NOW OFFERING: Laparoscopic-Assisted Ovariohysterectomy (Spay) by Dr. Nadia Rifat

We’re so excited to offer a less invasive, less painful, way to spay your dog! Keep reading for more information and give us a call at 925 937 5000 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nadia Rifat

Why does a dog need to be spayed?
Spaying a dog consists of performing an ovariohysterectomy (OHE). The reasons we spay dogs is to reduce pet overpopulation, reduce the chance of mammary cancer development (must be done at a very young age to gain this benefit), and to prevent a life threatening uterine infection (pyometra). Approximately 25% of intact female dogs by 10 years of age will develop a pyometra.

What are the surgical options for spaying my dog?
The traditional open ovariohysterectomy, or a laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy. The traditional open ovariohysterectomy has been performed for many decades, and when performed by an experienced veterinarian there are rarely any complications and the recovery is typically quick. More recently, laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy surgeries have become another surgical option for medium to large breed dogs. The difference is that the laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy incision is smaller than the open approach because visualization of the organs and surgery is performed through the laparoscope.

What is the benefit of having my dog undergo a laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterctomy vs an open ovariohysterectomy?
Although there are few pain studies to compare laparoscopic procedures to an open traditional surgical approach, the opinion of veterinarians performing laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy procedures is that this approach is less invasive and less painful than the open approach. Dr. Chad Devitt evaluated the laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy versus an open traditional ovariohysterectomy (Duration, complications, stress, and pain of open ovariohysterectomy versus a simple method of laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy in dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2005;227:921–927). His conclusion was the laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy procedures caused less surgical pain than the traditional open ovariohysterectomy procedures and may be more appropriate for an outpatient setting.

What are the potential complications of a laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterctomy?
Complications from laparoscopic ovariohysterectomy are rare but can include: hemorrhage, subcutaneous emphysema, iatrogenic perforation of the splenic capsule during trocar placement, inability to complete the procedure requiring conversion to laparotomy, pain, seroma formation, and rarely infection.

How do I schedule my dog for a laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy?
Make a pre-surgical appointment with Dr. Nadia Rifat, who is the surgeon that performs the laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy procedures at Encina Veterinary Hospital. She will perform an examination on your dog and talk to you about the procedure. We will schedule your dog for surgery and submit pre-anesthetic bloodwork to make sure your dog is in good health. If your dog is at risk for a GDV (see information about laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy) that surgery can be scheduled concurrently.

NOW OFFERING: Laparoscopic-Assisted Gastropexy by Dr. Nadia Rifat

Laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy

What is a GDV?
Gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) is an acute emergency medical condition characterized by gastric distension and abnormal twisting of the stomach. This causes the stomach to become over distended. have a decreased blood flow, and eventually lead to circulatory shock and death. The lifetime risk for a large or giant breed dog developing GDV is 24% and 21% respectively and their risk of dying of GDV is 7%. Even with appropriate medical and surgical intervention, case fatality rates between 10% and 33% have been reported.

Why do dogs develop a GDV?
No single cause of GDV exists. Reported risk factors for GDV include a familial history of GDV, lean deep chested breeds, older dogs, dogs that eat quickly, dogs that eat from a raised bowl, and dogs that only eat dry food and/or a single large meal, and dogs that have a fearful temperament. Dogs that have had a splenectomy also might be at greater risk for development of a GDV.

Does my dog need a gastropexy?
There are many breeds that are at risk for developing GDV. The most at-risk breed is the Great Dane (40% will develop a GDV). Other breeds that are at risk include Irish Setters, Weimaraners, Standard Poodles, and Rottweilers. In general, this condition can occur in any deep chested large breed dog. Most surgeons agree that a prophylactic gastropexy in patients considered “at risk” for GDV (gastric dilatation and volvulus) is a worthwhile procedure.

What is a laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy?
Laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy is a minimally invasive surgery that allows the surgeon to perform the surgery through a smaller incision than the typical surgical approach used to perform a gastropexy. During the laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy, one small incision is made just behind the ribs on the right side of the abdomen. It is through this incision that the laparoscope is introduced into the abdomen and the gastropexy procedure performed. With this surgical technique, there is less pain and the recovery much quicker compared to the typical gastropexy approach with a large incision.

