Tag Archive: cat

Why Should I Come In For Yearly Exams if Everything is Ok?
By. Dr. Ben Davidson DSC_0963
We wish the only reason you needed to come in for your pet’s yearly exam was because you missed our smiling faces or dearly love our coffee and cookies,  but there’s actually several good medical reasons why we want to see you.
        A lot can happen in a year.  There are a lot of not-so-obvious diseases that are picked up on routine exams or lab screenings, and may not be noticeable or known to someone that doesn’t do this all the time.  Those routine screenings and lab tests, much like the ones we humans are all supposed to get, are the best chance at early detection of diseases, and in some cases make a huge Golden Retriever puppydifference in the prognosis and outcome.
      Most pets are actually due for treatments or vaccines yearly.  Many of our pet friends benefit from yearly teeth cleanings.  Dogs that visit dog parks should get a fecal test each year to detect parasites.  And some vaccines are labeled as being effective for one year, such as bordatella (kennel cough), feline leukemia, and, in some instances, rabies.
        The Board of Pharmacy mandates that to issue prescribed drugs, either here from our clinic or by written prescription, we must have a current exam on file within the last 12 months.     bandit
 We know everyone wants what’s best for their pet.  We know you all do everything you can for their happiness and health.  One of the biggest challenges we face is not being able to talk to them, or I guess, them not being able to talk to us.  You usually can tell if something is really wrong with your pet, but how can you tell if something is just a little off?  We all know, for ourselves, when something isn’t quite right, and which of those times we should go see our doctor.  But for our pets, it’s not so easy.  Yearly exams and routine lab work help us find problems earlier than we might have otherwise, and hopefully before something has advanced too far.

The Real Scoop on Poop

How Long is Too Long for My Dog/Cat Not to Defecate?

By: Dr. Sara Hogle use sh

I always recommend monitoring both the quantity and quality of what your pet ingests (food and water intake) and what they eliminate (urination and defecation habits). The quantity and color of urine and the feces color, texture, odor, and presence of mucus or blood are all indicators of how well your pet’s body is functioning overall.  Often times changes in the characteristics of your animals feces or urine can be the first sign of a health problem developing, so it is important to be aware of your dog or cat’s elimination habits and to regularly monitor for changes in the fecal or urine appearance.

Constipation is defined by inadequate or complete lack of defecation (stool passage). The majority of dogs or cats will look like they are trying to go, need to go, or are experiencing discomfort when defecating without producing stool or producing a very small volume of firm/dry feces. If this difficulty or discomfort associated with defecation produces little stool and is persistent (lasts more than a day or 2) it is very important to seek veterinary assistance. Constipated pets may also appear bloated, uncomfortable, may have a decrease or loss of appetite, and can even start to vomit if left untreated. It is recommended that we determine the cause of the constipation through diagnostics and physical exam and resolve it prior to the dog or cat exhibiting any of these symptoms. Dog bathroom

Ultimately, it is very important to regularly monitor not only what your pet is eating but also what they are eliminating in an effort to catch and resolve health problems early in the course of disease. If resolved sooner these problems tend to improve more completely and quickly, therefore, getting your beloved pet back on track sooner!

Laser Surgery

Laser Surgery Comes to Baringrh

By: Renaud Houyoux, LVT

The Companion CTS therapy laser unit used that we use at Baring Boulevard Veterinary Hospital  Dr. Dayton doing laser sxalso has a surgical fiber with which we can do surgical procedures on soft tissues. Examples include wart removal, soft pallate resection, overgrown gum-line resection, and various other soft tissue surgery. The advantages of laser surgery include less pain post – operatively, as well as less bleeding and reduced inflammation / edema to the tissues. Small warts can also be removed with a local anesthetic and some patients may not even require anesthesia or sedation. This bjb sxsurgical adaptation to a therapy delivery platform is the latest development in this area of medicine. 

Dental Month

By: Dr. Ben Davidson DSC_0963

February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and Baring Boulevard Veterinary Hospital is joining in.  You may ask “Are you serious?”.  Yes we are.  Pet dental health is very serious.  You take care of your own teeth multiple times every single day, but most of us can’t or don’t give the same kind of attention to our pets teeth.   Because of this, 85% of household pets suffer from dental disease.  Once pets have reached this point, a professional dental cleaning is necessary to address the disease.

