Animal Health Foundation Blog

Archive for the ‘Cats’ Category

Sweetheart Fights Cancer With Angel Fund’s Help

Monday, July 24th, 2017

In September, 2015, Elaine Leonard’s 14-year-old cat, Sweetheart, was not feeling well.  She was coughing and lethargic and Elaine decided she should take her to see her veterinarian.

She lives in Orange and OC Veterinary Medical Center, owned by Dr. Jeffery Horn, was not far from her home.  Doctors there ran tests and examined Sweetheart, a Maine Coon breed.  They found respiratory problems and a large mass in her chest. They suspected cancer and lymphoma.  She also had some other physical issues.

Dr. Cooper (a veterinarian who no longer works at the hospital) told Elaine that “this is serious.  Sweetheart has a very large mass and you’d better think about things and what you want to do.”  She added that the animal might need surgery.

“I told them that I was not going to let my 14-year-old cat have surgery,” Elaine said.  She was concerned because of Sweetheart’s age and because of the expense – she did not believe she could afford an operation.

Dr. Horn prescribed antibiotics and pain medication and referred Elaine to Veterinary Cancer Group in Tustin, which has several oncology specialists on staff.  Sweetheart was examined there in November by Dr. David Bommarito, who is board certified in both oncology and radiation oncology.

Dr. Bommarito told Elaine that her cat might be treatable with chemotherapy.  But she chose to provide palliative care.  “My option for choosing palliative care was that   I couldn’t afford the expense of chemo treatment and didn’t want her to suffer any possible side effects,” Elaine said.

A retiree on a fixed income, she applied to Angel Fund for help with her bill.  Her request was granted.  Veterinary Cancer Group also contributed.  Elaine said that “of course” she appreciated the help and said that she also appreciated what Angel Fund has done to help many other pet owners.

She took Sweetheart home – although she had regular appointments with Dr. Horn.  The cat did pretty well for a few months.  “She was walking around and eating and drinking until shortly before she died” on March 25, 2016, Elaine said.  “On that last visit to Dr. Horn, he said to bring her in when you’re ready” for euthanasia.

But, she said, Sweetheart seemed to be doing OK. “I had her on morphine and I just wanted to keep her comfortable. She was eating and drinking and responding.  A week before she passed – she was a big cat and she’d never done this before – she pawed her was up on my bed and she got very close to me and she lay down next to my body.  She never had cuddled with me before.”

Within a few days Sweetheart was gone.

Angel Fund Helps Mango Overcome Chronic Disease

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

 

Some five years ago, Linda Lockwood found a stray cat outside her home in Vancouver, British Columbia.  “She was nobody’s cat.  I contacted shelters and looked around the neighborhood.  Nobody claimed her.  The shelter asked if I could keep her.  I had another cat but I thought I could take care of two.  So I said, OK, fine.”

Linda named her new charge Mango. She soon discovered that the new family member had some chronic health problems, particularly constipation.  “She had to get enemas once or twice a month,” she said.

Linda came to Southern California to go to school in June, 2014, with Mango in tow on the airplane.  (Her other cat had died.)  She enrolled at Pierce College in Winnetka, intending to become a veterinary technician because of her love of animals. But she ran into some trouble with a chemistry course and decided to change her major to computer science.  She did well – all A’s and one B –but decided to enroll at California Institute of the Arts to pursue her first love, music.  She will complete course work this spring on a master of fine arts degree.  Earlier, she had earned a bachelor’s degree of music in jazz studies from Vancouver Island University in British Columbia.

In November of 2015, Mango’s chronic constipation became a very real problem.  “She would poop everywhere – on my bed, on the floor,” Linda said.  “Sometimes, she’d try to poop and she couldn’t, so she’d cry. She was losing weight. She was extremely bloated because her colon was impacted.”  Linda had little money to spend but she took Mango to Happy Pets Veterinary Center in Valencia.

