Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cat Christmas Safety

Christmas is an exciting time for the family, but it always pays to take some extra precautions with our pets. There are many dangers around, below are some suggestions on how to ensure your cat stays safe during the Christmas period.

Christmas Tree/Decorations
The only fool proof way to keep your cat away from your Christmas tree is to put the tree in a room the cat can't access. Unfortunately, this is often not practical. So the next best solution is to make the tree as safe as possible. Real Christmas trees are more dangerous to cats than fake plastic ones. Pine needles can puncture internal organs if eaten, they are also toxic to cats. If you do have a real tree, make sure the drink stand has plenty of water to prevent the tree drying out & losing needles. It is important that your cat isn't able to get to this water & drink it as it could result in poisoning. Ensure the tree has a good solid base so it won't easily be knocked over by your cat. Try not to have the tree near furniture & or shelves which the cats could use to jump onto the tree.

Be very careful with tinsel, if you must have it on your tree, place it at the top of the tree where the cat is less likely to be able to get at it. Tinsel can be caught around the base or move down to the intestines & stomach & cause a blockage, which will result in emergency (and costly) surgery to remove it. A safer alternative are the strands of beads. Ornaments should be securely attached to the tree to prevent them being knocked off. Also place delicate ornaments up high where they're less likely to be knocked off & broken.

When there is nobody around, unplug Christmas lights, you may want to try applying a cat repellent such as bitter apple to the lights to deter your cat from chewing the wires, obviously if this was to happen it could cause a fatal electric shock.

Artificial snow is toxic to cats, so is best avoided.

Candles are especially popular over the Christmas holiday period, be careful to make sure your cat can't get close to lit candles.

Holly, mistletoe, poinsettias are all popular plants to have in the home at Christmas, especially in the northern hemisphere. These plants are toxic to cats so should be placed where your cat can't get to them. Please see our page on common household toxins for an extensive list on toxic & non toxic plants.

Many cat owners enjoy giving their cat the occasional treat of "human" food & generally this doesn't harm the cat. However, it is important to remember that some foods which are fine for humans to eat can be toxic to cats. The odd sliver of chicken or turkey (off the bone) is fine, however it really isn't a good idea to give them large quantities of such food as this can lead to gastrointestinal problems. Never give your cat cooked chicken or turkey bones, these bones can splinter & can become lodged in your cat's throat or puncture the intestines & stomach.

is toxic to cats, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic. Chocolate contains both caffeine & theobromine, which are both toxic. If you suspect your cat has eaten chocolate watch for signs of restlessness & vomiting, if in doubt, see your vet.

Cats will often scavenge for food in the garbage so be aware that if you've covered your turkey with foil & thrown it in the bin, your cat may drag it out & chew on it which could make the cat sick. Cooked turkey bones will also attract your cat. Be aware of this & if possible, take your food scraps etc., to your outside bin.

Xmas ribbons/wrap
Ribbons etc., pose the same problem as tinsel, if eaten, it may lead to intestinal blockages. It's important to ensure all ribbons/wrap etc., are safely disposed of.

Please note, your cat isn't a novelty item & it's dangerous to try & decorate your cat with ribbons etc.

Some cats love the attention of visitors, others find strangers in their house stressful. Christmas is often a busy time with visitors coming & going. Be mindful of your cat's feelings & give the cat the option of somewhere quiet to escape to should the need arise, this is particularly important if your friends & relatives have young children.


If you are going away on holiday, you have several options for your cat. You may choose to put your cat in a boarding cattery while you are gone. It is best to check out the premises prior to taking your cat there so you can ensure the cattery meets your standards. Any reputable boarding cattery will insist your cat is up to date on it's vaccinations, this is important for the well being of your cat & all other cats they have boarding there. Many vets also do boarding for cats but in my opinion this isn't ideal for more than a few days as their cages tend to be much smaller than those you'd expect to find in a boarding cattery.

There are a growing number of pet sitters available these days. They will come over once or twice a day to feed & play with your cat & to clean the litter tray. I find this most suitable when going away for a few days.

If you are going away for an extended period of time you may want to consider asking a friend or relative to house sit.

Whichever option you take, make sure you leave a phone number where you can be contacted & your vet's telephone number in case of an emergency.

When buying toys for your cat, make sure you thoroughly check them first. Similar precautions should be taken with your cat's toys as you'd take buying a toy for a young child. Make sure there is nothing glued on that the cat can pull off & swallow. As the toy will quite likely be chewed on, ensure that it's made from a non-toxic substance. There are many wand like toys on the market which most cats love, these should be put away safely when not in use because the cat could become tangled on the string. Any toy that is small enough for your cat to swallow is dangerous & should be avoided.

Kittens as gifts
Buying a kitten as a gift is fine as long as the person receiving the kitten has asked for a pet & knows that owning a cat is quite likely to be a 15-20 year responsibility. Never buy a pet as a surprise gift for somebody. Also, because Christmas is usually such a chaotic time, it is best to try & arrange to collect your kitten after Christmas to avoid undue stress on the animal. Please, if you are considering buying a pet as a gift, really think it through before you do so. Pet ownership is a big responsibility & shouldn't be entered into lightly. Any shelter worker will tell you that their most busy time of the year is just after Christmas people bring them unwanted pets. Don't add to the problem by buying a pet for somebody on a whim.

To view the full article by CatWorld visit Cat Christmas Safety.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Online Resources to Return Lost Pets

Have you noticed a new kitty in your neighborhood that you think might be lost? There are some new online tools to help find out if the kitty has a microchip and if that chip is registered. Most veterinary clinics - including Scottsdale Cat Clinic - will check for microchips for free.

