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October 2013 Newsletter February 26, 2014

Health Issues in Cats

Is your cat healthy? Sometimes it’s hard to tell – they are notoriously  good at hiding it when they don’t feel well. Take a look at these symptoms to if any of them apply to your cat:

1. Less active – Cats that don’t feel well are often less active. This is often mistaken for “getting older”. The safest thing to do is to have your vet examine your cat to ensure there are no underlying health issues that are making your cat less active.

2. Weight loss – Losing weight is another common sign of disease or illness. Sometimes it is difficult to notice weight

loss, especially in longhaired cats.  If your cat feels bonier, lighter, or if you can easily feel the ribs, it could be a sign that there is a problem. Seek veterinary care if you notice your cat is unexpectedly thinner.

3. Increased water consumption – Drinking more water is associated with a few diseases including kidney disease and diabetes mellitus. If you notice your cat is drinking a lot more water, it’s time to see a vet.

4. Lack of grooming – Cats that don’t feel well don’t groom themselves. Sometimes this is the first sign of illness that cat owners notice. The hair coat is matted or just not being kept clean. Your vet can give you a better idea of what might be causing the issue.

5. Bad breath – Halitosis, usually called “bad breath,” can result from dental disease as well as other metabolic disorders.

6. Inappropriate elimination – Most often this involves urinating outside of the litter box. This can be a behavioral disorder or it could be caused by a variety of urinary tract diseases. Have your cat checked by your vet to determine if there is an underlying medical problem.

7. Sleeping more – If your cat is sleeping more and showing less interest in life, it could be a cause for concern. Cats sleep an average of 13 to 16 hours each day, depending on the age and personality of the individual cat. If you notice that your cat is sleeping a lot more than he used to, don’t assume it is just age. Make sure that is not an underlying disease or illness.

8. Drooling – Excessive drooling or hypersalivation can be associated with oral or dental disease and should be evaluated by your veterinarian.

9. Difficulty breathing – This is a very severe sign of illness. It can be a sign of heart or lung disorders or anemia. If you notice that your cat is breathing more quickly, exerting more effort to breathe, or if you notice open mouth breathing or your cat holding their neck and limbs angled out, see your vet immediately. This could be a life-threatening emergency.

10. Bloody urine – This can be a sign of urinary tract disease or infection in cats. If you spot blood in your cat’s urine, please visit the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Watch your cat carefully for any sign of illness. The faster you can address the issue, the better chance your cat has of recovering. (Pet

Carbon Monoxide

Not all threats to your pet’s well-being are easy to see. Some are common and we can avoid them, but others seem to come out of nowhere and create the most tragic of situations. One, that most people don’t even realize is a problem until it’s too late, is carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, invisible, and poisonous gas. It is absorbed into the bloodstream and forms a compound that reduces the amount of oxygen delivered to the heart and brain. It can harm you and your pets and it’s a very real danger in homes.
As we approach cooler weather and begin using our furnaces and heaters, we should pay attention to the possible buildup of this potentially deadly gas. Inside the home, the most common causes of carbon monoxide poisoning are non-vented or poorly ventilated furnaces, gas water heaters or gas/kerosene space heaters and faulty exhaust systems. It can also be caused by automobile exhaust in a closed garage, smoke inhalation (for example, in burning buildings) and airplane cargo areas (which may accumulate carbon monoxide).

Always put safety first. Prevent toxicity by minimizing exposure and using carbon monoxide detectors around your home.

Monthly Pet Loss Support Groups


FREE support group, designed for adult clients of Paws, Whiskers & Wags, led by professional social worker, Christy R. Simpson, L.C.S.W., who specializes in Pet Bereavement & Grief Recovery. Christy has been providing mental health services for over 16 years and truly understands that times of loss can provide opportunities for growth. Come and share your story or just listen and receive support. You are not alone.


The first Tuesday of every month from 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Next Sessions: OCTOBER 1, NOVEMBER 5 and DECEMBER 3


PWW Decatur office

Improve Your Dog’s Digestion

Every process in a dog’s body has to work well in order for him to stay healthy. That includes the obvious ones like eating, drinking, and sleeping, but also things like digestion.

Dog’s bodies must be able to efficiently absorb nutrients from food and safely remove waste. Digestion is an essential part of life, and a healthy digestive system is key to overall health. When something goes wrong with your dog’s digestive system, it can have effects on many other parts of your dog’s wellbeing.

How can you tell if something is amiss? Your dog may have digestive problems if he displays any of the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Loose stool
  • Whimpering during eating (indicating mouth or stomach pains)
  • Reluctance to eat
  • Lethargy
  • Flatulence

images_003If your dog experiences any combination of these issues for longer than 24 hours, you should visit your vet as soon as possible. Poor digestion is often a temporary condition but in some cases it can be a sign of a more serious health problem like kidney disease, food allergies, stomach ulcers, or even cancer.

With some careful observation your vet can help you determine what is causing your dog’s digestive problems. Not all stomach upset is the result of a major issue; sometimes it’s caused by simple stress (or a snack from the trash can). If there is no underlying health issue, keep an eye on your dog. How much and how often does he eat? Does he gobble his food down or take his time with it? Eating too quickly and too much can lead to a wide variety of problems. You may need to make some changes in your dog’s feeding schedule and diet to help alleviate them.

You might consider feeding your dog less food more frequently. If your dog gets one large serving of food each day, try splitting that up. Feed your dog smaller amounts of food two or three times a day instead. Don’t give him too much at a time and watch for gulping or choking due to eating too quickly. At the same time, make sure you’re not underfeeding him. Most dog foods have serving size suggestions, based on your dog’s weight. If you’re not sure how much food your dog needs, ask your vet.
Some digestive issues are caused by how your dog’s body processes food. If for example her intestines do not absorb nutrients properly, you might need to give her a nutritional supplement. If she suffers from constipation you add fiber to your dog’s diet in the form of fruits, vegetables, rice, oatmeal, and a few others. Some issues are alleviated by the addition of yogurt with active cultures that helps balance out beneficial stomach bacteria. But remember, NEVER change your dog’s diet overnight, and ALWAYS check with your vet before adding or removing an ingredient.

Take care when giving your dog any supplements, and always follow the instructions on the medicine or given to you by your vet. And of course, never give your dog human medicine!
Finally, your dog’s issues might be caused by a substandard diet. In this case one of the best things you can do for your dog is to change to a higher-quality food. Choose a meat-based dog food with natural ingredients. For dogs with digestive problems and food sensitivities, there are foods designed to help.

A healthy dog is a happy dog! Poor digestion is more than a nuisance – it can be a serious health hazard. Help your dog’s stomach, and he will thank you! (