“They took x-rays and they told me how severe the problem was.  I just didn’t know what I was going to do,” Linda said. “Eventually, Dr. [Jane] Kelly told me, Mango was going to require surgery to remove almost the entire colon. She said she would have to refer me to a surgery specialist and that could cost more than $5,000 – and I just didn’t have that kind of money. But Dr. Kelly said that Mango’s life is at risk.  If you are unable to afford it, she’ll have to be put down.”

Dr. Kelly put Mango on intravenous fluids, multiple enemas, laxatives and pain medication for three days to stabilize her condition and suggested that Linda apply to Angel Fund for help. She did and received a grant of $275, a sum matched by Happy Pets.

But Mango still needed surgery.  “I found myself looking on the ground for coins, when I walked on campus,” Linda said.  “It only cost $1.20 to get rice and beans at my school, so that’s what I was eating.” Dr. Kelly suggested going to a low-cost clinic.

Linda talked to several clinics before selecting one. She raised money on a website, the largest contribution coming from a friend in Canada.  Mango got her surgery but the stitches holding the incision together quickly came out. “It was a gruesome thing. Her intestines came out,” Linda said.  “Everybody thought she was going to die.  I took her back and they sewed her up again – and the stitches came out again.”

This time, Linda found another veterinarian (on Christmas Eve), who repaired the damage and ordered Mango confined to a cage for a month as she healed. “After that month she was cage free and was as good as new,” Linda said.  “Today, she’s doing very well.  I give her everything that I can.”

And, she added, “I can’t believe I went through all of that.  I had to get extensions on all my essays and I had to leave classes early to pick Mango up.”

Linda believes that Angel Fund played a major role in saving her cat’s life. “Without them, I don’t know if Mango would have been in condition for what came next. The time she was in the hospital [at Happy Pets] bought some time for me to make plans for what to do.  I’m very grateful for what Angel Fund did for Mango.”

She also praised Dr. Kelly: “She is very compassionate and very caring.  I know she did it for Mango.”

And, she said, “It’s amazing how people, even if they don’t know you, they love animals.  I’m very grateful for what everyone has done for Mango.”

 

6 Natural Remedies for Your Dog’s Itchy Skin

Thursday, April 27th, 2017
Skin allergies are a common problem among dogs and owners and veterinarians alike are constantly fighting to make dogs more comfortable. Dogs, like people, can be allergic to just about anything, from their food to the environment. While there are many different medications to help deal with allergy symptoms, many of us prefer to go a more natural route first to make sure we’ve tried all of the safest options. Always consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog any treatments or supplements, but if you’re looking to try some natural allergy remedies, consider these.

#1 – Proper Bathing & Grooming

This might not seem like a “natural” remedy, but if your dog suffers from environmental allergies, frequent bathing and grooming is going to offer much needed comfort. Using soothing ingredients such as oatmeal in the shampoos will help your dog’s skin feel softer and will relieve the itching they feel. Depending on the severity of your dog’s allergies, bathing once a week will greatly improve your dog’s condition. Brushing and combing will also help remove dead skin and coat, promoting new growth and removing allergens on top of the skin and fur.

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IMAGE SOURCE: MAUREEN_SILL VIA FLICKR

#2 – Feed a Wholesome Diet

Your dog’s diet might be completely overlooked if your dog only suffers environmental allergens. But the more natural your dog’s diet, the better their bodies are able to fight off and heal from allergies and external stressors. If your dog is allergic to certain ingredients, you’ll want to avoid those ingredients and replace them with something else. Grain-free diets are highly recommended for dogs with any type of allergy (or no allergy at all!) but if this isn’t possible, consider feeding organic, whole grains. The better your dog’s nutrition, the better their overall health and their ability to fight off allergens.

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Image source: Oleg. via Flickr

#3 – Try Apple Cider Vinegar

Organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider offers many benefits to dogs suffering from allergies. If your dog has hot spots or itchy skin, you can apply a 50/50 solution of apple cider vinegar and water to your dog. Put the solution in a spray bottle for easy use. This same spray will help repel fleas and ticks – a common allergen for many dogs. You can also use it to clean out your dog’s ears. The acidity of the mixture makes for an environment that yeast can’t live in – and yeast infections are typically caused by allergies. Make sure that the acidity isn’t too strong for your dog – some prefer a different mixture than the 50/50 suggested.