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) unveiled their new interactive website this past September: There is also another website called which was up in its Beta version in August.

To view the full article about this new service, visit The Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association

Even if your kitties are strictly indoor, we recommend having a microchip put in. It only takes a moment for your baby to slip outdoors and the chip will help see that she gets home to you. According to the organization Bring Pets Home 8-12 million pets wind up in shelters. Most shelters are equipped with chip readers, and do make every effort to get lost pets home.

Although the microchip is not a "Lo Jack for Kitties", chipped cats have a much higher chance of being returned to their owners. Here at Scottsdale Cat Clinic, we use the HomeAgain microchip which has a wonderful network of fellow pet owners to alert if someone gets lost.

Call or email us today for more information.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Home for the Holidays

Meet Fiona, our most recent "very over sized" rescue kitty. Brought to us by the Arizona Maine Coon Cat Rescue, Fiona was very obese and experiencing health complications due to her size alone. She couldn't groom herself which led to infection and she also had a history of urinary tract issues.

You probably never met or saw Fiona during her time here at the clinic. Her size and health complications required close monitoring and we didn't feel she was considered adoptable until she lost weight. She stayed in our boarding area while we worked on her special prescription diet and jazzercise routine. As the weeks went by, we started to slowly but surely see results as she lost weight and started feeling better. She started to interact with the staff regularly and spent more time 'trying' to groom herself anyway.

The Thanksgiving holiday was fast approaching and as our boarding area started to fill up with other kitties, we discussed where Fiona would stay. She was used to having full roam of the boarding area and we wanted to keep her physically active over the long weekend. Tracy, one of our dedicated veterinary technicians, was kind enough to offer to bring Fiona home with her for the holidays. Arizona Maine Coon Cat Rescue was happy to approve the request and Fiona was off to her new temporary placement. At home Tracy also had a 70 pound German Shepard, two other kitties and a son. It would be a good test since no one knew how Fiona would respond to other animals and children.

It didn't take long before Leo, Mrs. Meow Meow, Snickers and Tracy's son, Frankie, were all smitten with rolly polly Fiona and getting along famously. As the next week passed we started wondering when Fiona would come back to the clinic to be placed for adoption. Needless to say, Fiona had already found her new forever home and wouldn't be coming back. She couldn't be in better hands and is continuing to lose weight as she plays all day with her new brothers and sisters! Fiona has adjusted very quickly and is a happy kitty to have found a home for the holidays!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Diabetes and Our Companion Animals

According to the
American Diabetes Association, 24 million children and adults in the United States live with diabetes. Another 57 million Americans are at risk for type 2 diabetes. With trends like these one out of every three children born today will face a future with diabetes. It’s a very serious disease that leads to potentially life threatening complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation.

What many might not realize is that our companion animals, such as dogs and cats, are suffering from this debilitating disease as well. Diabetes is one of the most common endocrine (hormonal) diseases of cats. Catching the disease early is crucial for the health of pets. Some of the symptoms to look for include increased thirst (polydipsia) and increased urination (polyuria). Other signs may include weight loss despite an increase in appetite. In order to diagnose the disease accurately, diagnostic tests should be run to determine the underlying cause of the diabetes. These tests will also be used to exclude other diseases and help guide subsequent treatment recommendations. With long-term treatment and dedication diabetes is a treatable condition.

Prevention of diabetes is the best course of action and should start with regular veterinary check-ups, proper weight management and diagnostic testing.

Dr. Judy Karnia, a leading cat practitioner from the Scottsdale Cat Clinic regularly diagnoses the condition: “We find diabetes in many older overweight cats. Treatment can be very successful if the disorder is diagnosed early in the course of the disease and the cat's owner is very careful with the insulin given and food offered. Some cats will even have their diabetes go into remission and no longer require insulin injections. We try to prevent the development of diabetes in our patients by working closely with all clients on proper nutrition, weight loss, and wellness blood testing.”

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Adopt a Senior-Pet-Month

Older pets may be a better fit

November is the official Adopt a Senior-Pet-Month and though some pet owners may not be up to the challenges often posed by older animals, it can be the perfect fit for others!

Kittens can be rambunctious, often times racing around the house like their tail is on fire! Although it's cute to watch, it can be too much for some owners to handle. Older cats have been around the block a few times and know what to expect. They are often calmer and know how to interact with children and dogs better.

Unfortunately many of these older animals are given up and turned into shelters or abandoned for various reasons. Their lives are uprooted and all they've known vanishes in the blink of an eye. Adopt a Senior-Pet-Month, sponsored by the ASPCA, is bringing awareness to the general public in hopes to encourage prospective adopters take a closer look at bringing home an older pet.

To view two great articles on Senior-Pet-Month visit AAHA and

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fall Hazards for Pets

The holiday season is fast approaching and we welcome the cooler weather, but not some of the hazards that exist for our pets.

