Removal of ear Wax Balls: If you think of dropping a marble into a sugar cone, that’s what it looks like when a ball of wax and debris forms way down in your cat’s ear canal. They usually are found just in front of the ear drum and diminish hearing as well as bother your cat a bit and keep the canal from having adequate air flow to stay healthy. We have tiny instruments that pick out the material through an otoscope cone, but it is a delicate process and they can’t move while we are in there or we may damage the ear drum.
Treatment of Abscesses: Territoriality and disagreements over other matters cause cats to bite and scratch each other. Punctures are quick to close over and form pus underneath, and usually by day 3 the kitty is running a fever and has an abscess that may need to be opened to allow drainage.
Urinary tract catheterization: Dry food on the menu is responsible for many cats’ urinary pain and blockages, and it can be life threatening. A plug forms and the cat cannot urinate, so the bladder becomes so large that it may rupture and their kidneys fail as well if it continues for very long without medical intervention. Male cats are especially prone because their urethra is small in diameter. This subject is so important that it is covered in depth here
Relief of constipation : You can tell a lot about your cat by its litter box every day. There should be a stool every day and it should be log shaped but soft like a brownie. In the event that constipation becomes so severe that we have to massage rock hard stool into smaller pieces ( through the body wall) in order to save its life, we will use medication and diet changes to prevent a recurrence.
Small Biopsies: We take tiny pieces of abnormal looking bumps or body parts so that a pathologist can tell us what is happening at a cellular level to rule out inflammation, infection, and cancer.
Fine needle aspirates: samples of cells or fluid are obtained via a tiny needle from cysts, body cavities, and abnormal internal organs guided by ultrasound
Thorough Oral/Nasal Exams: Some cats won’t say “ahhh” and let us see the back of their mouth and throat, or the inner surfaces of their teeth. A smidge of sedation lets us peek inside when the need arises.
Cats Who Vote No: We wish they could talk. We also wish they would drive themselves to the doctor and take their medication on their own.
Nature vs. Nurture: Many kittens are born to mama and papa cats who have evaded capture and domestication by well meaning humans. The street smart wariness of the parents is part of each kitten’s genetic makeup, and some attitudes and behaviors are hardwired in them regardless of nurturing provided by a human who adopts them. They have their own definition of boundaries and resist being handled in certain circumstances as a result of simply who they are. Owners are patient and gentle and often cats will learn to trust and socialize with them at home, but the medical office is a place where wariness returns. A little sedation is necessary at times simply to examine a cat in a manner safe to all concerned. We coach on medication to give by mouth prior to a visit which often does the trick.
Anxiety: A new environment and being the subject of scrutiny is often not a comfortable role for cats, especially those recently trapped by rescue groups for future placement in adoptive homes. Most of these kitties are frightened and do not have prior rabies vaccinations so we must make certain that they do not feel a level of anxiety that causes them to bite. A little sedative given to them prior to handling helps them to have no memory of being handled by strangers, and keeps all parties safe.
Fewer Office Visits Needed:
Putting a cat in a carrier and transporting it to the hospital is sometimes such a difficult process that owners throw up their hands and cats go without the medical care they need. We have advice for getting them to us and want to make the most of this one trip. Rather than make do with a partial exam on a cat who votes no (risking the need for a return visit to the hospital if a “best guess” treatment is not effective) we give the kitty a little sedative to allow us to be thorough in our exam and obtain laboratory samples or provide treatment that would not otherwise be tolerated. This greatly increases the odds that he/she will be diagnosed and treated correctly and will improve without having to come back.