#4 – Manage Heat & Moisture

Your dog’s environment plays a large role in the health of their skin. Be sure to keep your home appropriately cooled and use a humidifier in dry conditions. When grooming, avoid using a high heat blow dryer, which might be faster but wreaks havoc on your dog’s sensitive skin.

Make sure your dog always has access to fresh, filtered water. Dogs on a dry kibble diet are in need of more moisture in their diets than dogs that eat a home-cooked, raw, or wet food diet.

#5 – Consider Applying Calendula

Calendula is a member of the sunflower family and offers several benefits to dogs with allergies. Either made into a tea or gel, applying calendula to your dog’s skin will help relieve inflammation from allergies. It also has natural anti-fungal and anti-yeast properties. It also helps improve your dog’s immune system when taken internally, so consider this as an allergy treatment as well.

#6 – Add Omega-3 Fatty Acids Supplementation

Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely beneficial to dogs with allergies. These oils help improve your dog’s skin and coat by keeping the natural oils present in healthy amounts. Omega-3s also work as anti-inflammatories and greatly reduce the intensity of allergens. There are many Omega-3 fatty acids on the market, and you’ll want to look for something that works quickly to support a soft, silky coat, minimize normal shedding, and maintain the skin’s normal moisture content, such as Project Paws™ Omega-3 Select soft chews.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional. 

Pet Loss Books for Children – by Corey Gut, DVM

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Which Large Companies Make Pet Foods – Beware

Friday, October 14th, 2016
You may be shocked to see so many products are made by large corporations who are also in the human food production business (hint: they’re using leftover scraps to make pet care products to capitalize on the waste).

Mars Petcare Brands:  Pedigree, Cesar, Goodlife Recipe, Nutro, Whiskas, Royal Canin

Including:  Cesar Canine Cuisine Bistro Entrees, Cesar Canine Cuisine Softies Treats, Pedigree+ Premium Ground Entrees, Pedigree Good Bites Senior, Whiskas Purrfectly Dry Food, The Goodlife Recipe Wholesome Bites

Nestle Brands: Purina, Purina One, Alpo, Beneful, Busy Bone, Chew-rific, Deli-Cat, Dog Chow, Fancy Feast, Friskies, Gourmet Gold, Mon Petit, HiPro, Kibbles and Chunks, Kit ‘N Kaboodle, Mighty Dog, Pro Plan, T-Bonz, Purina Veterinary Diets, Whisker Lickin’s

Including: Chef Michael’s Canine Creations (Dry, In Sauce and Pate), Alpo Chophouse, Mighty Dog Select Menu Seared Filets, Pro Plan Shredded Blend, Purina One Natural Blends Dog and Cat Food

Colgate-Palmolive Brands: Hill’s Science Diet, Hill’s Prescription Diet

Including: Hill’s Science Diet Culinary Creations Cat Food, Hill’s Science Diet High Energy, Science Diet Indoor Cat, Hill’s Science Diet Lamb Meal & Rice Adult Dog, Nature’s Best Dog and Cat

Proctor & Gamble Brands: Eukanuba, Iams

Including: Eukanuba and Iams newly formulated pet foods with prebiotics, Eukanuba Adult Sensitive Stomach Cat Formula, Eukanuba Healthy Extras Dog Biscuits, Eukanuba Custom Care, Iams Savory Sauce for Puppies, Iams Savory Sauce Active Maturity

Del Monte Foods Brands: Meow Mix, Kibbles n’ Bits, 9Lives, Milk-Bone, Pup-Peroni, Pounce, Gravy Train, Jerky Treats, Canine Carry Outs, Snausages, Nature’s Recipe (Cat and Dog), Meaty Bone

