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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


Need a Tic Tac? How's your pet's teeth?

We all know what dog breath is, but how normal is this bad breath? Is it really just dog breath or is it something more? Let's talk about it to help you determine if you should be talking to your veterinarian about your pet's breath and oral health. We can agree that all dogs have "dog breath" that does not smell great, but sometimes if you notice a change in that breath (especially when it is a severe change) it might be the first sign your furry friend needing a dental cleaning. It is suggested to book a consult with you regular veterinarian at this time to get to the bottom of it. Now what other signs with bad breath might give you a good idea that you need a dental? excessive drooling not wanting to eat, especially dry food, or to play with chew toys & dropping food changes in behavior, such as being more aggressive chronic sneezing abnormal discharge from the nose chewing with one side of their mouth or favoring one side of their mouth pawing at or rubbing their muzzle bleeding from their mouth chronic eye infections or drainage with no exact cause or cure inability to open or close mouth discoloured tooth/teeth and a mass or growth in mouth, which happens to be more obvious usually. If you notice any of these signs alone or with your furry friends bad breath, then it may be time to book a dental and have your friends teeth looked at!   But wait! Why would my pet need a dental? I have never heard of a pet needing to have dentals! Well, I explain this more in my previous post about what dentals are and why they are good to have for your furry friends to live longer, happier lives. However stories make everything a bit more relatable! Meet Cujo: Cujo is a 8 year old mixed breed medium sized dog. He loved everything and loved life. All he wanted to do was snuggle everyone. However, his breath was so bad that no one wanted him in their face for good reason. Him and his owner moved into my house. Cujo became great friends with my own dogs and every time I would bring them home toys and goodies I would also bring home things for Cujo too. My own dogs would take their toys right away but Cujo would never touch them. We also noticed him being slow to eat his food and would growl anytime he is was picked up. It was decided to bring him in to have his mouth examined.   At the vet: Cujo went to the vet and it was decided he would benefit from a dental, but it was suspected he would just need to do a scale and polish and that hopefully that would eliminate or resolve the the bad breath. This was estimated by an oral exam revealing the teeth had moderate tarter with no major bone loss or problems noted.   Day of Dental: On the day of Cujo's dental it was done with general anesthesia to get a good look in his mouth and prevent him from feeling any pain. Upon further inspection of the mouth, it was discovered that 6 teeth actually needed to be extracted. All dentals should have dental radiographs included when you go in and this is the reason why. The very last tooth that was extracted was a little mobile. It was less mobile than the other teeth but just enough to have us question it and decided upon extraction. Upon extraction it was discovered that this tooth had a large tooth root abscess, meaning the abscess was under the gums and not obvious. This is one of the many reasons dental radiographs are so important as they will show us things undiscoverable to the eye such as a root tooth abscess! Up to 80% of dental disease is below the gum line! After all this he was woken back up and given medications to help him heal and feel better.   After dental: Immediately after the dental Cujo's breath was significantly better! He started to growl less when we interacted with him in ways such as picking him up or playing with him. He started to eat his food more promptly when given. All around he seemed to just be much happier!     Written by: Ashley G, VT Edited by: Megan K, DVM   Resources: Veterinary Partner:    

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