Bringing Your Cat to the Veterinarian

Bringing Your Cat to the Veterinarian

August 22nd is Take Your Cat to the Vet Day!  Routine check-ups by a veterinarian are essential to keeping your cat healthy.  In the United States there are actually more pet cats than pet dogs. However, dogs are much more likely to be brought to the Veterinarian.  In fact less than 50% of cats are brought to the Veterinarian for annual check-ups. Many cats are only brought in when they are sick.

Why is it important to bring my cat to the veterinarian?

During an annual check-up at the Veterinarian your cat will receive a nose-to-tail physical examination.  During this exam, your veterinarian will be able to detect any signs of illness. Identifying potential problems before they become actual problems will lead to better outcomes for your pet.  Cats are excellent at hiding sickness and pain. This is a throwback to their days as wild animals, when any weakness would make them a target for predators. Your veterinarian may be able to detect these issues before your cat would let on to them.  Another great reason to visit the veterinarian is immunizations. Even if you have an indoor cat, they should be immunized. Read more about immunizations HERE. Trips to the veterinarian will also include recommendations for parasite prevention.

But my cat doesn’t like going to the veterinarian!

I don’t think most of us like going to the doctor for our annual check-ups or to the dentist every 6 months for a routine cleaning, but we do it anyway because we know it’s the best thing for our health.  Same with cats. There are, however, ways to help your cat be less stressed about their visit.

The Carrier

Make the cat carrier a home away from home for your cat.  Don’t only bring the carrier out for the dreaded trip! Leave it out all the time.  Put it in a room where your cat likes to spend time. Make it a comfy and cozy place by adding blankets and toys.  If they become accustomed to the carrier it will be a lot easier to get them into it when needed. You can use treats or a synthetic pheromone (spray or wipe that makes the carrier more relaxing – think lavender scent for humans) to make the carrier especially enticing on days when you have somewhere to be and they are being stubborn!

The Car

Go on pretend trips to the veterinarian office.  A lot of times the car ride is difficult for our feline friends. You can get them used to it by taking them for short car rides.  Consider going around the block, then increase the distance as they become more comfortable. If you are going to the vet office to pick up medication consider bringing your cat along. This will teach them that not every trip involves needles. As a reminder your cat should always be transported in a carrier, and never loose in the car. A loose cat could impede your driving and is harder to corral once you have reached your destination. Cats are quick, and a loose cat could make a break for it once the car door is opened.

If all else fails…

If your cat still becomes very stressed about going to the veterinarian, ask about sedatives that can be given prior to your visit.  These may help to calm your cat down.

It is every pet owner and veterinarian’s sincere wish for their companions and patients to live long and healthy lives.  Routine veterinary care is a part of that. If your cat hasn’t been to the vet office in a while, please consider calling to book an appointment today.

Immunization Awareness Month

Immunization Awareness Month

August is Immunization Awareness Month.  Vaccines are just as important for our four-legged family members as they are for us.

What are vaccinations?

Vaccinations, or vaccines, are designed to trigger an immune response.  When given they cause your pets immune system to prepare to fight off the disease if needed.  This means that if your pet is ever exposed to the disease their immune system will know what to do to fight it off.

Why is it important to vaccinate your pet?

Many veterinary experts agree that the widespread administration of vaccines has prevented illness and death in millions of pets. Not only do they protect your pet from deadly diseases, they improve their quality of life and life expectancy. In the case of communicable diseases, such as rabies, vaccinating your pet also protects you. Vaccines can also prevent large veterinary bills, as the vaccines are far less expensive than the treatment should your pet contract one of those illnesses. Lastly, some vaccines are simply required by state and local law.

Vaccines Frequently Recommended at our Clinic:


Distemper Vaccine

The Distemper Vaccine protects dogs from the Distemper Virus, Adenovirus, ParvoVirus, and Parainfluenza.  We recommend starting the vaccine cycle at 8 weeks, with boosters at 12 weeks, and 16 weeks. After that, the Distemper Vaccine is given once per year*.