Low toxicity
(may cause gastrointestinal upset, but unlikely to cause serious problems unless very large amounts are ingested):

  • Glow jewelry, glow sticks (can cause intense taste reactions, especially in cats)
  • School glues, epoxy glues
  • Pencils
  • Magic markers
  • Charcoal briquettes
  • Mosquito Dunks containing Bacillus thuringenesis

Moderate toxicity (may cause significant signs beyond mild gastrointestinal upset):

  • Expandable wood glues (e.g. Elmer's ProBond, Gorilla Glue-even small amounts can form large gastric foreign bodies requiring surgical removal)
  • Liquid potpourri
  • Batteries
  • Charcoal lighter fluid
  • DEET

High toxicity (potential for very serious or life-threatening signs):

  • Antifreeze/coolants
  • Chocolate
  • Rodenticides
  • Hepatotoxic mushrooms (see below)
  • Human medications (cold and flu medications, decongestants)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Homemade "play-dough" (high sodium content)
Useful Websites for Poison Prevention

Poison prevention for pet owners:

Visit the ASPCA website to read about proper use of flea products, poisonous plants to watch out for (find lists of toxic and non-toxic plants, and 10 most common poisonous plants), and tips for making their homes "poison proof" for their pets.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Programs Assist Pet Owners Facing Tough Times

Some pet owner are seeking temporary assistance to keep their companion animals through the economic downturn, and veterinary practices can refer them to a patchwork of programs that help with big veterinary bills or routine animal care.

The recession has increased the demand and diminished resources for these programs, some of which operate through veterinary associations and colleges, but the programs still offer potential relief for pet owners who have lost a job or a home.

American Animal Hospital Association Helping Pets Fund
Unemployed pet owners increasingly are the beneficiaries of grants from the AAHA Helping Pets Fund. Since its inception in 2005, the Helping Pets Fund has awarded about $800,000 to help about $3,000 pets receive treatment for illness or injury. The fund offers grants to AAHA-accredited hospitals of up to $500 annually toward the treatment of pets whose owners are experiencing financial hardship and $20 annually toward the treatment of abandoned pets.

According to Jason Merrihew, spokesman for AAHA, "the fund is definitely something we want to grow so we can help more pets in need."

College - association funds
Veterinary organizations have created a number of small scale programs to assist pet owners with veterinary bills. In certain cases, veterinary colleges will subsidize care for pets at teaching hospitals. Some state and local veterinary associations offer assistance within their areas.

Additional assistance
Along with veterinary organizations, other nonprofit groups subsidize veterinary care at the national and regional level. Some programs focus on specific species, breeds, or medical conditions. Many provide free or low-cost spay and neuter procedures and routine preventive medicine. Pet owners can also turn to humane organizations and other groups for help with animal care other than veterinary services. Programs range from pet food pantries to temporary foster care.

Sources for assistance with veterinary bills and other animal care:
To view the entire article published in the October 2009 JAVMA visit Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Iams Pet Adoption Campaign Needs YOU!

October 1st marked the kickoff of the Iams Home 4 the Holidays Pet Adoption Campaign.

The program will run through January 4th and aims to find homes for 1.5 million homeless animals this holiday season.

Over the past decade, the campaign has helped 3 million animals find homes, with more than 1.2 million pets adopted into families last year alone.

The campaign also provides resources and tips to help new or soon-to-be pet owners make informed decisions about adoption. Every family adopting a pet through the program will receive a kit and DVD with information about nutrition, training and proper care.

For more details regarding how you can help Iams and their adoption campaign, visit

To view the full article for Home4TheHolidays campaign in the November issue of Veterinary Practice News visit Veterinary Practice News.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Don't miss this years Annual Walk to Save Animals

The Arizona Animal Welfare League and the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will be hosting the annual Walk to Save Animals November 14th at Tempe Town Lake. The event raises funds to rescue abandoned and homeless pets.

It will include a host of activities for adults, kids and dogs, including PetZoneBooths, games, prizes, dogs for adoption and a doggie dating game to find your canine's perfect match. Even Santa will be present to pose with your pooch!

The walk is from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm November 14th at Tempe Beach Park at Tempe Town Lake, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway. The suggested minimum donation from walkers is $25. Animal lovers can form teams to raise money, and companies can sponsor and exhibit at the event.

The AAWL and SPCA will be offering low-cost vaccinations for dogs, $14 each or three for $40. The AAWL and SPCA use funds from the event to provide temporary homes for thousands of dogs and cats each year. The goal this year is to save at least 2,009 animals!

Call today and register at 480-423-1511 or visit

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Safety

With Halloween fast approaching, we have seen quite a few safety tip lists for keeping your kitty safe. For the risks associated with costumes to candy to trick-or-treaters, the best list we've seen is here from Catster.

Have fun and be safe!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nutro Pet Food Recall

There is another pet food recall going on for Nutro products. Small pieces of plastic were found in the production line of some varieties of Nutro dry dog and cat foods, according to the company.

Although no affected cat food products made it to the retail stores
, we can't forget about Fido too! Two affected dog foods made it to a small number of Petsmart and Petco retail stores here in Arizona.

Click here for the full article in the Veterinary Forum and what you need to do if you feel your pet has been compromised.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Have You Rescued An Animal?

The United Animal Nations wants to hear your Animal Rescue Story!

The Scottsdale Cat Clinic loved this idea and thought we would share this with all of you. Let's think positive and remember all the ways we've helped our furry friends!

Have you rescued a stray or abandoned animal? Nursed an injured animal back to health? If you have brought an animal out of
crisis and into care, the United Animal Nation wants to hear your story!

The winning story will be published on our Web site and featured in the next issue of UAN's quarterly Journal magazine.

