern home because their undemanding nature fits perfectly into today busy schedules. They will entertain themselves if left alone for the day and be a contented companion upon your return. The Russian requires a minimum of grooming with periodic nail clipping and a coat that can be kept beautifully by frequent petting and an occasional combing. Many Russians seem to enjoy being combed or brushed as it allows them additional time with their owners.

Richard & Amy have fallen in love with their own little Russian Blue boy – “Stirling” who is now 19 weeks old and has fitted in wonderfully with their other 3 cats.

The Russian Blue has now been bred in a black and a white colour, however these are just called “Russians” as they a hybrid variety.

Check out this Russian Blue Link:
http://youtu.be/6vWz-YeG5bc

Edition 9: Mar 2011

We have had a very busy couple of months both at the Cat Clinic, personally and with other Veterinary activities.

Please note – Amy & Richard are away on conference in Europe from the 27th March until the 4th of April. Dr. Sally Coggins will be in sole care of the practice as we could not find a feline specific locum Vet for these 8 days. We ask that for understanding during this time, as we may post-pone some routine surgeries and reduce the available consulting spots for Saturday 2nd of April.Stella_ChinaClinic[1]

Amy & Richard have welcomed a bundle of joy into their lives – little Stella. A whirlwind of flying Oriental ninja attack moves has gotten their 2 flabby middle age Tonkinese back into fighting shape – but they are all best of friends after only a short time. Of course, Stella rules the house at only 15 weeks of age! They hope to adopt another kitten soon to get back to a household of 4 cats.

Richard was recently away presenting lectures in Hong Kong & Beijing on behalf of the ISFM (International Society of Feline Medicine (www.isfm.net). This was the first conference of its kind in Asia and was aimed to promote the awareness of their Feline friendly practice program. Richard had a ball re-uniting with many of the tremendous Vets he met last year when he spent 3 weeks lecturing and seeing practice in China.

Thanks to this trip, Amy & Richard have formed a committee to oversee the formation of an Australian Feline Veterinary Interest group as part of the ISFM. This adds to Richard’s commitments within the Australian Veterinary Association and Amy’s within the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists.

They are very much looking forward to their “vacation” AKA conference in France.

Breed Profile: Singapura

The Singapura cat takes its name from the Malaysian name for Singapore. The Singapura was brought to America in the 1970’s. Hal & Tommy Meadow bred the first Singapura’s, though there was little paperwork to support this claim and there is still some controversy as to whether these pixie-like cats are a naturally occurring breed or the result of a Burmese x Abyssinian hybrid. The CFA still recognise the breed as naturally occurring.singapura[1]

The Singapura is the smallest of all the recognised cat breeds. What they lack in size they make up for in personality, having been often described as “monkeys of the cat world”. Dainty and elegant, the Singapura has changed very little over the years. People are usually drawn to their angelic faces, huge expressive eyes and large ears that lend them a slightly alien appearance.

The Singapura has a moderately stocky and muscular build. The head is rounded. The ears are large and the eyes are huge, almond shaped and can be green, hazel or yellow. Their nose, which is salmon toned and eyes are accentuated by dark eyeliner like outlines. The tail is slightly shorter than the body, slender with a black blunt tip. They have a close lying, satiny, ticked coat of sepia brown. This is the only accepted colour. This means that the individual hairs on the cat have alternating bands of sepia brown and the warm ivory ground colour. This gives the appearance of fine sand. Their muzzle, chin, chest and underside are all a warm ivory colour.

They have no inherent health problems and are generally a very robust cat.
The Singapura is affectionate, good natured, gentle and extremely playful. They have no ‘off-button’ and will play for hours, stalking every movement of toys, fingers and toes. They are cheeky, lively, extremely curious, and full of mischief, affectionate, intelligent, inquisitive, fun loving cats, which actively seek out human company. They are non-confrontational and will rarely enter into a dispute or quarrel. The females tend to be the more dominant sex while the males are a little easier going.

The Singapura is a great family pet; it gets along well with children and is an outgoing breed which thrives on companionship. If you are away from home for long periods then it is recommended your Singapura has a feline companion. Be it another Singapura or another breed. Their coat is very short and requires little to no grooming. Singapura’s are suited for indoor life. Provide plenty of toys, as well as your attention. Scratching posts for sharpening claws and climbing are a must, the taller the better.

To see some Singapura antics check out the following Youtube links.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LSbZKFRvKU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BG0bosCbhyI

Kurs’s Story – New Eyelids for Xmas

Kurt was a little stray boy taken in by the lovely people at the Save-A-Dog scheme (SADS) in Stonnington. It was obvious to his carers that Kurt had a problem; he was born without 2/3 of both his upper eyelids. This is a rare condition called eyelid agenesis or eyelid coloboma . His corneas were becoming badly damaged and had started to turn brown, affecting his vision. This was due to the hair from his eyebrows was sticking directly into his eyes due to the absence of eyelids.kurt[1]

Kurt was brought to see Richard. He and Sally had recently read a publication written by Australian ophthalmologists where they had created upper eyelids for cats similar to Kurt by moving skin from the corner of their lips to form a new eyelid. Neither had attempted this, but they offered to try this technique as seeing an specialist ophthalmologist was not possible.

The other alternative was to freeze the remaining tissue around the eye to kill the hair follicles. The cost was covered by small donations from the public to SADS for Kurt and the Cat Clinic donated their time for free.

Kurt had his eyes lubricated 3-4 times per day to minimise the hair rubbing his eyes until he was 6 months of age and big enough for the surgery. He underwent two separate procedures a month apart. The technique involved making a skin flap, using the corner of each lip and rotating it to fill the defect of the missing eyelids. The edge of the lip is soft and hairless, so is perfect for this application.

Kurt was such a great little patient and recovered very well and didn’t bother at his stitches. He did look a bit funny with all the stitches – but as you can see by the results, we are delighted with his results. He can even blink as the muscles above the new eyelids have compensated and therefore allow him to lubricate and protect his eyes. He can now get a good night sleep as well, being able to fully close his eyes for the first time.

Kurt was recently adopted out to a loving new home. There are many more beautiful cats (and dogs) looking for loving homes at SADS.
www.saveadog.org.au

Edition 8: Dec 2010

2010 has been another great year for The Cat Clinic and our staff – our 6th year of operation. Thank-you to all those beautiful cats who make our profession so enjoyable.

Dr. Amy passed her Fellowship exams in July and is now a Registered Specialist in Feline Medicine, one of only eleven in Australia. We are all very proud of her as it brings to an end five years of hard study and dedication. She is now even busier seeing sick cats and referral cases from Vets around Melbourne. She also received an award from the Small Animal Veterinary Association for the best clinical case series published, and continues her role as Secretary of the Feline Chapter of the Australian College. We hope 2011 is slightly less stressful for her.

