Join us in celebrating our 6th annual CATober where we focus on all things feline. Throughout the month, we dedicate employee training on best practices for safe, low-stress cat handling techniques, work to educate our clients and community on feline health and behavior, and review our Cat Friendly Practice certification commitments.
Let’s talk about fleas…you know, those pesky little black bugs that like to live on your pets! Here is South Carolina, we generally don’t have cold enough winters to really kill off fleas - so while fleas are definitely worse in the spring, summer, and fall, they are still around in the winter as well, just in smaller numbers. This is why it is important to use flea medication year round in our climate. Your animals can get fleas any time they go outside (even if it’s just a quick trip to relieve themselves), from other animals, or even sometimes through the screens on porches or from you if you happen to carry some in on your clothes. Even indoor cats can end up with fleas!
The importance of maintaining a healthy mouth is, appropriately so, becoming more and more a priority. We understand one of the key parts of accomplishing this task is regular dental cleanings and dental radiographs. These require general anesthesia…and anesthesia can be scary! The inner dialogue has changed from thinking dentals aren’t necessary or worth the money, to knowing the benefit but wondering if it’s worth the risk.
Still November, still thinking about holiday gifting? Let’s consider what your cat may enjoy receiving this year. Since they are not small dogs, there’s a shift in toy selection. Domestic cat behavior is closer to the behaviors we see in wild cats - hunting, lounging, grooming, scratching. We want to keep them happy and engaged. We want to minimize or redirect their more destructive behaviors. Cats, like dogs, benefit from toys that keep them mentally and physically active. Indoor cats especially benefit from environmental enrichment - it lessens their stress levels, which can lower your risk of having a cat with behavioral issues. Win-win situation!
It’s November already!? There is a busy season ahead, and I bet you are wondering, “What gift to get my pet for the holidays?” Did you know, last year Americans spent nearly as much on toys, apparel, and over-the-counter products for their pets as they did on veterinary care? Food is in a category all its own and twice again as much. If this market research describes you, let us help you spend those dollars wisely. (These are not products we sell but are readily available at local/national pet stores and online.)
The looming threat of Hurricane Florence is a great early reminder that hurricane season is fully upon us. There is plenty we could and should do to ready our homes and families, pets being a part of that equation. Both Hurricanes Matthew and Irma sparked widespread evacuations throughout the Lowcounty in 2016 and 2017. In the days prior, our practice was overwhelmed with urgent last minute calls to update vaccines, fill anxiety medication, and send records for travel and boarding.
A letter from Dr. Abyad:
It has been my joy and privilege to practice veterinary medicine here at Daniel Island Animal Hospital for the past three years. It is with a lot of excitement and some sadness that I will be "retiring" from regular practice this summer. While I am on the verge of a new time in my life and look forward to travel, hobbies, and more family time, I will miss seeing all of our wonderful clients and their beloved dogs and cats.
I have worked alongside the most talented and congenial group of people anyone could hope to work with. Each person on the team, from my veterinary colleagues to the technicians, from office to reception, has been welcoming and supportive and I know you will be in the best of hands. I am especially grateful to Dr. Flood, both for the opportunity to practice here and for her commitment to the community.
I have greatly valued our relationship, send all the dogs and cats good health wishes, and look forward to seeing all of you on the sidewalks and streets of Daniel Island and Charleston.
Roselle Abyad, DVM
We are so thankful for the time Dr. Abyad has spent with us and will miss her affable nature and obvious passion for veterinary medicine and commitment to her patients. Her last official day on the schedule will be Friday, May 19th and we look forward to continue working with her from time to time as she has offered to fill in as needed moving forward.
Congratulations to Dr. Abyad on her retirement and we wish her the best with this new life chapter!
"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." -Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnet 43
Our beloved pets, we love them purely. We love them deeply, fully, and completely. They are our best friends, our confidants, our partners, our counselors. So often our pets are our support system; they understand us, they accept us, they forgive us, they love us unconditionally. The human/pet relationship is shaped by an emotional and physical commitment and this investment is powerful. The bonds we develop encourage and shape us on many levels. We are often better people because of this bond. We certainly are stronger, happier, healthier, more purposeful, and productive because of our pets.
