My philosphy

My philosphy

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hudson's First Radiographs!

I swear, having Hudson is like having a toddler...except I am not expected to dress him up and take him out in public! Hudson is at least VERY litterbox trained, and will hold any BM or urine until he has a box. He just gets into EVERYTHING! Todd and I just bought "child" safety locks for our new standing pantry to keep the kitten out! I caught Hudson one day, running across the room and body slamming into the cabinet trying to open the doors! I had to take him into work a few weeks ago for abdominal radiographs because he "discovered" the thumbtacks on my bulletin board and was worried he ate one! Thankfully he didn't, I decided to post his radiograph :)

This Monday I had to take Huddy into work because in the middle of the night he got on top of our fridge and ate some chocolate chip cookies and the head off a sugar cookie man! I took him to work to observe him, and we noticed some pretty bad diarrhea. Now, that can be due to an overgrowth of certain bacterias in his GI system, or dietary indiscretion...how do we find out which, spend $92.50 on a Fecal Culture and get the results in a week! It really could be either, this has been an off and on occurrence with Huddy (the diarrhea...the counter surfing is constant!). The other night I made some Hot Chocolate, I used a package of regular hot chocolate, a package of dark chocolate, milk and Kahlua...I turned my back for a minute, and Hudson was lapping up my drink! I sometimes think he is suicidal! In addition to Hudson having issues and adding to my Vet Bill, my other "problem child' Cole (a lab mix) may have yet ANOTHER rare and interesting disease...Hypoparathyroidism! So, I will be at my current job forever paying off my bill!

Hudson's 1st lateral abdominal radiograph

Monday, December 20, 2010

Another Hudson post!

Oh this cat! I feed my kitties a canned food diet, and last week we ran out of canned food. So we have been feeding dry until the cans come in from Amazon. Considering how much Hudson "counter surfs", I figured he has a iron stomach...NOPE! This dry food has given him diarrhea, and BOY IS IT GROSS! Today I remembered that I have Forti-Flora, a probiotic that Purina makes that is actually good (surprising for Purina). Since Hudson had already eaten, I figured it was worth trying to see if he would eat the supplement powder right out of a bowl. Since it is flavored, I didn't think it would be an issue. I was right! After a few sneezes while he got used to licking the powder, he scarfed it down! One of the female kitties, Emily, wanted to lick the bowl when he was done...so a "fight" started! This cat provides endless entertainment for us!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hudson's "Wifey" and cute cat videos!

Let me start off my saying...it is NEVER a dull moment with Hudson around!

A few weeks ago, Todd and I were going through some boxes (maybe one day we will finish unpacking...) and found a bunch of stuffed animals. One of them was a stuffed promotional cat for Revolution, a topical flea control, heartworm preventative and general dewormer for cats (on a side note, it is a VERY safe and effective product...and EVERY cat, even indoor only cats, should be on it). We put the cat on our guest bed, thinking it was real cute and why not keep it, but kept noticing the cat in our room or down the hall. We wondered how it was getting there since the dogs are not able to get on the bed, let alone access the room, until one morning I "caught" Hudson attacking the cat! I really didn't think much of it, snapped a picture and went back to paying bills. A few days later the cat was off the bed again, and we realized how much Hudson liked the toy. I even threw "her" down the stairs, and he tore off after, rolling down and attacking her all the way to the bottom! Later that day, Hudson was laying on top of the dog crate, so I put the cat next to him and he grabbed on to her! From one angle it looked like he was making out with her, when in reality he had his arms wrapped around her neck and was gnawing on her face! That's when the "Wifey" joke started. It has escalated from there as only Todd and I can do...we have decided to get him a "Wife beater" tank top, and decorate a cardboard box with tin foil to make him a trailer, then litter the front of it with empty PBR cans (we have to find someone who drinks it first!). We live in South Carolina, so this won't look odd at all!

Our first picture of Hudson and Wifey

One morning before work

He does NOT play nice!




Then this morning Hudson discovered an Orange I had left on the table, and decided to knock it down and play "soccer". Todd and I were snuggled up on the couch, watching special features on the 5th Harry Potter movie, when the "Orange Incident" occurred. Todd managed to get video!






Sorry for the bad quality!


And since I am uploading cute kitty videos, here are a few more that I love!


 I really wish Hudson played as nice as the first kitty does! The second one makes me laugh SO hard, and I would love to wrap any of my cats like in the last video...but if I even attempted, I could never blog again!