Entries should be no longer than 250 words and must include a high-resolution photo. Submit your story and photo by Friday, October 30 to

Click here to view the UAN Monthly News ~ Bringing animals out of crisis and into care.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's a big week for our Felines and their Medical Caretakers

National Veterinary Technician Week

For those of you who may not be dialed into the veterinary network, we wanted to let you know that it is National Veterinary Technician Week and the theme this year is 'The Heart of Pet Wellness'! It's a full week devoted to celebrating what these kind hearted souls do on a daily basis for you and your pet. When Fluffy is feeling a little under the weather or Fifi just isn't quite herself your vet tech is there to help you get settled in and ready for the doctor. For some of you this isn't always an easy task...and you know who you are! Fluffy is scared and doesn't feel well and now she's spitting and hissing.....ahhhh!! You think no one is EVER going to be able to handle her, but to your surprise your vet tech has it all under control. They make it look effortless at times. What you thought was going to take hours to accomplish, as Fluffy is running around the room bouncing off the walls, is done in moments. Her temperature is taken, heart rate and pulse are monitored, blood pressure is recorded and you now you're wondering whose pressure was higher, yours or the cats!

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America will celebrate the week with national media coverage, a poster campaign sponsored by Fort Dodge Animal Health, and acknowledgement of NAVTA members. It also provides the opportunity to honor all veterinary technicians for the outstanding job they do.

National Feral Cat Day

On top of it being National Veterinary Technician Week it's also National Feral Cat Day on October 16th. Dedicated to protecting and improving the lives of our nations cats, Alley Cat Allies is an organization advocating Trap-Neuter-Return as a method of reducing the feral cat population. They are promoting this day and stressing all year long, that feral cats are quite happy and healthy outdoors and that Trap-Neuter-Return actually improves cat's lives.

To learn more about how you can get involved and show your support visit the Alley Cat Allies website today!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Enriching Your Cat's Life

Tips To Make Your Cat's Life More Invigorating

Many of our cats are left alone for hours a day while we go off to work and tend to our busy lives. As we drive off we don't realize our cats could get lonely or worse, bored or depressed. Meeting the needs of your cat may it be social, play, or exercise is essential to their well being. When we as pet owners are unaware of the specific needs of our cats and their inability to express normal behavior patterns it may lead to those dreaded undesirable behaviors. Many of those behaviors include eating disorders, attention seeking behaviors, anxiety issues, compulsive disorders, self injury and/or aggressions.

Outdoor cats spend a great deal of time hunting which is why a cats natural instincts must also be considered when they live solely indoors. You may notice your cat being playful but it will suddenly turn into an agressive attack on you or other animals in the the home. Your cat may often perch on places you don't approve of due to their innate climbing abilities. Lastly, marking its indoor terrirtory using nails and/or urine is another normal but highly undesirable behavior.

All felines need an environment that is safe and novel but complex enough to meet their needs. Cats to some extent need to control their environment and what happens to them. They also must have meaningful human interaction. By better understanding your cats needs and wants, you can give them a more enriching environment for a long and happy life.

The following will describe simple techniques for keeping indoor cats happy:

Toileting Areas
Litter boxes need to be in a private quite area. If you have more than one cat in your home, you should hav etwo boxes and try to use boxes without a cover to cut down on trapped smells. Most importatnly, scoo the box on a daily basis.

Rotating toys increased play and minimizes habituation of the play response. Cats are easily bored so if your kitty stops playing with a certain toy, take it away and add a new toy. Cats enjoy toys that are light, move easily and can be picked up easily.

Scratching Behavior
Try to keep a scratching post in areas that are easily accessible and visited by the cat frequently. Purchasing a scratching post with Sisal (a strong rope like material) will last longer than just carpet and provide better results for your cat.

Try to increase the complexity if obtaining food in your home. You can try feeder toys, multiple food bowls throughout your home, hiding treats in boxes or food puzzles.

Climbing or Resting
There are simple structures that can be used for your cat at home. A tall bookcase with an empty shelf, window perches and/or cat towers. Cat beds, tunnels, boxes and/or large paper bags can be used as resting or hiding places.

Human Interaction
A high percentage of cats enjoy being with their owners. Simple pleasures such as sitting on your lap, being pet or even training are meaningful interaction to your cat.

From all of us here at the Scottsdale Cat Clinic, we hope this article helped inspire you to enrich your cats life!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Food Recall Announcement

Although it looks like most of the incidents have been occurring in the New York area, the Scottsdale Cat Clinic feels it is our responsibility to let you know there is a cat food recall happening.

Diamond Pet Foods
has withdrawn from distribution the following date codes of Premium Edge Finicky Adult Cat and Premium Edge Hairball cat: RAF0501A22X 18lb., RAF0501A2X 6 lb., RAH0501A22X 18 lb., RAH0501A2X 6lb. The calls from pet owners or veterinarians regarding this issue have been centered in the Rochester, NY area. All retail outlets shipped the above lots were contacted, asking them to pull the product from the store shelves. The retailers were also asked to contact their customers via email or telephone requesting them to check the date code of the food. However, if you or anyone you know has these date codes of Premium Edge cat food, please return them to your retailer.

Symptoms displayed by an affected cat will be neurological in nature. Any cats fed these date codes that display these symptoms should be immediately taken to a veterinarian.

Product testing proved no contaminants were discovered in the cat food; however the cat foods were deficient in thiamine. Diamond tracked the vitamin premix lot number that was utilized in these particular cat foods and have performed testing on another lot of Premium Edge cat food that used the same vitamin premix, and it was not deficient in thiamine. No other neurological signs have been reported on any other product manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods.

To view the article by PremiumEdge click here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is Your Cat's Brain Aging Gracefully?

We thought this was a great article to share and one you could probably relate to if you've ever lived with an older pet. I think my older cat uses her hearing loss to her advantage, when she's done something bad that is, but some signs of aging are not always just signs of aging.

