Animal Hospital News

Is Your Cat in Pain?

posted by Dr. Deb on March 17th, 2019 in Hospital Announcements

cat arthritis

Cats don’t tell us when they are uncomfortable or hurting.

They are stoic little creatures who don’t let us know when they’re not feeling 100%. This is a natural instinct left over from their ancestors who lived in the wild. If an ill cat in the wild let on that they were under the weather, their chances of becoming prey increased significantly.

So, how can a cat owner know when their kitty is ill? Well, it’s all about the subtle changes in behavior, attitude, and eating habits. Just the slightest change could be a sign that your cat is sick or in pain. Keep your eyes open for any of the following changes. If you see anything suspicious, contact your veterinarian immediately.

  • Decreased appetite or no interest in food
  • Withdrawn or hiding
  • Reduced movement or mobility, hesitation to climb steps or jump, “missing” jumps that used to be easy.
  • Diminished exercise tolerance and general activity
  • Difficulty getting up, standing, or walking
  • Decreased grooming (this is a BIG one! Don’t ignore it!)
  • Changes in urination or defecation habits
  • Squinting
  • Hunched or tucked-up position instead of relaxed when sleeping
  • Sensitivity or vocalization to petting or touch
  • Temperament or other substantial behavior changes for your cat

Categories of Pain

  • Acute pain

This type of pain occurs in conjunction with inflammation and healing after an injury and can last for up to 3 months.It can be caused by injury, trauma, surgery, and acute medical conditions and diseases.Acute pain generally begins suddenly and usually doesn’t last long.

  • Chronic pain

This is usually described as either pain that lasts beyond the normal healing time or pain that lasts in conditions where healing has not or will not occur.

Degenerative joint disease (DJD), also known as feline arthritis, is an extremely common, chronic, painful disease in cats, with as many as 92% of all cats showing some signs of this disease. It is also one of the most significant and under-diagnosed diseases in cats. We all assume older dogs will get some form of arthritis. SO DO CATS! The great news is, we can do something about it! You can have your TV couch snuggler back! See your vet! (See also: )

  • Persistent pain

Cats with persistent pain may need palliative care.

Palliative care is the all encompassing approach that provides cats, who have a disease that is not responsive to curative treatment, with a plan to provide an improved quality of life with pain control being the principal feature.

During regular check-ups your veterinarian talks with you about your cat and obtains a patient history. Regular check-ups should occur a minimum of once yearly, and more frequently for senior cats and those with chronic conditions. So, when you notice changes in how your cat is behaving, interacting, or his daily routine, contact your veterinarian.


Once a veterinary plan has been developed, you may be asked to monitor your cat at home. It is important that you receive verbal instructions, written instructions, and ask for a hands-on demonstration of how to administer medications and handle your cat at home.

When you are monitoring your cat at home, we recommend that you:

  • Use a notebook to record your observations.
  • Include any changes in behavior, activities, or routine even if they seem minor.
  • Schedule follow up appointments with your veterinarian to share your observations.
  • Alert your veterinary practice right away if there are changes, you have questions, or you notice early signs of adverse reactions.

Please remember – cats do not act out of spite ( It’s a waste of energy and beneath them! lol!) so any behavior change can be a sign of pain or another health problem. Being able to recognize and manage your cat’s pain can be as life preserving as any other veterinary medical treatment.

Managing Arthritis Pain in Cats

posted by Dr. Deb on March 17th, 2019 in Hospital Announcements

As many as 92% of cats will suffer from osteoarthritis

Many of these cats start to have bone changes, visible on x-rays, as early as 6 years of age! But, these stoic little creatures as wired to never show illness (lest they be eaten by bigger predators!). See…..

So what do you do once you know your kitten has Arthritis? There are more options now than ever in the past!

Your cat’s pain management plan that you develop with your veterinarian may include:

  • Disease Modulating Medications Adequan(R) is an injectable medication that acts as a strong antioxidant in inflamed joints. It is also the only medication shown to help restore cartilage. It improves the viscosity, or slipperiness, of joint fluid so inflamed joints move more smoothly. With virtually no side effects, it’s one of the best things to try first! And, your vet can teach you how to give the injections at home! (Note: Adequan is not FDA approved for use in cats, but has been used by veterinarians worldwide with excellent and safe results. Consult with your vet…)
  • Anti-inflammatory Medication- Safer anti-inflammatories are available for cats– but they have to be used carefully, with guidance from your vet. And never, EVER give your cat Tylenol or over-the-counter human medications!
  • Physical Therapy– Who knew?! Passive range of motion, massage, encouraging activity (remember when you played with your kitten? Do it again! Get out the laser toy, feed in a feeding toy that has to be rolled around the room to get the food out…) See this video
  • Laser Therapy – low-level laser (LLLT) reduces nerve pain signals, reduces inflammation, decreases swelling and improves the elasticity of tissues.
  • Pain Medications can be very effective in cats
  • Environmental changes such as using special bedding or ramps or litter boxes modified for ease of access.

