How to Care for Your Senior Cat

How to Care for Your Senior CatWhen you adopt a kitten the last thing you think about is them becoming a senior cat, but it will eventually happen. As that time draws near, it’s important for you to be ready to take care of them. There are a few special ways you can do so.

Watch for Changes in Your Cat’s Habits

Cats do a great job of hiding the fact that they’re sick. Since signs are subtle and easy to miss, any difference in behavior (e.g. sleeping more, hiding) is something you should mention to your veterinarian since you know your cat best.

Watch for Changes in Weight

It’s challenging to notice a gradual change in your cat’s weight. However, when you notice either weight gain or an unplanned weight loss you should tell your veterinarian. A gain could result in a chronic disease that shortens your cat’s life span. On the other hand, a weight loss typically means there’s something wrong such as hyperthyroidism, intestinal disease, or diabetes.

Watch Their Litter Box

There’s a lot that your cat’s litter box can tell you about. Since you should be scooping the litter box more frequently to keep up with your cat’s increased urine output, these are things you should be able to easily notice and bring to the attention of your veterinarian.

Missing the litter box or having accidents around the house could be a sign that there’s an underlying medical issue. These could include:

  • Difficulty getting into the litter box due to muscle weakness
  • The litter box being in a “bad” place (e.g. having to traverse stairs)
  • Being frightened by too much noise or by other pets may cause your elderly cat not to use the litter box if it’s not in a secluded location
  • Your cat’s paws change as they grow older so you’ll want to make sure that the litter you use is gentle on them

Besides missing the litter box, your elderly cat may also suffer from:

  • Increased urine output is often a sign of urinary infections, but it could be a sign of diabetes, an over active thyroid gland, kidney disease, or high blood pressure
  • Constipation or not defecating daily due to dehydration
  • Stools that are softer, harder, or a different color

Watch how Much Your cat is Eating

It can be challenging to know how much your cat is eating if you have multiple cats in your home. However, you need to know if your elderly cat is eating less than normal so your veterinarian can intervene if there’s an issue. This could be a sign of a chronic disease, which if caught early enough could be easily treated.

Understand They’re Doing More Than “Slowing Down”

With age comes things like arthritis and degenerative joint disease – things your veterinarian will notice, but you may not. This is why you should develop a close relationship with Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Care Center. Routine visits coupled with both mental and physical stimulation while at home will help your cat enjoy the remainder of their lives with you.

Picture Credit: Save-A-Pet Adoption

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Puppy with rare spine condition survives 1,000-mile journey, recovering from life-changing surgery

Rescued New York puppy flies to Tampa for medical treatment, among four other pets flown to the Tampa Bay area by charity group for surgery this year

TAMPA, Fla. – A veterinary surgeon at Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Care Center (TBVSECC), a part of Pathway Vet Alliance, performed a life-saving surgery Wednesday on Giuseppe, a 7-month-old Yorkshire Terrier puppy who suffers from a rare congenital condition called atlanto-axial instability (AAI). Continue reading

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How to Safely Travel with Your Pets

Safely Traveling With PetsAs a pet owner you may think your trip will be more enjoyable if you can bring Fido along, but, traveling is very stressful for your pets. Before you leave, you should make sure your pet is microchipped and has your information printed on their calendar. Otherwise the type of trip you take will have a heavy influence on your pet care.

Traveling by Plane

You should avoid this type of a trip unless Fido can fit under your seat. However, if this isn’t possible and you must still take Fido with you, make sure you heed these tips for proper pet care:

  • Do your best to book a direct flight whenever possible so it’s less likely Fido gets left on the tarmac or mishandled by baggage personnel during a layover.
  • Buy a USDA-approved shipping crate that’s big enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably. Line it with bedding (e.g. shredded paper or towels) to absorb accidents. Tape a small pouch of dried food outside the crate so Fido can be fed if he gets hungry. Also freeze a small dish or tray of water so it won’t spill but is there for them when they’re thirsty. Never lock the crate because you want airline personnel to be able to open it in case of an emergency. Mark the crate with the words “Live Animal,” and your name, cell phone number, and photo of your pet – carry this same photo with you as well in case Fido escapes from his carrier.

