Yearly Wellness consultations are especially important for cats because they are experts at hiding illnesses. It is common for cats to have serious medical problems and not show any signs until the condition is quite advanced. Most diseases can be managed more successfully when diagnosed and treated in the early stages. Wellness Consultations are important because they provide an opportunity to prevent disease before your cat becomes seriously ill.
Our goal is early detection and prevention of disease, so that our feline friends can live long and happy lives. A yearly Wellness Consultation can help do just that. A Wellness Consultation is a thirty-minute appointment with the doctor to give your kitty a complete physical exam. During this time they will check your cat for irregularities and abnormalities starting at the head with the eyes, ears, face, mouth and teeth, moving onto the limbs, the chest (lungs and heart) and then the abdomen, before finally examining the coat and skin. She will also discuss with you any health concerns you may have including: nutrition, oral health, behavior, genetic predispositions to disease and appropriate vaccinations.
Helpful hint: bring a prepared list of questions for the doctor; often owners cannot remember all of their questions once they are in their appointment.
Junior Wellness: ages 8-16 weeks (This involves two appointments, four weeks apart)
Adult Wellness: ages 1-7 years inclusive
Senior Wellness: ages 8-13 years inclusive
Geriatric Wellness: ages 14 years and older. At this age kitties should be seen every six months.
For Frequently Asked Questions about our Wellness Exams, please visit the F.A.Q. page
The two most common dental ailments found in cats include Periodontal disease and Cervical Neck Lesions (CNL). Cervical Neck Lesions can also be referred to as Feline Odontoclastic Resorbtive Lesions (FORL). Regardless of age any cat can be afflicted with periodontal disease. With this disease, layers of plaque accumulate and harden on the tooth surface. Bacterial toxins and enzymes from the plaque cause the gums to become inflamed. If left untreated the gums worsen and begin to detach from the tooth surface creating periodontal pockets. As these pockets deepen, tartar forms along the root of the tooth causing the tooth to loosen. Tooth extraction is the only reasonable treatment option for teeth in this condition.
Cervical Neck Lesions (CNL) are relatively common, affecting an estimated 50% of cats. CNL are extremely painful and cause loss of tooth function. During oral examination, CNL are often evident by a cavity like hole on the neck of the tooth. The lesions are often covered with locally inflamed gingiva. Sometimes (especially in the early stages) they may only be discovered by dental Xray. CNL cause irreparable damage to the tooth, therefore, the only treatment option is extraction.
Poor oral health can lead to other health problems. Bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and travel to other organs, such as the heart, kidneys, and lungs. Once lodged in these organs the bacteria can multiply and cause serious infections. Since systemic bacterial infections pose potentially life threatening conditions our doctors recommend starting all cats on antibiotics prior to any professional dental work.
A professional dental cleaning involves removing the tartar from your cat's teeth above and below the gum line using an ultrasonic scaler, probing all the teeth for periodontal pockets and/or CNL, polishing the teeth and lastly finishing with a chlorhexidine rinse. Included, as well, in every dental cleaning are Xrays. Dental x-rays are very helpful to truly find out what is going on in a cat's mouth. Nearly half of all dental x-rays performed will reveal important information that would otherwise be missed by visual examination alone. We are equipped with a modern veterinary dental x-ray and developer which provides us with a proper diagnoses and therefore better dental care for your beloved furry friend.
In order to do a proper dental profylaxis your kitty must be placed under a full general anesthetic. As with all anesthetic procedures he/she will be placed on intravenous fluids as well as heart, blood pressure and respiration monitors. Your cat will be wrapped in warm towels and will be lying on a warm oat bag to ensure that his/her body temperature is properly maintained throughout the procedure. If an extraction is necessary the doctor will prescribe pain control medication and will do complimentary exams until your kitty's mouth is sufficiently healed.
Our modern surgical suite is specifically designed for our feline patients and provides a safe and sterile environment. All of our surgical patients receive intravenous fluids during their procedures and the doctor and assistant are with the cat at all times monitoring their respiratory rate, heart rate and blood pressure. During all surgical procedures body temperature will be regulated. Although no anesthetic comes completely without risk, at All About Cats we use a very gentle and safe anesthetic protocol which allows for a quick and uneventful recovery.
If your cat has a scheduled procedure involving a general anaesthetic you will be asked to "fast" your cat before the procedure is to take place. Although this requires you to take away your kitty's food, it is important to remember to have water available to them at all times. A drop-off appointment will be made between 7am and 9am at which point we will admit your kitty to our hospital and gather any pertinent information. Your cat will be given a pre-anesthetic exam before the procedure begins. Sedation will be administered prior to surgery which will relax your kitty as well as provide peri-operative pain management. Our assistant will place an intravenous catheter for the veterinarian to administer the anesthetic and for fluid therapy throughout the procedure. Your kitty will be intubated and gas anesthetic and oxygen will be deliviered via the endotrachial tube.
