Monday, July 29, 2013

Feline Veterinary Clinical Trial Announcement: Help cats and earn free veterinary care!

Any patient over the age of 7 is currently eligible for a free exam and blood pressure screening.

A cat having retinal photos taken

If your cat has high blood pressure, he can progress to the next phase of the study and receive free study-related bloodwork, urinalysis and retinal photographs evaluation by a board-certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist.

If your cat's exam results qualify him for the next part of the study, ALL visits, medications, and additional diagnostics associated with the study will be covered. Additionally, you can earn up to $400 towards future veterinary care, if your cat completes various stages of the study.

This study is "double-blinded", which means that your cat may receive a placebo (inactive medication), however, he is twice as likely to receive the study medication as the placebo. The first part of the study lasts 28 days and, if your cat is being treated with the study medication, you may choose to continue to the second part of the study which lasts for up to 5 additional months.

For more information, call our office at 248-666-5287 or visit
To get involved, please call our office to schedule an appointment!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Kitten Care: How old is the orphaned kitten I found?

Extremely young kittens will be better off if they can stay with their momma or be fostered by a mother cat with a litter

At Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital, we commonly get calls from people who have found a stray or orphaned kitten and are unsure of what to do. Much of orphaned kitten care depends on the age of the kitten. Being able to age a kitten definitely takes some practice, especially if the kitten is sick or injured. There are some general guidelines that you can use to help narrow it down.

0 – 3 days: At birth, kittens usually weigh between 3-4 oz. The umbilical cord is still attached and the eyes and ears are sealed shut. Kittens this age rely on their mother’s grooming to stimulate urination and defecation. If they have no mother, they will need your assistance to eliminate. They also need to eat a minimum of 6 times daily, or about every 4 hours.

7 - 10 days: The eyes begin to open. They are usually completely open by  day 10. At this age, they should weigh about 6-8 oz. At this age, they usually eat about 5 times daily.
Ears still mostly closed, eyes just beginning to open.

2 - 3 weeks: The kitten begins to stand. The center 4 deciduous incisors (the small teeth at the front) begin to come in. Between 3-4 weeks, the outer 2 incisors and the canines begin to come in. The ears start to stand up at about 3 and ½ weeks. At this age, kittens can start to orient towards sights and sounds. At this age, they should weigh 10-12 oz and will eat about 4 times daily. This age is the beginning of the most important socialization period.

4 weeks: The kitten begins playing and exploring her environment. They become steadier on their feet. Upper and lower premolars start to come in. They also start to eat on their own somewhere between 4-5 weeks of age. At this age, they can also eliminate without assistance. At one month, most kittens should weigh about 14-16oz or close to 1 pound and will eat at least 3 times daily.

5 weeks: They should be fairly confident on their feet by this age. This means that they can run around!
Blue eyed babies who are running around

6 weeks: The kittens are extremely active. Their eyes generally change from blue to blue/gray then yellow/green between 6 1/2 to 7 weeks.

8 weeks (2 months): All baby teeth should be erupted at this point. Kittens of this age are unlikely to need bottle-feeding. Two-month-old kittens should weigh about 2 pounds. After this age, socialization with humans becomes increasingly difficult, and kittens are more likely to display feral behavior as time goes on.

12-16 weeks (3 ½ to 4 months): The center four Incisors begin to erupt. At this age, most kittens are over 3 pounds and can safely be spayed or neutered. This is the ideal age at which to separate a litter of kittens and find them new homes. After this age, playtime becomes less social and more independent, and most of the rules of “cat etiquette” have been learned.
Kittens ready for new homes

16-18 weeks (4-4 ½ months): Outer Incisors erupt. Upper premolars and molars start to erupt. At 4 months, most kittens should weigh about 4 pounds.

6 months: Canines and lower premolars start to erupt. Weight is usually around 6 pounds.
28 weeks (7 months): All adult teeth should be fully erupted.

Tooth diagram and chart from the Humane Society of the United States

Monday, July 15, 2013

Indoor cats can get fleas, too!

Cat in the garden with purple flowers
Most people know that outdoor cats are at risk for picking up fleas - especially those cats that like to lounge in the shade under bushes where other animals spend their time. But, did you know that even indoor cats can get fleas?

Sometimes, the fleas are brought into the house by unsuspecting owners, on pants legs, on shoes, or other outdoor items. Most times, it is not the adult flea that comes inside. They have a large warm food source, already, why would they want to jump off into the great unknown and leave a good thing behind? Instead, the female flea is almost constantly laying eggs, which roll off the host - a rabbit, a squirrel, a stray cat - and into the dirt. There, the eggs can hatch, and the flea larvae can eat and grow under the bush until it is time to
Microscope image of a flea larva with a full belly of blood, cat hair in the background
Flea larvae are only a little thicker than a cat hair. Under the microscope, we can see this larva has eaten some flea dirt (adult flea feces - digested blood) which gives it a reddish color.
form the pupal cocoon. Once the pupa stage is reached, the flea is pretty much indestructible. No amount of pesticide is going to hurt that cocoon. After a period of time, that cocoons can be picked up by a human and transported inside. Once inside, when conditions are right, the adult fleas hatch and find a food source - your pampered indoor pet.

Other ways that an indoor cat can get fleas is from visitors to the home - with or without their own pets. We often find out that just before a cat starts scratching, Aunt Sally might have visited along with her Jack Russell Terrier, or maybe the kids just got home from visiting Grandpa Frank and his indoor/outdoor cat Puma. Or, maybe everyone just got back from camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the cats were rolling around in the luggage.

