Henry is a young adult cat who has never “loved” coming to the hospital, but in recent visits, has tended to get more and more upset when coming for appointments. It used to be that he would growl/hiss and sometimes not allow his temperature to be taken, but he has progressed to kicking, rolling and trying to get away no matter what is being attempted.
We never like our cats to be stressed and have always tried to decrease stressors in the hospital in multiple ways. Recently some of the staff attended a conference on Fear Free training and we wanted to implement some of the ideas to help all cats (especially the ones that show their stress outwardly) have a more positive visit with us. This gave way to the introduction of the “Kitty Comfort Kits”.
The basic Kitty Comfort Kit includes some cat treats, catnip (Opie approved!), and a Feliway pheromone wet wipe. There is a brochure to give more information about what the contents are about and how to use them. Anyone can pick up a Kitty Comfort Kit for their cat at no charge and utilize it before an appointment.
For cats, like Henry, who get more stressed during their appointments or those that get so upset that it is difficult to obtain samples or perform a reasonable exam, owners can also purchase medications with their Kitty Comfort Kit to help calm the cat further. Often, it is 1 dose given about 4 hours before the appointment. We have liquid and capsule variations. The capsule can sometimes be opened and put in a small amount of canned food for cats that like canned food for a treat. So far, we have had many success stories using the Kitty Comfort Kits with and without medications. While, it doesn’t make every upset cat completely fall in love with the idea of coming to the veterinary hospital, it has made a huge difference to decrease stress and improve ability of sample collection or procedures.
For Henry, after medications, we were able to obtain all samples (blood and stool) and able to do a more thorough comprehensive exam. Because Henry is a success for the Kitty Comfort Kit and just a little happier with coming to see us, we would like to make him the April feline Pet of the Month!!
Max is a senior Rottweiler dog that presented to the Animal Hospital for a broken toenail. Antibiotics were started to prevent infection as the nail was fairly short and Max was uncomfortable. Over the course of a few weeks a tumor emerged from the base of the same toenail. The mass was biopsied and malignant melanoma was confirmed. Malignant melanoma is a particularly aggressive cancer especially when found in the mouth and toenails in dogs. Max’s owner was interested in a consultation with an oncologist to look at what treatment options were available. In the course of evaluation at the oncologist, a mass on the spleen was found. Half of spleen tumors in dogs are malignant cancers (likely different than the melanoma) and half are benign. Surgery was recommended to remove the spleen and have it analyzed to see if it was cancer. An amputation of the affected toe was also recommended. After analysis, further decisions on treatment would be made by Max’s owner. Max underwent a splenectomy and a toe amputation with removal of the lymph node nearest the toe. The tissues were sent to the laboratory to a pathologist to examine. A very aggressive malignant melanoma with excellent margins was confirmed in the toe in addition to another soft tissue tumor in the same toe. This was a very rare occurrence to have two tumors in the same area. The draining lymph node had no cancer cells evident. It was determined that the spleen was a benign mass and surgery was curative. Although Max had a very aggressive cancer removed, he has a reasonable prognosis for normal longevity as surgery went very well. At this time, Max’s owner is monitoring things and he is doing very well. Max is an unusual case and an amazing dog and that is why he is AHS’s canine Pet of the Month.