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Why pay attention to your litter box?

Is it enough to just clean your cat’s litter box? Here are some things that you can look for while cleaning your pet’s litterbox that could help diagnose problems sooner, and with a better prognosis.

The biggest issue: a blocked cat. However, you can also find out information such as stress, anxiety, urinary infections, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, and so much more. Now the litter box alone may not help your veterinarian to diagnose something, but it will definitely help and be a great start on what to do next!

What should I be looking for?

Well, there are a few things you will want to keep track of for your feline friends:

• How frequently is your kitty is urinating or defecating?
• Volume of urine — is there barely anything happening or is there so much that you are like I am not sure how they peed this much!
• Do I see anything abnormal, like blood, that should not be there?
• Is our feline friend making any noises when trying to use the bathroom?
• Has anything new happened or changed (cats HATE change) that might make them avoid their litter box?
• How much time are they spending in the litterbox?
• Are they having trouble getting to the litter box, or getting in or out of it?

Now out of these things to watch for, the most emergent things to look for are straining to urinate & yowling (as well any vomiting or lethargy with these). If you notice any of these you want to see a veterinarian right away. Addressing these issues promptly is important in order to have a better prognosis.

Why is a blocked cat so important to get to a vet?

The reason this is so important is because cats can sometimes have blockages in their urethra caused by crystals/stones, debris from the bladder or even blood clots causing them to not be able to urinate and causing pain. If not looked after right away, these can cause side effects as serious as death.

What should I expect when taking my cat to the vet for litter box issues?

Urine Issues
The first thing any veterinarian will want to do is a urinalysis so you may want to pick up a collection kit to keep at home for when/if this occurs so you can bring one in with you to your appointment if still urinating. This will look for infections with bacteria, glucose, blood, and crystals. Depending on what is found on the urinalysis, your veterinarian may want to also do radiographs to check for things such as stones. If stones are found then you may have to get your furry friend some emergency surgery. Now if your cat is blocked and not urinating it would be a bit different. They would have to stay at your clinic and have sedation to become unblocked asap.

Fecal Issues
The first thing your veterinarian will do for issues regarding feces would most likely be a rectal exam. If your problem is constipation you could see yourself in for radiographs or an enema. Now if your issue is diarrhea, you may just be in for medication or possibly some bloodwork and medication.

By: Ashley Goss, Veterinary Technician


How do I become a veterinary technician?

This is the end to RVT week, a time to celebrate our technicians and what they do to help our clinics! In honor of this we will be talking about how to become a veterinary technician. To answer this question we must first look at what are veterinary technicians. "A veterinarian’s assistant, trained to provide medical care for animals, as performing diagnostic tests or administering vaccines and medication." - Now that is just putting it in the most simple terms. If we went in depth a bit more you would get the following. "Veterinary technicians are animal nurses (and much more). In addition to their nursing duties, they act as patient advocates, phlebotomists, radiology technicians, laboratory technicians, anesthesia technicians, and surgery technicians. Except tasks legally restricted to veterinarians, such as diagnosing disease conditions, performing surgery, prescribing medications, and prognosing medical outcomes, veterinary technicians are trained to do everything a veterinary hospital requires to run smoothly." - AAHA Certainly! Veterinary technicians play a crucial role in the healthcare of animals. Their responsibilities encompass a wide range of tasks, making them an integral part of the veterinary team. In fact, you may sometimes hear them referred to as veterinary technologists, as they possess a comprehensive understanding of various medical procedures and techniques. To become a veterinary technician, individuals typically undergo rigorous education and training. They typically enroll in specialized programs that span anywhere from 18 to 36 months. These programs provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in their field. Upon completion, aspiring veterinary technicians may take a national exam known as the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE). The VTNE is a comprehensive assessment that evaluates the breadth of the technician’s understanding across multiple species. With a total of 300 multiple-choice questions, covering various topics, this exam ensures that technicians are well-prepared to handle the diverse challenges encountered in their daily work. From animal anatomy and physiology to pharmacology and radiology, the VTNE examines their proficiency in all essential areas. Successfully passing the VTNE paves the way for technicians to become registered veterinary technicians (RVTs). The RVT title signifies their achievement and signifies their commitment to upholding high standards within the profession. As registered technicians, they can further contribute to the well-being and welfare of animals, working alongside veterinarians to provide exemplary care. In summary, veterinary technicians are highly skilled professionals who have invested significant time and effort into their education and training. Their role in the veterinary field is invaluable, as they bring expertise, compassion, and dedication to ensure the health and happiness of our beloved animal companions. So let’s simplify the steps into a list to become a technician! Research and Understand the Role: Take the time to learn about the responsibilities and duties of a veterinary technician. This will give you a clear understanding of what the profession entails. Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent: To pursue a career as an RVT, you will need a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification. Make sure you meet this prerequisite. Research Accredited Veterinary Technology Programs: Look for accredited veterinary technology programs in your area. These programs are designed to provide the necessary education and training to become an RVT. Choose the Right Program: Evaluate different veterinary technology programs based on factors such as curriculum, facilities, faculty, and clinical opportunities. Choose a program that aligns with your interests and career goals. Enroll in a Veterinary Technology Program: Once you’ve selected a program, complete the application process and enroll. Be prepared to meet any admission requirements specific to the program. Attend and Complete the Program: Dedicate yourself to your studies and practical training during the veterinary technology program. Attend lectures, laboratory sessions, and clinical rotations to gain the knowledge and skills required for the profession. Acquire Hands-on Experience: Seek out opportunities to gain practical experience in veterinary clinics or animal hospitals. Many programs offer externships or internships, which provide valuable real-world exposure. Prepare for the VTNE: The Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) is a comprehensive exam that assesses your competency as an aspiring RVT. Study diligently and use preparation resources, such as practice exams and study guides, to enhance your chances of success. Schedule and Take the VTNE: Once you feel prepared, schedule your VTNE. The exam is administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) and can typically be taken at designated testing centers. Obtain State Licensure: After passing the VTNE, you will need to apply for state licensure. Each state has its own requirements, so make sure to complete the application process and submit the necessary documentation. Continuing Education and Career Development: As an RVT, it’s vital to stay current with advancements in veterinary medicine. Pursue continuing education opportunities, attend conferences, and consider specialization or advanced certifications to further enhance your knowledge and skills. Remember, the journey to becoming an RVT requires dedication, hard work, and a passion for animal care. Follow these steps to embark on a fulfilling and rewarding career in veterinary technology. Written by: Ashley G, VT Resources AAHA – NAVTA –

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