CJSo what does a professional dental cleaning entail?  It is an anesthetized procedure in which a team of our doctors, veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants evaluate and treat whatever problems are present.  The evaluation includes a full dental charting and periodontal diagnostics including radiographs of any questionable or affected teeth.  The teeth are then cleaned using an ultrasonic device to clean the visible surface of the teeth, but most importantly below the gum line where the most serious disease occurs.  If any teeth need advanced procedures, such as periodontal antibiotic infusion, sealing and bonding, or extraction, those are performed at this time.  The teeth are then polished to complete the procedure and your pet is recovered in our post anesthesia ICU.

These procedure are performed at BBVH every weekday, year round, but if you schedule during February you will imagesreceive a $35 discount off the cost of the dental cleaning, dental health kit (valued at about $15). If you have any questions about these procedures or would like to schedule your pets dental evaluation, please call our office.  We also are happy to have you swing your dog or cat by for what we call a “flip of the lip” exam, where one of our doctors or technicians will do a free check on your pets teeth to better tell you if a dental procedure is necessary, and if so, what it will likely entail.

Don’t Worry Purr When Happy?

Dr. Jackie Pulver DVMDr. Jackie Pulver

Most people feel that cats only purr when they are happy. While it is true they do purr when happy, this is not the only reason.  Cats will purr when injured, while giving birth, when nursing, when threatened, even when dying. British zoologist Desmond Morris has observed purring as a “sign of friendship”-whether that be a cat  content with a friend or in need of a friend.  Dr Margie Scherk, a board-certified specialist in feline health likens a purr to a human smile. Much like people smile when happy, people also smile when nervous or faced 99059361-choose-cat-litter-632x475with a threat.  The purr and smile can be used a signal that says “I’m nice, please don’t hurt me”.

Although we know some reasons why cats purr, experts still do not know how.  The most common explanation is that it originates in the vestibular folds or “voicebox”.  Passing air over these structures likely causes the pleasing sound. Domesticated cats have the advantage on purring over their large feline cousins. Tigers and lions can rumble, but can never get their motor running like your household kitty.bandit

Acupuncture for Animals

Frequently Asked Questions

Kim Luikart, DVM, cVMA

Certified Veterinary Medical Acupuncturist

Dr Luikart



What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points on the body via the insertion and manipulation of very small, sterile needles into the superficial tissues of the body.  Each treatment is carefully tailored to your pet’s unique situation.  Treatment plans are based on a thorough medical history review, careful physical examination and assessment of musculoskeletal and neurologic systems, as well as any additional diagnostics that may be required.  Our practice incorporates the cutting edge of neuroscience to provide a treatment that is a powerful adjunct to other therapeutic 100_5180modalities.


How does it work?

Acupuncture invokes neuromodulation by stimulating nerve endings and inducing local and distant changes in the body. Acupuncture enhances blood and lymph flow at the local level, relieves myofascial trigger points, modulates traffic in the spinal cord and peripheral nerves, causes release of anti-pain and anti-inflammatory molecules from the brain stem and local tissues, and improves balance between the sympathetic (stress response) and parasympathetic (rest response) nervous systems.


Anatomic and physiologic studies confirm the presence of specific “afferent” nerve endings at acupuncture points, which transport input to the peripheral nerves, associated spinal cord segments, and brain.  This information is processed and endogenous regulation results in improved circulation and organ function, analgesia, muscle relaxation, and normalized immune function.  Dr. Luikart and other medical acupuncturists study these connections and choose acupuncture sites according to the desired neuromodulatory effect.


Effects include:

Improved nerve function

Relaxation of muscles and fascia

Improved circulation and faster healing

Control of pain and inflammation


What types of conditions can you treat?

Nearly any medical condition can benefit from acupuncture.  Some of the most common conditions treated include:


Neurologic injury (such as intervertebral disc disease)

Digestive disturbances (gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, colitis, diarrhea, constipation)

Allergies (itching, ear infections, chronic licking)

Urinary dysfunction (cystitis, incontinence)

Post operative/trauma recovery

Chronic pain (from injury, surgery, or other disease process)

Behavioral problems

In addition, many hospitalized pets can benefit from daily acupuncture treatment while in our hospital.


