Health

Canine Flu Outbreak

There have been numerous media reports on an outbreak of “canine influenza” that began in Chicago, and could spread to other areas. The original dog flu virus that was characterized a few years ago is known as H3N8, and there is…

Animal Communication

Many thanks to our guest author, animal communicator Kate Solisti!  The art of listening to an animal and actually receiving something back from them is based on two things: (1) Love and (2) Intuition. I have been a professional interspecies…

Animal Pain

That idea that animals suffer pain that needs to be treated is, believe it or not, still not completely accepted by veterinarians. In fact, not so long ago, veterinarians deliberately withheld painkillers from animals post-surgery, on the misguided philosophy that “the pain…

2014 Pet Food and Supplement Issues & Recalls

Welcome to the 2014 log of pet food and treat recalls and problems (click here for the 2013 list). Check back here any time for updates, which sometimes occur daily but almost certainly every week. Click on links for specific product…

Food Allergies in Cats

By Jean Hofve, DVM Cats often develop “food allergies” or “food intolerances” to ingredients found in commercial cat food. The top allergens are: chicken, fish and corn (very common cat food ingredients), beef (often referred to as “meat by-products” or…

Feline Obesity

By Jean Hofve, DVM Obesity is a serious problem for our feline friends. Many serious health problems can result from obesity, such as arthritis, liver disease, heart failure, and renal disease. Prevention is key here: don’t allow your cat to…

Fiber Facts

By Dr. Jean Hofve Recently there has been renewed interest in fiber as a pet food ingredient. One pet food manufacturer published an article on the Internet condemning beet pulp in pet food as unhealthy if not downright dangerous, while…

Feline Hyperthyroidism Update

Discovery News reported this week that “In a new study that analyzed the blood of 62 domestic cats and 10 feral cats, researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that cats living inside homes had higher blood levels…

Holiday Safety Tips

The holidays can be a stressful and even dangerous time for small furry critters like our cats. Normal routines are upset, visitors come and go, and tempting smells may be coming from the kitchen! The Christmas tree is the first…

Holiday Safety for Cats and Dogs

The holidays can be a stressful and even dangerous time for small furry critters like our cats. Normal routines are upset, visitors come and go, and tempting smells may be coming from the kitchen! The Christmas tree is the first…

Feline Hyperesthesia

Cats have many unique characteristics that make for some interesting health challenges, but one of the strangest is “Ripple Skin Syndrome,” or “Itchy Twitchy syndrome” (technically called “feline hyperesthesia”). This condition starts as a rippling of the cat’s skin on…

Immune System Health and Anti-Aging

Many feline diseases are caused by chronic inflammation. This is particularly true of the degenerative diseases of aging, such as arthritis, kidney disease, and even cancer. Such inflammation not only kills cells directly, but also deposits toxic inflammatory by-products and other…

The “Greening” of Cats

Here are a few good ways  to make living with a cat “greener” (that is, more “environmentally friendly”) by exercising some discretion in how you shop. Buy earth-friendly cat products. Such products are made from recycled or recyclable materials, minimally…

Cancer Prevention and Treatment

Cancer: pet guardians fear this diagnosis above all others; not only because the conventional treatments are so perilous, but also because, despite treatment, it is most often fatal. More than half of dogs over the age of 10 will die of…

Heartworm now found “in all 50 states”

According to the American Heartworm Society (AHS), its “every-three-years survey, which tracks heartworm incidence from data supplied by more than 5,000 veterinary clinics, has documented cases in every state.” [Note: this may, and probably does, mean that two or three…

Heartworm in Cats

By Jean Hofve, DVM In a seemingly diabolical plot, veterinarians and pharmaceutical companies have teamed up in a marketing campaign to frighten guardians into giving year-round heartworm preventatives to their cats. They say they’re doing this to improve protection for…

Constipated Cats

A surprising number of cats have problems with constipation (abnormal accumulation of feces and difficulty defecating), and similar but more serious conditions such as obstipation (complete obstruction of the colon by feces) and megacolon (damaged nerves and muscles in the…

Cats, Sickness, Stress, and the Environment

A fascinating study out of The Ohio State University was just published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2011;238:67–73). Here’s part of OSU’s press release about it: EVEN HEALTHY CATS ACT SICK…

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

By Jean Hofve, DVM Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a common feline problem. With the word “bowel” as part of the name, you might think that the main symptom would be diarrhea. However, vomiting is an even more common symptom…

Feline Acne

By Jean Hofve, DVM It’s not just for teenagers anymore – cats can get acne too! You may see your cat rubbing his chin against the furniture or other corners more than usual. You might notice little black specks around…

