Monthly Archives: November 2017

Veterinarian Blog | Winding Hill Veterinary Clinic: Fit vs. Fat: Cat Edition

By Terri Heck

We all want our feline friends to be happy and healthy. By taking an active role in their weight management we can achieve that goal. Overweight cats can be predisposed to diabetes, heart and joint disease among other health issues. Discuss a weight loss program with your veterinarian to determine the best approach for your cat. Age, current condition and other medical factors need to be assessed in order to have a comprehensive, successful and safe weight loss plan. Weight loss in cats must be accomplished very slowly – 1-2% per week is recommended. Too rapid weight loss can result in severe liver disease in the cat.


In natural surroundings a feral cat has to hunt for its food. Food acquired is accompanied by physical exertion. There is rarely too much input in that setting. Import can be regulated for our house dwelling cats.

  1. Drop the amount of food fed 10-15%, at most, to start.
  2. Feed a measured amount twice daily. Avoid free feeding.
  3. Change to a less caloric dense food.
  4. Discuss prescription diets available for overweight cats with your veterinarian.
  5. Toss measured kibble one at a time–have the cat work for the food.
  6. Alternate the location of the bowl throughout the house–have the cat hunt for the food.
  7. Food dispensing toys are available for the cat. This is another way for them to work for the food.


Increasing output or exercise in conjunction with a healthy diet change can not only aid in weight loss but in the actual physical condition of the cat as well.

  1. Supervised play with cat safe toys.
  2. Rotate toys so there is always “something new”.
  3. Wind-up toys.
  4. Interactive toys, i.e. fishing rod type toys.
  5. Tunnels, obstacle course, etc.
  6. Climbing posts.
  7. Add a playmate.
  8. Pick sedentary cat up and move to another area of the house.
  9. Leash walking for the trainable type.


Monitor your program and progress by weighing your cat every 3-4 weeks. Adjust diet and exercise to regulate and continue safe and effective weight loss. Remember 1-2% weight loss per week is the maximum recommended. As the pounds go down you may have the added advantage of your feline friend becoming more active. Achieving your weight loss goal for your cat will be instrumental in improving his/her quality of life. Remember to start with an exam for your cat and discussion with your veterinarian. Certain medical conditions can lead to obesity and lethargy. Annual exams continue to be very important for the overall health of the cat. Above all enjoy your cat and your relationship!

Veterinarian Blog | Winding Hill Veterinary Clinic: Vaccine Reactions in Pets

Vaccine Reactionsby Allison Frankowski, CVT, Winding Hill

What is a vaccine reaction? Well, first we have to know what a vaccine is so that is were I am going to start. The definition of a vaccine is a substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and provide immunity against one or several diseases, prepared from the causative agent of a disease, its products, or a synthetic substitute, treated to act as an antigen without inducing the disease (Google Dictionary). So, the main goal of a vaccine is to provide immunity, which is a stimulation of the immune system. This process activates the inflammatory responses. Now we have reached the vaccine reaction potential.

Thus, vaccine reactions in pets can happen immediately or  anytime in the 48 hours following a vaccination. Here is a list of short-term expected mild reactions that can happen after vaccination:

*Joint and/or muscle soreness
* Lethargy
*Mild Fever
*Reduced Appetite/ Loss of Appetite
* Reluctance to walk/run
*Pain at the injection site

Vaccine reactions can be an allergic reaction to any part of the vaccine, including stabilizers, preservatives, and the actual infectious organism.

Some more life threatening or serious reactions include:

 *Difficulty breathing
*Facial Swelling
* Itchy / bumpy skin (Hives)
 *Sudden death

If any of these symptoms occur, please seek medical help IMMEDIATELY!

There are also injection site reactions, which are different than vaccine reactions. These include:

*Site of injection is still painful after 2 days
*Lump that continues to grow at injection site
*Lump that is still present after 1 month

So, how do we prevent vaccine reactions well?

*Be sure your veterinarian knows your pet had a reaction, what the reaction was, and what vaccine caused the reaction
*Avoid giving several vaccinations at once, but rather spread them over time
*Don’t vaccinate at a vaccination clinic if your dog has had a reaction before, because they are not equipped to individualize treatment which your pet needs
*In extreme cases, avoid the vaccination altogether, (if your veterinarian feels this is the proper course).

If your pet does have a reaction, there are ways your veterinarian can manage them by pre-medicating with antihistamines and/or corticosteroids to help your pet react normally to vaccines. (vaccines: allergic reactions)