Read this great article from the American Animal Hospital Association and seek a veterinarian if you think your pet could be suffering from Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cat Rabies Cases On The Rise!

There is currently an increase in the number of reported cases of cats with rabies, posing a health risk to both animals and people. Whether your cat goes outdoors or not does not always determine if he or she should receive a rabies vaccination. At the Scottsdale Cat Clinic we ask our clients many questions so we can have a clear picture of the animal's surroundings and behaviors to better understand what the true exposure and risk to the animal really is. Outdoor wildlife making their way indoors can be a factor and we've seen and heard the stories to back it up.

According to the CDC report, rabies continues to affect wildlife much more than it does domestic animals. Wild animals, especially raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes, accounted for 93 percent of all rabies cases reported in 2008, the report states.

More work needs to be done, however, when it comes to controlling rabies in pets, especially cats and dogs. Cats led the list of domestic animals with
reported cases of rabies in 2008. According to the CDC report, there were 294
reported cases of rabies in cats last year, up about 12 percent from the 262
reported cases in 2007. Dog-related cases totaled 75 in 2008, down from 93 in

Jesse Blanton, an epidemiologist at the CDC, said cats have more interaction with wildlife, where they are prone to being bitten by a rabid animal, and they aren't getting the vaccinations they need.

"The CDC's general belief is that people are doing a good job vaccinating
their dogs, but not their cats," Blanton said. "We have controlled canine
rabies through the vaccination of domestic dogs, so we know that vaccinating

The belief that cats aren't getting their necessary shots is supported by data
from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) report that indicates
36.3 percent of U.S. cat-owning households did not visit a veterinarian in
2006. In contrast, the report, "U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics
Sourcebook," indicates that 17.3 percent of dog-owning households did not
visit a veterinarian in 2006.

The simple act of vaccinating a pet, Blanton said, provides protection to the
animal and the humans with whom it may come in contact. Veterinarians can vaccinate dogs and cats, and they will advise clients on the recommended or required frequency of vaccination needed.

To view the entire article visit PetDocsOnCall.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mark Your Calendars! Our Adoption Event Is Right Around The Corner With Safe Haven For Animals

Adopt your friendly feline September 26th at the Scottsdale Cat Clinic

After an extremely successful adoption event in May the Scottsdale Cat Clinic is pleased to announce our second adoption event Saturday, September 26th with Safe Haven for Animals, a no-kill non-profit animal shelter in the Phoenix area. The event will take place at the Scottsdale Cat Clinic near Old Town Scottsdale on Miller and Indian School Road.

Safe Haven for Animals will have many of their beautiful kittens and cats ready to be adopted at 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 pm. All of Safe Haven’s kitties have been tested for feline leukemia, up to date on their vaccines and spayed or neutered. Join in a great cause to give these kitties a new lease on life, support a wonderful organization and add warmth and snuggles to your home. You will also be able to interact with the cats and talk with a Safe Haven representative about each of their individual personalities. You can also visit their 'cat house' in walking distance from the clinic if you don't find the purr-fect friend here at the clinic. Refreshments and snacks will be served.

Please contact us at (480) 970-1175 for more information and visit our website at Stop by today and speak with one of our Cat Concierges and receive a tour of our office.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Do You Know the 6 Basic Needs of Your Cat?

Keeping Your Cat Happy and Healthy Indoors

We'll give you a hint with one...if you don't want your lovable furr-baby destroying your drapes or couch cushions you should provide one of these!?

Click here to make sure you've got your 'A-game' on and are providing your feline companion with everything he or she might need.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Do You Know What Your Cat's Saying?

At the Scottsdale Cat Clinic we are always on the lookout for fun and informative stories or articles. We recently found a story talking about the cat's purr, meow and other tones they can emit. We thought you'd enjoy learning a little more about what your feline friend is trying to tell you!

Cats are crafty creatures—especially when it comes to food. They’ve developed a tone to communicate with people by taking advantage of our instincts to care for offspring. The tone mimics the sound frequency of a crying baby. Are you nodding your head in agreement?

Turn up the volume on your computer and click here to listen to more about the Cat's Purr.

Monday, August 17, 2009

National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day!

National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day is technically August 22nd but here at the Scottsdale Cat Clinic we are celebrating on August 24th!

Do you consider a semi-annual check-up important for your cat? We do and now there is a national day devoted just to your cat to promote much needed regular check-ups for your furry companion.

*Every kitty who comes in for an exam on August 24th will receive a goodie bag filled with fun toys and food. The kitties care taker will also be entered into a raffle for additional great prizes.*

Remember, cats age much more quickly than humans and changes in their health can occur in a very short period of time often going undetected. Although your cat may appear perfectly healthy they are very good at hiding symptoms and your veterinarian can typically pick up on them early. Catching illnesses early is important to prolonging your cats life. Don't wait any longer and call us today to schedule your cat's physical exam (480) 970-1175.

Be healthy, be happy.

Dr. Judy Karnia, Scott, Ciela, Valerie, Katrina, Tracy, Bryan and Margie

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Do You Have Questions About Your Cat's Health? Check Out PetDocsOnCall and MedHelp

Two new pet community forums are now available for pet owners seeking good quality advice from knowledgeable professionals!

PetDocsOnCall and MedHelp allow pet owners to ask questions of veterinarians and select animal professionals. These two websites are becoming increasingly popular in these tough economic times. MedHelp has been online since 1996 and is the largest medical community forum online. Their pet section is about 2 years old. PetDocsOnCall began in March of 2009.