Once the procedure has been completed, your kitty will be transferred to recovery where he/she will be monitored closely by an assistant. At that time the doctor will give you a call with a progress report and to discuss the details of the surgery. A discharge appointment will be made at which time you will receive printed homecare instructions and answers to any questions you may have.
At All About Cats we offer a variety of spa packages and grooming tools to meet your kitty's particular needs. Whether it is a simple brush out and de-matting, a pedicure, a hygiene clip or a full Lion Cut, our experienced staff is well-equipped to cater to your kitty's individual grooming requirements and to make his/her experience as comfortable as possible. All of our grooms include a pedicure and a full head to tail pampering starting with the eyes and ears all the way down to the tip of the tail.
Grooming, while it may seem to be just cosmetic, is actually a very important part of your kitty's health and well-being. Keep in mind that there are a variety of reasons why a kitty's coat can become shaggy or matted other than merely failing to keep up with the daily brushing. Illnesses such as hyperthyroidism, parasitism and arthritis, just to name a few, can play a big role in the coat quality of a cat. Furthermore, kitties who are simply feeling generally unwell will often stop grooming themselves the way they normally would. Should you notice any deterioration in your kitty's coat quality an exam may be warranted to further investigate the underlying reasons for such an occurrence.
Some may think that shorthaired cats do not require any grooming at all but this is not true. While their shorter, coarser coat demands less attention than that of a Persian or a Ragdoll, for example, they still need regular grooming to remove the dead undercoat that collects under their soft top coat. Cats use their tongue and teeth to groom themselves and consequently can end up ingesting a fair amount of hair. This hair can collect in their stomach and intestines and subsequently end up on your living room carpet or worse, end up creating a blockage which can turn into a serious medical problem. Using a Zoom Groom, which is a soft rubber brush, is an excellent way of avoiding these problems as it is specifically designed to remove only the dead undercoat leaving your kitty's fur looking and feeling soft and smooth.
The magnificent, lush coat of a long-haired kitty is a beautiful sight, but does not come without required maintenance. Without a proper grooming regime, their coats can easily become tangled and matted before you know it. These matts can cause a significant amount of pain and discomfort, as they pull and can even tear the skin when your kitty moves around. This is particularly true of the armpit and groin areas. Grooming a long-haired kitty can be quite a task, especially since some of them find this particular procedure quite disagreeable. For these kitties, we recommend that professional grooming appointments be made every one to three months depending on the coat type to avoid any problems or discomfort. The longer that grooming problems are neglected, the worse they get, resulting in the need for more drastic corrective measures, greater expenses and more discomfort for your kitty.
Proper grooming involves much more than just brushing or combing out a kitty's fur, attention must also be paid to the face, nails and rear end. It is crucial to clear away debris from your kitty's eyes and nose as the skin in these areas can become very red, inflamed and even infected if left unattended. This is especially true of brachycephalic or "flat-faced" kitties such as Persians or Himalayans. As a kitty ages, it is also important to pay close attention to the nails as they become thicker and the nail casings don't always shed properly. This can result in the nails growing around into the pads which can become infected and very painful. Last but not least, it is important to make sure that your kitty's rear end is kept clean and free of debris of any kind. Long haired cats in particular may require regular hygiene clips to keep them free of any caught-up fecal matter which can end up causing problems such as urinary tract infections and skin scald.
Dr. Janet Nieckarz-Loeven earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998. After graduation she completed a one year internship in small animal medicine and surgery, followed by a 3 year residency in radiology at the University of Tennessee.
In 2001, she become a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Radiology (ACVR) and has been providing board certified radiology and ultrasound services to the Vancouver area for the past 12 years. Dr. Nieckarz-Loeven was on staff at Canada West Vet Specialists from 2001-2007, and has been providing in house/mobile ultrasounds for the past 8 years. Dr. Nieckarz-Loeven is skilled in all aspects of Veterinary Radiology- ultrasound, CT, MRI, radiographic interpretation, and nuclear medicine. Her primary interests are in performing and interpreting ultrasound exams, performing ultrasound guided interventions (fine needle aspirates and biopsies), radiograph/film interpretation and working closely with referring veterinarians to provide these additional diagnostics and consultations for further advanced imaging procedures. Dr. Janet is pleased to be a collaborative part of your pet's health care team at All About Cats.
For more information on board certified Veterinary Radiology and the ACVR ultrasound statement please visit www.acvr.org