We care for your cats like they’re our own!
Your cat is an important part of your family, and when he or she is ill, you want the best medical care available. At The Cat Doctor of Monroe, we offer high-quality, full-service veterinary care for your special companion.
Bathing and Grooming
The Cat Doctor of Monroe provides grooming services to clients. Services include baths, mat shaving, brush-outs, ear cleaning, nail trims, and lion cuts. We are not groomers, but we understand that some cats aren’t able to care for themselves and end up in a bind! Free nail trims are available with every examination.
Your cat’s behavior affects every interaction you have with him or her every day. Behavior dictates everything from mealtime to playtime to downtime. When a cat has a behavior problem, the consequences are far reaching and can threaten the bond you have with your cat by damaging the loving relationship that should exist between you. In extreme situations, a serious behavior problem can lead to euthanasia or surrender.
Cats can have a wide variety of behavioral issues, from litter box problems to severe anxiety and aggression issues. We are well qualified and experienced in diagnosing and addressing behavior problems with an approach that combines skills from veterinary clinical medicine and behavioral medicine. Our goals are to help cats and their owners live together comfortably and safely and to help restore the bond between cats and their families.
Dealing with behavior problems can be frustrating for cat owners. Some cat owners may even blame themselves because their cat seems to have an emotional issue. Although behavior problems can result from emotional trauma or physical mistreatment, in many cases, the problem can arise from simple misunderstandings or learned associations that were inadvertently established during training.
In addition, several medical conditions can look a lot like a behavior problem. Scheduling an evaluation with our staff is the first step on the road to resolving the problem.
Before you and your cat suffer through one more day of inappropriate behavior, call us. Let’s talk about how we can help.
Chronic Disease Management
Today, it is fairly common for cats to live into their late teens and early twenties. As our feline companions are living longer, we are becoming more aware of the chronic diseases of geriatric cats. At The Cat Doctor, we are knowledgeable about the chronic diseases of our cats and stay up to date on the latest advances in feline medicine to help your cat live life to its fullest. Regular veterinary care and follow-ups are vital to the health of cats affected by chronic disease. Below are some of the common chronic diseases we manage for our patients:
- Renal failure
- Urinary tract disease (cystitis, crystals, and stones in the urinary tract)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Heart disease
Comprehensive Physical Exam
What can a vet tell about my cat from a physical exam?
If you watch Dr. Scutchfield examining your cat, you may think most of it just looks like a kitty massage, but a physical exam can give an enormous amount of information about your cat’s health. Here is some of what she is looking and feeling for during an exam:
- Body condition (overweight, underweight, or just right)
- Muscle mass (loss of muscle with arthritis or internal diseases)
- Pain status (cats are great at hiding pain)
- Mental state (alert, disoriented, depressed, nervous, etc.)
- Gait (how the cat moves around the room, any limping, etc.)
- Signs of dehydration (sunken eyes, loss of skin elasticity, and sticky gums)
- Ear discharge, infection, or itchiness
- Facial symmetry (swollen areas, muscle condition, etc.)
- Eye discharge or redness
- Abnormal eye movements, pupil size
- Broken teeth, tartar, gingivitis, bad breath, mouth pain, masses
- Nasal congestion or discharge
- Signs of brain disease (by testing facial reflexes)
- Size of thyroid glands in the neck
- Size of lymph nodes (under the chin, in front of shoulder blades, and behind knees)
- Heart rate and rhythm, any abnormal heart sounds
- Pulse quality (by feeling the femoral artery in the back leg)
- Breaths per minute, breathing effort
- Lung sounds (stethoscope again)
- Size of liver and spleen
- Size and shape of kidneys
- Size of the bladder, assess for bladder pain and bladder spasms
- Any lumps or fluid in the abdomen that shouldn’t be there
- Abnormal intestines (yes, intestines can feel “wrong”)
- Evidence of diarrhea, parasites, discharge, or other issues around the hind end
- Any joint swelling or pain, any back pain
- Any skin lumps, bumps, itchiness, or hair loss
- Presence of fleas or ticks
- Torn or overgrown toenails
Due to advances in veterinary care, cats today are living longer than ever before. How long an individual cat will live depends on many factors such as genetics, whether kept indoors or not, type of diet, and of course, the appropriate veterinary care he or she receives. Providing regular, thorough wellness care can help your special kitty live each of their “nine lives” to the fullest. From kittenhood to geriatric care, our friendly staff will help you provide the best possible care for your special kitty.