At some point, most of us will be faced with the loss of a beloved pet. This loss can be devastating, the grief overwhelming and it can be difficult to find the much needed support that one might need when faced with the loss of a loved one. We can talk with our families, our friends, other pet owners. However, there may be times when professional assistance can best help us navigate the deep sorrow we feel when losing a beloved pet. We can turn to our veterinary professionals to help guide us.
Awhile back, I was faced with tremendous grief after losing several precious pets in a short period of time. Dr. Flood helped me find a grief counselor named Judy Heath, founder of the Life Guidance Center in West Ashley. Judy was a tremendous help: she encouraged me to laugh, cry, talk, write about my pets and other things. She helped me sort out a great deal of pain, helped me realize I was OK, grieving is OK. One resource I became aware of while working with Judy is the Association of Pet Loss and Bereavement. It is a nonprofit organization committed to helping those grieving a beloved pet. Their services are free and available to anyone who is in need.
If you are in need of support, please know you are not alone. There is caring, committed help waiting to put its arms around you. Love is such an important experience. Shared love never leaves us, it stays in our heart.
I started with Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I end with Lord Tennyson - "'Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all."
In truth, it all starts and ends with love.
Quick Facts: Hyperthyroidism...
- Is the most common glandular disorder in cats.
- Can be found in cats of all breeds and sex.
- Has an average onset at age 12-13 years (although in rare cases can occur in cats younger than 10).
Clinical Signs Include:
- Weight loss despite an excellent appetite
- Excess thirst
- Restless and needy behavior
- Intermittent vomiting or diarrhea
- Urinating outside the litter box
Diagnosing the Disease
During your cat's physical exam, the thyroid glands will be palpated. In normal cats, the lobes of the thyroid gland cannot be felt with your fingers. In a hyperthyroid cat, at least one lobe is usually prominent and may be detected by your veterinarian. A full lab work panel, including a Free T4 by Equilibrium Dialysis, will determine your cat's thyroid function. Findings from the exam and lab work along with noted medical history and clinical signs will help determine a definitive diagnosis.
Symptoms if Left Untreated
Hyperthyroidism is caused by a benign growth in the thyroid gland that is over-producing T4. Hyperthyroid cats often have a reduced quality of life through weight loss, muscle deterioration, chronic vomiting or diarrhea, heart disease and high blood pressure which can result in heart failure, sudden blindness or sudden death. Good news...all of the above can be prevented with treatment for thyroid disease!
Radioactive Iodine (I 131)
The gold standard for treatment of hyperthyroidism in cats is a radioactive scan to confirm the disease location and size of the glands followed by a therapeutic dose of Iodine 131. This treatment involves an injection followed by 3-7 days of hospitalization. No anesthesia is required and the treatment is curative. Disadvantages to this option are that the owner is separated from their pet during the hospitalization period and children and pregnant women can have no contact with their cat for 1-2 weeks after therapy. Also during this time, a special flushable litter must be used. This treatment method is not appropriate for cats with kidney or heart failure. I 131 therapy is available locally by referral to the Feline Hyperthyroid Treatment Center of Charleston and is quoted at $975.
Medicating with Methimazole
The most common treatment for hyperthyroidism is a medication called methimazole which blocks the production of T3 and T4. After the treatment has been given for 2-4 weeks, the thyroid levels must be checked and regularly monitored to insure the correct dose is being administered. This option is often popular because the medication is relatively inexpensive and no hospitalization is required. Disadvantages to this method of treatment include the inconvenience and difficulty of medicating every 12 hours. While side effects are uncommon, those that do occur will typically become present within the first three months of treatment. Medicating with methimazole can sometimes unmask or worsen kidney disease.
Prescription Diet y/d
For the occasional cat who is not a good candidate for routine medication and Radioactive Iodine is financially out of reach, there is a commercial diet available through your veterinarian. Hill's Prescription Diet y/d is reduced in iodine with the idea that excessive thyroid hormone levels can not be produced if there is not enough iodine in the diet to support their production. It is claimed that this diet can normalize a cat's thyroid in 8-12 weeks but must be fed exclusively, meaning no treats, access to other pets' food, or time allowed outside. Once a cat is transitioned to this diet, it is recommended that thyroid levels, kidney parameters, and urine concentration is checked at 4-8 weeks then monitored every 6 months thereafter.