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Friday, February 21, 2014

What exactly is the FVRCP Vaccine? - Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia

What exactly is the Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia (FVRCP) vaccine?

Cat owners bring their cats to the veterinarian regularly for vaccinations.   We divide vaccinations into “core” and “non-core”.  Core vaccines are those that EVERY cat should receive.  Non-core vaccines are given to cats based on that cat’s particular lifestyle.

Not surprisingly, the vaccine most pet owners are familiar with is the rabies vaccine, as it is required by law in most jurisdictions. Obviously, it’s a “core” vaccine.  The other core vaccine for cats is the FVRCP vaccine.  But do most cat owners really know what the letters in FVRCP really stand for, and what the vaccine really protects against?  If not, read on…

Friday, January 31, 2014

When to Vaccinate, Deworm, Spay, Neuter, Blood-Type, and Microchip Your Kitten

You have just become the new proud parent of the wonderful furry creature known as "a kitten".  

Let me make this perfectly clear, do not do what your instincts might be telling you to do.  This is not the first step to kitten parenting:



Below is the kitten feline protocol to guide you through the important first steps of parenting a kitten.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Free Feline Dental Evaluations for your Cats at Manhattan Cat Specialists

Free Feline Dental Evaluations for your Cats at Manhattan Cat Specialists.


If you and your cats are in New York City, you might want to consider a free feline dental evaluation.  Dental disease is the most common disease seen in pets. In fact, the majority of cats aged over five years have some form of dental disease. Pets need dental care just like humans do – and Manhattan Cat Specialists wants to help keep your cat’s teeth healthy!


February is National Pet Dental Month. To encourage cat owners to take good care of their cats’ teeth, Manhattan Cat Specialists is offering, during the month of February, a free dental evaluation by one of our veterinary technicians. During this screening, the technician will evaluate the condition of your cats’ teeth and gums and will inform you if it appears that your cat has issues that need further evaluation. We can also advise you on how to keep your cats teeth healthy at home.

Providing proper dental care for your cat can protect it from pain and serious illness. Your cat will have fresh breath, be more comfortable eating, and enjoy meals more, allowing for a longer and happier life.

Call our office at 212-721-2287 and schedule your free dental screening during the month of February.

If you're on Facebook, join our event to easily save the info and share with friends.

SEE ALSO:

Anatomy of the Feline Mouth  

Tooth or Consequences

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Rat Man Do

I'm a cat veterinarian, and this blog is supposed to be primarily about cats. But I'm also a native New Yorker, and today I filmed a quintessential New York moment on my iPhone that involved a different four-legged creature, as you will soon see.

I live in Chelsea. I take the number 1 train to work. Every morning, I go through the turnstile on the West 28th Street station, and take my place on the platform. Like most New York subway riders, I obsess over where to stand on the platform so that the train drops me off right at the stairs on the platform of my destination station. My place on the 28th Street station is at the far north end, so I can get in the first car. Not just the first car, but the first car, fourth set of doors.

At about the level of the fifth car is a green dumpster.

Several mornings, while waiting on the subway platform, I've been startled by the site of a black rat zooming at high speed along the base of the platform wall. The rat runs from beneath the dumpster, along the wall, to the end of the platform, and then down those steps to the subway tracks.  It’s a black rat.  Medium sized.  Can’t tell if it’s the same rat on those mornings, but I think it is.

One morning, I thought that it would be pretty neat to film the rat zooming along the wall, but with a camera that would be right down at the rat's eye level. I don't know why I thought this would be neat, but I did. With the advent of smartphones, this should be pretty easy, no?

I didn't expect there to be so many obstacles. The main obstacle was the presence of other commuters at my end of the platform. Many mornings, I'd get to the end of the platform, set down my iPhone, set the video camera, and patiently wait. Then I'd see up ahead another passenger heading up to my north end of the platform. Muttering curses under my breath, I'd go over and pick up the iPhone. I didn't want anyone spotting the phone. Reason 1: I didn't want them to take it. Reason 2: I didn't want them to know that I was filming. I don't know if they would realize what it was that I was trying to capture on film, but if they did realize it, I'm sure they would think I was crazy. Anyway, this was by far the major reason for not capturing the rodent on video.

The second obstacle was the absence of rat. The vast majority of mornings, he just didn't appear. A few mornings, I got to the level of the dumpster just to see him up ahead, halfway down the platform! Yes, a few infuriating mornings I missed him by, like, thirty seconds!

This went on for months.

But a January brings hope anew, and this morning felt different. I arrived at the turnstile just in time to see my train pulling away. Just missed it. Normally, I'd be silently fuming, but this morning, I saw it as an opportunity. The next train wasn't due for 7 minutes. Lots of time to catch a rat. As I passed the dumpster, I saw that the platform was wet from the melted snow above dripping down from the nasty ceiling. A wet platform seemed a more rat-friendly environment.

I went to the end of the platform, set down my camera, and waited. The minutes passed. Passengers went through the turnstile at the middle of the platform, but amazingly, none headed up to my north end. The clock ticked away. Train due in three minutes.  Train due in two minutes.  The LED light flashed. My train was a-comin'. An announcement blared that my train was approaching the station. Alas, another unsuccessful morning. And then…

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013: My Year in Review

2013: My Year in Review

The year has finally come to a close. It was a busy  year for my cat hospital.  We're less than ten clients away from a pretty neat milestone:  5000 clients. We added two new employees to our hospital staff – Gill and Zoe.  We treated a million cats and had some very interesting cases.  This blog post, however, is going to skip all the veterinary stuff.  This is the end-of-the-year blog post where I talk about the fun things I managed to partake in. 