Your veterinarian is committed to developing a strategy with you that provides your cat with compassionate care, optimum recovery from illness, injury, or surgery and enhanced quality of life.

Cats get Arthritis, Too!

posted by Dr. Deb on November 8th, 2018 in Cats

Cats suffer from arthritis just as much as dogs.  They just suffer in silence.   I often hear cat owners tell me that their cat has “finally learned to stay off the counters”.  Or they are worried that the cat can’t see because “he doesn’t always make it when he jumps up on the couch”.  When I ask what their cat does during the day, they usually tell me that their cats “sleep, but he’s a cat”. (OK, got me there! 🙂  )  So sometimes we have to dig deeper:  How does his activity level compare to a couple of years ago?  Last year? Arthritis in cats is a very subtle and often debilitating disease. Because cats are so good at hiding pain and weakness, we often miss the subtle signs of arthritis in many of our aging cats. SIGNS of Arthritis in Cats: Reluctance to jump up on counters or other perches that were once favored. Difficulty jumping or “missing the mark”—not quite making it to the perch. Decreased activity Increased sensitivity over the hindquarters (greater than in the past) Poor grooming, especially of the hindquarters—this may be noted as an increase in dandruff on the hindquarters. DIAGNOSIS… is based on a thorough physical examination and radiographs of the suspected area (spine, hips, knees, elbows…) TREATMENTS Weight loss is the best medicine for overweight cats with arthritis. “Complementary” Therapies: Acupuncture, Physical Rehabilitation, Cold Laser Therapy Supplements: Omega 3 Fatty Acids (EPA 15-20mg/# daily), Glucosamine/ Chondroitin, Avacado unsaponified extracts Adequan(R) injection therapy- we’ve had really good success with this!  Adequan is, essentially, an injectable form of glucosamine that travels to inflamed joints, improving the slipperiness of joint fluid, combatting inflammatory metabolites and providing building blocks for cartilage repair.  Joint Support Prescription foods are especially beneficial for cats who don’t like omega 3 supplements (or you would prefer 1 less supplement to have to “give”) Pain Medications- We have to be very careful with anti-inflammatories in cats (so NEVER give them human medication without consulting your kitty’s vet!), but newer, safer medications are becoming available for cats with arthritis.  We can use some other pain modifiers that are not necessarily anti-inflammatory to help kitties live more active lives, too! How To Help Your Kitty Live Happier: 
  • Environmental Modifications allow your disabled kitty to continue enjoying the things he loves!
  • Food and water sources on the floor
  • Lower edge litterboxes. Maybe remove the lid
  • Steps or Ramps to favorite perches
  • Encourage exercise- play with your kitty for 10 minutes daily. Try leash walking (this where you attach the leash and follow your cat, right?). Hide food around the house to stimulate hunt/ foraging activities
  • Massage and grooming
If your cat is showing you any signs of osteoarthritis, please call your vet for an appointment and consultation.  Even if your kitty is NOT showing signs of arthritis, a check up with the vet once a year can identify the little things your cat is hiding before dis-ease becomes a crisis!

Cats Can Get …WHAT!?

posted by Dr. Deb on November 1st, 2018 in Hospital Announcements

Cat disease, indoor cats
Diabetes (actually becoming an epidemic) Heart Disease
Hyperthyroidism Pancreatitis
Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease) Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Pemphigus Periodontal disease
Constipation Inflammatory/ Stress Cystitis
and much more…. DID YOU NOW that Indoor Cats are more at risk of metabolic disease than Outdoor Cats? 
  • Cats who only eat dry or canned food don’t floss their teeth with the fur of his prey with every meal, so they are at high risk of developing dental disease. 
  • Cats who sit around the house, sunning in a window, instead of chasing prey and running away from predators all day, are at high risk of developing obesity related diseases like diabetes. They are also more prone to orthopedic injuries related to poor fitness! 
  • Cats who are confined to a limited space, especially with other cats, are more likely to develop stress related illness like painful bladder inflammation (Yup, it’s a stress thing in cats (and women)!).
These conditions are often painful and life-limiting, but they can be treated!  The earlier they are treated, the easier it is, too!  Just changing a cat’s diet, for instance, or changing his environment can go a long way toward reversing or slowing different disease conditions.  “I diagnosed my 13 year old Kitty, “Spot” with kidney failure during an annual Sr “wellness” screen. All I did was change his diet and he lived another 3 1/2 years without needing any medication at all!  During the last 6 months of his life, I kept him happy and comfortable with some medication that rubbed into his ear flap once a day.  That was 4 years of great quality of life, with little effort on my part, because of a Senior early disease detection screen.  I’m really happy I did it, even though he “seemed perfectly healthy”!” ~ Dr Deb Bohnke Get your kitties to the vet this month!  Don’t let them suffer in silence!  After all, they deserve the same kindness as the dog, right? 😉