One last video...this one is for an awesome product called Feliway. I have used it with success with my personal cats, and with ferals at a spay/neuter clinic where I used to work. I found this video a few days ago, and LOVE it! Cat behavior is something I am quite interested in, and can say this stuff helps!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

About....kitten "revenge"

Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and we are having family over, I decided to start cleaning today. I started with the back porch. The furry kids wanted to "help" and Hudson offers the WORST help of all! When I finally had enough, I decided to put him back inside. He was obviously NOT happy about this, and usually decides to knock things off the counter, or wreak havoc in other ways. I was quite surprised to come inside and see everything in its place. I walked to the front door so I could sweep the walkway, and Hudson decided to strut his stuff down the walk and under Todd's car! He made sure to walk fast enough that he was JUST out of reach, but slow enough for me to see his plan/purpose! He is SUCH an ass sometimes! Poor Todd is home from work sick, and heard me yell at the kitten, he came running (as fast as a sick man can) to the front door to help!

After I got Hudson safely inside, muttered some threats and finished laughing about this crazy cat...I decided to put a leash on him and let him play in the leaves while I swept. In hindsight, this was probably a VERY BAD idea! Now Hudson will think it's ok to go out front when ever he pleases. This kitten in one of the many reasons I don't want to have children....although a toddler may be easier to handle vs a bottle raised kitten. Go figure!!

Hudson during a "Feline Crack Fit"

Hudson "helping" us unpack furniture with Styrofoam... 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

About...Hudson's Scary Bat Breath!

          Cat breath is certainly NOT the sweetest smelling thing, and recently my kitten Hudson has had some pretty rank breath! When I first noticed his breath was less then kind, I didn't think much of it. However, it definitely made the 4:30am wake up that involves him rubbing all over my face and drooling much less enjoyable! The first morning I noticed the horrible smell, I took a good look in his mouth. His adult canine teeth started to erupt, and his gums were red...which is normal. I figured the bad breath was nothing to worry about, until a week or so later when the smell was persisting! I took another look in his mouth, this time further back, all of his gums were inflamed, both buccal (cheek) and lingual (tongue) aspects. I started to go into a "Vet Tech burden of too much knowledge" panic attack. The two things that would cause moderate to severe gingivitis with no tartar build up are viral infections or an immune mediated disease...considering he is only 5 1/2 months old, I am hoping for a viral infection!


(Above picture is of a young cat with gingivitis and no tartar build up)
          Cats are "blessed" with the ability to contract Upper Respiratory Infections (URI's) easily, one of the more common viruses that cat's like to share is the Feline Herpes virus. This is not the same Herpes virus that infections people. It causes URI's in cats, it can also wreak havoc in the mouth and eyes. Similar to the Human Herpes virus, Feline Herpes can lay dormant in the body and the cat can be asymptomatic for months to years. Also similar to the Human Herpes virus, stress can cause the virus to replicate and the infected host become symptomatic. Hudson already had a "fight" with an URI last month, and since these URI's are usually caused by a virus vs bacteria, antibiotic's are not always indicated. Huddy did not have a fever, he was eating/drinking and active. He also had clear ocular (eye) and nasal discharge, so I didn't place him on antibiotics, I did however supplement with a L-lysine supplement. L-lysine is a supplement that can HELP keep the herpes virus at bat, but not CURE it, it can be used in both people and cats. Hudson was on the supplement until the symptoms stopped (meaning he was no longer seeking me out to sneeze on!)

         The other suspicion is an immune mediated problems cat's can have, where the body literally becomes allergic to the bacteria/plaque in the mouth and attacks it. The medical term for this type of problem is Lymphocytic-Plasmacytic Gingivitis Stomatitis (LPGS). There is also a correlation between LPGS and cat's that are positive for either Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and/or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), thankfully Huddy tested negative for both in August. Usually cats with LPGS have little to no dental tartar so a dental prophylaxis (teeth cleaning) doesn't do much (the cats that do have dental tartar built up will benefit from a cleaning though!) so antibiotics and teeth brushing is the recommendation. Sometimes a prescription dental diet will help, but I do not care for prescription diets much (that's a whole other blog topic to tackle) and either way prescription diets are NOT recommended for growing kittens. Even if you have the most patient cat in the world, can brush their teeth several times a day, feed the prescription diet and do everything that is recommended, some cats STILL have gingivitis! As a last resort for treating LPGS, a gum biopsy is done, then full mouth extractions.Cats that have had a full mouth extraction do well, usually the canines and incisors are left. All of the molars and pre molars (14 total) are removed, which is quite difficult. The teeth themselves are very healthy, the roots are strong and not ready to leave the mouth! Full mouth extractions require general anesthesia, and radiographs (x-rays) before and after, to make sure the teeth are normal before hand, and fully extracted after. This is something I would LOVE to avoid with Hudson, for obvious reasons!!


(Above picture is of an adult cat with LPGS that has had a "full mouth extraction" procedure, leaving the canines and  bottom incisors)

          So you can see, either way this will be a life long issue...shouldn't be a surprise though, Hudson is not only a bottle fed kitten (I have had him since he was about 3-5 days old!), he is also a Vet Tech's kitten, so he will be a double trouble maker!
   