Taking a Road Trip

You can’t expect to just load Fido in your backseat and drive away, especially if you’re driving a long distance or will be gone for a long time. Instead, you should heed these pet care tips to help you prepare for a smooth and safe trip:

  • Take Fido on short drives before spending a lot of time in the car. If you plan to cross state lines, make sure you have his rabies vaccination record with you as some states will want to see this.
  • Use a well-ventilated crate or carrier to keep Fido safe and secure. Make sure it’s big enough for him to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. You’ll also want to make sure that it’s secure enough that it won’t slide or shift if you stop abruptly. If you don’t use a crate, make sure Fido doesn’t ride with his head outside the window, and stays harnessed in the back seat.
  • Make sure you have food (never feed him in a moving vehicle), bottled water (unfamiliar water can make his stomach uncomfortable), a bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication, first-aid supplies, and any travel documents you need with you. Take along his favorite toy or pillow too as these things will give him a sense of familiarity.
  • Never leave Fido alone in a parked vehicle, especially on a hot day. Even if you have your windows open, your parked vehicle can quickly turn into a furnace and Fido will develop heatstroke. In cold weather, your car acts like a refrigerator in which he could freeze to death if you’re not careful.

Before you Leave Home

Make an appointment with Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Care Center for Fido to get a checkup within 10 days of leaving on your trip. This is a great time to make sure his vaccinations are up-to-date and obtain a health certificate. You can also ask about ways to help your pet relax if you suspect they’ll be afraid, anxious or uncomfortable and get other pet care tips.

Picture Credit: Doxieone

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How Music Affects Your Dog

Different Types of Music Affect a Dog's BehaviorMusic has a powerful effect on people – providing us with adrenaline, relaxation, and a boost to our mood. Research shows music also helps people with Parkinson’s disease and those who have suffered from a stroke. All of this is because music stimulates lost neurological deficits. Since dogs have much better hearing than humans, it should come as no surprise that music has a power effect on your pets too.

How Different Genres Impact Your Dog

For quite some time people have known that classical music has a positive effect on pets – calming and soothing them by lowering their heart rate. However, this isn’t the only genre that positively affects them. Researchers believe that reggae and soft rock can be more calming than classical music. They also found that rock made them feel more anxious and agitated because it accelerated their body’s symptoms of nervousness (e.g. shaking). The one genre that seemingly has very little impact on our pets is pop music.

This is probably because pets have an uncanny ability to determine pitch and tone in songs. Of course, we’ve seen this throughout history since most influential artists have their dogs to thank for some of their best work. For instance, Richard Wilhelm Wagner’ Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Peps would respond differently to the various melodies he’d play in different keys. This is what led to the concept of matching music to emotions. Then there was Dr. George Robinson Sinclair, the organist at Hereford Cathedral in London. He had a Bulldog named Dan who kept his choir participants in tune by growling at them when they sang out of tune.

How we can use Music to Help our Pets

Pets can’t only help us with music, but we can help them too. Playing music is an effective way to calm them during stressful situations like fireworks or traveling in a vehicle. Some trainers are even playing classical music during training sessions to help them concentrate better. This is because music truly does have a powerful effect on your dog thanks to his advanced hearing anatomy and inherited traits that have led him to have an essential connection to music.

When you don’t know what type of music to play for your dog, simply look at what researchers have discovered. There are even veterinary neurologists like Susan Wagner who have developed albums specifically for our pets today. One of the most popular dog music albums is “Through a Dog’s Ear” by Lisa Spector. Consider playing these when you think your dog may need them.

Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Care Center encourages this link between our pets and the music we play, saying it’s important to use music to help your pets ease their stress. This is just one of the many holistic health treatments they recommend as these treatments are better for your dog. Now that you can see how much they truly do care about your dog, get in touch with them the next time you’re in search of a vet.

Picture Credit: Avi Naim

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Welcome to Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Care Center Blog

Welcome to Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Care Center blog

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