How to Tell If Your Cat Is Sick — 7 Symptoms to Watch Out For

How to Tell If Your Cat Is Sick — 7 Symptoms to Watch Out For

Article Featured on Vetstreet

It happens all too often — by the time an owner realizes her cat is sick, the cat is very sick. Cats tend to hide their illnesses, and they even hide themselves when they’re ill. But many problems are best treated when they’re caught early, which means you are your cat’s most important health care provider. You’re the one who sees him every day and decides when he needs to see the veterinarian. Don’t ignore what he’s trying to tell you — or trying not to tell you. Here are just a few of the clues you should look for.

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Chronic Ear Infections (Chronic Otitis) in Cats

Chronic Ear Infections (Chronic Otitis) in Cats

Chronic otitis is basically a long-lasting ear infection that can affect any cat, causing itchy, painful ears. Quite a few things can cause the disease — parasites, allergies, growths, and more — which is progressive and can lead to rupture of the eardrum or even permanent narrowing of the ear canal. Treatment starts with cleaning the ear and using medications like antimicrobials and anti-inflammatories. However, in some cases, surgery may be the best option.

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What is Cat Scratch Disease? Sign & Symptoms of Bartonellosis

What is Cat Scratch Disease? Sign & Symptoms of Bartonellosis

What is Cat Scratch Disease? Sign & Symptoms of Bartonellosis

Article Featured on Vetstreet.com

Most people have heard of “cat scratch fever” –– or at least they’ve heard the Ted Nugent song. But few know how the disease affects cats and, potentially, their people. The infection, officially called bartonellosis and caused by a bacteria carried by fleas, can bring on a host of symptoms in cats –– fever, sneezing, eye inflammation –– or none at all. And it can be transmitted to humans through a scratch or bite.

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Marijuana Poisoning in Pets

Marijuana Poisoning in Pets

Written by Dr. Karen Shaw Becker

Sadly, marijuana poisoning in animals seems to be keeping pace with the increased use of the drug by humans. The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) 24-hour emergency hotline recorded 208 marijuana-related calls in 2008, or about four calls a week. Ten years later in 2018 there were 1,800 calls — 35 a week or five calls a day.1

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Hazards to Avoid While Baking Homemade Dog Treats

Hazards to Avoid While Baking Homemade Dog Treats

By Paula Fitzsimmons | Article Featured on PetMD

Buying manufactured dog treats is a hit-or-miss proposition. “Most of them are loaded with salt, sugar, preservatives, flavorings and colors. Dog treats are made with a wide variation in quality and nutrient content regardless of labeling,” says Dr. Donna Raditic, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist with Nutrition and Integrative Medicine Consultants based in Athens, Georgia.

So how can you treat your pup without giving her something that will contribute to poor health and obesity? One option is to bake your own homemade dog treats. It’s not always easy, especially if you’re not sure where to start. However, if you follow a few basic guidelines, you can make nutritious and delicious homemade dog treats, even if you’re a beginner.

Be sure to talk to your veterinarian if your dog is on a special or prescription diet, says Dr. Susan Jeffrey, a veterinarian at Truesdell Animal Care Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. “For example, if a dog is on a diet to prevent the formation of urinary stones or crystals, the ingredients of the treats may negate that diet. The same can be said for dogs with food allergies and sensitivities.”

Prevent Injury and Illness

Baking healthy homemade dog treats won’t mean much if your best friend is harmed in the process. To help keep them safe, here are some precautions you should take to prevent accidents and foodborne illnesses:

  • The kitchen can be a dangerous place for dogs; they don’t understand the concept of hot stoves and ovens. Keep your pup safe while you bake by securing the area with a dog gate.
  • Avoid using baking molds containing BPA, a contaminant linked to cancer and other health maladies.
  • Don’t use toxic ingredients, including xylitol, onions, garlic, chocolate and raisins, says Dr. Jeffrey, whose professional focus includes preventative care.  If you’re planning to make homemade peanut butter dog treats, read the label carefully. “There are several peanut butters on the market that contain xylitol,” she cautions.

When in doubt, consult the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center for a database of ingredients known to be toxic to animals, or call 888-426-4435 if you think your pet may have ingested a poisonous substance.

  • Cook homemade dog treats to an adequate temperature to kill potential pathogens, such as Salmonella that may be present in eggs and other ingredients, recommends Dr. Jeffrey. “Also, if treats are made out of raw meat, they should be cooked well (about 165 degrees),” she says.