Dr Richard has also had a busy year (especially whilst Amy was away studying, his golf suffered terribly as a result). He has presented several lecture series on Feline Medicine around Australia, Hong Kong and Europe, as well as his research into feline osteoarthritis. He presented a paper at the European Veterinary conference, where the cat clinic’s experience has helped publish guidelines for the treatment of feline osteoarthritis. But, the highlight would be his three week trip to China with Vets Beyond Borders http://www.vetsbeyondborders.org/.

meilian[1]

 

He spent three weeks volunteering with seven other Vets and Nurses from Melbourne on an educational program for the welfare management of cats. This was a truly wonderful experience and he hopes to return soon. He met many dedicated cat carers and Vets, and also got to hug a Panda! He has continued as the President of the Melbourne Veterinary Association and has also accepted a position on the board of the Victorian division of the Australian Veterinary Association.

Sadly, Richard & Amy said goodbye to two of their beloved cats Sabi & Gordon. Gordon had a slowly progressive brain tumor.gordon&sabi[1] He was a lovely boy who helped save many other cats lives as a blood donor through his life with Richard. Sabi, the most beautiful little oriental, bravely battled a failing heart, but even with two cat vets as servants, her disease finally took its toll on her little body. Both are missed terribly and the household is not the same with just two cats. Thank you for all the kind wishes.

Dr Sally has almost been with our practice for 12 months now. She has fitted in wonderfully and settled in to Melbourne life well. She has had to become used to the rigors of a long distance relationship, as her partner Toby is completing a residency in Equine Surgery in Sydney. Sally is working towards sitting her memberships in Feline Medicine and has taken an active role in Veterinary student mentoring.

Our wonderful nursing team has continued to grow, with Jackie starting her Veterinary nursing Certificate Congratulations to Louise, who had a beautiful baby girl in July, named Olive.

Thank you for your support through the year – we wish you and your beloved cats a safe and happy holidays. The clinic will be closed 25th – 28th December & again 1st – 3rd of January. 

For Veterinary assistance, please contact one of the 24 hour Hospitals listed on our website (but we truly hope none of you require this service). 

My Diabetic “Mac”

By Faye Koopmans (Vet Nurse at the Cat Clinic)mac_fayes_diabetic_cat[1]

My beautiful 11yr old black domestic ‘Mac’, was recently diagnosed with diabetes. Like most clients (even though I deal with this medical condition at work) I was very concerned – after all he is my boy. This condition however is easily treated and with current innovative insulin, such as glargine your cat’s requirement for insulin can be rapidly reduced and therefore on the way to going into remission as I have recently discovered.

Causes of diabetes include the genetic predisposition of particular breeds such as Burmese, obesity, use of steroids to treat other medical conditions, and gender (it usually occurs in males rather than females). Age also plays a part and the incidence of diabetes increases from 9yrs of age. Mac has 3 of these factors working against him, his age, sex and unfortunately being overweight.

Recognising the signs is important. Symptoms include increased thirst and increased urination. These are the two important first signs coupled with increased appetite and weight loss. If these signs go unnoticed the next stage is lethargy, not eating, and you may notice your cat seems unwell. We call these “sick diabetics” as once they get to this stage ketones show up in the urine. Ketones are waste products of fatty acid breakdown in the body. This is a result of burning fat, rather than glucose, to fuel the body. If left untreated it can cause severe illness and can be fatal, therefore prompt action is required and it is considered an emergency.

Diagnosis is simple with an initial urine test which will indicate glucose in the urine which otherwise would not normally be present. Further blood testing will confirm the diagnosis. The presence of glucose in the urine is the failure of cells to absorb the glucose. Glucose is produced after eating and insulin is secreted which signals the cells to absorb glucose as a source of energy. This does not occur in diabetic cats, requiring twice daily insulin injections to supplement the body’s need for insulin.

Treatment is simple and careful monitoring and special dietary changes can greatly speed the reduction in insulin and the remission process. Twice daily injections of insulin are required given 12 hours apart. Home monitoring of blood glucose I found vital, enabling the reduction in insulin which in Mac’s case was from 3.5 units to 2 units in only 3 weeks and is now currently 1 unit. It looks like he will likely go into remission soon!

Dietary changes include special diabetic dry food, and high protein such as meat. In Mac’s case he already eats meat so weighing the meat and measuring out the recommended amount of dry is important. Obviously this helps in weight reduction. By measuring the food I can establish his calorie intake, so if he is not losing weight I can reduce the amount of food further.

Measuring blood glucose at home was no problem, I know you are thinking “its ok for her – she is a vet nurse”, but it can be achieved. It is not only about technique which is simple, but confidence which comes with practice. The initial anxiety you may experience will out weigh the benefits of measuring blood glucose at home. Here you can monitor it closely in their own environment which reduces their stress. Then changes can be made to reduce insulin required and speed up the process of remission. I found using treats a great tool to reward your cat. Mac receives a special treat when his BG is measured and receives some diabetic food (from his measured amount) when he gets his insulin. Felines love routine and like clock work he hassles me 5 mins before his insulin dose waiting in the kitchen. If you reward cats and give them plenty of praise this helps with compliance. Urine glucose monitoring is important once Mac has gone into remission. This is performed once a month for the rest of his life to allow early detection of diabetes should he come out of remission.

The most life–threatening complication is hypoglycemia or low blood glucose. This occurs if too much insulin is given. Main signs are weakness, lethargy, disorientation, and a drunken gait. Rapid recognition is needed to prevent collapse, coma or even death. If these signs are observed the cat should be encouraged to eat and glucose/honey should be applied directly onto the gums.

There are changes you need to adapt to which most notably is being home to inject your cat, therefore the more you can monitor at home the more likely and the quicker remission can be achieved and the sooner you can go to the pub after work! At home monitoring involves checking water intake, appetite and body weight – weight loss is important for the remission process, as well as monitoring blood glucose and urine glucose levels.

Through this whole process Mac is a happy cat doing all his normal things like chasing my other cat, playing with his favourite catnip toy, lying around in the sun, scratching my furniture and hanging out with me on the couch while demanding his daily brush. In some ways his condition has bought us closer together due to extra care and attention, what cat says no to a special treat and an extra chin scratch?

MOVING HOUSE WITH 4 CATS

Georgia’s Story (Vet Nurse at the Cat Clinic)

Moving house is always a major pain, but my favourite part has always been the moment when my husband and I get to release the cats into the fully furnished house. Watching them sniff around and explore their new surroundings has always been fun, as we have moved many times with our Ragdolls, Rupert and Bellatrix. They are old hands at relocating, having originally come over from England. They take it all in their stride and we’ve never had a problem with them.