Since cats often do not tell us when they are feeling unwell, early detection of an underlying disease is key. Wellness care’s focus is to prevent conditions from occurring and prevent conditions from advancing. Early detection of a disease process equates to early treatment and potentially, a more favorable outcome or correction of a disease process. In many instances, treatment may become more costly and complicated when a disease process is allowed to progress to an advanced stage.
Did you know that cats age much faster than people? For example, a three-year-old cat is the equivalent of a 28-year-old human! How many times did you visit the doctor by the time you were 28? See our aging chart to determine how old your kitty is in human years.
A wellness examination is also your chance to have us address your questions or concerns about your cat. We welcome your questions. No question is too small or too silly, and it is our pleasure to address your concerns. We strive to help you understand your cat’s health considerations, and we encourage you to be involved in decisions regarding your cat’s health care.
Finally, wellness examinations help us establish a relationship with you and your cat. Through your cat’s physical examinations, other wellness procedures, and our consultations with you, we get to know your cat and learn about his or her lifestyle, personality, health risks, home environment, and other important information. We encourage you to use wellness examinations to take an active role in your cat’s health care.
Our wellness visits are tailored to the individual needs of your cat.
Pediatric Wellness Visits (kittens less than 1 year of age)
Wellness visits for your kitten include a comprehensive history and examination, as well as consultations in nutrition, socialization, training, behavior, grooming, home dental care, growth, and development. We will also discuss spaying or neutering and microchipping your kitten. We will recommend testing your kitten for feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus, appropriate vaccinations based on your kitten’s age, parasitic testing, treatment, and prevention. Kittens typically need three to four pediatric wellness visits to complete their vaccination and deworming series.
Adult Wellness Visits (cats 1-8 years of age)
We recommend twice-yearly adult wellness visits, which include a comprehensive history and examination, vaccine assessment to determine the appropriate vaccinations based on your cat’s age and lifestyle, and consultations in nutrition, socialization, training, behavior, grooming, and home dental care. We recommend parasitic testing, treatment, and prevention every six months and routine lab screening every two years to assess for internal diseases before your cat shows signs of illness. We also recommend a comprehensive oral health assessment and treatment every one to two years.
Senior Wellness Visits (cats 9-13 years of age)
We recommend twice-yearly senior wellness visits, which include a comprehensive history and examination; blood pressure assessment; vaccine assessment to determine the appropriate vaccinations based on your cat’s age and lifestyle; parasitic testing, treatment, and prevention; and consultations in pain assessment and management, nutrition, behavior, grooming, home dental care, and special needs for aging cats. We recommend annual routine lab screening including urinalysis to assess for internal diseases before your cat shows signs of illness. We also recommend a comprehensive oral health assessment and treatment yearly.
Geriatric Wellness Visits (cats 14 years and older)
Geriatric cats need more frequent wellness examinations to screen for common diseases and allow early intervention to improve their quality of life. At The Cat Doctor of Monroe, we have a special fondness for our “old friends” and want to help you keep them healthy and comfortable into their golden years. We recommend quarterly geriatric wellness visits, which include a comprehensive history and examination; blood pressure assessment; vaccine assessment to determine the appropriate vaccinations based on your cat’s age and lifestyle; parasitic testing, treatment, and prevention; and consultations in pain assessment and management, nutrition, behavior, grooming, home dental care, and special needs for aging cats. We recommend semi-annual routine lab screening including urinalysis to assess for internal diseases before your cat shows signs of illness. We also recommend a comprehensive oral health assessment and treatment yearly.
Dental Health Care
Did you know that dental disease is the most common disease in cats?
Just as with people, dental disease in cats can cause pain and infection. Cats rarely show outward signs of dental pain, which is why regular examinations and dental care are very important. After a thorough examination of your cat’s mouth, a professional dental cleaning and/or oral surgery to remove diseased teeth may be recommended.
A professional dental cleaning must be performed under general anesthesia. Before scheduling the dental cleaning, your cat will have a comprehensive physical examination. We will also perform screening blood tests to ensure your cat’s health and safety. We use modern, safe anesthesia, and we monitor all our patients very closely while under anesthesia. Your cat will have intravenous fluids during the anesthesia as well.