Cimarron is Celebrating Cat Health Awareness with $10 off all cat exams and 15% off all cat diagnostics this month!


Cimarron Animal Hospital Embraces Fear Free Pet Experience

posted by Dr. Deb on August 19th, 2018 in Other

Dr Deb Bohnke is now a CERTIFIED Fear Free Professional! 

While we’ve always wanted our patients to be a stress- free as possible, we’re even better now!  During 8 hours of continuing education, Dr. Bohnke learned even more tricks to help pets have a better experience during vet visits!  Our staff is actively employing our new techniques and tools with every patient to ind what works best for every individual pet that visits!  And it’s working!  Pets are happier, less aggressive, less fearful, more outgoing!  Which makes the whole visit more FUN!   Here’s how we are making a better vet visit:
  • Offering to move you and your pet to an exam room sooner, so you can let your pet off leash or out of its carrier to get accustomed to the room and explore on his own terms.
  • Continuous touch gradient to communicate calm expectations through body language
  • Considerate Approach to the patient to avoid overwhelming him
  • Massage of soothing pressure points during the exam
  • Distraction techniques like better treats, toys make the visit more fun for you and your pet
  • Soothing music in the exam rooms- good for people, too!
  • Pheromones ( Feliway and Adaptil ) that mimic kitty cheek gland scents and dog  milk gland scents – what’s more soothing than that?  These help to down regulate the sympathetic (flight or fright) nervous system
  • Swaddling blankets, Thundershirts, Thoracic wraps, Calming Caps and Doggles induce a state of calm
  • Therapeutic Laser to induce endorphins– you can’t even feel it! It just works great on cats!
  • Pre-Visit Sedation available on request.  Newer drugs, smarter drug “cocktails” give us more options, even for sick and elderly pets!  Call ahead for a  Kitty and Canine Calming Kit .
  • More proactive in clinic sedation—  with safer drugs we can sedate even elderly and sick patients!  Sometimes we can reverse the sedation and they don’t even have a “hangover!” 
  • Pet Parent education on crate training ad car training to make the trip to and from the clinic less stressful
  • Cat FriendlyCertification by the American Association of Feline Practitioners means that our doctors and staff take extra continuing education in considerate cat handling of cats and we have modified the clinic to accommodate the sensitivities of kitties!  This makes the cat visit more Fear Free!  See How We Are Cat Friendly Certified
  • Happy Visits are just for fun (and free)!  Come in with your pet’s favorite treats, a comforting blanket or article of clothing from home and just hang out for a few minutes.  Let our staff give treats and walk your pet around the clinic, do some comfort and relaxation training.  Call ahead to schedule during our quiet times so we can give your pet the best experience. 
  • Monday 12:00 pm-2:00 pm*
    Tuesday 12:00 pm- 2:00 pm
    Wednesday 9:00 am- 2:00 pm
    Thursday 12:00 pm- 2:00 pm
    Friday 12:00 pm- 2:00 pm*
    Saturday 12:00 pm- 1:30 pm
                   *Other times may be available depending on schedule, call ahead
Fear Free handling and reducing Fear, Anxiety and Stress FAS in pets during visits is (surprisingly) a new and innovative way of managing pets in veterinary clinics.  It’s changing the profession’s “just get ‘er done” approach to pet exams.  It’s making veterinary health teams consider not just the physical well-being of their patients, but their emotional well-being as well.   Sure, for some pet owners, a pet is “just an animal”.  All this “fuss” might seem silly.  But for pet parents whose pets are their children, Fear Free is the only way to treat them!  Our team at Cimarron wanted to get in on the ground floor of this veterinary care revolution because of one of our patients (just ike our own pets) is a precious being! If you want a more stress free experience for your pet, see the handouts below.  Bring them in or discuss them with our scheduler when you make your pet’s appointment.  

Find other Fear Free tips in our Fear Free Library 

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