Quarterly Prints

What’s New at CPVH?

As we head into a new year, we begin publication of our fifth year of Quarterly Prints. We would first of all like to wish each of you a Safe and Happy New Year. As a show of our appreciation, we have created our own custom Claws & Paws Calendars (download a PDF version here). Each month features a different staff member’s pet (or pets) and these are free to anyone that would like one, while supplies last. Included in these calendars are special events and pet holidays and pet celebration days.

Rat Enrichment

All animals kept in captivity should have “enrichment” to provide them stimulation and to permit species appropriate behavior. This is especially important for what are typically the most captive of pets; rodents. These small curious creatures often spend a large majority of their lives in a small enclosure or cage; therefore they should be provided with a variety of stimulation and ways to entertain themselves.

Rats in particular are intelligent animals that make wonderful pets as they are more friendly and people-oriented than most of the small rodents. Rats can be very playful and benefit from having a variety of stimuli provided in their domain. They are chewers by nature and will need nontoxic wood or nuts (unsalted and in the shell) to keep their teeth healthy and to satisfy their drive to chew. This chewing behavior will extend to anything placed in their cage so do not include anything in their environment that you do not want modified!

Rats will also enjoy being able to climb, tunnel, nest, wrestle, and explore. There are a plethora of products marketed for rats or small mammals and many items you may already have that can provide them with appropriate entertainment.

  • Hammocks, cloth pouches, cloth scraps, ribbon
  • Boxes (make sure no shiny metallic printing that could cause a problem if eaten)
  • Tubes (cardboard or PVC pipe)
  • Paper bags
  • Rope segments to climb
  • Different textures of bedding (avoid pine or cedar litter/bedding as the aromatics can cause irritation and damage to the respiratory tract)
  • Running wheels
  • Enrichment also includes offering a variety of treats (in small quantities and should not be in place of a well balanced commercially available rat food)
  • Fruits/veggies (fresh or dried)
  • Yogurt drops or low-fat yogurt
  • Limited quantities of nuts or seeds
  • Unsweetened cereals
  • Dry pasta
  • Avoid chocolate and any salty or fattening foods

The best enrichment of all for any pet is plenty of daily interaction with humans! Rats can be trained to do tricks and they enjoy riding around on your shoulder or peeking out of a pocket, so make sure they get plenty of your love and attention each day.

Sign of a Blocked Tomcat

First of all, what is a “blocked tom”? A blocked tom is a cat (usually a neutered male) that has an obstruction in the flow of urine. Being unable to urinate is very painful and is an emergency situation. Symptoms to look for are as follows: Straining to urinate, urinating outside the litter box, crying out (howling), depression, not wanting to eat, tenderness in the abdomen, and blood in the urine.

What causes a cat to become blocked? Several factors can cause a blockage in the urethra (the tube which carries urine from the bladder out of the body). The most common reason is formation of crystals that create a plug and block the flow of urine. These crystals can form because the magnesium level is too high. Altering your pet’s diet to a low magnesium diet can help reduce the amount of crystal formation. Sometimes, only changing the diet after unblocking the kitty is sufficient, but, oftentimes surgical intervention is required.

Every case is different and your veterinarian will give you all the options available to treat your pet. Remember, it is an emergency, so as soon as you see any or all of the symptoms, getting your pet to the vet as soon as possible is the best thing you can do.

If your cat is showing any of the signs above, please contact your veterinarian immediately to schedule an appointment. Waiting even a day to get your baby checked out and mean the difference between life and death.

Is Fluffy, Fluffy? But, Not in a Good Way?

Picture this… you’ve had a pretty rough day at work, and can’t wait to get home.

Meanwhile… here’s what your pet has been thinking while you’ve been gone….

“…Man oh man, this has been a long day. Where the heck are they? Wait, what was that? … was that a car door slamming? Yes, they’re home. YIPPEE!! I better get to the door and greet them, because I know what’s coming next. MY TREAT!!”