Since the last move, we have acquired Ari, a Lilac Burmese boy and Bertie a tiny Singapura boy. Bertie is a bit of a scaredy cat, so we anticipated he might not take to moving as well as the Ragdolls. I put a lovely snuggler bed in the bottom of a cupboard for him and he pretty much stayed curled up in there for the first three or four days, only venturing out a night like a little marsupial.

Ari, who is my sweetest most loving cat, turned into an absolute monster. This was totally unexpected and really quite devastating. From the moment we left our old apartment, he started growling and hissing. I thought he’d calm down in few hours. When we got to the new place, he wouldn’t come out of his cage. He grew angrier and angrier and when I tried to extract him from the cage to comfort him, he struck at me, snorting and hissing. The other cats and I were shocked and a little annoyed that he was being such a big baby, so I put a towel over his cage and left him in the bedroom. Later that night after we’d all gone to bed, he began to venture out of his cage. I grabbed him and put him under the doona with me, as this is where he always sleeps and I thought he’d feel safer. Unfortunately I did not get to sleep that night. Ari wouldn’t settle. He crawled around under the covers, constantly clawing his way over us, meowing and growling all night. I didn’t know what to do. (Though in the back of my mind, I knew what I would have advised a client to do in the same situation.) In between long bouts of snoring, my husband would wake up and claim he wasn’t getting any sleep and couldn’t I do something about the cat?

Eventually the sun came up and we both went work, leaving Ari in the bed. At work, Dr Richard asked me what advice I would give to a client who was moving house and told me I should have taken my own advice. He then prescribed Ari some anti-anxiety medication to be used only for the next day or two. I also purchased some Feliway, a wonderful product that contains a synthetic analogue of the feline facial pheromone. It comes as a spray or a diffuser that plugs into an electrical socket and wafts the scentless liquid around the house, providing a sense of security and well-being and preventing and reducing signs of stress. Armed with these items, I returned home full of hope to find a poo on the end of the bed and Ari still under the covers.

The poo pretty much sapped the last vestiges of sympathy out of me. I popped an anxiety tablet down his throat, and removed him from the bedroom. I set him up in the spare room, with a big fleecy cat bed, a litter tray, a bowl of food and water and plugged in a Feliway diffuser. I then closed the door and went about the business of laundering my bed linen. I left Ari in that room, checking on him every couple of hours for three days. I tested him out in the house a few times, but as soon as he showed any aggression to the other cats I shut him straight back in the room. The change in him happened pretty quickly. After two hours in the room, he stopped growling and hissing at me. He became loving and cuddly again, though he was still quite aggressive toward the other cats, and days later he was out and about with the rest us, totally back to normal. This method of keeping your cat segregated in one room when moving house absolutely works and I wish I had done it from day one.

Edition 7: Feb 2010

Welcome to Dr Sally Coggins

New Feline veterinarianSally-Jayne-Coggins[1]

In January, we are thrilled to welcome Dr Sally Coggins, our new feline veterinarian, to the Cat Clinic. Sally graduated from Sydney University in 2007 and spent her first two years in practice working at a busy small animal practice in Canberra.  Having always adored cats, Sally began to focus on this passion in 2009, completing a distance education course in Feline Medicine.

She looks forward to furthering her knowledge of cats and will begin working toward sitting her Memberships with the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists in Feline Medicine.  Sally loves all aspects of feline practices and in addition to advancing her medicine skills, she also holds particular interests in feline surgery and dentistry.Fox[1]

Sally has one golden child… Mr Fox.  Fox was a stray abandoned kitten that Sally acquired from her first job.

Welcome to Gosia Anderst

Veterinary nurse

Gosia is our newest nurse to join the team, Gosia has moved to Melbourne from Perth to fulfil her dream of working in a cat-only practice. She has been working as a veterinary nurse for four years in large general Vet practice.Gosia[1]

Gosia has completed her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing, and is planning to start studying for a Veterinary Nursing Diploma in Surgery or Emergency Nursing next year. She was always the “cat” nurse at her clinic, so this was a logical step in her career.

Gosia has one much loved 21 month old calico and white domestic shorthair cat called Jezabel. Jezabel handled the journey from Perth very well and is looking forward to settling in to her new home in Melbourne.

 

 

jezabel-(Gosia)[1]

 

 

 

 

 

Case of the Month

Heart Pacemaker – Eric, the 2nd cat in Victoria to receive one.eric-in-hospital[1]

Eric is a handsome 12 year old Australian Mist that belongs to Nicole and Dan – Nicole was a Vet who worked here and at the cat clinic in Brisbane. She had noted that Eric just wasn’t himself and started having funny little “turns”. She brought him in for us to check even though she used to be a cat vet, as it’s just not the same when it’s one of your own that’s sick. He had an irregular heart beat – so his heart went from being normal to very slow all of a sudden. This would lead to a drop in his blood pressure and he would fall over. He had full x-rays, ultrasounds and blood tests with us and all were NORMAL?

So we sent him off to see the Cardiac Specialist, Dr. Richard Woolley (one of only 3 in Australia) who ran every test he could, but Eric’s condition wasn’t straight forward. He even stayed in hospital with a 24-hour heart monitor to record his heart beat during this time. But like some patients, the Hospital experience “cured” him and he didn’t faint at all during this time.pacemaker-in-cat2[1]

Nicole then took him to see Dr. Sam Long at Werribee – one of only two Veterinary Neurologists in Australia. He felt Eric’s fainting was more likely a bizarre seizure leading to the fainting. Eric was started on medications, to which he responded well until… one weekend, Eric started fainting terribly. When Nicole listened to his heart, it would stop for up to 5 seconds at a time. He was rushed off to the Cardiology centre again, where he was stabilised. He had an obvious heart block, a condition where the hearts natural pacemaker impulse can’t get through to all of the heart to make it beat properly. Without this impulse, Eric’s heart was missing beats and he would die if this was not corrected.

Nicole & Dan made the decision to pursue a pacemaker, his only option – even with only a handful of successful placements in Australia. Dr. Woolley along with a surgeon Dr Charles Kuntz took Eric to surgery, where a pacemaker lead was inserted into his heart from a small incision in his belly. eric-after-surgery[1]The pacemaker itself sits in Eric’s tummy (about the size of a thick 50 cent coin) and sends electrical impulses to keep the heart beating regularly. He went home 2 days later and was an amazingly happy and bright cat when we saw him for his stitches out 2 weeks ago. He is only the 2nd cat in Victoria to receive a pacemaker.

It is obvious that these Veterinary bills were rather large, but this is the sort of Specialist Veterinary care available these days – another great reason to consider health insurance for your cat?

Cardiac disease

NEW Cardiac Probe & ECG monitor

Here at the Cat Clinic, we often use our ultrasound machine to assess organs in the abdomen for such complaints as intestinal or bladder disease. We have recently purchased a new cardiac probe, which is a more detailed probe for specifically examining the heart-ultrasound-2[1]heart. This means that we are now able to better evaluate the structures of the heart, to better diagnose heart muscle diseases and investigate heart irregularities.