Sometimes, your cat will show signs of itchiness such as scratching or excessive grooming if he or she is bothered by the fleas. In cases where cats actually have an allergy to flea saliva, cats will develop hair loss and/or sores in a classic pattern - usually around the base of the tail and the neck. Other signs of fleas are more subtle. Your cat may be noticeably spending more time up off the floor, may be more easily irritated than usual or may have no signs of discomfort at all.

To check for fleas, use a fine-toothed comb and comb your cat from neck to tail, concentrating under the chin and near the base of the tail. Afterwards, check the comb for fleas or flea dirt. If you find a flea, you win! Well, not really, but at least you will know that your cat has fleas. Unfortunately, because cats are such good groomers, just because you don't find fleas, it doesn't mean they're not there. Sometimes, it can be very difficult to catch them in a flea comb - they're fast, and they're flat, and they know how to hide!

Cat flea on flea comb.
A cat flea caught in a flea comb. Look fast - he's going to jump!

Flea dirt is another indicator of the presence of fleas. Flea dirt, or flea feces, can be recognized as tiny black specks about the thickness of a hair, often curved, that turn red when water is added and they are rubbed on a white towel. If you find flea dirt, you have fleas, even if you don't find the naughty critter himself. If a flea has been on your cat long enough to produce flea dirt, he's been there a while! If you find a flea but no dirt, then it's likely the flea hasn't been around long.

Flea pyramid and life cycle
The flea life cycle
The best way to be certain that fleas never enter your home is to make sure that your cat is receiving a monthly flea prevention medication along with his or her heartworm prevention. We usually recommend the all-in-one product Revolution because it also prevents heartworm infections and has some additional effectiveness against ear and skin mites, ticks and some intestinal parasites. Advantage Multi is another good topical product that is similar. However, if your cat is already taking Heartgard heartworm prevention, you may want to choose Frontline or Advantage instead.

If you already have noticed a flea problem, make sure to read our tips on fighting fleas. It is important to
remember that if you see adults fleas on your cat, you are only seeing 5% of the problem, so one application of flea preventive is never enough to solve the problem. Your best weapons against fleas are prevention and patience. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital Welcomes a new doctor to our Feline Residency Program!

Lauren E. Demos BVMS, HonsBSc

In July 2013, Dr. Demos will be joining our practice!

Dr. Demos grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Dr. Demos graduated Summa Cum Laude from Northern Illinois University with an undergraduate focus in acoustical physics, jazz performance, and computer music, and was a four-year recipient of the prestigious Northern Illinois University Scholar Award.  She subsequently attended Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, performing post-graduate research on feline papillomaviruses and earning her Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery.

As a student Dr. Demos sought out a number of internationally respected feline clinics in the U.S and Australia for externship experience (including Exclusively Cats).  In her final year of vet school, she elected to pursue advanced studies in feline medicine at our practice. After graduating from Murdoch University Dr. Demos practiced as an associate veterinarian at a feline clinic in Wisconsin prior to her return to Michigan.

Dr. Demos has always had a strong attraction to feline medicine.  Her particular interests in feline medicine include cardiology, infectious diseases and dentistry.  In January 2014, Dr. Demos will officially start her residency in Feline Practice.  Our feline residency program is one of only five available in the world! 

She is passionate about promoting feline health and medicine through education and has lectured at local and international conferences. She enjoys sharing her knowledge with others, and during vet school, she assisted in teaching various courses to veterinary students. Most recently, she was selected to represent the American Association of Feline Practitioners as their Future Leader at the 2013 American Veterinary Medical Association Leadership Conference, and has continued on their Board of Directors in an inaugural executive board internship.

In her spare time, she enjoys relaxing with her clowder of five cats (Dragon, Mia, Haku, Mayday and Nomad). Alternately she enjoys running marathons, mountain biking, surfing, and kayaking.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Meet Mr. July!


Age: 2 years
Weight: 10.1 pounds.
Gender: Neutered Male
Demeanor at the vet's office: Great cat!
Feline Friends: Cheddar (12 years) and Cleo (18 years)

I was found wandering the streets of Waterford in the fall 2010. The people who found me were allergic to cats, so they called Ellen at Elizabeth Lake Animal Rescue. Ellen took me to Exclusively Cats that day to be neutered. Lucky for me, my mom had been looking for a friend for one of her other cats. It was pretty much love at first site, She took me home that day! 

I live with 2 other cats, Cleo and Cheddar. I like to play with Cheddar, but my best friend is Shorty, the dog! Unfortunately, my affection is unreciprocated. I hope if I keep trying Shorty will eventually give in and embrace me:)

I love to spend my day on the deck bird watching. Right now. I am not allowed out because there are 2 bird nest on our deck and my mom doesn't trust me to "just" watch the birds. At least my cat tree is positioned for me to look out on the deck.  I love to be up high. I often walk on the deck and staircase railing. Luckily, I have exceptional balance as they are both 2 stories high! 
I love to play with cat toys and small children's toys. Legos are the best to steal! 

As far as my favorite food, I pretty much eat to live, unlike Cheddar who lives to eat. I like to eat when nobody is watching me, so no body is really sure how much I eat. 

I am very affectionate with my family. I love my mom the most. I don't really like visitors and I rarely allow them to see me.