Can there be complications from the gastropexy?
Multiple studies about laparoscopic-assisted gastropexies showed only the following minor complications: temporary skin fold at the side of the of the gastropexy immediately after the surgery (47%), seroma formation at the site of the gastropexy (6%), and iatrogenic perforation of the splenic capsule during trocar placement (12%).

When should I schedule my dog for a laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy?
The timing of the gastropexy does not seem to be critical. The stomach can be successfully attached to the abdominal wall in puppies, without compromising gastrointestinal function, which means the gastropexy can be incorporated into the same procedure as a spay or castration, or when the abdomen is being explored or opened for another reason. Alternatively, it can be performed as an elective procedure.

How do I schedule my dog for a laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy?
Make a pre-surgical appointment with Dr. Nadia Rifat, who is the surgeon that performs the laparoscopic-assisted gastropexies at Encina Veterinary Hospital. She will perform an examination on your dog and talk to you about the procedure. We will schedule your dog for surgery and submit pre-anesthetic bloodwork to make sure your dog is in good health.

call us today at 925 937 5000 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nadia Rifat to see if your dog is a good candidate for laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy

February – April 2018: Save $100 Off Dental Cleanings with Wellness Exam at Encina Veterinary Hospital

Dear Clients of Encina Veterinary Hospital.

It is very important that our pets get proper dental care. It is estimated that 85% of our pets will have periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years of age. Periodontal disease is a progressive disease of the supporting tissues surrounding teeth and the main cause of early tooth loss. In the early stages of periodontal disease, food particles combine with bacteria to form plaque on the teeth. Within days, minerals from saliva bond with the plaque to form tartar, a hard substance that adheres to the teeth. The bacteria will travel under the gums and cause gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums. As the bacterial infection progresses the supporting tissue around the teeth become weakened, which leads to tooth loss.

The proper way to address your pet’s dental disease is to have a veterinarian perform a dental cleaning under general anesthesia. While a patient is anesthetized we have a breathing tube in place to provide gas anesthesia and oxygen, have intravenous fluids going into the patient during the entire procedure, have extensive monitoring equipment (EKG, pulse oximetry, blood pressure, capnograph) attached to the patient, and one anesthetist monitoring the patient under the supervision of the veterinarian. This allows the veterinarian to do a full examination of the teeth and supporting structures, and to take x rays of all the teeth to assess the roots and supporting bone. Following the evaluation, the veterinarian will remove the plaque and tartar from the teeth and clean below the gum line. It would not be possible to do this properly without the use of general anesthesia. Unless your pet needs extractions the final step is to polish the teeth.

The benefits of a proper dental cleaning are that the plaque and tartar can be removed from the teeth and below the gum line along with the bacteria that can lead to periodontal disease. It is important to know that gingivitis is reversible, but periodontal disease is not reversible. If you notice your pet has bad breath or their teeth have gingivitis or plaque/tartar it is not too soon to have your pet scheduled for a dental cleaning.

As a way of promoting dental health for our patients we are offering our clients a $100 discount on dental cleanings for each pet that is scheduled during February, March, and April 2018, with Dr. Aengus, Dr. Milauskas, or Dr. Rifat. All you have to do is give us a call at 925-937-5000, schedule your pet’s dental cleaning during the above months, and provide us with the dental cleaning coupon at the time you bring your pet in for the scheduled cleaning. You can find the coupon at the bottom of this email for convenience.

We look forward to seeing you in the coming months as we continue our partnership to provide your pets with the veterinary care they need to remain healthy.

Regards,
Dr. Peter Nurre
Medical Director

Leptospirosis – Deadly Bacteria in Wild Life Urine

When wild animals such as skunks, raccoons, coyotes, deer, and rodents urinate, they excrete bacteria in their urine – one of the bacteria found in their urine is called Leptospirosis. This bacteria is often times deadly to our beloved dogs. When dogs go to parks or on hikes and drink the random standing puddles of water, they get infected with this awful bacteria. Often times, the rain makes this more prevalent and helps spread this bacteria around – what looks like a typical puddle of rain water, may really have Leptospirosis in it.

Symptoms of infection include loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. Without treatment, dogs may suffer from kidney failure and pass away – time is of the essence and dogs need treatment as soon as possible.

Once a dog is infected, the dog may even spread the bacteria to other pets through their own urine and even humans too – yes, you read that right – YOU can get Leptospirosis (lepto) too!

