With the turning of the last pages of the yearly calendar and the holiday time upon us, the weather here in southeastern Georgia is changing. It's becoming chilly at night, and we have even gotten a few freeze warnings!
So, we wanted to share just a few cold weather tips for pet safety so you and your pets can enjoy this upcoming Georgia winter!
Cats and other outdoor creatures like to hide where it's warm - including under the wheel wells and inside engine bays of vehicles. So, be sure to check or give the hood of your vehicle a little knock to spook anything that might be hidden in the accessible points.
In the event of a significant cold weather event, be sure to be stocked up on important pet supplies such as food and water, as well as any medications your pet may need in the event of an emergency.
Consider keeping your pet's coat a bit longer; the shorter styles of the summer aren't needed during the winter, when that coat was perfectly designed to keep them warm. But! Just remember: just because your pet has a coat, doesn't mean they should be left outside. Cats and dogs are prone to things like frostbite, especially where their fur does not protect them such as their paws, tails, ears and nose.
Beware of salt, deicing products and antifreeze - even small amounts that are ingested can be deadly for your pet! Antifreeze in particular is tasty to dogs, so beware to keep your pet away from it.
Stay up to date on vaccines, heart worm and flea/tick preventative - yes, even during the winter months!
If you have tile, stone or wood floors, remember that those surfaces can be cold so make sure your pets have a cozy blanket or bed to lay on.
While out on walks, be sure to keep them on a leash since surfaces can be slippery.
If you go to visit the snow or we experience an ice storm, be sure to wipe off your pets after they come back inside. Not only will this remove potential ice, snow or debris from their fur and paws, but it will reduce their chance of slipping or falling.
And last but not least ...
Just as with the summer, leaving your pet unattended in your vehicle is dangerous in the winter, too! If it's too cold for you to be outside in the car without the heater on, it's likely too cold for your pet.
If you should have any questions or concerns about keeping your pet healthy and safe this winter, give us a call at 912-673-7905!
What is Forage Feeding for Cats? - 12/02/2019
Cats are well known for being easy to care for and make great companions for people; Dr. Bolduc absolutely loves cats, and it always makes us so happy to see cats coming in to the clinic.
In addition to providing loving veterinary care for your feline friends, we also want to educate our patients about ways to become better fur-parents and responsible pet owners.
Feeding your cat is obviously important, but today we want to share with you an alternative way to feed your cats, called Forage Feeding.
Typically, most cat owners will simply put food out in bowls for their cat(s) to eat from, but the American Association of Feline Practitioners have recently released a study that says that this might not be the best way to feed your cat. Instead, the AAFP recommends that cat owners allow their pets to engage in Forage Feeding.
What is Forage Feeding for Cats?
Essentially, forage feeding for cats is allowing your cat to 'hunt' for his or her food at home, which hones in on their natural instinct to hunt and forage for their food. Cats are natural hunters as well as carnivores - so it is good for their mental and physical health to allow them to forage for their food. Forage feeding also acts a natural way to naturally reduce stress and overeating.
Forage feeding is recommended for single-cat homes, as well as multi-cat homes.
CLICK HERE to read more about Forage Feeding for Cats from the American Association of Feline Practitioners.
Does your cat have any other needs? We would love for you to contact Paws and Claws Veterinary Clinic. We serve everyone in Kingsland, St Mary's and the surrounding regions in southeast Georgia, and we’d love to see your pet. Hope to hear from you soon!
What is Cat FIV: Feline Immunodeficiency Virus? - 11/26/2019
Meet Gus. Isn't he so handsome?
Not only is he the sweetest cat and a beloved member of the Paws and Claws family, but he has become an ambassador for the cat community. Why? Because Gus is FIV positive.
So, what exactly does that mean?
Cat FIV: Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
Clinically speaking, FIV is a virus that is in the same class of virus as HIV, causing a weakening of the cat's immune system (source). It can oftentimes be confused with Feline Leukemia (FeLV), but it is its own separate disease.
As scary as that sounds, rest assured that we here at the clinic are perfectly safe! We want to debunk some myths about Cat FIV and let owners know that it's not the end of your cat's life to be diagnosed.
First, let's discuss the symptoms of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.
Symptoms of Cat FIV
An FIV-positive cat might not show symptoms right away, or even for years, and the only definitive way to get a diagnosis is done through a blood test.
FIV is tested, along with FeLV and heartworms, initially at 12 weeks old, but Dr. Bolduc will also test cats that are indoor/outdoor, after any sort of cat fight with deep wounds, as well as if the cat has come in contact with another FIV+ cat.
Symptoms can include enlarged lymph nodes, fever, unexplained weight loss, wounds that do not heal, dental disease, eye discharge and problems urinating, among many other possible symptoms. If you notice your cat having any of these issues, change in behavior or anything else that raises concern, let our team know so that we can make sure to test your cat.
Treatments for Cat FIV
If your cat gets diagnosed with FIV, it does not have to be a death sentence! This is a common misconception of an FIV diagnosis; in fact, many FIV positive cats can go on to live long lives, with just a few lifestyle changes. In fact, more than 80% of FIV positive cats can live five or more years after diagnosis (source)!
First, your cat will need to become an indoor cat. The reason for this is twofold; for one, it will protect the neighboring cat community from possibly being infected. Equally important, keeping your FIV positive cat indoors will reduce his or her risk to catching other diseases or illnesses, since FIV will compromise your cat's immune system.
Second, it will be important to make sure your FIV positive cat does not eat raw or undercooked meals. Why? Because within those meals, it is possible for pathogens, bacteria or pathogens to make their way into your cat's system and that could be dangerous for their health.
To read more about treatments for FIV Positive cats, we have more in-depth information available in our pet library!
Important FAQs about FIV Positive Cats
Is FIV transmittable to dogs or humans?
Absolutely not! Humans and dogs are not susceptible to contracting FIV.
If I have other cats, do I need to re-home my FIV-positive cat?
The answer to this will greatly depend on your cats. So long as your cats do not fight and get along, your pets should be safe. Dr. Bolduc also would recommend that spaying and neutering your cats will also reduce any risks.
What can I do to help my FIV-positive cat's quality of life?
Along with regular exams, Dr. Bolduc recommends Imuquin for cats, which we carry in office.
If you have any questions about Cat FIV, please don't hesitate to contact us!
Thanksgiving Dos and Don'ts for Your Pets - 11/20/2019
It's Thanksgiving week and we know that you want to celebrate with your pets, too! We thought it would be fun to put together some useful Thanksgiving Dos and Don'ts for your pets, so you can celebrate safely and have the best kick off to the holiday season together!
We know how tempting it can be to slip your dog table scraps - especially around the holidays when you want to give some extra love to them. Since so many of the foods that families typically eat together for Thanksgiving are not the safest choice for dogs, we wanted to share our favorite DIY Thanksgiving dog treat recipe that you can make at home this year!
DIY Thanksgiving Dog Treat Recipe
Our friends at Kong have put together a tasty Thanksgiving feast recipe that we know your pups would absolutely love! It's been tried-and-true by our own pets, so we know your fur babies will love it, too!
From our family here at Paws and Claws Veterinary Clinic to yours, we wish you and your pets a very happy Thanksgiving. May it be filled with love, family and all the joy of the holiday season.