Including: Snausages Breakfast Bites, Milk-Bone Essentials Plus Biscuits and Treats, Nature’s Recipe Farm Stand Selects Wet Food, Nature’s Recipe Healthy Treats, Meaty Bone Chew-lotta treats, Kibbles n’ Bits Wholesome Medley, Pounce Lickittys Treats, Pup-Peroni Ribs Treats

Angel Fund Helps Rescue Sabrina, a Bossy Feline

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

sick brinaAbout three years ago, Julie Waters found a young female cat she named Sabrina alone in a parking lot. “She was a stray and she was tiny,” Julie recalled. “But ever since she came into my house – she was just a couple of months old – she has been in charge. I have another cat and big dog but Sabrina is the boss.”

In December, 2014, more than a year after finding the kitten, Julie noticed that the usually high energy Sabrina was lethargic. “She wasn’t interacting with the other pets. She was just laying around a lot. I thought maybe she was sick but I didn’t think it was anything serious.  One of my friends saw her after a week and she said, ‘She doesn’t look good. You should take her to the vet.’ I was thinking the same thing. Sabrina wasn’t getting any better. So I took her in and it was like, oh no, this is really bad!”

Julie took her cat to Redwood Animal Hospital in Redondo Beach not far from her home.  Dr. Veronica Pirotto examined Sabrina and found “a mass of some sort. Sabrina was very uncomfortable when she was touched in the abdomen.  Two days later, they did exploratory surgery. They called me while she was still on the table and said that they needed to send her to a specialist. She was going septic. All the tissue around her organs was infected and there was some leakage into her kidney. If she doesn’t have surgery to remove the infected tissue she is going to die of kidney failure, the doctor said.”

Julie took Sabrina home with medications to keep the infection at bay and made an appointment with Dr. Mary Somerville at Animal Specialty and Emergency Center, also in Redondo Beach.

Dr. Somerville performed surgery to remove the infected tissue. “But she called me and said that Sabrina needed a second surgery to removed one of her kidneys. Dr. Somerville quoted me a price of $3,500 for the first surgery and the hospital stay. And with the second surgery and longer stay, it was going to more like $5,500. But she honored the original quote. She was really wonderful.”

At the time, Julie had just earned a graduate degree at Cal State Dominguez Hills and had begun the 3,000 hours of practical work needed to qualify for a license as a marriage and family counselor. She is self supporting and had little income. She did not know how she could pay for the surgery. “It was very scary,” she said. “My cat was just a year and a half old. She is not supposed to be dying of kidney failure. And I was like, I can’t afford this [second surgery].  I could barely afford the exploratory surgery.”

The doctors and staff at Redwood told Julie about Angel Fund and helped her apply. They also told her about other foundations that might help.  And, she said, they provided her with free services.  “I am very thankful to them and to Angel Fund because that whole time was so stressful. My grandmother passed away in surgery a week before Sabrina had her surgery and that whole time just feels like a blur.” Julie now has her counseling license and is launched on her career.

And Sabrina still runs the house. “She has so much energy,” Julie said. “She is totally the boss of the house again. . . . She is a hussy.  That’s what she is.”

 

Tarzan Recovers From Encounter With Car, Thanks to Angel Fund

Friday, April 8th, 2016

 

On an August morning in 2014, Robin – a writer and editor who lives in West Los Angeles – heard a cat crying in her courtyard.  “He was yelping and he was really upset. He just kept crying and crying,” she said, “and his mouth looked swollen.”

Robin, who asked that her last name not be used, recognized Tarzan, a friendly cat who lived outdoors in the neighborhood after his owner died. eH “At first I thought he had an abscessed tooth. I could see he was in pain. . . . So I took him inside and started researching veterinarians on the internet.”

Robin took Tarzan to the Westchester Veterinary Center and Cat Clinic. “When I got there, I explained that I was not Tarzan’s owner and that I was just a concerned animal lover. The staff . . . was really friendly and concerned about the cat,” she said.

A staff veterinarian said Tarzan’s jaw was shattered and that he needed surgery. She said that he probably had been hit by a car.