          I figured keeping him on the L-lysine supplement would help, and after the virus went back to laying dormant, the gingivitis would calm down (all gingivitis means is "inflammation of the gingivi" not necessarily infection of the gums). Well last Sunday I got home from running errands and the wooden doweled stand used for drying plastic baggies (yes, I am a tree hugging hippie and reuse my plastic baggies!) was knocked on the floor and had bite marks and dried blood all over it! The dogs were all locked up, and my female cats were upstairs with no access to the counter. I checked Hudson's mouth and saw that his gums were worse!

           So Monday, Huddy came to work with me. We gave him an antibiotic injection that will last two weeks, and offered the tooth paste to him...he LOVED it! He was crazy over it, and wanted more! Thankfully this cat will eat anything, and certainly tries. So far, we have found out he likes
  • Baked Ziti
  • Pineapple
  • Sam Adam's OctoberFest beer
  • Sangria
  • Salsa
  • Hard pretzels
and pretty much anything else he can scrounge for on the floor/counter when he THINKS we aren't looking! He has no shame in jumping on the table during dinner and helping himself to our plates. He have caught him dragging a loaf of bread across the floor, or stealing raw chicken while I am cutting he fat off! Thankfully he loves his poultry flavored tooth paste, and will happily "brush" his own teeth (I bought him his own tooth brush today...video will be at the end of the post!).

            So we are rechecking his mouth in two weeks, and hoping for the best. Until then, I am using a water additive to help decrease the tarter build up, brushing his teeth daily, and continuing the L-lysine supplement....fingers crossed once the antibiotic wears off, this is good enough to maintain my man with a healthy mouth and fresh smelling breath!

(Below video is of me helping Hudson brush his teeth! Sorry there is no sound, but your not missing much!)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

About...declawing

My first post was going to be about FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) and my foster kitten Berkeley who might be positive for it. However, I am still researching the virus, diagnostics, treatment and she is under some pretty serious supportive care right now...I would just rather not discuss the subject!

So I decided to go with a more controversial topic...Declawing! I will not mention my stand on the subject, my opinion simply does not matter. When discussing declawing with a client, one should state the facts. The facts include BOTH sides of the story! The pro declawing, and against declawing. It is not our job to make this decision for the client, all we can do is explain the procedure, post care instructions and what they can expect. We cannot make them decide one way or the other

Declawing, or Oncyhetomy, is the surgical removal of the claw and distal phalanx. Pretty much, it is a disarticulation (not amputation) of the last digit.

Disarticulation: the separation of two bones at their joint, either naturally by way of injury or by a surgeon during amputation.
Amputation:  a surgical removal of all or part of a limb


The procedure can be done numerous ways. One of them is use of a surgical laser. The laser actually coagulates the blood as it incises through the vessels, therefore, no bleeding! It is thought that the laser has a similar effect on the nerves, and making it a less painful procedure. Another way is to use a specific blade, this blade is curved and allows the Veterinarian to physically dissect around the bone, slicing ligaments and tendons in the process. Both the blade and laser use the same surgical technique, dissecting around the bone. The third way uses a pair of guillotine nail trimmers and cuts the digit off in one swift motion. The problem with this method is that you cannot guarantee that the most distal portion of the digit is removed with the nail, this is where the germinal cells reside. If left behind, the nail and attempt to regrow and cause some painful complications down the road.

Regardless of the procedure used, a tourniquet is applied to restrict blood flow and the feet are cleaned prior to surgery. Afterward, pressure bandages will be applied to help keep the incisions from bleeding. Some Veterinarians will suture the incisions, others use skin glue. Either method will work well provided the cat does not lick/pull at the incision. The bandages stay on 24-48 hours. Due to the trama caused by the surgery (please note that I use the word "trama" because when you really think about it, any surgical procedure will cause trama to the tissues affected. I am not using the word to describe the procedure as a traumatic event) the cat should have good pain medications on board including anti-inflammatory drugs. Some Veterinarians will give a lower dose of these medications as far out as 3 weeks.

Post surgical care is the most important. Think about it, the cat is undergoing a disarticulation of 10 digits, 8 of which are weight bearing! The cat should be kept as calm and confined as possible, and special litter will need to be used during the healing process (7-10 days for the skin to heal) to prevent secondary infection. The incisions can run a risk of secondary infection, cats bury their feces after all!

Obviously the smaller the cat (ie: not overweight) the easier the procedure will be, and the younger the cat, the faster they will heal. There are however numerous alternatives to declawing. One alternative is a surgical procedure called a Tendonectomy, which involves severing the deep digital flexor tendon of each claw. The out come is the cat cannot extend the claw. The complication is the cat cannot cannot extend the claw, which makes grooming/wearing down the claw's a challenge. As an owner, you would have to cut the nails on a regular basis (seems easier to just do that anyways!)  Some other alternatives include, soft paws, nail trimming, and redirecting the behavior.

