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February 11, 2009

Health : Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Filed under: Health Care, Uncategorized — myminizoo @ 6:25 pm

This week has been a tough one for my sister’s cat Cassis. He was hospitalized last thursday as he had a blocked urinary tract. He was put under anesthetic , deblocked and flushed out. They kept him for a few days with a catheter in to monitor him. But, when they brought him home he was still peeing blood and in very small amounts. So, he went to my school on Tuesday to continue treatment. ( I’m currently studying to be a vet tech) We’re all hoping he’ll pull through!

This prompted me to write a post on urinary tract problems. I will discuss symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment. I think its important that people realize that this is a very common and sometimes preventable problem.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease is a broad term that covers a wide range of problems. Most cases involve bladder inflamation ( cystitis) , with or without bacterial infection, and with or without either struvite or oxalate crystals.

The symptoms of FLUTD vary but usually include one or more of the following:

  • Innapropriate elimination ( ie peeing all over the house) or frequent litter box trips that only produce droplets of pee
  • Painful or difficult urination ( dysuria)
  • Crying or yowling while trying to pee
  • Blood in urine  (hematuria)
  • obsessive licking of the genital area

If you notice any of the above symtoms you need to get your cat to the vet right away! This ia a critical condition as if the cat is blocked the urine cannot exit the bladder and can cause swelling to the point of bursting.

At the vet they will take blood tests to see if the cats kidney’s are functioning well. They will also do a urinanalysis to check if there is infection, and also examine the urine under the microscope to check for crystals.

If the cat is not blocked the treatment will vary due to the type of crystals found and the presence or absense of a secondary infection.

If the the cat is critically blocked the vet will put the cat under anesthetic, insert a catheter and  flush out the bladder. They will usually hospitalize the cat for a few days and keep the catheter in to give the bladder a chance to flush out and heal.

There are serval things that predispose your cat to getting urinary tract problems.

First of all there are two types of crystals that commonly occur in cats. They are struvite and calcium oxalate. Struvite tend to form in an alkaline urine PH( >7.0), while oxalate tend to form in very acidic urine PH(< 6.0). Struvite crystals are far more common in cats than oxalate.

  • Male cats > Female cats-This is because the male cats urethra is much smaller and shorter than the females, so if crystals form they are more likely to block.
  • Stress- usually due to sudden changes in the cats life
  • Obesity- Yet another problem that caused by letting your cat get fat!
  • Genetics- Vets think that genetics may play a role as well
  • Diet-  Cats fed a dry diet versus a wet one are much more likely to develop problems with struvite crystals.   This is because a dry diet causes the cat to produce a concentrated urine. Cats tend to not drink a lot and rely on thier diet to provide them with the water they need. When the cat is on dry food his bladder empties much less and this allows the mineral that form the crsystals to be able to get together easier, and it is also an ideal environment for bacteria.
  • Dry food is also high in carbohydrates which promotes an alkaline PH which is the enviroment that struvite crystals prefer.

Since you can’t do much about your cats genetics I think its important to focus on what you can control in your cat’s life namely diet and stress.

In my opinion all cats should be few either a canned food or raw food diet. Cats are obligate carnivores, they are not designed to eat cereal based dry food which is usually 40% grains. This causes a whole host of problems such as obesity, diabetes and of course FLUTD.

Raw food is the ideal diet as this will manage the PH so crystals don’t form and also be high enough in water content so that the cat is not dehydrated. This diet will also prevent obesity, as it is low in carbs which cause cats to gain weight as they can’t digest them properly. In addition it will promote good dental health.

If you don’t feel you can go to raw then at least feed a good quality canned diet. The canned diet will also prevent crystals as it is low in carbs and high in moisture. The only thing it doesn’t do is clean the teeth, so they will still have to be cleaned professionally.

Remember you have control over what your cat eats, so feed him a healthy diet and you’ll have many more years together!


January 14, 2009

Winter Fun

Filed under: Actvities with your pet — myminizoo @ 7:37 pm

When I went outside this morning  I was shocked at the temperature. I was bundled up to the point where I could hardly walk, but I’m sure I still got frostbite. The dogs require a lot of exercise every day. After about 45 minutes at the park they were still racing around. So I was inspired to think of some things that I could do indoors to burn energy during the cold months.