Besides avoiding free standing water and puddles, the best way to protect your dog is to vaccinate them against the bacteria. You never know what that one random lick on a Saturday hike with your pup may lead to – we recommend every dog owner to be safe by vaccinating their pet, and not sorry.

If you suspect your pet may have Leptospirosis/Lepto, please call us 24/7: 925 937 5000

CareCredit Financing for Veterinary Care


CareCredit knows pets are family too. That’s why they offer veterinary financing to help keep your most cherished family members in top shape, and why we accept it!

Whether you use it to cover annual expenses like preventative care check-ups or for unexpected costs like pet prescriptions and emergencies, the CareCredit healthcare credit card makes it easy to give your pets the care they need, when they need it.

Here are just some of the many small and large animal veterinary procedures you can use your CareCredit healthcare credit card for:

  • Annual check-ups
  • Spay and neutering
  • Teeth cleaning
  • Parasites
  • Medication
  • Diagnostics
  • Emergency services
  • Care of chronic pet diseases and conditions
  • Vaccinations
  • Microchipping
  • Pet Food and Nutrition
  • Surgical Procedures
  • Each of our departments – general, internal medicine, oncology, neurology, dentistry, surgery, emergency – including consult fees, diagnostics, treatments, etc

CareCredit.com/VetMed

Valentine’s Day Pet Dangers

Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love, but sometimes those festivities can turn dangerous for our pets. Here are some Valentine’s day treats that can harm our beloved pets:

  • Flowers: lilies, roses,
  • Treats: chocolate (besides the cocoa, ingredients like Xylitol, nuts, raisins, coffee, alcohol, marijuana, can cause further harm to your pets)
  • Alcohol
  • Medication: headache/hangover medications, erectile dysfunction meds, hormonal birth control

If you suspect your pet may have gotten into something they shouldn’t have, please call us asap – we’re open 24/7: 925 937 5000

Lost or Found Pet/Animal in Contra Costa County

So you’ve either found or lost a pet and don’t know what to do. We’ve put together this quick guide to help get you on the right path of finding your beloved pet or reuniting the furry friend with their human.


LOST PET
1) Post on Craigslist all the details: a photo, collar description, pet description, special needs, phone number to call/email address to email, reward if any, and the last place/time/date the pet was seen
                  https://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/laf

2) Post on Facebook: Fido Alert all the details: a photo, collar description, pet description, special needs, phone number to call/email address to email, reward if any, and the last place/time/date the pet was seen.
                  https://www.facebook.com/fidoalertca/posts/556819701146442

3) Post on your own Facebook, Instgram, Twitter, and other Social Media accounts

4) Create a lost pet poster; you can print and post these around town, deliver them to veterinary/pet related businesses in the area, put them on cars, etc
                  http://search.petfbi.org/lost-pet-flyer.aspx

5) Contact your local Animal Shelter and let them know your pet is missing. You can google COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL +ZIP CODE to find your closest one. IE: COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL 94598. Be sure you contact them DAILY regarding your lost pet!

6) Visit local animal businesses like shops, stores, grooming, and veterinary hospitals. Ask if they have seen your pet, and if you can leave a flier (step 4).

7) Don’t lose hope! Some pets return in hours, others in years. We always recommend microchipping your pet as a collar can be lost, but a microchip is forever.



FOUND PET

1) Call your local animal hospital and ask them to scan the pet for a microchip. If the pet has a microchip, the hospital can help you locate the owners right away.

2) Post on Craigslist some details: a not-so-detailed photo, pet description, phone number to call/email address to email, and where the pet was found. Consider having the owner verify something about the pet – a special patch of fur, collar description, etc – this way you know you are reuniting the pet with their rightful owner.
                  https://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/laf

3) Post on Facebook, Fido Alert: a not-so-detailed photo, pet description, phone number to call/email address to email, and where the pet was found. Consider having the owner verify something about the pet – a special patch of fur, collar description, etc – this way you know you are reuniting the pet with their rightful owner.
                  https://www.facebook.com/fidoalertca/posts/556819701146442

4) Post on your own Facebook, Instgram, Twitter, and other Social Media accounts

5) Contact your local Animal Shelter and let them know you found a pet; you can discuss with them if it’s best you bring the pet to them or keep it at your home until the owner is found. You can google COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL +ZIP CODE to find your closest one. IE: COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL 94598.