Richard has recently completed an advanced course in echocardiology – this is an area of keen interest for him. For complicated and unusual cases we can also refer cats to a cardiopulmonary specialist, Dr Richard Woolley, who works from the Southern Animal Referral Centre in Highett – which is where Eric received his pacemaker.

heart-ultrasound-pic[1]

Staff News

Lara and Greg welcomed little Joshua into their lives last week, their first furless child. Lara will be on extended maternity leave and will hopefully be back with us later this year in some form of management role.

Lara---joshua[1]

Richard: besides kayaking and playing golf, Richard will be kept busy at the practice and away as he has been invited to give several lecture series around Australia and in China later this year. He continues his position as President of the Melbourne branch of the Australian Veterinary Association.

Amy is studying hard in preparation to sit her fellowship examinations in June 2010. When she passes these examinations she will be the second specialist in feline medicine in Melbourne. This means Amy will be cutting back her consulting hours to 2-3 shifts per week and even taking weeks off to study hard – Keep up the hard work Amy.

Erin was sad to be leaving the clinic at the end of the year, having accepted a 3 year residency training position in small animal medicine at Murdoch University in Perth – thank you Erin & best of luck.erin[3]

Congratulations to Faye, who married her partner Tim in November this year at Werribee mansion. They had a fantastic honeymoon in Japan.

Congratulations also to Louise and Josh on the news of their first pregnancy.

Jacqui is excited to be going to South Africa for a month, where she will be doing volunteer work at the Lion Park helping to care for and rehabilitate lions and other African wildlife.

Not to be outdone, Dr. Carolyn O’Brien & Alex had their 2nd baby last month, Annabel. Carolyn continues to mentor at the clinic and write publications for Veterinary journals whilst on extended maternity leave. 

Carolyn---anabel[1]

Edition 6: Aug 2009

Welcome to Dr Erin Bell

Dr Erin BellErin[1]
BVSc (Hons), BSc(Vet)(Hons),
MACVSc (Small Animal Medicine)

Erin joined the practice in April this year, and is settling in well. She graduated from the University of Sydney in 2005 and spent three years working in a busy small animal practice in Sydney before moving to Melbourne, where she decided she wanted to work in a cat only clinic.

Erin---Maggie[1]While at university she spent a year researching the disease feline infectious peritonitis, and has published several articles in feline medicine journals on this topic.

Erin currently has 3 cats at home: Maggie the Maine Coon, Sally a very adventurous moggy and Matilda who is a big scaredy cat. She also looks after a guide dog in training (the cats make sure to keep him in line).

Richard & Amy on Holidayscat_beach_pictures[1]

Richard & Amy will be on a much deserved holiday to Spain from the 12th to 28th of September – and yes, some of this is WORK related!

Erin will be consulting for this period – so you and your cat are in superbly capable hands. Richard will be away from the week prior to attend a conference in Porto.

Staff News

Richard is excited to be going to Portugal in September, where he will be presenting a paper on the use of METACAM in the treatment of arthritis at the ECVIM (European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine) annual conference. This is one of the largest veterinary conferences in the world. Arthritis is a very common problem in senior cats, but until recently, there were no registered medications to treat cats for this. There are no long term studies regarding the use of Metacam in cats, so this study at the Cat Clinic will hopefully benefit many cats around the world who suffer from chronic pain. Closer to home, Richard has given a number of talks this year to Victorian veterinarians on senior health care, particularly involving arthritis. He is also serving his third year as the President of the Melbourne branch of the Australian Veterinary Association..

Amy has authored a journal article on a specific type of cancer, small cell intestinal lymphoma, which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery later this year. She is currently working on a further two papers: one on a group of cats with feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) and toxoplasmosis, and another on the topic of calcinosis cutis, a very rare complication of kidney failure in cats. This will complete her requirements in order to sit her Specialist exam next year. Amy too has been kept busy giving regular lectures in her areas of feline health. She was also recently an examiner for membership exams for the Australian college exams in Feline Medicine.

Erin passed her membership board examinations in Small Animal Medicine in July. She is currently writing a paper on Trichomonas infections, a recently identified cause of diarrhoea in cats in Australia. In fact, the Cat Clinic was the first to identify and report this organism in Australia and Richard co-authored a paper to this extent.

Faye announced her engagement to her long time partner Tim, whilst they were on holidays in Fiji earlier this year. Their wedding is planned for later this year, so Faye has plenty to keep herself busy.

Lara has almost completed her Certificate IV in veterinary nursing, having just one subject left to complete.

Lara and her husband Greg are expecting their first child (other than Vincent – their fur child) in January.

Georgia has just completed her Certificate II in veterinary nursing. She is also one-third of the way through her Certificate IV, currently studying anaesthesia and radiology.

Louise is halfway through her Certificate IV in veterinary nursing, and enjoying her current subject: emergency and first aid veterinary nursing.

Chinta adopted a gorgeous little Burmese girl called Eva that is totally ruling her life and home now.

Compounding Medicationscompounded-meds[1]

Phoebe is a 14 year old domestic medium hair with a few problems common in cats her age – she has hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland) and kidney disease, which has caused high blood pressure and a tendency for her to become constipated.

Phoebe was prescribed 3 different medications to help manage her conditions, but unfortunately was not a willing participant! Trying to give her 3 different tablets twice a day was proving to be very stressful for everyone involved.

Fortunately there are options for cats such as Phoebe who are difficult to give tablets to. We can use a compounding pharmacist to formulate the required medications in a form that is easier to administer, such as a flavoured paste (popular flavours include anchovy and chicken), or a gel that is absorbed through the skin. Using a compounding pharmacist also means that we can get an accurate, “cat-sized” dose (many medications are originally designed for dogs or even humans), and give the dose in a very small volume (usually 0.1ml) for easier administration. For cats that are on multiple medications, it can be possible to have different drugs compounded together so that only one capsule or paste needs to be given.

For Phoebe we had her hyperthyroidism tablet changed into a transdermal gel that is placed on her ear and absorbed through the skin; and her blood pressure and constipation medications were compounded together into a single chicken-flavoured paste that she takes on her food. Both Phoebe and her owner are much happier now there are no more tablets!

If your cat takes medication and you would like to discuss alternative forms that are available please make an appointment with one of our vets. Our compounding pharmacist can make up just about any medication in any form, flavour and presentation.

If your cat is currently receiving a compounded medication and you need a repeat please phone the clinic – orders are placed every Monday are usually take 48hrs to arrive.

Cat fightscat-abcess[1]

Outdoor cats are exposed to other cats in the neighbourhood, which means they may be at risk of getting into a cat fight. Any kind of animal bite can be nasty, but bite wounds from cats tend to be among the worst.