Soft paws: pretty much a nail cap that gets glued over each nail. This prevents the sharp claw from destroying anything. You still have to keep up with nail trims, and reapply every time a soft paw falls off. If the soft paw is glued on too well and does not fall off, the nail will keep growing and can curl around into the paw pad!

Nail trimming: it's as simple as trimming the sharp hook off the nail...not so simple is getting your cat to stay still!

Redirecting the behavior: Condition your cat to scratch appropriate objects...SCRATCHING POSTS :)
There are numerous types of scratching posts out there, find a texture(s) that your cat loves. There are sisal, cardboard, carpet (short or long) and different styles/shapes available. Some cats like them flat, some like vertical, there are even some angled! Also, spray/cover the post with catnip, or plug Feliway (a feline specific pheromone) into the area you want the cat to scratch. Make this a pleasant experience.


Declawing is a touchy subject. Many believe that it is a mutilation, and is unnecessary for the cat. The United States is really the only country that allows the procedure to be done beyond strictly medical reasons. It is illegal in almost every other country to declaw UNLESS there is a medical reason to remove the digit. California has several counties that have made declawing illegal, and Veterinarians found preforming the procedure in aforementioned counties can be fined a hefty sum of money. This however does not stop owners from traveling to the next county to have their cat declawed. Most Veterinarians do not condone the procedure, and will educated their clients about declaw alternatives. We try to keep declawing as the last resort, when the cat is THAT destructive, or the elderly immune-compromised owner cannot take another accidental scratch, or the landlord will not allow the un-declawed cat to reside there any longer, we prefer declawing OVER euthanasia. 

The best way to understand the whole picture is to remember that scratching is a natural response for a cat. They scratch to sharpen their claws (which do have several layers, like an onion, they have to "peel" off that top layer) or to mark territory with the scent glands in their feet. It also feels good for a cat to stretch out nice and long during the scratching motion. We invited cats to live inside with us, and to be part of our family. We should at least try to understand their behaviors and find a positive outlet for the unwanted ones. 

For the record, I have grown up around cats. There is not a time in my life where I did not have a feline friend. Out of all the cats I have ever lived with, only one was declawed. He was an older rescue cat who came to us that way. That said, just because it is not an option for me, doesn't mean it is not an option for everyone. If you are thinking about declawing your cat, please do a favor for felines everywhere...research! Read about feline behavior and try to exhaust every option before jumping into declawing. I have heard from many clients how they will NEVER declaw again because they did not know enough about the procedure beforehand. Education is key!

Introduction

So why start a blog? So many people nowadays blog, what makes mine so special? Nothing. I have been tossing around this idea for a few weeks now, but couldn't REALLY think of anything exciting, interesting or worthwhile to blog about. My life? Well, isn't that what Facebook is for? To post pictures and real time comments about what I am doing, and who I am with. MySpace has a blog spot, but I hardly ever use MySpace anymore. Either way, all the excitement and drama of moving into my first home with the man I will spend my life with is well covered on Facebook...and who really wants to read about that (besides me)?!

I will admit, I am fascinated by other people's blogs. I love to read blogs posted by old friends, then wander around reading their friend's blogs, I will waste SO much time just reading blogs of people I have never and will never meet. I have also found myself addicted to one blog in particular, Fully Vetted, it's on PetMD and is written by a VMD (Veterinariae Medicinae Doctoris) who lives in Miami. I get her blog delivered to my inbox every morning, and read it over coffee. I love to read her stories on clients, animals in the media, patients, her farm, or anything else that she writes about. I am disappointed on the mornings her blog isn't sent out until after I leave for work! I guess you could say she is my inspiration for blogging.

So there it is, my topic. The one thing in life I am so very passionate about. Veterinary Medicine...felines to be more specific. I have been working as a Vet Tech for 6 years, and am hoping to FINALLY start school to become a Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT) Fall 2011. Since I started working at my current clinic in March 2010, I have fostered several kittens. Most are neonates (under four weeks of age) and required bottle feeding, and almost all had some health problem that needed addressing. I haven't been without a kitten in my house since March now!

Life is certainly never dull around me, so why not blog about that. About all the comings and goings with my fosters. About the drama from having 2 adult cats, 1 kitten and 3 dogs in addition to my fosters (and the very patient boyfriend who allows it). About work, how felines are viewed by the public, and how they don't always get the care and attention they deserve. About feline specific's....medicine, anatomy, physiology, behavior, nutrition. About all things cat's that I love.

I am 23 years old, and I am the Crazy Cat Lady