Fear Free Veterinary Visits for Cats and Dogs

Encina Veterinary Hospital is committed to providing the very best customer service, and that includes keeping your pet cool, calm, and fear free, with each visit to us.

We’ve put together some tips to help you reduce the fear/stress your pet may have with visiting us:

*CATS:

  • Leave their carrier out in plain sight (for them to see and explore) a few days before the appointment with us; this will help the pet understand the carrier is okay, not necessarily associated with the veterinarian, and give them a chance to get use to it (extra tip: sometimes a dirty/worn shirt by you in the carrier can help keep the pet feeling safe in the carrier when in use).
  • You can also purchase FELIWAY (pheromones that help encourage pets to stay calm via plug in diffuser or spray), and use them at home before the appointment. (extra tip: you can spray FELIWAY on a towel or blanket, put it in the carrier, and this may help keep your cat calm while traveling in the carrier).
  • Bring a blanket or towel to cover the carrier with to help keep it dark for the pet and not overwhelm them with sights while driving in the car or waiting in the waiting room
  • A car ride with soothing, calm, music may also help keep your pet calm while traveling
  • If you don’t feel comfortable waiting in the lobby with your cat, give us a call when you arrive in the parking lot and we can check you in over the phone. When it’s time to get you in a room, the Doctor’s Assistant will come outside and let you know we’re ready.
  • We try to use exam rooms 6 and 7 primarily for cats as it’s farther away from the chaos of our pharmacy area and more removed from the lobby. Don’t hesitate to request one of these two rooms!

    ** SMALL DOG

  • Leave their carrier/leash out in plain sight (for them to see and explore) a few days before the appointment with us; this will help the pet understand the carrier/leash is okay, not necessarily associated with the veterinarian, and give them a chance to get use to it (extra tip: sometimes a dirty/worn shirt by you in the carrier can help keep the pet feeling safe in the carrier when in use).
  • You can also purchase ADAPIL (pheromones that help encourage pets to stay calm via plug in diffuser, collar, or spray), and use them at home before the appointment. (extra tip: you can spray ADAPIL on a towel or blanket, put it in the carrier, and this may help keep your pet calm while traveling in the carrier).
  • Bring a blanket or towel to cover the carrier with to help keep it dark for the pet and not overwhelm them with sights while driving in the car or waiting in the waiting room
  • A car ride with soothing, calm, music may also help keep your pet calm while traveling
  • If you don’t feel comfortable waiting in the lobby with your pup, give us a call when you arrive in the parking lot and we can check you in over the phone. When it’s time to get you in a room, the Doctor’s Assistant will come outside and let you know we’re ready.
  • You may choose to limit food intake before the appointment with us to help increase the effectiveness of treats while here with us. If you’re pup has some favorite treats, don’t hesitate to bring some with you!

    ** LARGE DOG

  • Leave their leash out in plain sight (for them to see and explore) a few days before the appointment with us; this will help the pet understand the leash is okay, not necessarily associated with the veterinarian, and give them a chance to get use to it (extra tip: sometimes a dirty/worn shirt/towel/blanket by you in the car can help keep the pet feeling safe due to familiar smells).
  • You can also purchase ADAPIL (pheromones that help encourage pets to stay calm via plug in diffuser, collar, or spray), and use them at home before the appointment. (extra tip: you can spray ADAPIL on a used/worn towel/blanket/shirt, and place this in the back of your car where your pup stays while you’re driving).
  • A car ride with soothing, calm, music may also help keep your pet calm while traveling
  • If you don’t feel comfortable waiting in the lobby with your pup, give us a call when you arrive in the parking lot and we can check you in over the phone. When it’s time to get you in a room, the Doctor’s Assistant will come outside and let you know we’re ready.
  • You may choose to limit food intake before the appointment with us to help increase the effectiveness of treats while here with us. If you’re pup has some favorite treats, don’t hesitate to bring some with you!

    If you have any questions or concerns – give us a call. We’re committed to providing you with the best care possible – including before you walk through our doors.

    We are the only 24 hour, 7 days a week veterinary emergency hospital in Walnut Creek, California: 925 937 5000

  • What’s Up With My Dog’s Breath?

    “You have dog breath.” — “Why, thank you!”

