Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Holiday Hours

We will be closed all day Saturday Dec 31 through Monday Jan 2. This year the Rose Parade and bowl games are on Monday (I have been told this is due to the NFL Sunday football broadcast rules). So I get a 3-day weekend to try to get my voice back!

Happy New Year, everybody! Have fun and drive safely.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Well, it's that time of year again. My first day back in the office after Christmas vacation and I suddenly have a whopping case of laryngitis.

This, for those of you who don't know, appears to be my specialty. It's an annual wintertime tradition, and can have effects that linger for many weeks. So I am trying to not talk AT ALL. Of course, it's not actually going according to plan. Writing every thought down is hard, so I am whispering to my assistant. Bad idea. Sigh.

I can't even hum holiday tunes without making things worse. But the cats are happy about that.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Vacation Hours

I'm headed off on my annual pilgrimage to the frozen wastelands of the Upper Midwest. From tomorrow (Thursday Dec 22) through Tuesday Dec 27 the office will be open limited hours and only for administrative and retail purposes. Hours will be:

Thurs Dec 22 - 9 AM to noon and 5 to 6 PM
Fri Dec 23 - 9 AM to noon and 5 to 6 PM
CLOSED ALL DAY SAT Dec 24, Sun Dec 25, and Mon Dec 26
Tues Dec 27 - 9 AM to noon and 5 to 6 PM

If your cat needs medical attention during this time, please call Veterinary Specialists of the Valley at 818-883-8387.

Have a very Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Cat's Meow Charitable Fund

In these difficult economic times we are encountering more and more hardship cases where long-term clients have encountered unforeseeable economic hardship followed by their beloved cat becoming seriously and unavoidably ill, or someone adopts a stray cat who turns out to be pregnant (and that certainly entails unexpected expenses), and occasionally someone presents us with an injured stray cat or kitten that needs medical or surgical care AND a home (and needs to stay here or in foster care in the meantime).

A charitable fund to help underwrite the often tremendous costs of some of these cases is something I have considered starting for a long time. Dr. Alice Villalobos started her Peter Zippi Fund for helping clients pay for cancer treatments for their pets in this same way, and it has helped hundreds, if not thousands of animals over the years.

For the time being, The Cat’s Meow Charitable Fund will be just an internal funding mechanism for subsidizing care for certain of our cases which we have determined would most benefit from it. We are accepting donations in any amount to the fund. They are not tax-deductible at this time, but we will be looking into the feasibility of taking that step. You can mail us a check – make payable to: Cat’s Meow Veterinary Clinic but please put “Cat’s Meow Charitable Fund donation” on the memo line. You can also ask to have your donation added to your bill when you are paying at the front desk.

I look forward to telling our clients about the kitties we (and YOU) have helped through this fund!

ETA on 12-17-11: A very kind person dropped by yesterday to make a very generous donation to the CMCF. S/he has been a FB fan for a while and saw the post about the fund. Huge thanks to ______ for your kindness!

38 Cases of Bat Rabies in Los Angeles County in 2011

LA County Veterinary Public Health has published this latest information about the tremendous increase in bat rabies this year.


Circumstances of rabid bats found in 2011

1. Palmdale. Bat found in airplane hangar.
2. Agoura Hills. Bat found sick, alive, outside.
3. Saugus. Bat found on ground in daylight in parking lot.
4. Los Angeles. Bat found stuck to sticky rat trap in apartment near Downtown LA. Eight people and one dog exposed.
5. Bellflower. Bat found dead on front porch.
6. Agoura Hills. Bat found sick, alive, outside.
7. Cerritos. Bat found on ground at a high school campus.
8. Canyon Country. Rabid bat being carried around by a dog, in the dog's mouth, in a condo complex.
9. Glendale. Bat found in elevator shaft in apartment complex.
10. Santa Clarita. Bat found in pool.
11. Newhall. Bat found in backyard on lawn.
12. Baldwin park. Bat found near a car.
13. Newhall. Found alive on ground outside, next to garage door.
14 and 15. Woodland Hills. Two rabid bats found on front lawn on same property. An additional bat in home tested negative for rabies.
16. Hollywood Hills. Bat found on ground outside home.
17. Topanga. Bat fell into fish pond.
18. Valencia. Found outside a home.
19. Santa Clarita. Found dead outside a home.
20. Malibu. Bat was found outside the home on a patio.
21. Valencia. Found alive on ground near school.
22. Stevenson Ranch. Dead bat found outside front door.
23. Newhall. Bat found alive clinging to stucco wall in daylight, high above ground.
24. Valencia. Bat on floor in bathroom at a school latched on to student's sandal, but reportedly did not bite the student.
25. Burbank. Bat found alive, at a private home.
26. West Covina. Bat found alive, at a private home.
27. Valencia. Bat found clinging high up on a wall at a school.
28. Pasadena. Found dead in a basement.
29. Arcadia. Found on ground, alive, outdoors.
30. La Verne. Bat found dead outdoors.
31. Monrovia. Bat found dead outdoors.
32. Canyon Country. Found alive outdoors while gardening.
33. Long Beach. Found along a bike path.
34. Agoura Hills. Bat hanging in daylight from eaves of home, one wing hanging down.
35. Santa Clarita. Found alive outside an elementary school.
36. Sylmar. Found alive near front door.
37. Glendora. Found alive on floor of warehouse.
38. Santa Clarita. Bat found on front porch. Seemed dead until lightly touched with stick - it squeaked.


Get those cats in for annual checkups and vaccinations (which always include rabies vaccination at Cat's Meow Veterinary Clinic, regardless of the cat's lifestyle and owner misperceptions of risk)!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


As I was putting together a supply order this morning, Alison and I both remarked at how many potassium supplements we seem to go through. We sell that stuff like candy most of the time - so many patients are on it, and I have a cat at home that gets it, too (Boochi).

So I thought it would be worth a quick discussion here - a sort of review of when and why and how.

Older cats often develop low serum potassium levels - in most cases this is linked to a decline in kidney function, but not always. And it can precede detection of kidney problems in lab testing by a few years, so I often look at it as an early warning sign. And as if that's not bad enough, low potassium in and of itself can cause kidney function problems. So the two are very closely linked. Low potassium levels can be extremely dangerous because it is vital in electrical conductivity of heart muscle and if it gets too low the heart can literally STOP.

When your cat has low potassium, most of the time it needs to be on long-term (generally permanent) supplements to avoid serious medical consequences such as muscle wasting and pain, anemia, and kidney failure. We have three main ways of providing that extra dose of this vital mineral: gel, granules, and tablets.

The potassium gel is administered orally by dosing syringe - we will show you how to do this and how much to give when we prescribe it. If you are unsure how to do it after instruction, you can bring your cat in for a demo.

Potassium granules for mixing into canned food are available and this is often the best solution. The taste is disguised by both the flavor added to the granules in the factory and the flavor of the canned food. A measuring scoop comes with the product.

Potassium tablets are another alternative. You need to be able to administer pills to your cat successfully and consistently. We recommend a water chaser after pilling and can provide a syringe for this if you want to do it.

Follow-up lab testing is essential to determine the right dose of potassium for your cat. You will need to continue giving the supplement as directed and come back for testing in a timely manner or treatment may fail to help your cat. We virtually never tell a client to merely give the first bottle of supplements and simply stop and go on your merry way!

Take-home message for cats with hypokalemia: consistent administration of supplements and timely follow-up lab testing, probably for the life of the cat to avoid dangerous complications.