Welcome and thank you for choosing Eastown Veterinary Clinic. At Eastown Veterinary Clinic we offer a new level of full-service veterinary medicine. Our staff seeks to provide a friendly and positive atmosphere for you and your pets during each visit. We are proud to be AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) accredited, which means we have a higher standard for veterinary care than other clinics. Please click here to view our services.
Important Phone Numbers
Neutering The Male Cat
Neutering a male cat is an excellent step to help your young man grow into a loving, well-adapted household citizen. The main reason to neuter a male cat is to reduce the incidence of objectionable behaviors that are normal in the feline world but unacceptable in the human world.
ROAMING: More than 90% will reduce this behavior with neutering. Approximately 60% reduce this behavior right away
FIGHTING: More than 90% will reduce this behavior with neutering Approximately 60% reduce this behavior right away
URINE MARKING: More than 90% will reduce this behavior with neutering. Approximately 80% reduce this behavior right away.
A common animal shelter practice has been to adopt a young kitten with the new owner paying a neuter deposit to be refunded when the kitten is neutered at the traditional age of six months. The problem has been that new owners do not return and young cats are not neutered. Early neutering allows for kittens to be neutered prior to adoption. There has been some controversy over this practice as it flies in the face of tradition but all research to date has shown no negative consequences to early neutering. My hospital supports early neutering but to wait until 5-6 months of age before neutering so that the tissues are not too difficult to manipulate.
Some myths have been:
• Early neutering is more likely to prevent objectionable behaviors than is neutering at a later age. This has not borne out. Neutering at any age is associated with the same statistics as listed above.
• Kittens neutered early will be stunted or small. This is not true though early neutered kittens will not develop a more masculine.
• Early neutered kittens will have a narrowed urethra that will predispose them to blockage with feline lower urinary tract disease. Early neutering does not seem to be a significant factor in this syndrome.
There is minimal recovery with this procedure. There should be no bleeding or swelling. It is a good idea not to bathe the kitten until the incisions have healed 10 to 14 days from the time of surgery.
EASE THE BOREDOM FOR INDOOR CATS
The trend toward keeping cats indoors is generally a good one, but many cat lovers resist because they know instinctively that an indoor life probably wouldn't be what a cat would choose for himself. After all, who would want to be kept cooped up when the wide world offers so much in the way of sights, smells and sounds?
Cabin fever may be the bane of an indoor cat's existence, but you really don't have to open the front door to provide your cat with a more interesting life. In fact, by just looking at your home from a cat's point of view and adding a few environmental enrichments, your cat can be both safe and happy indoors. Here are five easy ways to get going:
• Think vertical. Cats love to climb, so give them the opportunity. Cat trees mounted floor-to-ceiling, wrapped with sisal rope and studded with platforms for perching, will give your cat the opportunity to look down on the rest of the world. This is especially satisfying if there are dogs in the household, because what cat wouldn't like to look down on the dog?
The best example of creating an overhead world for cats is the famous "Cats' House" in the San Diego area. Bob Walker and Frances Mooney put in a series of cat trees that connect to an overhead network of catwalks. The installation even cuts through walls with special cat-sized portals. Take a look at the possibilities on the couple's Web site, www.thecatshouse.com, or pick up one of their books, including "The Cats' House" and "Cats Into Everything" (Andrews McMeel Publishing).
• Add toys. The cat with the most toys wins. Every indoor cat should have toys for batting around, toys for chasing, toys for hiding in and toys for interactive play. And don't forget that some of those toys ought to have catnip in them. While not all cats can enjoy the fragrant herb, those who do find it blissful in the extreme. If your cat is a catnip junkie, indulge him frequently. Rub fresh catnip onto cat trees or scratching posts, or stuff it into toys. It's perfectly safe for your cat to enjoy the buzz.
Some of the most enjoyable toys for both people and cats are the interactive ones. Every cat lover should have a "kitty tease" toy, typically a flexible rod with a line that ends in something furry or feathery to engage a cat's prey drive. Other interactive toys include gloves with goodies dangling from the fingertips, or laser pointers that offer cats a spot of light to chase. (Just be careful not to aim the beam in your cat's eyes.)
• Provide rooms with views. No matter how big your house, your indoor cat will know every one of its sights and sounds within just a few days. Provide a little visual stimulation by putting a bird feeder outside a window fitted with a cat-sized ledge for comfortable viewing.
Be aware, though, that a view of the world isn't always going to work for your cat. If your yard is attracting other cats from the neighborhood, your own cat may become frustrated by seeing them, and he can even turn that frustration into attacks on people in the house. Blocking visiting cats from your yard or discouraging them with sprinklers may solve the problem. Otherwise, you may have to make certain windows off-limits to your own cat. If a window view isn't going to work, try a TV. A handful of companies offer DVDs for cats. Pop one of these in and your cat can be entertained with a lively mix of feline-friendly images and sounds, including those of birds and rodents.