“I sat inside the exam room with Tarzan and I was massaging him and talking to him and the [clinic] staff was talking about what to do.  Someone came in after a while and said that I could apply to Angel Fund for Tarzan’s surgery. I said I was willing to chip in $150. Angel Fund and the clinic paid the rest.”

Robin and Tarzan Feb 2016Dr. Henry Yoo, owner of the clinic, did the surgery. “He did an amazing job with Tarzan,” Robin said. “There were a couple of months of feeding him with a turkey baster and going to the clinic regularly for follow-up appointments. The people at the clinic were always friendly and helpful.”

The time she spent caring for Tarzan had an impact on Robin.  “After a couple of months,” she said, “I got very close to him. And I didn’t want him going back outside. It’s healthier for cats indoors [where they’re unlikely to pick up diseases] and there are no cat fights.  And I certainly didn’t want him to get hit by a car again. So I just had to adopt him.”

And, she said, “without Angel Fund, who knows what would have happened to him. He might have been put down. I really think that the clinic and Angel Fund saved his life.”

Today, she said, you can’t tell he had surgery. “He’s a special cat. He eats normally and has a good appetite. He has a lot of energy. He’s very clean and he was always really friendly. One day I woke up and he was lying there beside me.” She thinks Tarzan is “teen or pre-teen” in age.

Are she and Tarzan living happily ever after? “He is.  I am.”

Are you doing it together. “Exactly.”

Disaster Plan for Pets

Friday, April 8th, 2016

Veterinary Pet Insurance (r) - a Nationwide Insurance Company

Pet Disaster Preparedness

Plan Ahead to Protect Pets

A natural disaster or an emergency can take place when you least expect it. In moments of panic or chaos, you may not have enough time or foresight to evacuate pets with their daily essentials. Planning ahead for pets will save you valuable time—and keep your pets safe.

Storing an accessible “grab and go” bag for pets and having a well thought-out exit strategy will have you prepared for the worst.

Check out our infographic below for quick tips on preparing yourself—and your pets—for a disaster plan.

For more in-depth info on preparing pets for a disaster, read “5 Natural Disaster Tips for Pet Owners.”

Pet Disaster Preparedness Infographic

Angel Fund Helps Beautiful, Pregnant Boots

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

 

Boots and the Holy Spirit 009Last Spring, Scott and Barbara Peterson had a visitor to their Tustin apartment – a beautiful black and white cat who was affectionate and loving.  The animal – they named her Boots because of her white paws – soon became a part of the family.

But after a few weeks they realized that Boots was putting on weight, that she was pregnant.

When the time came for Boots to deliver her litter, it quickly became clear that something was wrong.  She was in extreme discomfort and seemed unable to give birth.  Scott searched the internet and found a website which suggested that a mother cat who was in labor for five hours should be taken to the hospital.  He went back to the internet to look for a nearby veterinarian and decided to take Boots to Veterinary Surgical Specialists in Tustin not far from their home.

There Dr. Diane Craig performed a cesarean section and delivered two kittens. She told Scott and Barbara that one of the kittens was simply too big to be delivered by a normal birth.

Scott, a retired electrician, did not have the financial resources to pay the hospital and surgery bills. He applied for an Angel Fund grant and was approved for $500, an amount that the clinic matched. He and Barbara are grateful for the help they received and the care Boots was given.

Today, Boots, who was spayed when her kittens were delivered, is an indoor cat.  One of the kittens still lives with the Petersons.  “She [Boots] is really pretty.  She’s black with white paws and a white tuxedo look,” Scott said.  And she is healthy and happy. He    e H

“I thought it was miraculous that she came to us when she was pregnant,” he said. “If she hadn’t done that, she probably wouldn’t have survived.  She just walked in the door. We didn’t realize she was pregnant at first.  But if she hadn’t come to us, she would not have lived.”

Did she have some inkling that she might need help? “I don’t know,” Scott said.  “Maybe somebody else sent her our way.  Maybe somebody from above.”

Lost or Found a Pet?

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Try www.fidofinder.com

OR

www.tabbytracker.com