PetDocOnCall and MedHelp want to help you fully understand the medical and behavioral aspects of your pet's life. If you are looking for help with a sick cat, info on pet symptoms, or want to ask a vet a question, then this is the right place.

Pet owners should look to the true pet professionals for accurate and trustwo
rthy information. These two sites have actual veterinarians available to answer questions for a small fee.

Our own, Dr. Judy Karnia, at the Scottsdale Cat Clinic is currently one of the member veterinarians of PDOC and MedHelp. She began volunteering her expertise with them in their early stages and responds to feline relate
d questions. The two sites have the largest gathering of veterinarians available on the internet and all of the DVMs are volunteers and members of the esteemed Veterinary News Network. ( PetDocsOnCall has more than 80 veterinarians currently on staff. Of those, about 30 also help at

Both websites offer a place where you can receive medical advice, share stories, photos, and even videos about your favorite pets. At the same time, you will learn so much - from others and from the medical staff. You can meet new friends, show off your dog's new tricks, or find interesting fun facts about all sorts of animals.

Check out and today and maybe you'll hear back from our Dr. Karnia!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

STOP THE MADNESS!! Stress and Behavior Problems in Cats

Being an exclusively feline veterinary practice we often see cats who are exhibiting some type of behavioral problems. Once a medical issue is ruled out it's time to take a look at what is going on at home. Most cat owners don't realize the everyday stresses that are put on their kitties. From irregular feeding times to lack of mental stimulation, stress on felines can be damaging. Whether the stressor is emotional or not, it will trigger chemical changes within your cat and your cat will begin to experience a variety of physiological events. Long-term exposure to fearful or adverse events can cause neuro-chemical changes.

By understanding what stress is for a cat, we as cat owners can prevent these situations from occurring. Your first step should be to evaluate your cat's behavior and environment to see if that can be a cause of their stress. Now, a complete absence of stress is impossible to obtain and some level of stress is necessary to develop pliant neuroendocrine and behavior responses. However, we do want to minimize stress that can be harmful.

Some examples of harmful stress are unfamiliar handling, changes in social (home) environment such as a baby, new animal, a different work schedule of the owners and loud unfamiliar noises. During the development time frame of 3 to 9 weeks owners need to be preparing their kitten for a life without fears. Owner should be exposing their cat to a variety of stimuli. Novel noises, places and people are just a few examples of stimuli. Even though the process will take some time, owners can prevent stress, fear and anxiety by gradually introducing their cat to new situations.

Many behaviors that cat owners see are due to a lack of mental and physical stimulation or situations that are associated with fear and anxiety. Common indicators of stress, anxiety and fear include: decreased or increased grooming, litter box changes, hiding more often, changes in appetite and decreased play. If a cat is very stressed, owners may observe him crouching, having pupil dilation and /or panting. The easiest way to avoid this is to anticipate and prevent stressful situations when possible. The key for owners is to meet the cat's emotional needs socially and mentally by promoting proper toys, giving praise and providing human and other feline interaction.

For more information on cat care visit our website or call us at 480-970-1175.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Our Surgical Monitoring Standards

The Scottsdale Cat Clinic understands that dropping your fur baby off for Surgery can be very traumatic. You often have many questions concerning the anesthesia of your cat during a surgical procedure. We would like to put some of your concerns at ease by going over our strict monitoring procedures with you.

During a surgical procedure, one technician is dedicated to monitoring the anesthesia of the patient. We use a Cardell Monitor which measures blood pressure, EKG and respirations. It also measures the amount of oxygen in your cat's blood with a pulse oximeter. We also use a device called a Doppler that is placed over a vein and allows us to hear the heart beat.

One of the reasons we monitor the blood pressure is to make sure the cat is not in any distress. If the cat's blood pressure remains too low, the kidneys could be harmed. A normal blood pressure for a feline should be between 110/160 for systolic (pumping in) and between 55/100 for diastolic (pumping out). The EKG monitors the beats of your cat's heart while under anesthesia. A normal heart rate should range between 120 and 200 beats per minute depending upon their stage of anesthesia. The respiratory portion monitors the amount of breaths your cat is taking. The normal respiration range for cats is between 10-40 breaths per minute. Lastly, the pulse oximeter measures the amount of oxygen that is circulating through the cat's blood. The normal oxygen saturation range should be between 90 and 100%. We will also use a device called an esophageal stethoscope, which is a tube that is placed into the cat's throat. It is attached to a cardiac stethoscope enabling the technicians to monitor the heartbeats and breaths your cat takes.

At the Scottsdale Cat Clinic, we want each and every client to feel comfortable that their cat is receiving the best in medical care. We go the extra mile to ensure the safety and happiness of your feline family.

If you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate to call, we're more than happy to speak with you, Scottsdale Cat Clinic.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Managing Chronic Renal Failure

Now that your cat has been diagnosed with CRD I'm sure you have many questions like how to manage it effectively. We can help you with diet, fluids, medications and dosing. Visit Scottsdale Cat Clinic for more information.

1. Kidney friendly food ~ A low-protein diet is key. The protein in the food must be broken down by the body to be used for energy. One of the byproducts is blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and as it builds up in the blood stream, the cat feels nauseous. Talk to your veterinarian about a high-quality low protein diet. Here at the Scottsdale Cat Clinic we carry 3 different high quality food brands for finicky kitties: Hill's, Royal Canin and Purina.

2. Keep your cat hydrated ~ Subcutaneous fluids under the skin and access to fresh water are a must. This can help flush out toxins and prevent dehydration. Talk to your veterinarian to formulate a plan and determine how many times per week your cat will need subcutaneous fluids.