All animals (including us) carry a cocktail of bacteria in our mouths. However, cat teeth are so fine and sharp that when they bite through skin they leave a tiny puncture hole. The skin and muscle then close over this hole, which leaves the bacteria under the skin free to multiply in a warm, moist environment free of exposure to air. It’s like having an injection of nasty bacteria. The result is inflammation of surrounding tissue (cellulitis), which can progress to an abscess (essentially, a pus-filled lump).

Signs to look out for after a cat fight include: puncture wounds in the skin (may not be visible beneath fur); painful lumps; pus discharging from wounds; general painfulness e.g. dislike of being picked up; limping; lethargy; and decreased appetite. Abscesses can occur anywhere on the body, but commonly occur on the face, limbs and around the base of the tail. Sometimes abscesses are subtle and hard to find.catbite-abcess[1]

The earlier you treat your cat for a fight wound, the better the outcome.

If fresh wounds are seen they can be cleaned with saline or dilute iodine; if antibiotics are started at this time the cat has a good chance of recovering without any further problems. However, if an abscess has formed we usually need to lance the abscess under anaesthesia, remove any dead tissue and clean the area thoroughly. If we don’t lance or drain the abscess, the antibiotics can’t penetrate the wall of pus to attack the bacteria, so the infection will remain.

The other consideration for cats that get into fights is that biting is the major way that feline AIDS (caused by feline immunodeficiency virus, or FIV) is spread. This is not the same as human AIDS and you can’t catch it from your cat, but it can predispose cats to certain problems and reduce their lifespan. There is currently no cure for feline AIDS.

There is an FIV vaccine available in Australia to prevent feline AIDS, however its use is not straightforward and it is not a routine vaccination that we give to all cats. Cats at most risk of exposure to feline AIDS – those cats that get into fights – are most likely to benefit from vaccination. The vaccination course requires a blood test first (to ensure the cat does not already have FIV), and if negative involves three vaccinations in the initial course and then yearly booster vaccinations.

The risk of cat fights can be reduced by keeping cats inside, particularly at night, and by having cats desexed. If you would like more information about whether FIV vaccination is appropriate for your cat please call the clinic to make an appointment.

Edition 5: Dec 2008

Happy Holidays

The staff at the Cat Clinic would like to wish all of our feline friends and their staff a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.christmas-cat[1]

For those of you holidaying with us over the Christmas period, there will be some special treats to make it feel like a very merry Christmas!

Christmas and New Year Opening Hours

Wednesday, 24th Dec 8am-3pm (#)
Thursday, 25th Dec (Christmas Day) CLOSED
Friday, 26th Dec (Boxing Day) CLOSED
Wednesday, 31st Dec 8am – 3pm (#)

Thursday, 1st Jan (New Years Day) CLOSED
Friday, 2nd Jan 8am-3pm (#)
Saturday, 3rd Jan 9am-12pm (*)
Sunday, 4th Jan CLOSED

(#) Early closing time
(*) No veterinary consults

If your cat requires veterinary attention over the holiday break, please contact one of the following veterinary centres:

Southern Animal Emergency Centre,
Highett – 9532 5261

Animal Emergency Centre,
Mt Waverley – 9803 8122

Welcome to Lara and Louise

Some of you may have recognised a familiar face back at the Cat Clinic.lara[1]

We would like to welcome back Lara. After leaving the clinic to pursue a career in occupational health and safety (yes, she is now our health and safety officer!), she has decided to return to veterinary nursing part-time.  Lara shares her life with her husband Greg and Vincent the cat.

Louise is the newest addition to our nursing team. Louise accepted a full time veterinary nursing / cattery attendant position at the Cat Clinic in April 2008. Louise has extensive experience in publishing and graphic design. One of her roles at the clinic will be creative input into our handouts and newsletters.louise[1] She is currently studying for her certificate 4 in Veterinary Nursing at Box Hill TAFE. Louise loves everything cats & shares her life with two felines, “Lilac” – a cheeky, young exotic shorthair, and “Teddy” – a beautiful Persian boy.

vincent[1]teddy_2[1]Lilac_5[1]

Greenies are Back!

Many of your cats have been waiting in anticipation for the return of Feline GreeniesO. Well they’re back!greenies[1]

Feline Greenies dental treats are 100% nutritionally complete and balanced. They contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, and for those cats watching their weight – they contain less than two calories! It’s the teeth cleaning treat cats love. And with 5 flavours to spoil your cat, they will entice even the most finicky of eaters. Choose from: Chicken, Beef, Liver, Salmon and Ocean Fish flavours.

Patient Case Report

Indiana (Indy), a gorgeous 4 month-old male Birman presented to the Cat Clinic earlier this year, with a two-day history of inappetence and vomiting.indy1[1]

On physical examination, Indy was quiet. He had a thickened section of intestine that was painful to touch. We suspected that Indy may have an intestinal foreign body or a viral gastroenteritis. An abdominal x-ray revealed no evidence of an intestinal foreign body. Blood tests showed that Indy was dehydrated and that he had low blood protein. Indy was started on intravenous fluids and antibiotics, but when he failed to respond he underwent a general anaesthetic and exploratory abdominal surgery.

At surgery, Indy’s small intestine was very inflamed and his abdominal lymph nodes (glands) were enlarged. Richard collected biopsy samples that revealed severe damage to the intestinal lining due to a virus. Indy recovered well from surgery and was indy2[1]commenced on treatment for his severe viral enteritis. He received two plasma transfusions, from two of our brave blood donors, due to his low blood protein. A feeding tube was placed to allow food administration. Indy also received intravenous fluids,
antibiotics, pain relief and anti-nausea drugs. After 16 days in hospital, Indy finally went home. He continues to do well at home and he has completely recovered from his severe viral enteritis. His owner, Caroline, was fortunate that his unexpected illness was covered by pet insurance, and that all of his medical expenses (which totalled more than $4000) were paid for by the insurance company.

Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is gaining in popularity. With its relative low cost and comprehensive coverage, many pet owners are opting to insure their feline friends.

Pet insurance offers pet owners piece of mind when it comes to unexpected veterinary treatment, and ensures that their cats receive the care they deserve when they need it.

People look for different things from pet insurance. The type of insurance cover chosen will depend on a number of things, such as the health coverage required and the budget available. Pet insurance can provide cover for veterinary treatment or surgery required for accident or illness, or assist with everyday preventative health care, such as vaccinations, worming, flea control and routine dental healthcare.

Pet insurance, like other insurance policies, is based on the payment of a regular premium. The cost of this premium will depend on the level of cover. Most pet insurance policies will cover at least 80% of the veterinary account, or in some cases will cover the entire account except for the first $100. Like any insurance policy, it is important that you take the time to read the full terms and conditions of the policy, so that you understand all of the benefits and limitations.