At the top of the list are the books I read.  I'm an avid reader, or at least I try to be.  Last year I read about 26 books.  This year, I read 24.  That averages to about 2 per month.  Not bad, really.  Here's what I read, with my little capsule reviews:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Great Wall of China Cats

In May of 2012, I took a trip to China.  While in Beijing, I made plans to visit the Great Wall, of course.  A few weeks before my trip, I sent an e-mail to my tour guide, Vivie, telling her that I was a cat veterinarian and that I like to encounter kitties in whatever country I’m visiting, if possible. She said she’d ask some of her friends and colleagues about trying to maximize my chances of encountering cats while on the trip.  A few days later, she wrote back, informing me that a friend of hers told her that there’s a colony of stray cats that lives behind the ticket booth at the Great Wall.  She said that they tend to be out and about early in the morning.  I told her that I definitely wanted to get there early and see if I could encounter them.  
 
When I did eventually get to Beijing, Vivie took me to the Great Wall early, as promised.  Armed with a ziploc bag full of bacon that I had swiped from our hotel’s breakfast buffet, I scouted around the base of the ticket booth, and I did indeed encounter about 7 or 8 cats.  They were sweet and friendly, and I fed and patted them all. 

In November of 2013, clients of mine (Todd and Christine P.) told me that they were going to take a long (four weeks!) trip to China.  They had always wanted to visit China, and they had read my blog posts that described the sites and experiences that I had while there, which they said had only reinforced their desire to visit. (This was flattering to hear.)  On my recommendation, they hired the same tour guide, Vivie.  A few weeks later, toward the end of their trip, I received an e-mail from Todd and Christine.  Embedded in the e-mail was a photo of several cats at the base of the Great Wall ticket booth, chowing down on some kibble.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Potential New Blood Test to Detect Cancer in Cats



A Potential New Blood Test to Detect Cancer in Cats

The thymidine kinase (TK) test has great potential to help diagnose and monitor the most common form of cancer in the cat. 


                Lymphoma is the most common malignancy in cats, accounting for approximately 33% of all diagnosed cancers in cats.  Diagnosis is usually achieved either via cytology, where a needle is inserted into the affected tumor or lymph node and cells are removed and evaluated on a microscope slide, or via biopsy, where a small piece of the tumor or lymph node is removed and then examined by a pathologist. 

                In some instances, a diagnosis can be elusive. For example, some cytology samples end up being non-diagnostic; the cytologist may indicate that the cells look suspicious for – but cannot be conclusively identified – as lymphoma, and that a biopsy specimen is needed to be certain.  In some cats, obtaining a biopsy specimen can be problematic, since procuring a biopsy specimen requires anesthesia, which may entail unacceptable risk if the cat is in frail health or has a cardiac condition that precludes anesthesia.  Performing a surgical biopsy can be expensive, and may be cost-prohibitive for some cat owners. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Is it Feline Heart Disease, or is it Feline Lung Disease?



Is it Heart Disease, or is it Lung Disease?
Distinguishing cardiac disorders from pulmonary disorders is about to get a whole lot easier,
thanks to a new blood test.


Zilpha’s Dilemma
                 
A client of ours, Jo M., wasn’t too worried when her 15 year-old tortie, Zilpha, stopped eating and became lethargic.  She had been through this scenario a year earlier, when Zilpha was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis, and she suspected that this was another flare-up. 

I examined Zilpha, and her clinical signs were indeed compatible with pancreatitis, but more worrisome to me was the observation that Zilpha was breathing hard.  I knew that Zilpha was asthmatic, but she had always been well-controlled on her medication.  I asked Jo how long Zilpha’s breathing had been labored like this. She told me at least a few days.

Intravenous fluid therapy is an important aspect of the therapy for feline pancreatitis, so I admitted Zilpha to our hospital to begin treatment.  However, I was concerned about fluid administration, because if Zilpha’s heavy breathing was due to heart disease rather than lung disease (i.e. the asthma), aggressive fluid therapy could make things worse.  To gather more information, I took x-rays of Zilpha’s chest.  

The images were not challenging to interpret, however.  The radiographic pattern in the lungs fit with asthma, but pulmonary edema (accumulation of fluid within the lungs, a cardinal sign of heart failure) can have a similar appearance. The changes in the lungs caused the silhouette of the heart to be obscured, preventing an accurate assessment the size of the heart.  Cardiac ultrasound is the most informative test to determine if heart disease is present.  Unfortunately, this procedure requires the expertise of a veterinary cardiologist.  With no clear cut diagnosis and Zilpha’s breathing getting a little worse, I had no choice but to send Jo and Zilpha to a nearby referral center for cardiac ultrasound.  If there was a quick and simple blood test to distinguish lung disease from heart disease, I could have begun treating Zilpha promptly. Is such a test even a possibility? 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Kittens for Adoption at Manhattan Cat Specialists (New York City) - October 2013

OCTOBER 29th 2013 - New York, NY - Kittens, kittens, KITTENS! Kittens for adoption!  Kittens need homes in New York City!  We have a plethora, a slew, an overabundance of kittens for adoption here at Manhattan Cat Specialists.  If you are in the New York City area and are interested in adopting a kitten (or kittens), please contact us.  If you cannot adopt, please share this post, and hopefully we will be able to find forever homes for these kittens.
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