1) Busy Toys- Kongs are the best toy ever invented. The look like little red snowmen, and are hollow inside. This allows you to fill the inside with food. I fill mine with treats and peanut butter and freeze them. It takes the dogs at least half an hour to get every last bit out!

Less successful is ball in the house… fun but someone usually gets hurt!

2) Bones- A raw beef marrow bone will keep the dogs busier even that a kong. Plus it has the added benefit of cleaning the teeth and exercising the jaw.

3) Games- Find it!- This is a fun game that keeps the dog busy searching around for a treat or toy. Start by telling the dog to sit and stay, show him the treat or toy and then place it a few feet away in plain site. Then return to the dog and tell thim to “Find it!”  The first few times you might have to go with the dog and show him where it is. But, when he gets the picture you can start placing the treat or object further away. You are only limited by the size of your apartment.

4) Hide and Seek- This is fun, but you have to come to terms that you are always the one hiding! Start the same way as with Find it. Place your dog in a sit stay and go hide somewhere easy. Then call your dog. When he finds you make a big fuss over him. This is actually how they start to train search and rescue dogs.

4) Tricks- Teaching tricks can wear your dog out mentally. I’ve always said its way easier to wear a dog out mentally than it is physically. THis winter I’ve been working on “roll over” with both dogs, as well they both learned to turn ( spin in a circle to the left) and to circle ( circle an object). These are fun party tricks and help to keep them active

5) Practise obedience- I try to practise obedience in the apartment, asking both dogs to sit/stay or working on heeling. Its tough to do in a small space, but it gets them working.

Of course you’ll still have to venture outside eventually, so I suggest you get some good snowpants ( thanks Mike) hat and mitts ( thanks Mum)

December 28, 2008

Top 10: Weirdest Dog Names

Filed under: Humor — myminizoo @ 2:49 am

Working with dogs I deal with unoriginal dog names on a daily basis. I’ve seen Jack Russel Terriers named Jackie, American Eskimos named Eskie, and Goldens named Goldie. This is in addition to countless Buddys, Baileys, Maxs, and Luckys! Come on people get original!! However some clients go totally the other way and come up with some strange ones!

1.  Couscous ( I know its good to eat… but for a pug??)

2. Vitamin ( hmmm…what kind of vitamin)

3. Bullfrog ( I’ve heard all animal names like Moose, Bear, Tiger…but come on!)

4. Pillow ( maybe the dog is cuddly with its owner… but I wouldn’t be doing any snuggling with this one!)

5.  Moushu ( what does this even mean?)

6.  Bingo ( hello? his brothers name is Ringo. seriously)

7.  Senor Pato ( He only answers to his full name)

8.  Granny Pants ( poor dog)

9. Ying Tsai ( no no… the owners aren’t asian, or the dog… he’s a collie)

10.  Big ( this is a weird name… but also unoriginal, the dog is an Irish Wolfhound,the largest breed in the world)

December 27, 2008

Wow… that’s a new one…

Filed under: Humor — myminizoo @ 1:44 am

Having unusual looking dogs we usually get quite a bit of attention when we go out with them. However, we always get the same questions and comments.

We hear these everyday at least once!

1) What kind of dog is that? ( Roxy)… then invariably they present their opinion of what breed THEY think she is!

2) Wow, they look alike, is the big one the other ones mom( sister, cousin etc)?

3) She (Roxy) really looks like a fox ( wolf, coyote)

4) Wow, look at their eyes, do shelties normally have blue eyes?

5) They’re so well groomed, do you brush them? ( no no they’re just natually fluffy) lol

We’ve joked that we need to get t-shirts printed up with the neccessary information!

I complain but I don’t really mind in the end. It gives me the opportunity to tell people that they are both rescues. People are always amazed that these are dogs people didnt want!

Blue-eyed Beauties

December 14, 2008

Grooming Jobs

Filed under: Grooming — myminizoo @ 1:13 am

Just wanted to give you an idea of what I do all day. Here are a couple of before and afters…

Kashu Before

Kashu Before

And After....

And After....


Beckam's bad hair day

Beckam's bad hair day



Beckam with his game face 🙂


Cloudy Before

Cloudy Before


Cloudy looking Clearer

Cloudy looking Clearer


Abi Before

Abi Before


Abi After!

Abi After!