    The term ‘dog breath’ conjures up a rank sour aroma in our minds, powerfully repelling. This is one of the great injustices in animal health care today. The term ‘dog breath’ unfairly creates the idea that bad breath is an unavoidable truth for our four legged companions, but this is far from the truth!

    An overwhelming majority of pet owners do not employ any type of home oral hygiene routine for their cats or dogs. What would happen to your teeth or your breath if you didn’t brush your teeth for a month? Now, what would happen to your mouth if you didn’t brush your teeth for 2 years? 7 years?
    10 years? This is what we are subjecting our pets to. ‘Dog breath’ should more appropriately be called ‘lack of appropriate hygiene breath’ or ‘medieval breath.’ Animal dental care has lagged heavily behind animal health care for far too long.

    Fresh smelling breath is not the only reason that we should turn our attention toward animal dental hygiene. Research in humans and animals alike is linking dental disease to systemic diseases. Current research provides us with evidence for associations between periodontal disease and systemic diseases (heart disease, kidney disease, respiratory disease,
    etc) and some research has shown improvement in systemic disease following treatment for periodontal disease. Further research is needed to determine the full extent of the relationship.

    Hmm, maybe I should start doing something for my pet’s teeth, but does it have to be brushing? What about all of the dental foods, treats, chew toys, water additives, wipes and sprays? As a veterinarian, I get asked this question often. My response is this, if there were a treat, a spray, a water additive, or something that was easier than brushing but just as effective, would we still be brushing our own teeth? Some of these things help, just like carrots and apples are good for our teeth, but there is no replacement for brushing.

    How often should I brush my pet’s teeth? Is once or twice a week enough?

    Every little bit helps and the more you brush your pet’s teeth the better but consider this, plaque hardens into tartar in 24-36 hours. Daily brushing is the best way to help prevent dental disease from developing and to prolong the interval between regular dental cleanings.

    Okay, but who has the time to brush their pet’s teeth everyday? Brushing your pet’s teeth doesn’t need to be as time consuming as brushing your own teeth. You only need to focus on brushing the outside of your pet’s teeth.
    The insides of their teeth accumulate tartar at a much slower rate than the outside of their teeth as a result of the action of the upper teeth moving against the outside of the lower teeth and the action of the tongue moving against the insides of the teeth. To brush your pet’s teeth effectively, you need only hold their mouth closed and lift their lip on one side, put the brush against the molars at the back of the mouth and brush in circles to the front of the mouth. Then switch and do the same thing on the other side. The whole process should take about 15 seconds.
    That’s 90 minutes a year to give your pet a happier, healthier, longer life!

    If you’re still on the fence about this whole brushing thing, consider
    this: the cost of a dental procedure can range between a few hundred dollars and several thousand dollars, depending on the rates of the veterinary clinics in your area and the amount of oral surgery (extractions, etc) that your pet requires. Let’s pretend, for the sake of argument, that every time your pet has a dental procedure, it costs $500 and your pet has a dental procedure yearly (some pets, just like people, need to see the dentist more frequently, some less frequently). Now, let’s estimate that brushing your pet’s teeth daily will extend the interval between dental procedures to a year and a half. That reduces the cost of dental procedures from $500/year to $333.33/year… a savings of $166.67/year. That’s $166.67 for approximately 90 minutes of work. These numbers are very rough estimates and are on the low end of the spectrum, but you get the idea. Some people need to see the dentist every 6 months despite daily brushing and some people do fine for years. The same goes for our pets. My own dog goes about 3 years after a dental cleaning before I notice any ‘dog breath.’ In fact, people that meet my dog often comment, “Wow, her breath doesn’t smell at all.”

    One more benefit that can’t be ignored – less frequent anesthesia.
    Although anesthesia is far less risky than it once was and the risk of complications is low, reducing the number of times a pet has to go under anesthesia is a nice benefit. This is of particular value for pets with diseases that put them at higher risk for anesthesia, such as heart conditions, kidney disease and liver disease.

    What about anesthesia-free dentistry? This is a topic that deserves its own focus, but the bottom line is this: more than 50% of a tooth is below the gum line and anesthesia-free dentistry can only address part of what is above the gum line, leaving significant dental disease unaddressed.
    Anesthesia-free dentistry is cosmetic only, with no real health benefit.
    For more information on anesthesia-free dentistry (also called non-professional dental scaling) refer to the following website:
    http://www.avdc.org/dentalscaling.html

    What can I do today to start taking care of my pet’s oral health?
    Call your veterinarian and schedule a consult for a dental procedure. If your pet already has significant dental disease, brushing now will cause pain and may make your pet averse to brushing. Have a dental procedure performed by your veterinarian before you start brushing your pet’s teeth so that you are starting with a clean slate.