Rabies Vaccine

The Rabies Vaccine is required in New York State. The first time a rabies vaccine is given it is good for one year.  After that, it is good for 3 years. You will often need proof of Rabies Vaccination to take your dog to public places, such as state parks.  You will also need it to have your dog licensed in your municipality.

Lyme Vaccine

The Lyme vaccine has arguably become one of the most important vaccines we offer due to the high prevalence of Lyme disease in our area.  The first Lyme Vaccination requires a booster one month later. However, if the booster is not given within 3 months, the cycle will begin again.  Once the first vaccine, and booster are given, the Lyme Vaccine is done yearly. Even with the Lyme Vaccine, a year-round Tick Prevention is recommended.  You can read about our Flea and Tick Prevention options for both dogs and cats HERE.

Heartworm Test

While not a vaccine, per say, the Heartworm Test is another preventative measure we recommend yearly.  The Heartworm Test checks, not only for Heartworm, but also for Lyme disease, Anaplasma, and Ehrlichia (the three of which are tick-borne diseases).  A Heartworm Test requires our Veterinarians to draw a small amount of blood from your pet, and is completed that day in our office.


Distemper Vaccine

Cats also receive the distemper vaccine.  The vaccine protects against the Panleukopenia Virus (also known as Feline Distemper), CaliciVirus and Rhinotracheitis.  Just like in dogs, the first vaccine requires a booster in one month, then it is given yearly*.

Rabies Vaccine

The Rabies Vaccine is required for all cats in New York State regardless of whether or not they go outside. The first vaccine given is good for one year, then it is required every three years.

FELV (Feline Leukemia Virus) Vaccine

The FELV Vaccine is recommended for cats who are routinely outdoors and may be exposed to cats who carry the Feline Leukemia Virus.  The vaccine itself is not without risk, which is why it is not given unless needed. If needed, we offer a combination vaccine with the Distemper Vaccine, to reduce the number of injections your cat receives.

As with anything else regarding your pet’s health, please speak with your Veterinarian if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

*Vaccine schedules stated are basic guidelines.  Your pet’s vaccine schedule may differ based on health, age, allergies, etc.

4th of July Pet Safety

4th of July Pet Safety

The Fourth of July is one of our favorite holidays! Every year staff from the Boght and Oakwood Veterinary Clinics get together for fun, food, and fireworks.  And you’d think a party of Veterinarians and clinic staff would mean lots and lots of pets… right? Well, not so much. While we would all love to be able to bring our pets to all the parties, we are also aware that holidays like the 4th of July pose significant safety hazards to our furry best friends. Here are some ways you can keep your pet safe this 4th of July.

First and foremost, leave your pet at home for parties.  Crowded and unfamiliar places can cause panic. If your pet loves people and parties check with your hosts if there is a safe place, inside, for your pet to go if they are getting overwhelmed,  or before the fireworks begin. Please do not plan to put your pet in the car for fireworks. If it is hot, there is an obvious risk for heat stroke. However, even if it is a cool enough evening the stress of being so close to such loud noises and bright lights can cause your pets to become agitated and hurt themselves.

During fireworks the best place for your pet to be is inside.  You want them to feel safe and comfortable. If your dog is crate trained that is an excellent option.  If they are not crate trained you may want to consider closing them into a bedroom or other place where they are comfortable and away from exterior doors.  You can play calming music to muffle the noise of the fireworks, and give them a special toy or treat to distract them.

More pets are lost on July 4th than any other day of the year.  This is usually due to them trying to get away from the loud noises and bright lights of fireworks.  Before the holiday make sure your pet’s information is up-to-date at their veterinary clinic. Check to be sure that their ID tags have the correct address, phone number, and are legible.  If their collar is beginning to wear out, invest in a new one that won’t come off easily if it gets snagged on a fence or bushes. If your pet is microchipped, make sure the information attached to the chip is current.  If your pet is not microchipped, talk to your veterinarian about the benefits of doing so. Also, take a photo of your pet regularly so that you will always have an up-to-date picture to share in the event that your pet is lost.