• Go green. Cats love nibbling on plants. Any decent feline reference book will provide a list of which plants should not be in a pet-friendly house, or visit the Animal Poison Control Center (www.ASPCA.org/APCC) for information on dangerous plants.
After you get the unsafe plants out of the way, protect your decorative houseplants by hanging them up or otherwise putting them out of reach. Keep cats from digging in your decorative pots by putting a layer of small, rough stones over the dirt. You can then add a collection of accessible plants for your cat to nibble on, such as grass shoots, or to enjoy rubbing, such as catnip, valerian or rosemary.
• Give face time. Of course, one of the best things you can do for your indoor cat is spend time with him. Playing, grooming, petting or just plain hanging out - it's all good. Your cat loves you and loves spending time with you.
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KITTEN VISIT SCHEDULE
• Wellness Exam
• Leukemia Vaccine
• Leukemia/FIV Test
• Heartworm Prevention/De-wormer
• Wellness Exam
• Leukemia Vaccine
• Recombinant Rabies
• Heartworm Prevention/De-wormer
• Wellness Exam
• Heartworm Prevention/De-wormer
• Discuss Spay/Neuter/Declaw
• Pre-anesthetic blood work
*this may depend on results of previous stool samples
CAT SPAY FAQS
Spaying your cat is an important part of basic cat health care. Spaying at a young age prevents mammary cancer and spaying at any age prevents unwanted kittens, noisy heat cycles, and possibly even urine marking in the house. The following is a list of frequently asked questions gleaned from years of veterinary practice as well as from answering questions online. We have found that even though the cat spay is a routine and a commonly performed procedure, many pet owners still have questions. Hopefully, this FAQ will be helpful.
Our hospital prefers to keep surgery cases overnight so that they can have "bed rest" in a properly confined area. We believe that this first night of confinement helps the incision in healing. Some hospitals and most spay clinics will release the cat on the same day as surgery so that she may be observed at home in case of problems. Either way is legitimate and largely depends on the preference and philosophy of the doctor in charge of setting policy.
Some veterinarians always place skin stitches. Some veterinarians never place skin stitches and prefer to close the incision with "buried" stitches that are internal. The spay incision is closed in several layers (the abdominal muscles, the tissue under the skin, and the skin itself may all be closed separately).
One of the advantages of keeping cats overnight after spaying is that they usually go bouncing out of the hospital as if nothing has happened. Some cats will not eat for the first day or so but if she does not seem back to normal by the day following discharge, we would like to know about it.
Cats discharged on the same day as surgery may experience more soreness if not confined to a small area. Food and water are generally withheld until the next day or late that night and she should be kept quiet and not allowed outside. Cats should not be discharged while still groggy in any way from anesthesia as they are a danger to themselves and to their human handlers.
Later in the recovery period, it is not unusual to notice swelling at the incision site. Cats often react this way to internal sutures and this kind of swelling is common and resolves spontaneously. Such swellings are firm and there is no fluid drainage or bleeding from the incision. They generally resolve in 3 to 4 weeks.
Any fluid drainage from the incision is abnormal and if possible the cat should be rechecked by the veterinarian who performed the spay.
This question may have a very regional answer depending on what sort of low cost facilities are available in a given area. Most areas have some sort of low cost spay/neuter option (consult your local animal shelter for more information). There are some general principles that tend to hold true.
Low cost spay/neuter facilities operate on a tight budget in order to provide a low cost service and still be able to pay for supplies and staff. This means they use cheaper materials for suture and anesthesia, often have limited hours, and may not have state of the art monitoring equipment or capabilities in case of emergency. Probably most important is the fact that in order to stay in business, a low cost clinic must perform a high volume of surgeries each day. This limits the individual attention a patient can receive if an "assembly line" approach is used. Often these are the situations where only the ovaries are removed and the uterus is left behind so as to save time or where the entire spay is performed through a tiny incision only a half inch or so long so as to save time closing (and sacrifice inspection of the abdomen for bleeding). Most of the time, the end result is the same: a spayed happy female cat and, of course, cost can be an important factor. It is a good idea to know what one is paying for, however. It may be a good idea to have a tour of your local spay/neuter facility and see what they have to offer.
A full service hospital tends to have more nursing care anesthesia throughout the procedure, fluid support, all day (sometimes all night) patient observation, safer anesthetics, less reactive suture materials, and most importantly individual attention to each patient. As a prominent member of the surgery board once said, "Speed is not a legitimate goal in surgery. Doing a careful, meticulous job is the real goal."