    Renee Hartshorn, DVM

    Why Wont My Cat Use the Litterbox?

          Cats can urinate outside the litterbox for many reasons… a frustratingly large number of reasons. Some cats will posture to urinate in a normal way then will typically “bury” the urine spot afterwards. If this is on your floor, then they are probably just making the burying motion with their paws around the spot, but are not actually burying anything. The alternative to this would be marking or spraying, and they are doing just that, “marking” what belongs to them. When cats do this they typically have backed themselves up against a wall and spray urine on it while they are standing and their tail is straight up. This is most common in intact male cats, but neutered males and females will do it also. The very basic reason that cats will do each of these (with the exception of the intact male) is the same: the cat is displeased about something and is feeling stressed out. Remember dogs have owners, but cats have staff. And cats generally let you know when something is not to their liking.

          The first step is to make sure that there is not a medical reason for your cat to be urinating outside of the litterbox. Some medical conditions cause cats to urinate large amounts which can cause them to occasionally not make it back to the litterbox in time before they have to go. Alternatively, they can develop bladder inflammation or stones that cause them to have difficulty urinating or have painful urination. If this is the case, then a cat may have had a painful experience in the litterbox and then choose to avoid it in the future. The veterinarian will likely want to test your cat’s urine +/- blood and do some imaging of the bladder.

          If it is determined that your cat has no medical concerns, the next step is to make sure that the cat is happy with her litterbox. Litterboxes are not fun for pet owners to clean, but cleaning urine out of your carpet is much much worse. First of all there should be at least one litterbox in your house for every cat, and every litterbox should be scooped at least daily. Cats are very clean creatures, and a dirty litterbox can be off putting. Some cats prefer for the litterbox to be cleaned multiple times a day. Cats often also prefer litterboxes that aren’t covered and clumping litter. The box should be large enough for the cat to get in all the way, head to tail, comfortably. The litterbox should be in a place where there is some privacy and no loud noises that might startle the cat while they are using it, such as a washing machine or furnace. Inter-cat aggression can also be a reason that a cat may not be using a litterbox. Sometimes one cat will keep another cat from being able to get near the litterbox, another reason that it is important to have multiple boxes in your home. Remember that if anything negative happens within the box, that your cat will be more wary about using it in the future.

          But cats need more than a beautiful litterbox to be happy and mentally healthy. First of all, cats need somewhere to scratch. This is a natural behavior for a cat and they should be provided with an assortment of horizontal and vertical scratching opportunities. They need a place to rest where they feel safe. They need a cozy place in a back bedroom or den that they can relax and not be startled. Being high up makes cats feel safer as well, so having a perch for your cat can decrease stress, and some perches or resting places need to have a view outside. A view of the birds outside in the tree can be great entertainment, but your cat needs toys so they can play inside the house too. Playing with your cat is important to provide a chance for them to practice normal hunting behaviors, to provide your cat with exercise, and as a bonding opportunity between you and your cat. Some cats are very particular in the types of toys that they like to play with. Take the time to find out what they like.

          Next we need to make sure that your cat is not stressed by anything else in the home. Cats do not like changes in their lives, and any change such as a new animal, new baby, moving, or change in your work schedule can be extremely stressful. Try your best to make any of these changes slowly and try to keep the routine as normal as possible for your cat. For more ideas on any of these specific situations or anything about cat or dog emotional needs, please reference the website at the bottom of the page.
    Finally some cats need a little extra help. Feliway is a product that is a synthetic version of the feline facial pheromone. This is what cats are spreading on the furniture when they rub their chins on it. It says to the cat that they are in a safe and familiar place. Feliway comes in sprays in diffusers. They can be located near litterboxes or in locations where a cat is marking. And some cats need oral anti-anxiety medication. Some anti-anxiety medications are very effective in decreasing marking behavior.

    Please reference the website indoorpet.osu.edu for more information on making a happy and healthy home for your cat (or dog!)

    Erin Clark, DVM