Any summer gathering can have dangers for our furry friends. If you are having a backyard barbeque keep an eye on your pet and the table scraps.  Corn on the cob, and chicken bones, both very popular summer cook-out foods, can cause intestinal blockage. Make sure you have garbage cans readily available for your guests to place their scraps.  Also, be sure that you communicate with your guests to not feed your pets from the picnic table. The high fat content and grease in our food can cause quite the upset stomachs in our pets. Pets should absolutely not be given alcohol!  Read more about why, and other foods that are poisonous to pets HERE.

We hope that all of our patients have a safe and happy holiday!

Bring Your Dog to Work Day 2019

Bring Your Dog to Work Day 2019

Hi, my name is Frankie, and today is a special day.  Today I get to go to work with my vet! Granted, I’m a “vet pet” everyday, but today it’s official!  We’re going to have so much fun… once we get there! Why do we live so far away? Are we there yet? I here the turn signal…. he’s slowing down….. We’re here! We’re here!

Good morning everyone! Move move move so I can hop up and claim my counter spot.  I know for sure there are other vet pets coming today (they’re my cousins) and I want to have a front row seat. In the morning all the other dogs (I love dogs!) and cats (not so much) and maybe rabbits (silly rabbits) scheduled for something called surgery come in and stay for the day. I’m not sure what exactly happens in that room, but all the dogs and cats and maybe rabbits sleep through it so it must just be nap time. We see all kinds of pets for appointments too. Some are happy, some are sad, some are angry or upset.  But not me! I love coming to work with my vet! What? No! I do not need a shot! My nails are fine. I think it’s time for my nap!

After lunchtime (for my vet but not for me…. too bad) the fun begins again!  Maybe we will have a Great Dane that barks his head off (chill out!) or a Siamese cat that hisses and snarls (if it’s got claws I’m outta here).  My vet is always busy busy busy, so I only see him as he goes in and out and only if I’m not napping. Until the Great Dane starts barking AGAIN. Here comes a Labrador with a sore foot and an unhappy barn cat that needs his Rabies shot.  I tried telling him that complaining won’t make a difference. He’s getting the needle for his own good.

As the day winds down, there are fewer pets and fewer people in the back room.  Everyone is cleaning and getting patients settled that are staying overnight. They all get clean blankets and fresh water. I hope they leave a night light on so they don’t get scared.  My vet spends time on the phone talking to people about things like test results and if there is a cat or dog or maybe rabbits that aren’t doing well at home.

I wish I was home. I miss being home. Oh boy it’s time to go home! Yipee! Will it be time for dinner when we get home? I’m starving. I worked really hard. See everyone tomorrow!

Pets and Seasonal Allergies

Pets and Seasonal Allergies

May is Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month.  And, while this observance is technically for humans, our four-legged friends can suffer from seasonal allergies and asthma as well. As we head into the time of excessive pollen it is important to know the signs of seasonal allergy suffering in your pets, and what you can do about it.

In our pets, allergies most commonly lead to skin issues.  Allergies can cause itchiness, inflammation, and hot spots.  Our pets don’t know when to stop scratching at those itchy spots, and may use any hard or scratchy surfaces they can to get relief. This can lead to hair loss in those spots.  If pets continue to scratch in those places they can break the skin, which could become infected. This is called a hot spot. If you believe your pet has a hot spot please call your Veterinarian. Allergies may also cause itchy ears. If your pet is scratching excessively at the ears they can once again cause hair loss and infection.  If you notice that their ears smell or have discharge that is a sign of infection, and once again you should contact your Veterinarian. While it is uncommon, some pets may have respiratory issues due to allergies. This will present as wheezing and frequent sneezing.