It should be noted that many full service hospitals have some low cost options. Sometimes there are special arrangements for rescue or shelter dogs, people with multiple pets, senior citizens or even an annual special. Check with your vet to see if you qualify for any special programs.
The female cat spends at least half the year with her reproductive tract dormant (cats only cycle seasonally, primarily in the spring and summer). This means that, behaviorally speaking, she acts spayed most of the time and no personality change should be noted. This said, it is important to realize that a cycling cat can be extremely solicitous of affection. This kind of playful, flirtatious behavior will stop with spaying.
The mammary (breast) development that comes with nursing can make the spay surgery more difficult. Ideally, a month after weaning allows for regression of this tissue and spaying can proceed. Unfortunately, it is possible for a female cat to become pregnant during this waiting period if her owner is not careful.
The traditional age for spaying is six months; however, this practice has enabled kittens to be adopted from the shelters unspayed. Often the new owner fails to return for spaying and the result is further contribution to the pet over-population problem. The last 20 years has brought us a great deal of research into "early" spaying and we now know that there is no problem with spaying as early as 8 weeks of age.
Our hospital finds such tiny tissues difficult to manipulate and we like to spay our female patients when they are 5-6 months of age.
Estrogens have a natural appetite suppressing effect and the loss of estrogens may lead to an increased appetite. Further, sterilization surgery has been shown to slow a cat's metabolism. Depending on the cat's age and activity level at the time of surgery calorie intake should be matched to activity level. ¼ cup twice a day is a good start.
Copied with permission from veterinarypartner.com
LITTER BOX TRAINING
Your cat really isn't asking for anything more than you would when it comes to a bathroom. All that's required for most cats is that the bathroom be clean, quiet and offer no surprises. That sounds simple, but the failure to use a litter box is the top behavior complaint of cat lovers, sending countless cats to shelters every year. Before you even consider such a drastic step, you need to try to work things out with your cat if you have a litter box problem. The first step in solving such a problem is to make sure it's not a medical condition - and that means a trip to your veterinarian for a complete workup. Urinary tract infections and diseases such as diabetes make consistent litter box use impossible for even the most well-intentioned cat. You cannot hope to get your cat using the box again until any health issues have been resolved.
If your cat checks out fine, you need to start working to make sure that everything about the box is to your cat's liking. The second rule of solving a litter box problem: If the cat isn't happy, no one will be happy.
Here's what to look for:
• Cleanliness. Cats are fastidious animals, and if the litter box is dirty, they look elsewhere for a place to go. Clean the box frequently - twice a day at least - and make sure it's completely scrubbed clean and aired out on a weekly basis. Having an additional litter box may help, too.
• Box type and filler. Many choices people make to suit their own tastes conflict with the cat's sense of what's agreeable. A covered box may seem more pleasing to you, but your cat may think it's pretty rank inside, or scary. Likewise, scented litters may make you think the box smells fine, but your cat may disagree - not only is the box dirty, he reasons, but it's got this extra "clean" odor he can't abide. Start with the basics: a large box with unscented clumping-style litter.
• Location. Your cat's box should be away from his food and water, in a place he can get to easily and feel safe in. Consider a location from a cat's point of view: Choose a quiet spot where he can see what's coming at him. A cat doesn't want any surprises while he's in the box. You should also experiment with additional boxes in your house, especially if you have more than one cat. The rule of thumb: One box per cat, plus one.
Make the area where your cat has had mistakes less attractive by cleaning it thoroughly with a pet-odor neutralizer (available from pet-supply retailers). Discourage reuse by covering the area with foil, plastic sheeting or plastic carpet runners with the points up.
If changing things around doesn't clear up the problem in a healthy cat, you may need to retrain him by keeping your pet in a small area such as a guest bathroom for a couple of weeks.
Make sure that the area you choose has no good options besides the litter box - no carpet, no pile of dirty laundry. Block off the bathtub or keep an inch of water in it to discourage its use as a place to go. After your cat is reliably using the litter box, let him slowly expand his territory again. As long as you keep up your end of the bargain and keep the litter box clean and safe, you have a good chance the good behavior will become permanent.
If you just can't seem to get the problem resolved, ask your veterinarian for a referral to a veterinary behaviorist. These veterinarians are skilled in behavioral problem-solving and are able to prescribe medications that may make the difference during the retraining period.
As a community-focused veterinarian in Grand Rapids, MI, we offer a new level of full-service veterinary medicine at our facility on Lake Drive. We strive to offer excellence and earn the title as your favorite veterinarian in Grand Rapids.
1350 Lake Drive SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Mon - Fri: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sat: 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM
We are closed from 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM on Tuesdays ONLY.