As part of the professional dental cleaning, we will take dental X-rays. Our dental X-ray allows us to take a picture of the entire tooth, including the roots (or the part of the tooth under the gumline that is not visible during a regular exam). This gives us a complete picture of each tooth in your cat’s mouth. Since dental disease in cats often occurs under the gumline, X-rays are vital to detecting dental disease.
Most dentals with extractions will stay the night. Your kitty will be discharged from the hospital the following day. At that time, we will review your cat’s dental X-rays and discharge instructions with you.
We strive to keep your cat’s mouth disease-free and comfortable, so once your cat’s dental disease is treated, we can teach you how to prevent dental disease at home.
A radiograph (sometimes called an X-ray) is a type of photograph that can look inside the body and reveal information that may not be discernible from the outside. Radiography can be used to evaluate almost any organ in the body, including the heart, lungs, and abdominal organs, as well as the bones. Oftentimes, we like to couple a comprehensive blood panel with some images (X-rays) to fully evaluate a body system that is in question.
Radiography is painless, safe, and completely noninvasive, and it uses only very low doses of radiation. Because the level of radiation exposure needed to perform radiography is very low, even pregnant females and very young kittens can undergo radiography.
Radiographs can be used to evaluate bones as well as the size, shape, and position of many of the body’s organs. The size of organs is important because some medical conditions—such as kidney, heart, or liver disease—can alter the size of these organs. The shape and position of organs can be altered or distorted by certain medical conditions, including intestinal blockage or cancer. Tumors, depending on their size and location, can also sometimes be detected using radiography. Radiography can also be used to diagnose bladder stones, broken bones, chronic arthritis, certain spinal cord diseases, and a variety of other conditions.
This noninvasive diagnostic tool allows us to image your cat’s internal organs to give us specific and detailed information on an internal organ. Oftentimes, radiographs (X-rays) and ultrasound are taken together to obtain a complete picture of your cat. Radiographs allow us to view all of the internal organs together in one picture. An ultrasound allows us to specifically focus on one organ at a time and obtain very detailed information on that organ. Organs that are evaluated include the liver, gall bladder, digestive tract (stomach, intestines, colon), spleen, pancreas, adrenal glands, lymph nodes, and urinary bladder. Together, with a comprehensive blood panel, a great deal of information is obtained to formulate a more specific and appropriate medical plan for your cat.
Full In-House Diagnostic Testing
At The Cat Doctor of Monroe, we have a complete on-site laboratory to provide the fastest possible results for your little friend, which lets us recognize and treat disease and illness early. Diagnostic and screening lab tests play an important role in keeping your cat healthy and discovering signs of disease. Early detection and early intervention often lead to a longer, healthier life! Our on-site laboratory provides for serum chemistry, hematology, serology, urinalysis, bacterial and fungal culture, and parasite testing. We also utilize commercial veterinary laboratories for specialized diagnostics and consultations.
Our feline friends cannot (or do not) tell us when they are unwell. We often use blood and urine tests along with a detailed history and comprehensive physical examination to help us determine if there is a problem internally. In some respects, the blood and urine tests are helping our patients “speak to us.” In our experience, our patients typically “look sick” during advanced stages of the disease and appear “sick” suddenly despite the fact that the disease has been present for weeks to months. Remember, cats are small and had many predators in the wild. If they exhibited signs of illness or weakness, they would fall victim to predators. What does this mean? This inherent instinct of cats translates into cats showing they are unwell only during advanced stages of disease when they cannot “hide” disease anymore. By hiding the fact that they are unwell, they avoid detection by predators.
To help counteract this inherent nature of the cat, we recommend annual blood and urine screens for most cats and more frequently in our geriatric friends. This concept is called patient trending. Patient trending allows us to establish normal values for your individual cat while they are young and healthy. By comparing the results year after year, we are able to detect changes early. Not only are we able to detect changes when values fall outside the normal reference range, but we are also able to spot and monitor changes within the reference range. If your cat’s kidney values begin to increase but are still within the reference range, we have an opportunity to begin treatment early and monitor the trends more closely. Patient trending can be a powerful tool to detect and treat the disease early. Again, the main goal is to ensure our patients lead healthier, longer lives.
