Westbury Animal Hospital
713.723.3666 · 4917 S. Willow Dr. Houston, Texas 77035 

Annie's Shenanigans

Happy Healthy Cat Month

Monday, August 27, 2018
September  is Happy Healthy Cat Month!

This month we should be thinking a little more in depth on how we can ensure our cats not only have a long life but one full of comfort and enrichment. You wouldn't go to the pet store and bring home a new fish without a bowl...water...those water drops...a mini sandcastle...food...etc...etc. The same sort of thought should go into what a cat needs. Cats are natural climbers. They enjoy being up high on a perch to prevent stress. We all know a stressed out cat will be urinating on our beds. I'm not saying build one of those amazing cat rooms you see on Pinterest, but a tall cat tree is almost a necessity for a cats well being. 

Because cats can be stressed so easily, and the majority of the time go unnoticed by owners, please keep these suggestions in mind: 

1. Every household needs one litter box per cat plus one. Be sure to clean these daily! 

2. Add pheromone plug-ins/diffusers to several rooms in your home.

3. Keep your cat active by changing toys and weekly and providing catnip on occasion. 

One of the most important things you can do for your cats health is an annual exam with a veterinarian. We can keep track of your pets weight, discuss nutrition, monitor their  dental health, and much more! For some of you, the thought of bringing your cat to the vet is very daunting. We suggest bringing out the carrier a few days in advance or better yet leave the carrier accessible all the time! Perhaps even offer meals in the carrier to make it a comfortable safe haven. You can spray pheromone sprays in the carrier as well. Schedule your vets visit in advance with an appointment to cut down on wait times. Try to choose a quieter time of the week (i.e. Wednesday afternoons are usually pretty quiet at most vet clinics vs a Saturday morning). Speak to your vet about calming treats and sedatives if needed. 


Moving with your cat

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

This month my human parents have moved homes. My cat companion and I have been taken to a new place to live. Now, I am really fast at adjusting to new environments and love to explore new places. The cat, however, is how do I say this nicely?.....sensitive.

When moving with a cat there are several things you need to take into consideration to keep his or her delicate nature in balance. The last thing anyone needs is a stressed out cat! Stressed out cats lead to cat urine in your bed or hours of vocalizing. Every time.

Before the Move:

Keep in mind that the stress of moving begins well before the actual move. Make sure you keep the cat area the same as much as possible before moving. For example, dont decide to move the litterbox into a different room as you are packing to suit your needs. 

Stick as close as possible to their normal feeding schedule.

Start laying our boxes for moving weeks in advance. These can be fun for some cats and allows them time to adjust to new smells. 

Set out the cat carrier at least a week in advance so they are not startled into hiding just when you are ready to catch them.

If you are moving your cat via airplane and especially if you are moving out of country, discuss your move with your vet weeks to months in advance. Some countries require special testing up to 6 months prior to moving.

During the Move:

Consider where you will keep your cat while the move is happening. A friends house or a boarding facility are both safe options to prevent lose cats and minimize stress as much as possible. 

If your move is long, only open the carrier when absolutely necessary in a secure location. Avoid opening the door to soothe your pet if they are in a location easy for them to escape. 

After the Move:

Cat proof your home. Tuck away all cords and hazardous substances.

Set up a room in your new home with the cat litter box, food, and water and allow your cat a day or two alone in this new room to settle down and feel secure. Spend time in this room performing low key activities such as reading.

Once your cat becomes curious and starts to explore, you can start to open your home up room by room to allow your cat to explore the new area. 

As necessary with cat ownership in general, make sure your pet has plenty of areas to hide and climb. Cats feel the most secure when they are high up and can survey their surroundings alone. Set up your cat tree or other perch items in advance. 

Be sure to offer your cat plenty of affection if they desire your interactions and try not to change too many other variables (their food choice or litter type). 

Cats can get heartworms too

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hello Blog Followers!

I just love every month when my persons give me a big lump of peanut butter with my heartworm medication to keep me healthy. It is a delicious treat! My parents even have fun reminders set on their phone that will bark at them every month to remind them of my treat... Sometimes the barking startles me and I bark back, but that's another issue...