3. Restrict dietary phosphorous ~ Phosphorus levels in the blood climb with kidney failure, so it's important to make sure the food you're feeding has low levels of phosphorus. Low protein diets are low in phosphorus. You can also give your cat a phosphate binder medication - liquid, tablet or powder form - that binds to phosphorus in food and prevents it from being absorbed in the bloodstream. The binders need to be given with a meal in order to work effectively. Talk to your veterinarian about the phosphate dose your cat would need.

4. Additional therapies for anemic pets ~ It's common for a cat in kidney failure to also have anemia (low red blood cell count). The kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin that tells the bone marrow to make new red blood cells to replace older ones. When the kidneys start to fail they stop making adequate amounts of this hormone. Over time the cat could appear weak or unwilling to eat. Blood transfusions and hormone replacement shots are available for treatment.

5. Protect the stomach ~ It's common for toxins to build up in the blood and produce stomach ulcers. The ulcers can cause nausea, vomiting, and a decreased appetite. Anti-ulcer medications are available to reduce the stomach acid. Talk with your veterinarian to answer questions about the best medications and dosing schedules for your pet.

To view the full article visit DVM360.

What is Chronic Renal Disease?

Chronic Renal Disease

(chronic renal disease) is one of the most common feline diseases we see here at the Scottsdale Cat Clinic, especially in cats ages 7 years and older.
Chronic Renal Disease, Chronic Renal Failure and Chronic Renal Insufficiency all pertain to the same disfunction in the kidneys.

There are about 200,000 tiny structures (nephrons) in the kidneys that eliminate waste products and regulate electrolytes. CRF forms when the nephrons die off and the waste products and electrolytes cannot be processed through. Waste products begin to accumulate in the cat’s body and the cat begins to become poisoned by its own waste products.

The kidneys have 5 main functions: to filter waste from the body (specifically urea and creatinine), regulate electrolytes (potassium, calcium, phosphorus and sodium), The production of erythropoietin (helps stimulate bone marrow to produce red blood cells), produce renin (enzyme that controls blood pressure) and the production and concentration of urine. There are two types of renal failure that exist, chronic or acute. CRF is a progressive and irreversible deterioration of the kidneys functions. Acute renal failure (ARF) is described as a quick shut down of kidney function. Causes of ARF in cats are: urinary blockages, other infectious diseases, trauma and the ingestion of toxins. ARF is just as serious as CRF and can quickly become fatal.


Symptoms of CRF are increased thirst (polydipsia) and excessive urination (polyuria). With progression of the disease may also come loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, poor hair coat and emaciation. The kidneys only need to be working at 30% for normal functioning, which is why no symptoms will be evident until 70% of kidney function is lost. Cats are uncanny at hiding their illnesses and the very early signs are subtle.


CRF can be caused by two or more contributing factors such as age, genetics, environment and other diseases. In more recent years, more attention has been focused on high blood pressure, low potassium levels, acidified diets and dental disease as a culprit of renal failure.


A diagnosis of CRF can be made through a urine test to determine if the cat is concentrating its urine. A low specific gravity of urine means the kidneys are not functioning properly and are not passing the body's waste the way they should be.

A blood panel can determine the levels of creatinine and BUN (blood urea nitrogen) which can give some indication of the progression of the disease. An elevated level of creatinine is a clear sign of lost kidney function. The blood panel also helps to determine any related abnormalities involving other organs, changes in the electrolytes and minerals, and signs of anemia. Other tests can help to determine the severity of the disease.

Home Care

There is no cure for CRF but with supportive care at home, the disease can be managed for a significant amount of time. The key to CRF management is to control the amount of waste products being filtered through the kidneys. In order to control this process it is extremely important to feed the proper diet and give all prescribed medications and fluid therapy at home. If your cat is 7 years or older please have them see their veterinarian every 6 months to ensure proper care. With early testing and early detection of this disease, cats can live happy and active lives for years to come.

We found a great website in regards to all forms of renal disease. To view the full article and related articles please visit Feline CRF Information Center.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Recent cases that would have benefited from a Pet Health Insurance Plan or Pet Health Savings Account

Pet Health Insurance: Does your cat need it?

At the Scottsdale Cat Clinic we have recently seen a few cases that reinforce how helpful it can be to have pet insurance: a one-year-old cat with a broken leg requiring a $3000 surgery to repair it, a two-year-old cat with a urethral blockage (he couldn’t urinate) and needed extensive treatment to unblock his urethra and treat the complications, a ten-year-old cat with cancer (his dad couldn’t afford to pay for all the diagnostics and treatment needed). This is just a snapshot of the cases we see daily and age wasn't as much of a factor as many might think. Health complications can strike at any age. Most of them are never expected, foreseen or planned for, leaving the cat vulnerable and the owner feeling helpless if they don't have the funds necessary for treatment.

How does it work?

Pet insurance usually works by paying a percentage of the cost of veterinary care after a deductible is paid. The insurance reimburses you for the costs that you have paid to the veterinarian. There are many different insurance companies in the market today offering a wide variety of plans. Therefore you can choose the amount of coverage and size of the deductible, which determines the monthly cost of the premiums. There are plans which cover wellness care such as vaccines and exams. There are also plans that only cover illness or injury. These plans are less expensive and help you provide the care your cat needs when extensive testing or treatment are unexpectedly needed. Much like catastrophic coverage, you may not ever need it, but it will be there for you if and when you ever do.