We recommend a fecal analysis twice yearly for our patients. Why? Your pet may be harboring parasites and you may not know it (even indoor-only cats). A number of these parasites are zoonotic or can be transferred to humans. Young children, the elderly, or immunocompromised individuals are at greatest risk from a zoonotic parasite your cat may have. Parasites that we screen for include roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, Toxoplasma, Giardia, coccidia, and Cryptosporidium.
Patients who present with signs of diarrhea often need special tests of their stool to further evaluate for the cause of diarrhea. We perform a special microscopic examination of the stool to evaluate for abnormal bacteria and protozoa in the sample. Performing this test in the house often allows us to begin treatment the same day as your appointment.
Check out these links for more information about parasites that can affect us:
Hospice and Euthanasia Services
Are you having problems caring for a terminally ill cat at home? Does your cat have a medical condition that is painful or causing poor quality of life? Are you afraid that your sick or elderly cat is suffering?
Saying goodbye to a beloved cat is one of the most difficult situations a cat owner will ever encounter, but trying to decide when it is time to say goodbye can be even more difficult. There are times when all the capabilities of medical science have been exhausted, and euthanasia is the only way to prevent an animal from suffering needlessly. However, the decision regarding when to euthanize is fraught with medical, financial, ethical, religious, moral, and sometimes legal considerations. Euthanasia is therefore a medical procedure that needs to be discussed (however painful that discussion may be) and considered thoroughly before a final decision is made. Let us help you through this difficult time.
Our team of compassionate, caring professionals can help you through this painful experience. We will work with you to ensure your cat’s comfort and dignity during his or her last days and final moments. Do you have special requests? Do you have questions about the care of your cat’s remains? We can help you with these concerns and will make every effort to accommodate your wishes at this very difficult time.
Deciding when your cat may need end of life care or euthanasia is a very personal and private decision, but that doesn’t mean you have to make this difficult choice on your own. Our humane euthanasia services are conducted with respect, compassion, and care. Before you struggle through one more day with a sick, elderly, or terminally ill cat that is suffering, call us to learn how we can help.
Medical Boarding and Hospitalization
In some instances, we may recommend hospitalization for your cat. Rest assured—our experienced, skilled, and caring staff makes sure our feline patients are getting top care and are kept as comfortable as possible. Our goal is to get your cat healthy enough to return home as soon as possible while making their stay as comfortable and low stress as possible.
Our hospital is equipped with intravenous (IV) fluid pumps, an in-house laboratory, radiography, ultrasound, pharmacy, an oxygen cage, and monitoring equipment to follow your cat’s progress while they are hospitalized. Our hospital is not staffed 24 hours per day or on the weekends, so in some cases, we may recommend referral to an emergency facility for further care.
Since your cat is away from home, we strive to provide your cat with a comfortable environment during their stay with us. We understand that these are stressful times for both you and your cat. Each of our patients is given a comfortable bed in our quiet, calm environment. You are encouraged to bring your cat’s favorite toy, dish, or blanket to make them feel as comfortable as possible. We encourage you to visit as well, and we will contact you daily about the status of your cat. Please do not hesitate to contact us for an update!
We understand how difficult it can be to give medications or treatments to your cat at home. That’s why our hospital offers medical boarding to patients whose owners need a little help! We strive to keep your cat comfortable during their stay with us and treat each one as if it was our own. You are welcome to visit your cat during their stay and may provide their favorite toys, food, or bedding if you wish. We will contact you daily about the status of your cat, and you are always welcome to call us for an update!
A microchip is about the size and shape of a grain of rice and is placed underneath your cat’s skin between the shoulder blades. Microchip implantation takes only a few minutes and is very safe. Each microchip is unique and carries vital information about your cat—including your name, address, and contact information. When a microchip is implanted, the owner is given a registration form to complete. Registering the number on the microchip includes your cat in a national pet recovery database. Veterinary hospitals, animal shelters, and animal control offices across the country are equipped with special electronic scanners that can detect the microchip and read the identification number. If a lost cat is picked up by animal control or found by a good Samaritan and presented to a veterinarian, a quick scan of the microchip reveals the identification number.
A toll-free phone call to the pet recovery database alerts the microchip company that a lost pet has been identified. The owner can then be contacted and reunited with his or her pet!
Young kittens can receive microchips at their spay or neuter, but even if your pet is already an adult, you should consider microchipping. Even indoor pets can get outside accidentally and get lost, so if you’re relying on other forms of identification, you could be placing your pet at risk. Microchipping is a safe, effective way to help ensure your pet’s return if the unthinkable happens.
