There are many, many reasons that can cause your pet to be itchy. If your pet is scratching all the time, it is important to find out what is causing the itch. This can sometimes be quite difficult. While there are many causes of scratching, it can take quite a bit of detective work to figure out which is the culprit. In some cases, several causes may be be involved, causing your pet to pass his “itch threshold.”
As you can see, skin problems with our pets can be a complex issue. The doctor will need to recommend certain laboratory tests for a correct diagnosis. We will evaluate your pet’s symptoms along with help from the information that you provide. If tests are performed they serve as “pieces to complete the puzzle.” The treatment must be as specific as possible to resolve your pet’s problem as quickly as possible.
Sometimes pet skin problems can not be totally “cured”. In these cases, the goal should be management, much like controlling diabetes or degenerative joint disease. We can achieve long-term relief with ongoing monitoring and symptomatic intervention, but may never be able to “fix” the underlying problem.
There are 4 main categories of skin diseases: infectious diseases (such as scabies, bacterial or yeast infections), allergies (to parasites, foods or environmental allergens), hormonal abnormalities (such as low thyroid or excess cortisol production) and congenital conditions (such as follicular dysplasia or color abnormalities).
Skin conditions require an accurate diagnosis in order that the proper therapy and an accurate prognosis can be given. Conditions that are pruritic (“itchy”) can worsen as the skin becomes inflamed and traumatized. Secondary colonization with bacteria and yeast can then occur.
Cats aren’t always immediately comfortable in new situations. Don’t be surprised if your new cats spends some time hiding under a bed or behind a couch until they get used to their new surroundings. Give him or her time to explore their new home on their own at first. Don’t be hurt or insulted if they don’t want to cuddle up with you at first.
Keep things quiet in the beginning. While you are undoubtedly excited about having a new family member, don’t invite all your friends and neighbors over until your cat is used to his new home.
Ensure that your cat knows where to find the litterboxes. You will have to show him where these boxes are in his new home. If the cat is not used to litterboxes with lids or covers, leave it off and wait to introduce it until your new cat is more secure in his surroundings.
We recommend that you microchip your cat as a permanent way to identify him. Collars and tags can come off and get lost. Microchips are the best way to help get your pet home safely.
Some household dangers– like electrical cords– are obvious. But cats can find other hazards such as plastic bags, rubber bands, strings and ribbons (swallow risks), recliners or dryers (entrapment risks) and window screens that may pop out easily.
Keep your cat’s mind active and his body healthy by keeping him engaged with plenty of indoor playtime activities:
· Stimulate his natural behaviors by hiding toys or treats that he can “hunt.”
· Leave empty boxes on the floor for him to use as lairs.
· Buy or build a “cat tree” that your cat can climb and scratch.
· Provide someplace where he can bask in the sunlight, preferably a perch up high or in a windowsill.
· If your can enjoys being around other kitties, consider adding another cat or kitten to your family.
· While we don’t typically think of “training” cats, many do enjoy learning a few simple tricks. Some can be taught to walk on a harness and leash.
· Consider a tray of “kitty grass” for your cat to nibble on. These are available in most pet supply stores.
· Some cats do seem to enjoy watching a video or nature program. There are even special videos designed for cats. Consider leaving the television on to keep him engaged while you are away.
Congratulations on adopting your new kitten! If this is your first furry friend, learning what to do to care for them might seem a little overwhelming, and we understand that. We’re here to help so that you can enjoy these first few months of getting to know your new pet.
Providing regular veterinary care is the best way to ensure your kitten’s well-being and a long & happy lifetime of good health. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure– and in the case of medical care, preventing a disease is much cheaper than treating a pet that has a preventable disease.
Kittens are at risk for many different diseases, but they can be prevented. There is a series of vaccines to be given between 8 weeks and 16-20 weeks of age. The first shot your kitten will get, FVRCP, provides protection against most common contagious illnesses. At 9-12 weeks, your kitten will receive their first FeLV vaccine, which protects against the feline leukemia virus. This virus is the second only to trauma as a leading cause of death in cats. The rabies vaccine is given to kittens at 4 months of age and repeated the following year. After the second year the rabies vaccine is given every 3 years.
Your kitten will need a fecal exam to screen for parasites. Worms are present in a majority of newborn cats, even when their symptoms are missing. If not removed, they will rob your kitten of much needed nutrients and cause numerous health problems, even death. If that’s not enough, here is an additional reason why these worms are so dangerous: they can be transmitted to humans and present danger to every single member of your family, especially children. Worms can make your kitten very sick but they can easily be treated with medication.
All cats should be kept indoors. It’s a fact of life in Southern California that the outdoors is simply not safe for cats. Indoor cats are kept safe from coyotes, protected from cars and won’t be chased by the neighbors or their dogs. The average lifespan of an indoor cat is more than 14 years; whereas an outdoor cat’s average lifespan is only about 3 years.
Fleas are a health risk to both kitties and people. Fortunately, fleas CAN be controlled. Flea products should be used year-round. We use and recommend an oral product Comfortis; as well as topical products such as Frontline+ and Revolution. Some of these products kill adult fleas, others stop fleas from reproducing, Talk to your veterinarian about which would be best for your pet.
All cats should be spayed or neutered. This helps prevent pet overpopulation, and will enhance your pet’s health and quality of life. Spaying or neutering is a simple surgical procedure. This common operation has many benefits, including a reduced risk of certain cancers (such as mammary or testicular cancers), better overall health and improved temperament. Please have your kitten spayed or neutered when between 5 to 6 months of age.
A healthy diet is very important for all pets, but it is especially important that youngsters start out with proper nutrition to establish healthy eating habits. We recommend homemade or other natural diets or a premium quality commercially made food such as Halo, Orijen or Natural Balance. We usually consider canned food to be better for your cat than dry kibble. Confused about all of the food choices out there? Ask your veterinarian. He will advise you on diet and any needed supplements that may help your cat.