Most insurance companies have an upper age limit determining which new cats they will accept under their plans. They also will not cover many pre-existing conditions. So it is best to start the insurance when your cat is young and healthy.

Visit our website at Scottsdale Cat Clinic to view a few of the pet health care companies we recommend.

Start a Savings Account $$

An alternative to pet insurance is to start a savings account for your cat. It might sound challenging but if you put a small amount every month into a separate savings account, the money will accumulate and be available for when your cat is ill. Some banks are even marketing a Pet Savings Account. If you're weighing your options visit the Pet Connection Blog for more insight and to help determine what works best for your household.

"I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become it's visible soul."
~ Jean Cocteau

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Are Flea and Tick Products Safe For Your Cat?

Disease risks far outweigh adverse flea product concerns according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC).

The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) issued a statement citing low safety risks for topical spot-on flea and tick products. The action follows a recent advisory from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cautioning consumers about an increase in adverse events (up to 40,000).

Mike Paul, DVM, executive director of CAPC, says in a written statement, "While these (adverse-reaction) figures are concerning, they must be interpreted in light of information that is absent from the report. An adverse event that is reported may be anything from disappointing results, unacceptable odors or temporary changes to the hair coat, to more significant events such as gastrointestinal upsets, respiratory signs like coughing or sneezing or skin irritations at the point of application. On rare occasions,
serious and life-threatening symptoms and even death may occur."

Paul chides the report for not clarifying the nature or frequency of adverse events.

"The range of products used is amazingly broad," Paul adds. "Not only are these products specifically labeled for indication by species, they are also clearly labeled for frequency of application and dosage. There is no reference in the EPA report to adherence to these labeled restrictions."

The source of these products and handling directions is another area of concern, CAPC says.

Some are available over-the-counter, and some are illegally imported or not appropriately manufactured, Paul says. "Products dispensed by veterinarians with a client/patient relationship are the most completely supervised with regard to species application, dose and frequency of application, but even these products can be mishandled," he adds.

"It is important to consider this number in light of the total doses administered from veterinary sources, Internet sources and retail sources, a figure that is simply not available," Paul explains.

"We do have information on veterinary-dispensed products, and even in light of that number the percentage of adverse events is extremely low, and the percentage of major adverse events is miniscule. The incidence of adverse events should always be of concern, but must be interpreted in light of the above realities."

"The improved control of fleas and ticks has done much to improve the comfort level and quality of life of dogs and cats. Further, particularly in view of increased geographic ranges of external parasites and the diseases they carry, flea and tick control have significant implications in protecting human health. Ectoparasites and their control is a genuine zoonotic concern with very real public health implications."

As first reported in DVM Newsmagazine, flea and tick product makers were slated to meet with EPA officials in mid-May.

For the complete article and video detailing how Frontline flea and tick control works click here.

If you have questions or are interested in starting your cat on flea and tick control feel free to contact the Scottsdale Cat Clinic at (480) 329-2202 for an appointment.

May 13, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Beating the Odds, Baby Mack's Story

Meet Baby Mack, a fuzzy black haired little kitten with a lot of luck on his side!

Baby Mack has proven time and time again to be a survivor rising above all the challenges he's been faced with.

About 3 weeks ago he was spotted by a little neighbor girl as he lay all alone under a bush. Since his eyes were not even open yet, her mom thought he was a dead rat and called pest control. When they arrived they delivered the news that this was far from a rat but a little kitten that was still alive. That's when Safe Haven for Animals was called, a local rescue group. Hearing the story, they happily welcomed Baby Mack into their rescue facility and immediately started caring for him around the clock as his momma would have. Baby Mack started receiving bottle feedings every 2 to 3 hours, stimulated with a warm cloth to help him urinate and defecate, was kept warm at all times on a heating pad and given lots of love!

The next step would be a health check-up at the Scottsdale Cat Clinic where Dr. Karnia treats many of Safe Haven's kitties. Laura, his foster mom at Safe Haven, had noticed a small lesion on his hind quarters that didn't seem to be getting any better. The day of her vet appointment the lesion had gotten much worse and then split open. What we found next was startling. Maggots had found their way into Baby Mack's wound and were feeding on his tissues. Fortunately Baby Mack didn't seem to be too uncomfortable and the medical team went to work flushing out the wound and disposing of the invaders. Really all Baby Mack seemed to care about was when was he getting his next bottle! He wasn't out of the woods yet though. A few days later Laura noticed his bottom looking red and inflamed and he was struggling to defecate. Another trip back to the Scottsdale Cat Clinic where Dr. Karnia diagnosed a rectal prolapse. This can be commonly due to poor nutrition, worms or severe diarrhea forcing the animal to continually strain to defecate. The straining then forces the insides to come out of the anus. After putting things back in their proper place, Dr. Karnia placed a stitch to prevent it from happening again.

In a few days and after close watch by Laura around the clock and many re-checks at the vet things were starting to look good.

Today Baby Mack is a growing, purring, bouncing, curious healthy kitten! He also has shiny grayish hair growing in as an undercoat to his soft black fuzz. He looks absolutely adorable.

He continues to be doted on by Laura at Safe Haven and anyone else who comes in contact with him! Safe Haven for Animals is a no kill, non-profit animal shelter in the Phoenix area. They provide foster care and adoption services for any animal that needs them. Please visit their website or contact them at 602-926-8454 if you're interested in adopting a furry companion into your home or helping out in any other way.

Good luck to you Baby Mack! All of us here at the clinic enjoy receiving the pictures and updates from Baby Mack so much and we know he will lead a happy healthy life with his lucky new owner.