That’s what goes through your pet’s head every time you come home. Your pet is totally elated to see you. What’s the first thing you do? You give him a treat.

Sometimes the treat you give him is a little bit bigger scoop of food, or an extra shake of the bag, or maybe a snack or two from the dinner table.

Why do you do this? It’s because you love your pet with all your heart. But have you ever stopped to think that those little treats and snacks add up – and may be harmful to him?

According to APOP (The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention) 52.7 percent of dogs and 57.9 percent of cats are overweight! That’s an unacceptable number, and we need to do something about it NOW.

The sad truth is that most people can’t identify an overweight pet. Whenever their veterinarian tells them their pet needs to lose weight, they often can’t believe it because they don’t see it.

We’ve enclosed a handy chart to help you determine your pet’s ideal weight. Just compare the chart and descriptions with your pet. You may be shocked at what you find. You see most pet owners with overweight pets don’t realize they’re overweight.

It is critical to understand that an overweight pet is not a healthy pet.

In case you didn’t already know, here are some of the dangers an overweight pet can face…

  • Diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes)
  • Damage to joints, bones, and ligaments
  • Heart disease & increased blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Decreased stamina
  • Heat intolerance
  • Decreased liver function
  • Digestive disorders
  • Decreased immune function
  • Skin and coat problems
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Decreased quality and length of life

Now, the good news…

If your pet is overweight, it may require something as simple as a diet change… or an extra walk or two every week. In some cases, it may be something not as obvious.

Either way, let’s put a plan together to ensure that your pet is getting the nutrition he needs, for a healthy, happy life.

Remember… pets can’t make these decisions for themselves. They need someone who truly cares, and loves them. That’s YOU! The one and only person who can give them the happier, healthier, longer life they deserve.

You’ve no doubt seen some of the post-holiday weight loss ads. January is awash with special offers for gyms and diet programs for humans but what about our pets? Well we’ve put together this special deal to help your pet start the New Year in a healthy way.

Just stop by with your pet for a FREE weight assessment from one of our veterinary technicians during the month of January. If we find he or she is overweight, we’ll schedule your pet for a full Weight Management Evaluation at 20% off, which will exclude:

  • Complete Physical Examination
  • Wellness Lab Work, including Thyroid check
  • Complete Musculoskeletal Examination
  • Complete Dental Examination

Year-Round Flea Control. Is It Necessary?

Short answer? Yes!

Fleas are a year-round issue, ranging from a nuisance for some, to a menace for others. Generally, we notice a marked increase in flea problems as the weather warms during the spring and summer months, and a decline in the fall and winter. But with Texas weather, all bets are off.

Some pets can develop flea allergy dermatitis, where the saliva from a single flea bite can cause severe irritation and inflammation, leading to discomfort and pain for both you and your pet.

The fleas you see represent only about 5% of the problem. The main issue (50%) lies in eggs, waiting to hatch into larvae (30%) that progress into pupae (15%), which in turn, allows maturation into adults.

Keeping your pet flea- free can be as simple as a monthly treat or topical application. There are a variety of choices available, depending on your pet and preference.

Oral medications are recommended to be given on a monthly basis. For dogs, we recommend Sentinel, Trifexis or Comfortis. For cats, we recommend Comfortis. We also recommend Capstar as a quick kill to help jumpstart the process. This product is only in the system for 24-hours so it is not a long-term (monthly) solution. We do provide this product to all pets who board with us to help us ensure a flea-free environment for all our patients.

Sentinel (milbemycin oxime + lufenuron) combines heartworm prevention, flea control, and intestinal parasite control into a tasty treat. The lufenuron component is an insect growth regulator (IGR) that acts as a ‘passive’ agent – it won’t kill fleas, but it does not allow the flea to lay any viable eggs. The IGR is a chitin inhibitor, which makes the eggs unable to hatch.