Veterinarian Blog | Winding Hill Veterinary Clinic: Pet Food Nutrition Advice

by Dr. Patty Gabig

Pet-food-regulatory-1704PETlabel (002)The​ ​Pet​ ​food​ ​industry​ ​has​ ​grown​ ​so​ ​much​ ​in​ ​the​ ​past​ ​decade​ ​that​ ​deciding​ ​what​ ​type​ ​of​ ​food​ ​to​ ​feed​ ​your pet​ ​can​ ​be​ ​an​ ​ordeal​ ​and​ ​even​ ​worse​ ​when​ ​you​ ​have​ ​a​ ​pet​ ​with​ ​a​ ​dietary​ ​intolerance​ ​or​ ​disease,​ ​like kidney​ ​failure.​ ​​ ​It’s​ ​hard​ ​not​ ​to​ ​be​ ​persuaded​ ​by​ ​all​ ​the​ ​advice​ ​“out​ ​there”​ ​from:​ ​​ ​advertisers,​ ​breeders,​ ​the pet​ ​store​ ​check​ ​out​ ​clerk​ ​or​ ​on-line​ ​(Food​ ​Babe,​ ​The​ ​Dog​ ​Food​ ​Advisor)​ ​to​ ​name​ ​a​ ​few.​ ​​ ​Who​ ​to​ ​trust?​ ​The best​ ​way​ ​to​ ​make​ ​an​ ​informed​ ​decision​ ​is​ ​with​ ​your​ ​pet’s​ ​veterinarian.​ ​Your​ ​vet​ ​understands​ ​your​ ​pet and​ ​can​ ​help​ ​you​ ​find​ ​some​ ​good​ ​options​ ​or​ ​point​ ​you​ ​in​ ​the​ ​right​ ​direction.

Nutrition​ ​Tips/Advice
-If​ ​you​ ​pay​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​for​ ​a​ ​pet​ ​food​ ​it​ ​doesn’t​ ​guarantee​ ​that​ ​it’s​ ​a​ ​good​ ​diet.
-It’s​ ​not​ ​the​ ​ingredients​ ​but​ ​the​​ ​​nutrients ​that​ ​are​ ​most​ ​important​ ​in​ ​a​ ​good​ ​food.
-If​ ​the​ ​label​ ​does​ ​not​ ​list​ ​the​ ​calories,​ ​put​ ​it​ ​back.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​a​ ​red​ ​flag​ ​for​ ​possible​ ​quality​ ​control​ ​issues.
-If​ ​the​ ​product​ ​does​ ​NOT​ ​indicate​ ​that​ ​it​ ​meets​ ​AAFCO​ ​requirements,​ ​don’t​ ​buy​ ​it.
-Recipes​ ​for​ ​homemade​ ​or​ ​raw​ ​meat​ ​diets​ ​MUST​ ​meet​ ​AAFCO​ ​requirements
-Many​ ​on-line​ ​or​ ​in​ ​print​ ​​ ​for​ ​homemade​ ​recipes​ ​and​ ​raw​ ​meat​ ​diets​ ​do​ ​NOT​ ​meet​ ​AAFCO​ ​requirements
-Consult​ ​with​ ​a​ ​veterinary​ ​nutritionist​ ​if​ ​you​ ​are​ ​going​ ​to​ ​feed​ ​a​ ​homemade​ ​or​ ​raw​ ​meat​ ​diet.
-“Pre-Mix”​ ​diets​ ​where​ ​you​ ​just​ ​add​ ​the​ ​meat​ ​usually​ ​do​ ​not​ ​meet​ ​AAFCO​ ​requirements.
-The​ ​first​ ​ingredient​ ​on​ ​a​ ​pet​ ​food​ ​label​ ​does​ ​not​ ​always​ ​mean​ ​that​ ​that​ ​is​ ​the​ ​main​ ​ingredient​ ​your​ ​pet​ ​is getting​ ​when​ ​fed.
-Pet​ ​food​ ​labels​ ​can​ ​be​ ​misleading.​ ​In​ ​order​ ​to​ ​really​ ​tell​ ​what​ ​%​ ​protein,​ ​carbohydrate​ ​or​ ​fat​ ​is​ ​in​ ​a product​ ​you​ ​must​ ​calculate​ ​it.​ ​​ ​A​ ​good​ ​calculator​ ​can​ ​be​ ​found​ ​at:​ ​​ Click​ ​on​ ​the​ ​“​help”​ ​button and​ ​select​ ​“​guaranteed analysis converter”​ ​from​ ​the​ ​drop​ ​down​ ​menu.​ ​Enter​ ​the​ ​pet​ ​food​ ​product information​ ​in​ ​here. 
-Cats​ ​are​ ​​carnivores,​ ​blueberries​ ​may​ ​sound​ ​great​ ​but​ ​they​ ​gain​ ​no​ ​nutritional​ ​value​ ​from​ ​them.
-The​ ​term​ ​“human​ ​grade”​ ​can​ ​be​ ​misleading.​ ​If​ ​a​ ​pet​ ​food​ ​lists​ ​itself​ ​as​ ​human​ ​grade​ ​then​ ​ALL​ ​of​ ​the ingredients​ ​must​ ​be​ ​human​ ​grade.​ ​Not​ ​just​ ​one​ ​ingredient,​ ​like​ ​chicken,​ ​for​ ​example.

Reliable​ ​Internet​ ​Sources
-Pet​ ​Nutrition​ ​Alliance​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​
-Petfoodology-Tufts​ ​University VMC​ ​Clinical​ ​Nutrition​ ​Service
-Blog​ ​by​ ​Dr.​ ​Lisa​ ​Weeth​ ​DVM​ ​DACVN​ ​​ ​​
-AAFCO​ ​(Association​ ​of​ ​American​ ​Feed​ ​Control​ ​Officials​ ​information​ ​for​ ​Pet​ ​Owners)
-Q&A​ ​with​ ​Rebecca​ ​Remillard​ ​Phd,​ ​dvm,davcn-search​ ​various​ ​topics​ ​​ ​​ Select:​ ​“Ask​ ​the​ ​Nutritionist”​ ​from​ ​the​ ​menu​ ​bar