Feline Conjunctivitis

Many cats have chronic problems with conjunctivitis (inflammation of the eye membranes). Often, the problem comes and goes. The eyes may be red, swollen, watery, crusty, or goopy. Causes include infection, congenital defects (small or absent tear ducts), facial conformation…

Feline Diabetes Basics

By Jean Hofve, DVM Has your cat been diagnosed with diabetes? Are you looking for the most accurate and up-to-date information on this condition in cats? Are you interested in alternative treatments? Do you want to know how to prevent…

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

By Jean Hofve, DVM FIP is a particularly nasty disease—one that causes great confusion and distress. The name itself is misleading; the only absolutely true point about the name is the “feline,” since it is not especially infectious, nor is…

Fish Oil and Hyperthyroidism — Is There a Link?

By Jean Hofve, DVM A reader recently quoted part of one of our newsletters in an email, and (in addition to the subject of her email, which was our warning about alpha lipoic acid) expressed concern about Omega-3 fatty acids…

Flower Essences for Animals

By Jean Hofve, DVM Flower essences (remedies) are specially prepared extracts of the flowering parts of certain plants. They work through energy fields to heal stress and disease from the inside. Flower essences were first developed by Dr. Edward Bach,…

Geriatric Cats

By Jean Hofve, DVM Just like humans, cats are prone to a number of medical problems as they get older. With diet, supplements, and extra care, many of these conditions can be prevented, delayed, or managed, to give your cat…

Giardia Natural Treatment Protocol

This is a protocol that I heard about many years ago for getting rid of Giardia, and have used many times successfully (and safely) in cats and dogs.  This protocol utilizes digestive enzymes on an empty stomach. With no food…

Hairballs

By Jean Hofve, DVM There’s nothing quite like the glorious feeling of stepping out of your warm bed onto a cold, squishy, slimy hairball! Perhaps we should feel flattered that our beloved feline companion has left a piece of herself…

How to Care for Your New Kitten

Kittens, like all animal babies, need special care. It is important to provide lots of love and, as well as more practical items like toys, a litter box, and an adequate scratching pad or post. Be sure to kitten-proof your house, removing small or delicate items to prevent damage by curious little paws and teeth. Kittens are great climbers, so think vertically!

How to Keep Your Cat Pest-Free

Are you… •    Using oral or topical flea & tick preparations or collars? •    Dosing your pet with heartworm medication? •    Using ant, roach or other pesticides inside or outside your home? •    Letting your cat roam on chemically treated…

Hyperthyroidism

By Jean Hofve, DVM A serious disease called “feline hyperthyroidism” has risen to epidemic proportions since the first cases were diagnosed in 1979. It is a worldwide phenomenon, though worse in the U.S. than other countries. Hyperthyroidism (hyper = too…

Indoors or Outdoors?

By Jean Hofve, DVM Are you thinking about allowing your cat to go outside without restriction? To make the right decision, you need to know the facts. The average lifespan of an indoor cat is 15-18 years. For a cat…

Introduction to Homeopathy

By Jean Hofve, DVM Homeopathy is a system of medical treatment developed in the late 1800s by a German physician and chemist, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. His system follows the theory that “like cures like” proposed by Aristotle. For example, the…

Kidney Disease in Cats

By Jean Hofve, DVM Kidney disease, in the form of Chronic Renal Failure (CRF), also called Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), is a common problem in older cats. I have seen natural kidney failure in cats as young as 4 years,…

Living with FIV

By Jean Hofve, DVM Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a “new” cat disease; it was first discovered in domestic cats around 1975. Since then it has been found that many big cats (more than 80% of Serengeti lions, for instance)…

Mad Cow Disease and Your Pets

By Jean Hofve, DVM In December 23, 2003, the first official U.S. case of “mad cow disease” (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or BSE) was reported in the news; a second followed shortly thereafter. However, astute researchers and even the pet food…

Microchips and Cancer

By Jean Hofve, DVM Recently there have been a couple of articles circulating on the Internet about the “dangers” of microchips and the potential for cancer. There are several things you need to know to assess this information: 1. The…

Milk Thistle – A Wonder Herb?

By Jean Hofve, DVM Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a flowering plant in the Aster family. A native of Europe, it has been used since the time of the Roman emperors as a liver tonic. Milk thistle is one of…

Outdoor Safety for Cats

By Jean Hofve, DVM As you probably know, we recommend against letting cats roam freely outdoors. There are just too many dangers to make it worth the risk. However, we also recognize that the great outdoors is a wonderful place…