Vol. 16, No. 12 – Mar 8 – Mar 21, 2023 – The Pet Page

• Recently I had my first grooming done at Bark Avenue Grooming on Loma Vista.

I was told I should get groomed every 6-months not every 11-years. I will be sure to get groomed as directed. I was shocked at the amount of fur that was removed from me.


This fur pile is 18” square and 3” deep

• SPAN Thrift Store is open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools. SPAN Thrift Store provides $10 spay and neuter clinics for low income households for cats and dogs. Upcoming clinics: Tues., March. 14th, Shiells Park parking lot, 649 C St., Fillmore, 93015, and Tues., March. 28th, SPAN Thrift Store parking lot, 110 N. Olive St., Ventura. Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823. www.spanonline.org.

• Cats are known to live life on their terms, but that doesn’t always mean cat owners know what their finicky feline is going through.

“Indoor cats are extremely common right now. Everyone seems to have cats,” Jen Gillum, a veterinarian with the Feline Wellness Center, said. “The common misconception for years and years is an indoor cat doesn’t need preventative healthcare, doesn’t need an annual exam, and that’s completely fiction.”

“Cats are notorious for masking their symptoms,” Gillum said. “If we can get them in, establish baselines, look in their mouth, listen to their heart, run lab work, give them that full spectrum physical, we can avoid a lot of problems in the future.”

Cat owners may not be able to tell if their cat has a problem. Unlike dogs, which often make it obvious when there’s an issue, cats can hide their problems.

“A cat may be more aloof, may go off and hide, may cut back on how much they’re eating or drinking or using the box,” she said. “Very subtle changes, but any change in a cat’s overall demeanor and patterns — because they’re creatures of habit — that lasts more than 24 to 48 hours, we should know about it because they mask their symptoms so well. A lot of the times they get here and they’re really sick and no one had any idea.”

“Dental disease is a huge problem,” she said. “We see a lot and we do a lot of dental work here at the clinic, and so we like to talk to people about things you can do to prevent that. There are additives that you can add to their food. There’s toothpaste. There is home dental exams, there are dental treats and chews and food. So it’s just kind of bringing awareness to simple things people can do at home to slow the progression of naturally occurring processes that happen as they age.”

“We get a lot of calls going, ‘My cat is urinating outside of the box.’ Immediately owners think, ‘Could this be behavioral?’ But I would say probably 80% of the time there’s a medical reason for that. They’re creatures of habit. They stress very easily and one of the organ systems that shows those symptoms is the urinary tract,” Gillum said.

Gillum said the most important thing a cat owner can do is get their feline in for an annual exam.

“I think the focus should be on exams, not so much vaccines. We cater that to each client, depending on their lifestyle, but get them in once a year,” she said. “Let us give a complete • •Kara Carmody, an associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, discusses tips for taking care of your pet’s dental hygiene to improve your pet’s overall wellbeing.

Q: What are some common issues with pet dental health?

Dental disease is the number one health problem diagnosed in small animal patients. By two years of age, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of dental disease. The most common issue is periodontal disease, which affects our pets just like it does people.

Periodontal disease is inflammation of the gums and structures around the tooth and can become quite severe if not addressed. Fortunately, periodontal disease can often be avoided or at least minimized with regular preventive care. Routine preventive care includes annual dental prophylaxis or cleaning — this procedure includes an exam, teeth cleaning and x-rays. The exam and x-rays reveal the degree of periodontal disease, and sometimes other problems that may include fractured teeth and painful lesions.

Q: What signs might indicate a pet has dental issues?

It’s important to note that many pets show no signs of pain or discomfort in their mouth, so routine oral exams and annual dental cleaning are the best way to check on your pet’s dental health.

Q: What are ways to get started with a dental hygiene routine to prevent dental issues?

It’s never too late to start a dental hygiene routine, though we recommend consulting with your veterinarian first. The ideal dental routine would include daily brushing and annual dental cleaning, known as dental prophylaxis. Keep in mind that dental care such as brushing may actually be uncomfortable for pets with existing dental disease. We would recommend an exam first.

Q: What types of toys or food do you recommend to protect a pet’s dental health?

Some pets may benefit from Veterinary Oral Health Council-approved products such as treats or foods, and chewing on toys of appropriate density can mimic the mechanical action of food to reduce plaque build-up. Ideally, toys should be constructed of a material less dense than the enamel of the tooth to minimize the risk of tooth fracture. A good rule of thumb is that if you can indent the toy with your fingernail, it poses much less risk of causing tooth fracture.

Kara Carmody is an assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Carmody researches preventive care, with emphasis on dentistry and nutrition management.

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