Pet insurance is there to help assist with the cost of caring for your cat if they require veterinary assistance. That means, you don’t have to worry about the financial side of things, and can focus on helping your cat get better.

When you are in the clinic next, ask the nurses for some brochures regarding the various companies that offer cat health insurance.

Edition 4: April 2008

“Talk to the Animals”tta_logo[1]

The Cat Clinic was recently involved in filming for an upcoming segment on Channel Nine’s popular animal show “Talk to the Animals”, hosted by Dr. Chris Brown. The segment will feature our very own Dr. Richard Gowan and many of our nursing staff and feline friends! The program airs on Saturday 19th April at 4.30pm.

www.talktotheanimals.com.au

Welcome to our new Nursing Staffnurses[1]

You may have recently noticed a few new faces at the Cat Clinic. We would like to extend a very warm welcome to our three new nurses Chinta Pandji, Georgia Puttock and Kim McMillan.

Chinta started working at the Cat Clinic as a cattery attendant. She is now a full time veterinary nurse and is currently studying for her certificate 4 in Veterinary Nursing.  Her love of animals has long been apparent to everyone who knows her. Chinta is always on the lookout for new animals to befriend on her many walks. Chinta shares her life with a very cheeky tabby and tortoiseshell girl named Hati.

Georgia joined the Cat Clinic as a full time veterinary nurse in October. She is also currently studying for her certificate 4 in Veterinary Nursing. Georgia’s love of cats began in the crib, which she happily shared with a cranky black and white domestic shorthair named Meowchic. Growing up with the surname ‘Katz’, cemented what became an obsession of sorts. After volunteering at a local animal welfare shelter, Georgia realised that working with cats was what she was meant to do with her life.  Georgia and her partner Tobie have three “children” – Rupert and Bellatrix (beautiful Ragdolls) and Ari, a precocious Burmese.

Kim is the newest addition to our team. Kim joined the Cat Clinic as a full time veterinary nurse in January. Kim has completed her certificate 2 in veterinary nursing and has been working as a veterinary nurse for four years, both in Australia and the United Kingdom.  Her distinct Scottish accent will not go unnoticed! Kim has two feline friends, Marcellus and Hedwig, named after the infamous Pulp Fiction and Harry Potter characters!

New Productsproducts[1]

We have a new range of “Snuggler” beds available for the cold winter months ahead. The beds are available in a variety of colours and come with a drawstring pull top. Made from wonderfully warm fleece, they are sure to keep your feline friend cosy this winter!
Seaflex® treats are a marine nutritional supplement that provides important building blocks for joint cartilage. The treats contain essential fatty acids (including Omega-3), marine nutrients, trace minerals and amino acids. Used on a regular basis, Seaflex treats help maintain vitality, healthy joint function and improve coat condition in senior cats.P1000056sm[1]

Yeowww® 100% organically grown catnip cigars and bananas are the latest catnip treat for cats! Catnip will never be the same again!

Inappropriate elimination

Inappropriate elimination is the most common behavioural problem reported by cat owners. There are numerous reasons why a cat may begin to eliminate inappropriately indoors. It is important that a full medical examination is performed to help rule out potential underlying medical reasons for the behaviour, such as urinary tract infection or inflammation, kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism or reduced mobility due to arthritis. Once medical causes have been excluded, behavioural causes can then be considered, such as fear or anxiety, changes in the household or litter tray issues.elimination[1]

Inappropriate elimination typically falls into two categories:

  1. Inappropriate urination or defecation (Litter tray aversion)
  2. Territorial urine marking (Urine spraying)

1. Inappropriate urination or defecation (Litter tray aversion) The most common behavioural cause of inappropriate urination is issues involving the litter tray, such as:

  • Dirty litter trays – Litter trays should be cleaned on a daily basis; and completely emptied and rinsed at least once weekly.
  • Change of litter type: Most cats develop a preference for certain litter types. Once you find a litter substrate that your cat likes, it is advisable to continue to use this litter type.
  • Litter tray odours – Scented litter types, disinfectants and deodorants may deter a cat from using their litter tray. Rinse litter trays with hot water and a mild detergent.
  • Position and number of litter trays – Litter trays should be positioned in a quiet and private location in the house that is readily accessible. The general rule is one litter tray per cat and an additional litter tray for the house.
  • Litter tray type – Most cats prefer open, uncovered litter trays. Covered litter trays often amplify offensive odours. Larger cats require bigger litter trays. Kittens and elderly cats require trays with low sides.
  • Early training – Kittens will often urinate inappropriately in the house if they are given immediate access to large areas. It is advisable to confine the kitten to one room initially, with easy access to a litter tray.

2. Territorial urine marking (Urine spraying)
Cats use urine as a scent signal or “mark” for themselves and other cats. All cats, male or female, entire or neutered can spray. Urine spraying is often a sign that the cat is feeling stressed and needs to feel more secure, by surrounding itself with its own scent. The challenge is to identify what the perceived threat is and take action to alleviate it.

Possible stressors include:

  • Presence of other cats in the neighbourhood – This is the most common cause of urine spraying. Neighbouring cats should be deterred from entering the yard by spraying them with water. Visual contact should be prevented by drawing down window blinds or by limiting access to certain rooms.
  • New baby – Limit access to the baby’s room. Allow cats to become familiar with the baby in their own time. Try to maintain a normal routine. Allocate time during the day just for the cat, so that they still feel included.
  • Addition of a new cat to a household – New cats should be introduced gradually by first placing them in a separate room and allowing them to smell the others presence. Cats can then be permitted to visualise one another from a safe distance. Over time, cats can be allowed to come into direct contact under close supervision. Do not rush the introduction. Ensure that there are adequate resources, such as food bowls, litter trays and scratching posts, available for each individual cat.
  • Building and decorating – A nervous cat or indoor cat may be sensitive to changes in its environment. Redecorating or replacing furniture effectively removes all the cat’s subtle markings, which have been carefully placed by rubbing and scratching. Keep cats away from the room until the new furniture/paint smells are not quite so strong and have mingled with familiar scents around the house.

Even when the cause of the inappropriate elimination is not obvious there are ways in which you can make your cat feel more secure. For example, limiting the area the cat has to patrol to one or two rooms may help improve feelings of security and reduce the desire to mark. The use of a synthetic feline pheromone (Feliway®), which mimics the scent produced from glands on the cat’s face, provides a comforting and familiar smell. A diffuser version is available that can be plugged into a power point in the room where the cat has been inappropriately eliminating. A spray version enables direct use on soiled areas after they have been thoroughly cleaned.