From the very first day you bring a new kitten home through the final days of its life, nutrition plays a critical role in your cat’s overall health and well-being. Many cat owners take nutrition for granted, in part because the availability of so many nutritionally complete commercial diets has taken much of the guesswork out of choosing a suitable diet for a cat. However, did you know that your cat’s nutritional needs change with age and activity level? Did you know that specially formulated diets can assist in the management of various medical conditions, including kidney disease, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease? Do you know how many calories your cat should have each day and whether you are over- or underfeeding? Are you comfortable reading and interpreting pet food labels?
Whether your cat has special dietary needs or simply needs to shed (or gain) a few pounds, our nutritional counseling services can help you accomplish your goals and keep your cat in good health. We offer counseling in dietary selection and feeding practices for cats during various life stages, such as growth (kitten), adult, and the “golden years.” If your cat has a medical condition, we can help you select the most appropriate diet to suit his/her needs.
It can be easy for a cat owner to become overwhelmed by the available selection of pet foods, all of which claim to have specific benefits for pets. We can offer expert advice to help you negotiate the complicated array of choices. Let us help you achieve and maintain optimal nutrition for your cat.
Parasite Prevention and Care
An excellent resource for information about parasites that can affect your cat and also your family is available through the Companion Animal Parasite Council. Visit their page here.
Feline Heartworm Disease
Heartworms may be one of the deadliest parasites in cats. While many pet owners are aware of heartworm disease in dogs, most people don’t know that heartworms also affect cats—even indoor ones. The clinical signs of heartworm infection in cats can be very nonspecific and may mimic many other feline diseases. Some signs of potential heartworm infection include vomiting intermittently (food or foam, usually unrelated to eating), tiredness, lack of appetite, weight loss, coughing, asthma-like signs (intermittent difficulty in breathing, panting, open-mouthed breathing), gagging, difficulty breathing, or rapid breathing. We can test your cat for heartworm disease in our hospital to determine if this may be the cause of their signs. In some cases, blood needs to be sent to the outside laboratory for further evaluation. Sadly, there is no approved treatment for adult heartworm infection in cats. The only option is prevention. We also recommend monthly prevention such as Revolution or Heartgard for Cats. To learn more, please visit www.knowheartworms.org or www.heartwormsociety.org.
Fleas are a nuisance for pet owners and discomfort to pets. Once established in your home, they can be difficult to resolve. Fleas can cause an allergic skin condition in cats called flea allergy dermatitis and in extreme cases, life-threatening anemia. Fleas can transmit tapeworms (an intestinal parasite). Fleas can also transmit infection with Bartonella disease known as “cat scratch disease.” We would be happy to recommend a flea prevention program for your cat and/or a flea treatment program for your cat and your house. Please use only flea products labeled for use in cats. Some dog flea products can be deadly when used on cats. For more information, click here.
Intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and others can cause significant disease for our indoor and outdoor cats. Several worms can affect people, too—especially young children. Intestinal worms can lead to weight loss, poor haircoat, blood loss, diarrhea, vomiting, and even death. At The Cat Doctor of Monroe, we recommend a stool examination and deworming twice yearly for adult cats and a serial deworming for young kittens. We also recommend monthly prevention such as Revolution or Heartgard for Cats. Visit the Companion Animal Parasite Council’s site for more information.
You and your cat will benefit from our well-stocked pharmacy. We maintain a complete inventory of veterinary pharmaceutical products and medications, including flea, tick, and heartworm preventive products. You can rely on us whether your cat requires medication for a chronic medical condition or needs short-term medication while recovering from an illness, injury, or surgery. When you purchase medications from our pharmacy, you can rest assured that your cat’s medications were obtained from safe, reliable sources and stored under optimal conditions. Our trained staff will fill your prescriptions with care as well as attention to detail and your cat’s specific needs. You can count on us to provide you with accurate information about your cat’s medications, including proper dosing information, and to alert you to any potential drug side effects or interactions.
We are also here if you experience any problems with your medication after you return home. Help is only a phone call away!
If you want to be sure to get the most value for your dollar as well as convenience and the best customer service, call us for your next prescription or medication refill. We are pleased to provide our clients with a fully stocked pharmacy, and we stand behind every product that we dispense. Click here to access our online pharmacy.