Category: Health

Indoors or Outdoors?

By Jean Hofve, DVM Are you thinking about allowing your cat to go outside without restriction? To make the right decision, you need to know the facts. The average lifespan of an indoor cat is 15-18 years. For a cat…

Introduction to Homeopathy

By Jean Hofve, DVM Homeopathy is a system of medical treatment developed in the late 1800s by a German physician and chemist, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. His system follows the theory that “like cures like” proposed by Aristotle. For example, the…

Kidney Disease in Cats

Kidney disease, in the form of Chronic Renal Failure (CRF), also called Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), is a common problem in older cats. I have seen natural kidney failure in cats as young as 4 years, but it occurs far…

Living with FIV

By Jean Hofve, DVM Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a relatively “new” cat disease; it was first discovered in domestic cats around 1975. Since then it has been found that many big cats (more than 80% of Serengeti lions, for…

Mad Cow Disease and Your Pets

By Jean Hofve, DVM In December 23, 2003, the first official U.S. case of “mad cow disease” (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or BSE) was reported in the news; a second followed shortly thereafter. However, astute researchers and even the pet food…

Milk Thistle – A Wonder Herb?

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a flowering plant in the Aster family. A native of Europe, it has been used since the time of the Roman emperors as a liver tonic. Milk thistle is one of very few traditionally used…

Outdoor Safety for Cats

By Jean Hofve, DVM As you probably know, we recommend against letting cats roam freely outdoors. There are just too many dangers to make it worth the risk. However, we also recognize that the great outdoors is a wonderful place…

Pet Cancer — a “Smoking” Gun?

By Jean Hofve, DVM Many studies have shown that second-hand (environmental) smoke is a health hazard to humans, much less research has been done in animals. However, there are a few studies that shed light on the association between pets,…

Poisonous and Dangerous Plants

By Jean Hofve, DVM Aconite (Monkshood, Wolfsbane) Agaricus Mushrooms Aloe 1 Amanita Mushrooms Amaryllis Avocado (leaves, seeds) Azalea Baneberry Black Walnut Bleeding Heart Bouncing Bet (Soapwort) Bulbs (Lily, Daffodil, Tulip, Iris, Hyacinth, Amaryllis, Cyclamen, etc.) Caladium Catnip 2 Castor Bean…

Preventing Vaccine Adverse Effects

By Jean Hofve, DVM For our pets, the rabies vaccine is a legal requirement. There are similar requirements for a variety of vaccines for children entering school, and there is concern that vaccination against “swine flu” may soon become mandatory…

Preventing Vaccine Adverse Effects – 1 page summary

By Jean Hofve, DVM 1 hour before vaccination: One dose of high-EPA fish oil* One dose of antioxidants; curcumin and quercetin in particular have been found to block the ability of vaccine adjuvants to trigger a long-term immune reaction. Immediately…

Probiotics: A Dietary Powerhouse for Your Cat

By Jean Hofve, DVM There are many cats (and dogs) who need extra help with digestive and other health issues. Probiotics have helped solve these problems for many pets. The term “probiotics” (which means “promoting life”) covers a variety of…

Rabies – What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You

By Special Guest Expert, Jennifer Fry, DVM A recent nationwide survey showed that while owners are overwhelmingly compliant with rabies vaccinations for their pets, some may not fully understand the disease. The survey — conducted by WMS Marketing Services for…

Seizures and Epilepsy

There are few things more frightening than witnessing your cat or dog having a full-blown seizure—falling down, paddling with its paws, even barking or yowling. Seizures are the result of an abnormal burst of electrical signals from the brain. Possible…

Slippery Elm

By Jean Hofve, DVM As you may know, it is potentially dangerous to give herbs to pets, especially cats. Many people commonly extrapolate a dose of herbs by using the pet’s weight compared to the “standard” 150-pound human. A large…

Spaying and Neutering

By Jean Hofve, DVM About 4 million “excess” dogs and cats will be killed in shelters this year. By being a responsible caregiver and sterilizing your companion animals, you avoid contributing to this terrible problem of pet overpopulation. Kittens can…

The “Dangers” of a Raw Diet

REVISED 6/30/10 Many proponents tout the benefits of feeding meat raw to our our carnivorous feline and canine companions. But most veterinarians and self-styled “experts” claim that raw diets are highly dangerous to everyone in the household. So who’s right?…

The Importance of the Annual Veterinary Examination

Revised 8/23/16 With the current controversy surrounding annual vaccinations, many people are electing to have their pets get fewer vaccines. This has led to the assumption that they do not need to bring them in for an annual examination. However,…

The Right Weight Loss Program for Cats!