Skip Unhealthy and Unnecessary Ingredients

The ingredients we enjoy in our treats are not necessarily good or even all that satisfying for dogs. For example, there’s no need to use frostings or sugars, says Dr. Raditic, who is also a cofounder of the Companion Animal Nutrition & Wellness Institute (CANWI).

“Avoiding fat is also important, as some dogs can develop pancreatitis with high-fat treats and foods. This is a painful inflammation of the pancreas that can result in hospitalization for a pet,” says Dr. Jeffrey.

What ingredients can you include? Many vegetables and fruits are a safe bet. Some that Dr. Raditic recommends include broccoli, carrots, summer squash, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, cucumber, celery, spinach, kale, dandelion greens, apple (and unsweetened apple sauce), peaches, pears, strawberries, blueberries and bananas.

Count Calories

Feeding your pup too much of any treat can result in nutritional imbalances, “Especially if the dog eats less of the complete and balanced diet and substitutes the incomplete and unbalanced treat,” says Dr. Joe Bartges, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and Professor of Medicine and Nutrition at the College of Veterinary Medicine, at the University of Georgia in Athens. Keeping your dog’s food intake the same while adding a lot of treats as extras isn’t the answer either since this increases the risk of weight gain.

Treats should not make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake, with the remaining 90% originating from a complete and balanced diet, says Dr. Jeffrey. (Dr. Bartges says that treats should comprise less than 5% of daily food intake for dogs.)

The best way to keep track of calorie intake is to weigh the treat on a food gram scale, says Dr. Raditic. “If your dog eats 100 grams a day of a food that provides 35 calories per gram, they are getting 350 calories a day. So your treats may contain 4.0 calories per gram, and if it weighs 10 grams, you are adding 40 calories. So now the total calorie intake is 390 calories, and that can really impact weight management.”

Dr. Jeffrey admits that it can be tricky to accurately calculate the number of calories in homemade dog treats. “One way is to follow a recipe that already has the calorie calculation, versus making up a dog treat recipe on one’s own.” As long as the recipe comes from a reputable source, this can also help you avoid making treats that are actually worse for your dog than the ones you can buy off the shelf.


Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital (OVSH) has been serving the Portland and Beaverton area community since 1979. Dr. Robert T. Franklin (Internal medicine) welcomes referrals from veterinarians all over the Pacific Northwest. Our goal is to help your pet regain health and live a long and happy life.

Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital

Address
9339 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy,
Beaverton, OR 97005.

Phone: 503.292.3001
Fax: 503.292.6808
Email: info@ovshosp.com

Allergies & Your Pets: What you Need to Know

Allergies & Your Pets: What you Need to Know

Written by Tori Holmes | Article Featured on FreshPet.com

Humans aren’t the only creatures who suffer from allergies – your pets can suffer from them as well. Our resident veterinarian, Dr. Katy Nelson, shares everything you should know about environmental, food, and contact allergies in pets.

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10 Things You Need in Your Pet First Aid Kit

10 Things You Need in Your Pet First Aid Kit

By: Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM | Article Featured on PetMD

When a pet emergency strikes, the last thing you should be doing is scrambling for items you need. Assembling a first aid kit for pets will give you the peace of mind that you’ll be prepared in case of an emergency. Make sure to check your cat first aid kit or dog first aid kit every six months or so to make any necessary replacements or updates.

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How Cats Show Affection

How Cats Show Affection

How Cats Show Affection

Written by Dr. Karen Shaw Becker | Article Featured on Mercola Pets

Our feline friends can be inscrutable, meaning hard to read. You’re not alone if you wonder sometimes if your cat even likes you. Chances are he does, and very much.

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Fundamentals Of Caring For Cancer In Dogs

Fundamentals Of Caring For Cancer In Dogs

Article Featured on NetPets

Given that your dog has lived with you and provided you with comfort as a companion, it is your duty to take care of your pet if he is found to be afflicted with a specific disease. The amount of care and companionship that your dog may need increases and becomes more important especially if the disease is terminal in nature.

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Common Household Hazards for Pets

Common Household Hazards for Pets

Common Household Hazards for Pets

Article Featured on AVMA

Every home contains a variety of everyday items and substances that can be dangerous or even fatal if ingested by dogs and cats. You can protect your pet’s health by becoming aware of the most common health hazards found in many pet-owning households.

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