For both inappropriate urination and territorial urine marking, it is important to remove the odour from the soiled area. Cats have a well-developed sense of smell and will be more likely to soil in the area again if odours persist. Wash soiled areas with a biological enzymatic washing powder, such as Biozet®, and then leave to dry. Avoid cleaning products containing ammonia or vinegar. Urine stain and odour removers, such as Urine-off®, are particularly effective at removing residual odours. Some cats may require anti-anxiety medication. However, medication is only part of the solution and must be used in conjunction with behavioural modification techniques. All medications can have potential side effects, so cats on medication need to be monitored regularly by a veterinarian.

Whatever the cause of the inappropriate elimination, punishment is not the answer. Punishment will only make the cat fearful and the problem worse. Despite the unpleasant nature of the problem, it is important to remember that the cat is not seeking revenge or trying to make a point: something has changed in its world and a certain amount of detective work is required to find out what!

Edition 3: Dec 2007

Happy Holidays

The Staff at the Cat Clinic would like to wish all you cat families a safe a happy holidays. For those of you holidaying with us over xmas_cat[1]Christmas and New Year, there will be plenty of special treats during the Christmas period to make it feel more like home.

Christmas and New Year Opening Hours

Saturday    22nd – 8.30am – 1.00pm
Sunday      23rd – CLOSED
Monday      24th – 8.00am – 1.00pm

** (NO VETERINARY APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE) **

Tuesday     25th – CLOSED
Wednesday 26th – CLOSED
Tuesday       1st – CLOSED

If your cat requires any Veterinary attention over the holiday break, Please contact one of the following:

Southern Animal Emergency Centre
Highett – 9532 5261

The Animal Emergency Centre
Mount Waverley – 9803 8122

Advanced Vetcare
Kensington – 9092 0400

Welcome to Dr. Amy Lingardamy_and_cats_sm[1]

Amy Lingard BVSc (Hons), MACVSc (Feline Medicine)

Amy has recently joined our practice from the University of Sydney Valentine Charlton Cat Centre. During her time at the University of Sydney, Amy completed a two-year feline medicine residency-training program and accepted the position of Feline Medicine Registrar.

Amy has also worked at the Creek Road Cat Clinic in Brisbane, a large cat-only hospital in Brisbane. She is now excited by the prospect of returning to Melbourne to work with her partner Richard Gowan at the Cat Clinic.

In 2006, Amy passed her membership board exams in Feline Medicine and has worked in exclusive feline practice for the last 6 years.

Amy is lucky enough to share her life with an eccentric oriental cat named “Sabi” and a wool-eating Tonkinese named “Soy” (and Gordon & Harper)!

Case of the Monthmooch2[1]

Introducing “Mooch”, a beautiful 5 year old male Burmese, who presented to the Cat Clinic a couple of weeks ago. “Mooch” had been off his food and vomiting for the past 2 days. On physical examination, he had a firm section of intestine that was painful to touch. Blood tests revealed mild dehydration, but no other significant abnormalities. An x-ray of his abdomen revealed pockets of gas within his intestines and a round opaque structure suggestive of a foreign body.

“Mooch” underwent emergency surgery, which revealed a piece of rubber resin obstructing his small intestine. The rubber was removed and “Mooch” made a complete recovery from surgery. By the following day, his appetite had returned and he had no further vomiting. His owner, Sandra, recalled picking up similar pieces of rubber in the garden a few months ago, so the foreign body had been present in his intestine for a few months before becoming lodged!mooch[1]

The ingestion of household items, such as rubber toys, elastic hair bands, bread ties, string, wool and socks, can be a relatively common problem in young, inquisitive cats. Such items should be kept out of reach of young cats, especially known offenders!  (Remember August’s Newsletter about household dangers)

Indoor Cat Needs

Many owners are now deciding to keep their feline companions completely indoors. Indeed, indoor cats have longer, physically healthier lives than cats allowed outdoors, because they are kept away from outdoor risks, such as cat fights, road traffic and cat_biscuits[1]diseases. However, indoor cats are more likely to develop behavioural problems than those allowed outside. To enrich the lives of indoor cats, we have compiled a “resource checklist!”

Litter boxes
Cats eliminate to fulfil a fundamental need. However, they may also use eliminations as a way to mark their territory. To ensure that cats eliminate in their litter box, there are 4 main things to consider:

  1. Litter tray hygiene – Clean the litter tray daily and wash the litter tray weekly with a mild detergent and rinse thoroughly.
  2. Litter tray type and size – Most cats prefer large, uncovered litter trays. Trays with higher sides can be useful for cats that tend to scatter litter over the side whilst digging. Trays with lower sides should be provided to kittens and older cats.
  3. Litter type – Once you find a litter that your cat likes, don’t change types! Cats often have individual preferences for certain litter types.
  4. Litter tray location and number – The general rule with litter trays is one per cat and an additional tray for the house. Litter trays need to be kept in a quiet, but accessible location.

Scratching poles
Scratching is a natural behaviour for cats. Scratching poles provide an alternative option for cats to scratch, saving your furniture and carpets! Scratching poles are available in a variety of styles and materials. Cats that scratch chair legs may prefer a vertical scratching pole. Just ensure that it is tall enough for them to stretch out. Cats that scratch carpets may prefer horizontal scratching poles. Scratching poles should be placed near sleeping areas or room entrances, so that they can leave scent marks defining their territory.  Nail clipping can be easily performed to reduce damage done by scratching.

Toys
The cat is a natural hunter. Therefore, toys should be available which allow the cat to simulate this hunting activity. Most cats prefer to hunt specific creatures. By identifying your cats “prey” preference, it will enable you to find toys that your cat will be more likely to play with. Try both “bird” and “mouse” toys at the same time to see which toy they prefer. Sometimes even the simplest toys, such as scrunched up paper, can provide hours of entertainment.  Toys can be rotated to maintain interest.

Outdoor Cat Enclosures
Outdoor cat enclosures provide the best of both worlds, enabling your cat to enjoy the sights and sounds of the outside world without exposing them to outdoor risks. There are many options available, including purpose built “Catmax” enclosures, or do-it-yourself high fencing with angled returns and Elizabethan collars on trees. Some cats can also be trained to walk on a harness and lead.

Indoor plants
Cats sometimes like to graze on grass and herbs. Potted plants can be placed indoors to allow them access. Plants, such as catnip, catmint, thyme, sage and parsley, can all be grown indoors.

Some cats will adapt more readily to an indoor lifestyle than others. Cats which have spent years outdoors may not accept an indoor lifestyle. It is up to the owner and their cat to assess the advantages and disadvantages of the different lifestyles.

Edition 2: June 2007

Household Dangers for Catslily[1]

As caring cat owners, we are always on the lookout for things around the house that may potentially be harmful to our pets. Some are more obvious than others. We have recently come across a number of patients that have been poisoned or got themselves into trouble after contacting or eating some common household items.

