Every veterinarian learns early on in school that cats are not small dogs. How wonderfully true!
One of the great parts of our jobs as vets is to take care of different species of animals and cats are definitely unique. At Southwest, we are working toward getting Feline Friendly certified through AAFP (American Association of Feline Practitioners) to help our kitty friends feel the most comfortable and professionally cared for.
I know it is not always easy to bring your cat to the vet office for an exam or treatment, but it is our job to help that process go as smoothly as possible. Please let us know how we can help – we are always open to suggestions and ideas! One thing we have done to help make our office more calming is adding Feliway diffusers to each exam room. These release calming pheromones (which cats make naturally when they rub their cheeks on something) to help our kitties feel more at home. We also strive to use gentle handling techniques during exams and treatments so that our patients are as comfortable as possible. We will be designating feline advocates as well – staff members who really love working with cats and have a special connection with them. This certification also means that we, as vets, are committed to staying up to date on the latest feline medicine and surgery.
Did you know that cats react to and metabolize some drugs much differently than dogs or humans? Cats cannot take some of the same pain medications that we can such as Tylenol and Aspirin. In fact, Tylenol can be fatal to cats if ingested! Aspirin and other NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are also not metabolized well in the feline liver, so we have to be very careful with these types of medications. We often use a drug called Onsior that is approved for cats and is very successful in treating postoperative pain and inflammation. There are many other good choices for chronic pain (such as arthritis) in cats, including supplements that can be discussed and tailored to each patient. Always use caution with any over the counter flea products as some ingredients used in dog preventatives are fatal to cats! We tend to worry about dogs getting into human foods that are toxic, but with cats one bite of a house hold plant could be fatal – make sure all of yours are feline friendly!
Our goal at Southwest is to make sure that our feline friends stay as happy and healthy for as long as possible. They are a completely different species and cannot be treated or cared for the same way as a dog. We’re here to cater to them (because we all know they like to think they run the show!). We recommend, at minimum, a yearly complete physical exam (and lab work for our seniors) to identify problems early on. There are many things that we can do to intervene or treat early on to ensure that your cat gets the longest and best quality of life!
Looking for more information? Check out the American Association of Feline Practitioners – their website has great information for vets and cat lovers alike!www.catvets.com