Trifexis (spinosad + milbemycin oxime) is also a combination medication for heartworm prevention, flea control, and intestinal parasite control. In contrast to the lufenuron, the spinosad component is an ‘active’ agent that kills fleas. Once administered, it starts killing fleas within 30 minutes, and continues to protect for 30 days.

Comfortis (spinosad) is also available as a separate medication for flea control for both dogs & cats.

Capstar (nitenpyram) is an oral medication that starts killing fleas on the pet within 10 minutes, but does not have any long-lasting effects. It can be given daily, as needed, but we typically recommend it as an initial treatment for heavy flea infestations, before beginning on a long term regimen, such as an oral or topical monthly flea preventative.

If you decide on topical applications, they are also recommended on a monthly basis. For dogs, we recommend Frontline Tritak, and for cats, Frontline Tritak or Revolution.

Frontline Tritak for Dogs (cyphenothrin + fipronil +(S)-methoprene) is applied between the shoulder blades. It kills fleas, flea eggs, flea larvae, and ticks and protects for 30 days. This is specifically designed for canine use only.

Frontline Tritak for Cats (fipronil + etofenprox + (S)-methoprene) is a monthly topical medication that kills fleas, flea eggs, flea larvae and ticks for 30 days. This is specifically designed as safe for felines.

Revolution (selamectin) is recommended to be applied on the back of the neck, due to a cat’s flexibility and self-grooming nature. Each application protects your cat from heartworms, fleas, and intestinal parasites for 30 days.

We recommend year-round flea control for all pets in your household. If even one pet is left untreated, they can become a haven for these unwanted bloodsucking pests.

If you have any questions regarding the product that’s best for your situation, please ask one of our staff members. We’d all love to assist you in choosing the right product for you and your pet.

Dear Abby

Dear Abby,

My humans have recently purchased several squirt bottles and squirt me every time I jump on the kitchen counters. What the heck?!! My brother gets squirted when he jumps on the kitchen counters too, but he loves it! It’s like taking a shower to him. But for me, I hate it! What do I do?


Soaked Mr. Chesty

Dear Mr. Chesty,

I’m fairly certain that water torture was banned by one of the Geneva conventions. I’m no expert, but you may want to look into this. Perhaps you can get your humans sent to GTMO for their violations! In any case, what to do now…You’ve clearly got a significant problem on your hands. What are you going to do for food? No countertops, means no people food! You could easily starve. Before things get dire, I’d say you’ve got 3 options: 1) Attempt to acclimate to the water spray. Once the humans realize this is not a deterrent, they may switch tactics. Pretend you are terrified of cheese! Maybe they’ll shower you with cheddar instead. 2) Avoid the countertops when your humans are home. This may be a good solution. If you can lull them into a false sense of security, they may begin to leave food out on the countertops again. Just be sure to only sneak up there when no one is home. And finally, 3) There’s always GTMO.

Good luck!


Dear Abby,

You are not going to believe what has happened. A few days ago my owner adopted two pet rats. RATS! Can you believe it?! She carries them around on her shoulders, feeds them treats, and keeps them in a cage in her room. She even says that she loves them! I suspect that I may die from this mortifying betrayal. How can I go on?


Rat-tled to the Core

Dear Rattled,

I can understand your frustration about your owner’s lack of compassion and empathy for your situation. Perhaps you have failed to explain your side of things properly. Basic mathematics can be a challenge for some humans. I would start by explaining to your human that she has two rats and you have zero rats. If she were to give you just one of her rats, she would still have one! I mean, how may rats does she really need anyway?! It does seem rather selfish of her to hoard all of these delicacies to herself without any willingness to share. I suppose she’d be content with dry kibble all day then? I think not. I say start appearing weak, refuse to move as if your legs are so weak from lack of appropriate food that you are nearing death. Even if she’s unwilling to let you eat rats, perhaps you’ll get some new kitty treats out of the situation. And remember; if all else fails, you can always vomit in her bed to express your discontentment. That usually gets a decent reaction.