Did you know that cats can get heartworm disease too? It is true that cats are more resistant to getting infected but they are susceptible none the less! And to top it all off there is no medical treatment for cats! Many cats will die suddenly from heartworm disease when they go into acute respiratory distress and no one was the wiser!

Some cats will have subtle signs for years such as coughing, weight loss, or even infrequent vomiting. It is recommended that all cats stay on monthly heartworm prevention in this part of the world, even if they are indoors. Don't mess with the deadly diseases! Get those feline friends on some prevention!

Check out more information about feline heartworm disease here:

Grain Free Gaining Ground

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Grain Free" is a term that has become extremely commonplace in the pet food industry. It is amazing how much this trend has seeded itself into the mind of consumers who are now perpetuating the market of grain free diets. This is likely a spill over from the human side of nutrition with human gluten intolerance, but the fact remains that <2% of the 1% of pets with food allergy have a sensitivity/allergy to grain. That is an extremely tiny amount of the general population!

The purpose of the information in this blog is to help you understand what the term "Grain Free" implies and to take the taboo out of non-grain free diets. 

So lets get the facts straight:

1. Whole grains contribute valuable nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids to the diet. Dogs and cats can utilize carbohydrates for their health and for energy in place of proteins, but usually a balanced diet should include some meat proteins and carbohydrates

2. Generally grain free diets will be higher in protein. Some animals need less protein such as in the case of older pets with kidney insufficiency.

3. If your pet has been suspected of having a food allergy your veterinarian will not be placing that pet on a grain free diet first for a food trial. The most common allergens in dogs are beef, chicken, and dairy.

4. Grains are high sources of carbohydrates. However, pets still need carbohydrates so in place of the grains, these pet food companies often use other sources of carbohydrates such as potatoes, tapioca, peas or carrots.

Choosing a pet food is a confusing endeavor. You should be working with your veterinarian to choose the appropriate diet and feeding quantity for your pet. There are so many factors that go into choosing a diet including age, breed, concurrent illness, skin condition, body condition score, how you need to feed to fit your schedule, other pets in the house who will be eating this food, and of course cost. There is not one answer for everyone, and not something you should NOT be asking your pet store clerk to help you decide. 

Heat Stress

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The weather is getting warmer and everyone is enjoying the outdoors. I personally enjoy the dog park and laying on the patio for hours watching dogs walk by. 

However, owners need to be very careful in this part of the country with high incidences of heat stress. 

Check out this link to our "The Heat is On!" article by Dr. Betzen on common issues and signs of heat stress

Heat Stress

Please keep these tips in mind:

1. Never leave animals in a car unattended even for a few minutes. 

2. Always provide shade and water for pets outside

3. Walk and jog your pets in the very early hours of the morning

4. If you suspect even mild heat stress in your pet wrap them in a towel doused in cool (not cold) water and bring them to the veterinarian immediately!

Spring Break Cuties

Friday, March 28, 2014

Spring break has come and gone. Westbury Animal Hospital was in a flurry of activity as pets from all around came to board, be treated, or just to have their check-ups. Over the course of the last two weeks, Westbury Animal Hospital boarded close to 356 dogs and cats! There were so many wonderful animals and great stories to tell. I wanted to highlight some of the cutest I found while roaming the halls.

The Frenchie Ottoman. This senior fellow feels compelled to take a nap at the expense of his companion who is very obliged to act as a head rest!

This is what I like to call, "The Sniper" move. This kitty is so affectionate he will grab hold of anyone who passes by to encourage a head pat or a treat. 

What would spring time be without puppies!!! A whole pile of puppies blessed us with their presence when mom needed some veterinary assistance. All puppies and mom are doing great!

This boarder was found with remnants of Mom's goodbye kiss on her forehead. So nice to be loved!

Thanks to all the lovely critters who came to visit over Spring Break. You brought us much joy!