So, what can you do if your pet is struggling with allergies this spring? First, you can try to limit time outdoors, especially during the early morning and late afternoon when pollen counts are the highest. Try to keep your pet away from places where pollen likes to collect.  These common trouble areas include the deck, and patio chair cushions. If your pet loves to lay outside you can hose off a section of the deck or patio for them to lay on. Even if they don’t have allergies, but you do, this is a great step to take. Another easy way to stop pollen from coming into the home is to wipe your pet with a damp towel whenever they come in from outside. Doing this for all pets, not just those with allergies, will be immensely helpful. Make sure that you are washing your pet’s bedding regularly.  If you have large dog beds that can’t easily be washed, put a blanket or towel down over the bed. Then you can wash those as needed. If your pet likes to play with soft toys they should also be washed frequently. It is also a good idea at this time of year to vacuum or mop weekly.

If your pet continues suffer from allergies there are also medications that can be prescribed by a Veterinarian.  Just like in humans, allergies in pets cannot be cured, only managed.

First Aid Kit For Pets

First Aid Kit For Pets

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month.  While we will always recommend that you seek the advice of a veterinarian anytime your pet is injured or ill, it is never a bad idea to be prepared at home.  Just like having a first aid kit for your own bumps and bruises, a Pet First Aid Kit can come in handy. You can purchase pre-assembled Pet First Aid Kits, or assemble your own as described below.

First, you will need a container to hold your kit.  A plastic shoebox case is perfect. Keep your kit somewhere easy for you to access, but out of the reach of your pets and kids.  An upper kitchen cabinet, or coat closet shelf is a good place. Once you have a spot for your kit, make sure everyone in the family knows where it is.  Let any pet sitters know where it is as well.

Next, put an envelope in your kit with the following information: a copy of your pet’s vaccine history, chronic medical conditions, and any important medical notes.  Ask your veterinarian what you should include. You should also include the phone numbers and addresses of your local veterinarian as well as the phone numbers and addresses of the emergency clinics in the area.  This way you will never have to scramble to find phone numbers. Even better, program them into your phone!

Now it is time to fill your kit with the various first aid items.  Many of these items are similar to what you will find in a human first aid kit, with a few additions.

Saline Solution – Pure saline can be used to clean a wound on your pet. Squirt the solution carefully into small wounds at an angle to flush out any debris and bacteria. Please note that most contact solutions are not pure saline. Carefully read the label to ensure you have a Saline Solution.

Absorbent Gauze Pads – Gauze pads are the first layer when wrapping a wound on your pet.  The gauze will absorb blood so that your pet does not bleed in the house or car on the way to the Veterinarian.  If you don’t have gauze you can also put a few washcloths, or a small hand towel in your kit.

Self-Adhesive Bandage Cover – These covers are used on the outside of the gauze to hold the gauze in place.   We recommend getting something specifically for pets, that will not stick to their fur. Be sure to not apply the wrap too tightly as it can cause a loss of circulation which would further complicate the injury.

Exam Gloves – Using exam gloves when providing first aid protects both you and your pet.  First, they keep your hands clean. They also protect your pet from any dirt and bacteria that may be on your hands.

Oral Syringe – These can be used to flush out wounds with water.  A turkey baster or something similar can also be used.

Instant Cold Pack – A cold pack can be applied to bee stings or other swellings.  Be sure that there is always something between the cold pack and your pet’s skin. If you have a pet with thick fur the cold pack can be applied directly to the fur.  Otherwise, it is recommended that you wrap it in a towel first.

Tweezers – Tweezers can be used to remove ticks or other large debris from a wound. You can also find specially designed tick removers, which may be useful if you live in area with a high incidence of ticks.

Flashlight – Keep a small flashlight in your first aid kit to help you see in between toes, inside the nostrils, the mouth, and the ears. However, you should never shine the flashlight directly into your pet’s eyes.

Extra Leash and Collar – In the event of an emergency, you do not want to be scrambling around the house looking for your pet’s leash and collar.  Keep a spare in the kit so you always know where one is. The leash can also be used to hold your pet in place while you are administering first aid.

Soft Muzzle – Even the sweetest of pets can bite when they are feeling hurt and scared.  A muzzle can keep you safe while administering first aid.

The hope is that you will never need to use your first aid kit.  However, having one ready, and being prepared will help put you and your pet at ease in the event of an emergency.  Always be sure to call your Veterinarian right away if your pet is sick or injured.