Does acupuncture hurt?100_4659

Most pets find their treatment enjoyable, or at least tolerable.  Some pets even fall asleep during treatment. We try to maintain a relaxed and nonstressful environment as much as possible.  Some pets however, may be very sensitive, and we never force treatments on any pet.


Are there any side effects?

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years as a safe treatment for many health problems.  In the hands of an appropriately trained professional, acupuncture is very safe.  On occasion, some pets may seem lethargic or even a little worse for a day or two after the first treatment.  This usually passes and the pet feels much better.


What is a typical treatment like?

First Appointment: On your first visit, Dr. Luikart will book an entire hour to spend with you and your pet.  This visit is very important, because every case is different and we need to thoroughly understand your pet’s specific situation.

Dr. Luikart will perform a complete physical examination, including a careful evaluation of your pet’s musculoskeletal and nervous systems.  One of medical acupuncture’s main tenets is that appropriate treatment stems only from appropriate diagnosis.  Therefore, Dr. Luikart may recommend further workup prior to setting a treatment program, which could include diagnostics such as bloodwork or radiographs.

Dr. Luikart is trained in osteopathic myofascial palpation and trigger point diagnosis.  This helps to identify fascial restrictions and painful spots, directs attention to specific joints or body parts, and guides the selection of points for acupuncture treatment.

Finally, Dr. Luikart will proceed with needling.  We often go very slow and easy on the first treatment since we do not want pets to find the treatment stressful.  First treatments may only involve needling of 3 or 4 points, although this is highly variable.  The success of treatment does not depend on the number of needles used.  Often we may use adjunct therapy at this time such as laser or massage.  The needles often stay in for 10-15 minutes, and we may incorporate electrical stimulation in some patients.  Once the fascia has relaxed, and the tissues have responded, the needles may fall out on their own, or Dr. Luikart will remove them.

Follow up appointments: During subsequent appointments, various parts of the initial visit will be repeated, but normally follow up treatments will take about 30 minutes.

How many times do animals need to be treated?

100_4960-001Often 2-3 treatments lasting 20-30 minutes are given in the first 2 weeks, then the frequency is tapered to what is appropriate for each case.  Depending on the type of illness, severity of symptoms, and overall health of the pet, this may be once weekly, once per month or two, or simply as needed.



Does acupuncture always help?

Not always.  Like any treatment, we see a few miraculous cases and a few do not respond at all.  The majority of pets will get some significant benefit.  Acupuncture does not replace regular veterinary medicine and other treatment modalities, and we do encourage a thorough diagnostic workup prior to initiating treatment.  Every animal is different and the benefits may increase over time.  Acupuncture is a valuable adjunct tool for many problems and can often reduce dependency on more invasive or side effect prone treatments.

How much does acupuncture cost?

The initial consultation and treatment as described above is $180, and all follow up visits are $70.

Hospitalized patients are treated on a case by case basis and prices range from $45-65 per treatment.

Please call our hospital to schedule an appointment with Dr. Luikart or give us a call for more information.


Dental Month is Back!

That’s right everybody dental month is back ! If your pet comes in for a dental cleaning during the month of February you will receive a $35 discount off the cost of the dental cleaning, and a dental kit (values at around $10).  Spots are limited so please give us a call if you would like to make an appointment. Here is a sample of a before and after picture from one of our dental cleaning.

Pre dental cleaning Post dental cleaning

By Laura Leautier, DVMDr. Laura Leautier

There’s been some recent changes in thinking regarding the best diet for cats. Many of us have free fed our cats dry food their whole lives. But in looking at what cats eat in the wild versus dry food, there’s a huge difference. Cats are carnivores, so they need a lot of protein in their diet (as long as they have normal kidneys). The typical diet of cats is mice and other rodents and birds. But since we don’t have “mouse in a can” diets, we can mimic this by feeding canned food.

When I was in vet school, we learned dry was best — lower in calories and those crunchies can help the teeth! But now many veterinary specialists are thinking the high carbohydrate content of dry food is why we’re seeing obese kitties and a lot of diabetes, chronic vomiting kitties, and other maladies, including bad teeth!