By Jean Hofve, DVM A reader recently emailed us to ask how she could help her cat lose weight. Indeed, obesity is a serious problem for our feline friends. Many serious health problems can result from obesity, such as arthritis,…

Traveling with Cats

By Jean Hofve, DVM I’ve had lots of experience traveling and moving cats by car; we’ve gone back and forth from California to Colorado (about a 22 hour car trip) 7 times over the years. I’ve learned a lot about…

Urinary Tract Disorders in Cats

Few conditions strike greater fear into the heart of a cat guardian than urinary tract problems. Myths and misinformation abound, and many people know at least one other person who has a cat with a urinary problem–or who has lost a…

Vaccination

Vaccination is an ongoing controversy in veterinary medicine today. Veterinary schools and specialty organizations are promoting fewer vaccines at longer intervals, while many practitioners stubbornly cling to their annual booster schedules. Who’s right, and what’s the truth? The Science Behind…

Water Water Everywhere, but What’s a Cat to Drink?

Everyone is familiar with the 3 basic nutrient categories: protein, fat and carbohydrate. But there’s a 4th nutrient that’s just as important (if not more!), yet it is usually overlooked by most guardians and even veterinarians—water! You may know that…

West Nile Virus and Cats

By Jean Hofve, DVM Spring is just around the corner, and with it comes a new crop of mosquitoes and, potentially, a new round of West Nile Virus. This virus, previously been found in Africa, Eastern Europe, West Asia, and…

Why Cats Need Canned Food

Cats are true carnivores, requiring a meat-based diet for optimal health. Their natural diet is prey, such as rodents, rabbits, lizards, insects, and birds. These prey consist primarily of water, protein and fat, with less than 10% carbohydrate (starch, sugar…

Why Did My Cat Pee Outside the Litterbox?

By Jean Hofve, DVM Spirit at age 20…her creaky old joints made it hard for her to access the litter box.     Spirit Essences were named for this spunky kitty! House-soiling, or inappropriate elimination, is a common and frustrating cat…

Why Fix What Isn’t Broken?

By Special Guest Columnist,  Russell Louie – Optimum Choices, LLC We are happy to welcome our guest author, Russell Louie, and his thought-provoking article on preventative holistic medicine. Do you wait for symptoms to blow up or show up before…

Does Dry Food Clean the Teeth?

By Jean Hofve, DVM Let’s get this one straight once and for all: dry food does not clean your cat’s teeth! In fact, dry food really does not benefit the cat at all. It is merely a convenience for the…

Dental Care for Cats

By Jean Hofve, DVM February is National Pet Dental Health Month! How much do you know about your cat’s dental health? Well, here’s a little refresher for you! The normal adult cat has 30 very sharp, highly specialized teeth. In…

Cats and Immune-compromised People

Cats and Immune-Compromised People By Jean Hofve, DVM It’s not so unusual any more for people to have serious immune system issues. People who are taking corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive drugs, such as gold salts, cyclosporine, or azothiaprine; who have…

Before You Get a Kitten…

Kittens have a way of turning up when you least expect them! If a kitten has appeared in your life, or if you’re getting the urge to add a new feline family member (not forgetting that there are millions of…

Arthritis in Cats

Research has shown that 30% of cats over 8 years of age, and a stunning 90% of cats over 12 years of age, have arthritis. These figures should give the veterinary community, which doesn’t give nearly as much thought to…

Animals with Special Needs

By Special Guest Columnist: Claudia Hehr* Animals are the most wonderful and precious friends we can ever have or wish for. But sometimes those wonderful friends have or can develop a special need. A cat, dog, or any animal can…

Allergic to Cats?

Millions of people are allergic to cats. Symptoms range from eye irritation to potentially life-threatening asthma attacks. One can develop an allergy at any age. Allergies most commonly develop to proteins. In cats, a protein called Fel d 1 is the primary culprit. The amount of Fel d 1 present does not differ between breeds, but can vary among individual cats. However, there are many safe, effective ways to deal with cat allergies, so you don’t have to give up your cat OR your friends!

Aromatherapy and Essential Oils for Pets

By Russell Louie – Optimum Choices, LLC There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the use of aromatherapy with animals, especially smaller pets like cats, birds, and “pocket pets” like gerbils and hamsters. Our friend Russell Louie of Optimum…

Skin & Coat Problems in Cats

REVISED 6/30/19 Is your cat “going bald?” There are many reasons why a cat might lose fur, but in a lot of cases, it’s because the cat is overgrooming: chewing the hair and breaking it off, or pulling it out…

Lawn and Garden Dangers for Pets

Many plants are toxic when eaten, but particularly bulbs. In the best case, only the bulb is a problem, and mainly causes irritation in the mouth, esophagus, and stomach. In the worst case, every part of the plant is toxic, especially to cats. Lilies are the worst offenders. A cat can be fatally poisoned simply by licking lily pollen off its fur….

BioSuperfood for Super Health

Revised 9/23/19 There are a zillion products out there that make marvelous claims about how they will improve your animal companion’s health. Many of these claims are exaggerated, and sometimes so fantastic that they seem too good to be true–and…