Lily Toxicity in Cats

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

There are a lot of household items that owners forget can be a source of toxicity to our pets. Thigpen (named after the "Peanuts" character), has allowed us to use him as a case example this month for lily toxicity. 

There are many different types of lilies, and while beautiful to have in flower arrangements, many of them have different toxic effects on cats. See the different concerns below:

Lily of the Valley: Cardiac Arrhythmias

Calla LilyThese plants contain calcium oxalate needles throughout the plant. The irritation from these crystals result swelling of the gums and foaming the mouth. Luckily this is the least toxic of the lily family, but can still cause some pain.

Day Lily, Easter Lily, Tiger Lily: These lilies can cause acute renal failure and death. All parts of the plant are toxic, even the pollen. 

This is Thig, a very affectionate and loving cat who decided a day lily was his food item of choice. Thig was very fortunate that his owner discovered the eaten plants quickly and sought treatment for him right away. Thig stayed in the hospital for 2 days for a decontamination period to prevent any toxic effects and went home no worse for the wear. 

If your cat is suspected of ingesting lilies, it is recommended to seek veterinary care immediately for further recommendations. 

Breed Highlighting: The Domestic Short Hair

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Little Nugget is our representative of the Domestic Short Hair. Found as a stray, she is the pure model of everything that makes up a domestic breed, whether it has long, medium or short hair. Even though the DSH is not necessarily a registered breed, they encompass the vast majority of cats that we see on a daily basis. 
  • The DSH is of mixed ancestry through mixed breeding over time. Perhaps they are the "American" of the cat world?
  • Do not confuse a Domestic Shorthair with an American Shorthair or British Shorthair, both of which are recognized by the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) breeds.
  • A pedigreed cat will produce a litter of kittens with the same features, coat quality and temperament. With the domestic breeds, kittens of the same litter can look and act different.
  • DSH's account for 95% of the domestic cat population in North America
  • These cats make an ideal family pet and pets for the first-time cat owners. Their low maintenance and friendly attitude make them ideal first pets for children. 

Breed of the Week: The Siamese

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's about time we talked about cats! 

Monkee is our model and representative of the Siamese breed this week. Monkee is a wonderful senior pet who has become a frequent flier at Westbury given his age and is very special to the staff.

The first thing I think of when I hear Siamese cats, are the famous Siamese twins in the movie, Lady and the Tramp. Boy, those cats always frustrated me! But then I think about the stigma movies like those have made on different breeds and I remember how loving Siamese cats can be.

Fun Facts:

  • Siamese cats date from the 1700s, where they were honored and kept as temple cats. 
  • The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA ) recognizes four colors for Siamese: Seal point, Blue point, Lilac point, and Chocolate point

  • President Rutherford B. Hayes was given a seal point Siamese cat called Siam in 1879. Siam was the first ever ‘ambassador’ of the breed to the USA.

  • Queen Elizabeth II was given a seal point kitten as a wedding present to celebrate her marriage to Prince Philip.

  • These cats are prone to gum disease and tartar build-up on their teeth. Ask your veterinarian how to clean your cat's teeth.

  • The Siamese breed is also known for having a physiologic nystagmus (involuntary eye movement) where it appears as if their eyes are almost vibrating if you look closely.

  • A Siamese cat’s eyes are blue.
  • Siamese cats need to vocalize and some are extreme talkers.

Where did the cats go?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Where did all the cats go?

When I was young my mom put me with all the cats when we would go to work.  She kept saying something about my immune system, not really sure what she meant.  But she never let me hang out with the older dogs, I always had to be with the cats.  It was fun to watch the cats, I got to know them pretty well.  

But for the last couple of months I have been with the BIG dogs! It's been so fun being with the big dogs I forgot about the cats. So I went to find my friends, but they were GONE!

A new cat ward has been set up for healthy kitties boarding. This new area is part of the original Westbury building, but has a large wall open to the luxurious courtyard and fountain so the cats can fantasize about a beautiful oasis day and night. This area is also much quieter and has less traffic because cats are so sensitive. I miss my kitty friends, but know it is in their best interest to be in their new place.


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