I have seen cats lose weight easily just from changing from dry to canned. It’s kind of like the Atkins diet for cats or the “Catkins diet”: low carbs with moderate to high protein and fat. This type of diet will help preserve muscle mass (which burns calories at rest), keeps them satisfied longer so they don’t feel the need to “graze” all day, seems to stop a lot of the chronic yakking up of food that we often see, and can lead to less urinary issues because they get more water in their diet when they eat canned.

Any type of high quality canned cat food052742177106C should be good for the average cat, because any canned food has less carbs than any dry food available. Whenever we eat carbohydrates, we release insulin to help bring the sugar into our cells. A little insulin is fine, but a lot of insulin release can lower the blood sugar level so the cat feels hungry soon afterwards, and they consume more dry food over the course of the day. Insulin is a fat-storing hormone so if we lower the blood insulin, there’s less rebound hunger, less weight gain, and there’s growing evidence that it results in a lower incidence of chronic inflammatory diseases, like diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.

If your cat is having some of these issues, give us a call and we can talk about possible diet changes.


The FDA has issued a recall of the Natura Pet Products which includes California Natural Dog and Cat food for Salmonella contamination. If you are feeding these diets please check 

out this link. If you are feeding these diets and your pet starts to act lethargic, has diarrhea, vomiting, fever, or abdominal pains please give us a call. 


Hey guys, did you know that more pets get lost from their families during the summer months then any other time during the year? To help reunite pets with their families, Baring is doing it’s annual Microchip-a-thon. From now until July 4th the microchip is only $36 (which includes the registration, and a year of the extra benefits).  Below is the story of Buddy an indoor outdoor kitty that was missing for 3 months…..

FoundPetImage (1)In the spring of 2007, an under nourished 7-8 month old stray cat made his presence known from a distance with a meager series of cries. Over time we gained his confidence and provided a short period of petting and rubbing. Then off he went. The next morning we saw him still around the house. We fed the starving creature and he could not get enough food that day.

We discussed our next plan and vowed that if he remained at the house we would adopt. And here begins the 5 year saga of Buddy, our loved companion. He literally captured our hearts very shortly after ‘adopting us’! He was not a cat of great need for ‘cuddly’ compassion but more so just a tag along buddy (hence his name) who was curious of everything we did. He bonded with us from the start and us with him. He was small and our thought was that he may have been the ‘runt’ of the litter. We nursed him back to health and he became a very healthy and happy cat. Over the course of these years he provided us with much laughter and joy. That’s not to say there weren’t times of great distress and adjustments needed by all of us, but he also began to mellow slowly as time went on.

Through the bad times and good times, Buddy was always there waiting to be brushed, fed and loved. He truly was part of our family and gave us such pleasure. He became our 50-50 cat as we referred to him, half the time outside and always indoors every night.

Late in 2012 our son passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. With the turmoil that ensued, Buddy began to spend more and more time away from the house…..he knew something was not right. Plans were made to relocate soon after and when the day came we boarded Buddy while we completed our move, also understanding the task we faced with Buddy adapting to a new environment.

On January 2, 2013 we picked up Buddy from the vet after a week of boarding. Futile attempts were made to allow him to adjust. He was extremely unhappy and escaped that same afternoon. Our hearts were broken. In the ensuing days, weeks and months we searched all available resources for Buddy always looking everywhere we went. We were miserable with the loss of our son and our Buddy too. We resigned to the fact that he had joined our son and tried to make peace with that.

Then on a calm day, April 1, 2013, we received a call that will forever live in our minds. Nearly three months after he went missing, someone brought Buddy into the local animal services. He was healthy and was about to be put up for adoption when he was scanned for a microchip. During his last vet visit for a wellness check in 2012 we had the microchip installed and registered Buddy with HomeAgain. Our son had tried for years to get us to do that. Thank God we did; it was a gift from our son. It was what brought Buddy back to us. We call it a miracle!

Buddy was found 8 miles from our new home and less than 4 miles from his familiar territory of our last home. He was born and raised in that area and was heading back to his home!