Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cats & Carriers: Friends not foes!

It is important to acclimate your cat to it's carrier before the day of their appointment to minimize the stress of the visit.  Carriers can provide a sense of security in a new and scary place.  It is extremely important for the health of your cat to have regularly-scheduled, low-stress visits to a veterinarian.  Beginning to acclimate your cat to its carrier 2-3 weeks before his or her scheduled visit will make both of you feel much better about the visit to your veterinarian.

Below are several steps to take to make your cat's visit to your veterinarian as happy and stress-free as possible!

1. Selecting the best carrier for your cat
·         The carrier needs to be stable--some cats prefer soft but most prefer hard-case carriers
·         Easy to carry and handle
·         It should have an opening at the top and front (see carrier pictured above)
·         The top should be easily removable
·         The carrier should be the right size--big enough for your cat, but small enough to handle easily

2. Choosing the best area to familiarilize your cat with his carrier
·         The area should be convenient for you and your cat
·         Some cats prefer elevated resting areas, but ensure the carrier is secure
·         Choose places your cat currently prefers to rest

3. How to make your carrier cat-friendly
·         Leave the door open to allow your cat to explore
·         Place a favorite soft blanket or a soft piece of clothing from your cat's favorite person inside the carrier
·         Use a feline pheromone spray, such as Feliway, at least 15-30 minutes prior to introducing it to your cat
·         Cats like warmth--place the carrier in a warm spot or a sunbeam

4. Feed and play with your cat in and around the carrier
·         Offer special and delicious meals inside the carrier (but do not place your cat's only source of food in the carrier--this can lead to excessive stress)
·         Play with toys, especially "fishing pole" type toys, in and around the carrier
·         Allow your cat to "catch" the toy inside the carrier

5. Getting your cat used to transporting in the carrier
·         Some cats prefer to see out during transport, although most prefer to have the carrier covered
·         Use a blanket or a towel with a familiar scent to cover the carrier
·         Secure your cat's carrier in the backseat with a seatbelt
·         Begin by placing your cat in the car and starting the engine for a few minutes at a time
·         After your cat tolerates this well, drive around the block to get him used to a moving vehicle
·         Slowly increase the distance and time your cat spends in a moving vehicle

An informational video of this process can be viewed at  Additonal informational resources about the importance of regularly scheduled kitty wellness exams is available at and We hope that by taking these steps, your furry feline friend will soon look forward to going to see the veteriarian!

Written by Dr. Elly Burnett

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Heartworm Season & Parasite Protection for your pets

Heartworm is a nasty parasite transmitted by mosquitoes. Luckily, we live in an environment that allows us freedom from such pest during our cold winters, However, in those warm spring and summer months we need to understand, as pet owners, that Heartworm is a genuine threat to our friend's health. Heartworm disease is easily (and nearly 100% preventable), but not easily treated.

Heartworm Larvae live in the bloodstream and mosquitoes acquire them from affected dogs/casts while taking a "blood meal". They can then transmit them to unaffected dogs/cats when getting a blood meal from the new canine. Heartworm preventives can kill any Heartworm within the first four stages of its life. This is why Heartworm preventive is recommended every 30 days. Once Heartworm gets to the fifth stage it is much more difficult to eradicate.

Idaho Veterinary Hospital offers two different methods of heartworm preventive:

Heartgard: a chew which treats Heartworm, roundworm, and hookworm.
Revolution: a topical treatment that protects from Heartworm, ticks, and fleas.

We do stock some Heartworm preventive in the hospital, but it gets very hard to keep up with the demand in the Spring. However, our online store is another convenient option. If you're not yet signed up for our ProxyRX site, please give our lovely receptionist a call and they can assist you with registration.