Toys and “improvised toys” – Cats due to their curious and playful nature often can amuse themselves by chasing anything that takes their fancy. One of our patients swallowed the plastic clip from a bread plastic bag and another managed to find a 2 cent coin to swallow. We have also had 2 cats requiring surgery after they ate string or elastic hair bands. Be careful not to let your cat play with pieces of string, wool, dental floss or fishing line. Elastic hair bands are another cat favourite. We have had one patient vomit up a clump of 16 hair bands!

Plants – one of the most devastating household poisons is actually a beautiful household decoration – the Lily flower. Any form of Lily has the potential to be lethal as it results in sudden kidney failure, which they seldom recover. The flower, pollen and leaves if chewed can cause harm, even in the smallest amounts. We have seen 2 cats this year for treatment following lily exposure. Due to quick action by their owners, both have lived to tell the tail.

Chemicals – some cats are strangely attracted to household cleaners and chemicals, especially ammonia based products. Cats love to drink from the shower recess (don’t ask us why?), but if the bathroom has just been cleaned, the chemicals can result in nasty oral ulcers

Other cautions – we treated a patient last year for severely burnt foot pads after it jumped up on to a BBQ hot plate to see what smelt so good. Human medications are a real danger, mainly due to cats being very different creatures to us. Something like 1/2 a Panadol tablet can be lethal. Keep all medications in a secure place. Even chocolate provides small danger. Small amounts as treats are fine and pose no problems. Dark or cooking chocolate carry more of a risk. Parasite treatments can also pose a risk if used inappropriately. Only use products and doses registered appropriate to cats.

Micro-chipping Newsmicrochipping[1]

The microchip is a small device the size of a rice grain and is implanted under the skin between the shoulder blades. This is a simple procedure and can be done at a routine vet visit. The microchip contains a unique identification number which is held on national database and is linked to your contact details. If your cat ever ends up going missing, all vets, councils and pounds have devices to read the chip number. A simple phone call later, they can find out you are the owner and notify you immediately. It is a small device that offers a large piece of mind.

New legislation came into effect from the 1st of May in Victoria in regards to the micro-chipping of pets. As of this time, animals will have to be microchipped prior to adoption or purchase. Each individual council in Victoria also has the ability to make it compulsory for all pet owners to have their animal’s microchipped. At this stage, most Councils have adopted a policy of compulsory micro-chipping of pets prior to new council registrations.

It is important that you keep your pets microchip details up to date. This is often overlooked when moving to a new address and is often the time a pet goes missing. There is no cost involved and simply contact the company your cat is registered with and update your contact details.  There are two databases –www.car.com.au & www.aar.org.au. One other factor to ensure is that your details have been correctly entered as the owner, especially if the kitten was purchased from a breeder or pet store and was microchipped prior to adoption.

Clinic & Staff Newswedding[1]

Lara our head nurse recently married her long time sweetheart, Greg. She is now setting about convincing him that their new house requires two Russian Blue kittens to really make it feel like at home.


The clinic will soon welcome a second full time Feline Veterinarian, Dr Amy Lingard. Amy is currently a Feline Medicine Registrar at the Sydney University teaching hospital – Click here

Richard was recently elected president of the Melbourne Veterinary Practitioners Group. This is group that organises educational and social events for vets and nurses and is a branch of the Australian Veterinary Association.

He has just returned from a quick trip to Spain, where he was invited to attend a forum on new developments in feline pain relief. 150 vets from around the world were invited to spend a weekend in Seville to participate in this forum. It was a tough time enduring the beautiful weather and rich culture, but someone had to do it.

Bake Cookies for Your Catcat_biscuits[1]

The following is a recipe in a lovely book given to the clinic by a client in loving memory of her cat; Foo. A staff member recently baked some of these treats for our boarding cats – they were much appreciated and disappeared in no time.

50g raw minced beef, Lamb of chicken
150g (1cup) wholemeal flour
2 Tablespoons wheat germ
1 Garlic clove, crushed
15g (1 tablespoon) butter
2 Tablespoons black treacle
300ml (1 1/4 cups beef or chicken stock

1) Mix together meat, flour, wheat germ and garlic. Rub the butter into the mix with your fingertips. Stir in the treacle then slowly add about 3/4 of the stock.

2) Knead the mixture to form a firm dough, adding the remaining stock if necessary. Roll out on lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 3cm. Cut into thin pieces and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. If you are feeling creative, roll out to 1cm thickness and use a shaped cookie cutter.

3) Bake in a pre-heated oven 180’C for about 20 minutes, then turn the nibbles over and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, then can be stored in an airtight container. You can break the nibbles into bite sized pieces or get then to chew the treat – which may also help out their teeth.

Edition 1: Sept 2006

Welcome to Dr. Nicole McLaughlin

Nicole McLaughlinNicole[1]
BVSc (Hons) MACVSc (Feline Medicine)

Nicole has recently joined our practice from the Cat Hospital in Brisbane. She has undertaken a residency-training program at one of the Melbourne specialist hospitals in medical oncology (cancer care). She will work at the clinic once a month and will run our practice whilst Richard is away for 2 weeks in October on much-deserved holidays.

Nicole loves cats, especially Eric, a six year old Australian mist, who has a constant battle of the bulge (if you know what we mean!).

In 2003 Nicole passed her membership board exams in Feline Medicine and has worked in exclusive feline practice for the past couple of years.

Additions to our Clinic

The clinic has continued to grow rapidly, which has allowed us to purchase a new state of the art ultrasound machine. This will allow us to perform extensive medical workups within the clinic. We will continue to work closely with referral specialists to offer you and your cat a range of health treatment options. We also have a visiting registered feline specialist who will see internal referrals as required.skye[1]

Recently, we also installed a comprehensive blood analyser machine, which allows us rapid in-house diagnostics. We have also purchased upgrades to our dental facilities with a brand new ultrasonic dental scaler, to give your kitty even pearlier whites.

skye-before[1]
We will be undergoing a small renovation in the clinic to build a second consulting room in November, which will enable us to have two full time vets at the clinic. 
Case of the Month

Introducing you to little Skye. She was adopted as a 2-month old kitten and outwardly appeared to be a healthy happy cat.
skye-after[1]
At 9-months of age, she developed a subtle cough and became slightly listless. We heart sounds were muffled and it was plain to see she was having trouble breathing easily. We took some x-rays of her chest, which showed gross abnormalities and forward displacement of her heart. You can see the before and after x-rays to get an idea of what we mean.

An ultrasound confirmed that Skye was born with a hole in her diaphragm, which meant her abdominal organs could move up into her chest cavity, pushing her heart all the way forward

This can be a tricky surgery, so Skye was referred to a Specialist surgeon at the Southern Animal referral Centre in Highett. Her surgery was a complete success and she made an extremely rapid recovery and hasn’t looked back since.