The icing on the cake, baby Shih tzu 🙂 

 All in a days work….



December 13, 2008

Space Concerns

Filed under: Humor — myminizoo @ 2:26 am
It's my bed!

It's my bed!

Seriously Alaska!!!

Seriously Alaska!!!


Ok guys I know we live in a small apartment, but seriously, is is really that bad???

December 9, 2008

All in a Day’s Work

Filed under: Humor — myminizoo @ 9:06 pm

Mike is ever so patient with the cats, as clearly they run the show around here. Just look what happens when he tries to go to work!

This looks like a comfy place to sleep!

This looks like a comfy place to sleep!

What's better that one cat on your briefcase????

What's better that one cat on your briefcase????

Gotta love cats…..

December 6, 2008

Remembering Zeffie

Filed under: Personal — myminizoo @ 3:02 pm



Sadly, my childhood dog, Zeffie passed away this weekend at my parents home. She was 13 years old. I was very saddened by the news. Zeffie was my first dog, the dog I first trained and the dog that really sparked my interest in dogs. She was a determined Siberian Husky with a mind of her own, but also a soft side. She showed up on our doorstep when I was about 11 and refused to leave. She seemed to know that this was were she wanted to be. We placed lost dog ads and posters, but to no avail. It looked like she was there to stay. She was my dog until I left for Montreal about 4 years ago. I felt the change from country to city life would be much for her as she was getting older. She lived a happy free life roaming my parents farm, and I didnt want to take that away from her.

I have many happy memories of her life. She was an a dog with a unique personality. She was quite independent, but would occasionally come over for a pet and put her head on you. She was a challenge to train, you couldnt force her to do anything, she had a mind of her own. That is, until I discovered treats! She promptly learned how to speak, play dead and spin in addition to all the normal commands. We used to go on long walks together, and she would always be about 20 feet ahead doing her own thing. The best memory I have is when I tried to train her to carry a pack on hikes. When we came to the first hill she stopped at the bottom and barked, refusing to come up!

Though its hard to let her go, I am happy that she is at peace now.  I know she lived the best life, and died quietly in her bed. You can’t ask for much more.

 I will never forget her.

December 1, 2008

Make a Mutt

Filed under: Humor — myminizoo @ 2:55 pm

 Taking a break from studying I found this site that allows you to combine dog breeds with amusing results. Yes, sadly this is what I do with my spare time!  Try it out!


November 21, 2008

AM Routine

Filed under: Humor, Personal — Tags: , , , — myminizoo @ 3:01 am


We had a visitor the other day. They seem to be few and far between, hmmm I wonder why! It just got me thinking how bizarre our lifestyle must seem to an outsider. It’s so pet-centric, that we must appear to be mildly insane. The craziest time of day, hands down, is the morning. It also happens to be the time that I am the most fragile, as I am really not a morning person. It goes something like this.

6:30 am- Sencha starts his morning meowing shtick. If I want to sleep in for another hour or so, I let him meow, but if I am getting up soon it sort of functions as a really annoying alarm clock.

6:45 am -Alaska starts trying to open the door by standing up and jiggling the knob, a trick he recently picked up (yay)

7:00 am- The alarm rings. I hit Mike so he hits snooze.

7:05 am- The dogs, woken up by the alarm come over in an attempt to get us up. They proceed to lick anything that is in reach. Toes, fingers, mouth, whatever.

7:10- When that doesn’t work they start to wrestle with eachother, running around the bedroom tackling eachother.

7:15- Eventually we wake up. One of us usually comments ” The natives are restless, time to get up.”

7:20- As soon as we open the door the cats freak out, meowing and trying to trip me on my way into the kitchen

7:25- YUM, nothing like the smell of fresh chicken liver first thing in the morning, or the slimey feeling of raw chicken pieces

7:30- As the cats devour their breakfasts, we get ready to go outside. I place Roxy in her crate so she doesn’t pee on the floor ( sometimes she just can’t wait) Once in there she whines at an incredibly high pitched frequency until we are ready to go. Hats, mits, boots, coat? Check. poo bags and treats? Check. Two very excited dogs? Check.

7:35- We head out on our usual hour long am walk in the bitter cold. It’s better if you stay moving!

8:35- Everyone is happy, fed and exercised, and we get ready to face the day. I need COFFEE!

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