Pet Matters-How to transport your cat to the vet with less stress – for them and for you!

How to transport your cat to the vet with less stress – for them and for you!

Providing regular health care for your cat is essential to a longer, healthier and more comfortable life for them. However, many cats get stressed going to the veterinarian. Here are some tips to make the trip to your veterinarian easier:

  • Try to have your cat associate the carrier with positive experiences. Your goal should be to have them enter the carrier on a regular basis. Leave the carrier in a room where your cat spends a lot of time and give them time to become familiar with it. Placing soft bedding or clothing inside may help them feel more secure.
  • Treats, toys or catnip placed inside should encourage them to enter the carrier. It could take days or sometimes weeks for them to trust the carrier, so be patient! Always reward your cat for the behavior you want, so if your cat is sitting near or exploring the carrier, give a treat.
  • If your cat is not yet used to the carrier, but needs to go to the veterinarian right away, try putting the carrier and your cat in a small room with few hiding places. Encourage your cat to enter the carrier using a special treat. If that doesn’t work and your carrier has an opening at the top, try to gently cradle the cat and lower it into the carrier. If your carrier allows, removing the top half, placing your cat into the lower half and calmly replacing the top can also work.
  • There are many types of cat carriers on the market. Before deciding which one is best for your cat, consider your cat’s size, how well she tolerates handling, and what carrier is easiest for you to transport. It should be safe, secure, sturdy, and easy for you to carry. Some of the best carriers are hard-sided and open from both the front and the top. An easily removable top allows a cat which is fearful, anxious or in pain to stay in the bottom half for exams by the veterinarian.
  • It’s always a good idea to secure the carrier with a seat belt to keep your cat safe in the car. Sometimes cats are less anxious if the carrier is covered or partially covered with a blanket or towel, while others like to be able to see out.

Consider buying a feline pheromone that reduces anxiety for many cats. Feliway comes as a spray, a collar and a plug-in diffuser. Use it before and during travel in the carrier.

Dr. Earl Mummert

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Pet Matters-Happy Trails and Tails

Happy Trails & Tails

 It’s time to hit the trails with your pooch again. Hiking is great for young and old dogs and owners alike. Just be safe and be considerate of others enjoying the great outdoors.

Be sure that dogs are welcome on the trail and know if they must be leashed or can run free. For your dog to run free you should have 100% voice control.  Be sure your dog wears an ID tag.

Try to anticipate situations by being aware of what’s ahead and behind you. Not all people and animals will love your dog. When passing other hikers, dogs or horses keep your dog close.

On long hikes take water for everyone. Drinking from streams puts your dog at risk for giardia, leptospirosis and toxins.

Some trails serve as habitats for wildlife. Please observe posted signs to avoid disturbing Mother Nature’s other residents.

Monitor your dog’s progress. Young or old pets may follow you to the end of the earth – even if they are exhausted or in pain. Turn back at any sign of discomfort.

Use tick preventives religiously. In CT we live with an abundance of ticks and the diseases they carry.

Most of all HAVE FUN !!

Dr. Earl Mummert




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Pet Matters-Persistent Vomiting

Persistent Vomiting Spells Trouble

Our pets all vomit once in a while just from eating something objectionable in the house or yard. But a simple gastritis caused by an irritant usually resolves within 12-24 hours.

Continued vomiting needs medical attention. Foreign objects, often consumed by younger pets, can cause a complete obstruction of the stomach or intestines which prevents food from passing normally. This backup leads to repeated regurgitation and then to a loss of appetite.

Inflammation of the pancreas allows the digestive enzymes made in that organ to escape into the area around the stomach and liver. This may cause severe nausea and abdominal pain leading to repeated vomiting, lethargy and loss of appetite. Pancreatitis, seen in middle-aged or older pets, needs immediate treatment to prevent severe tissue damage. Hospitalization with IV fluids and medication to fight the acidity, the pain and infection is needed to reverse this potentially fatal process.

Intermittent, chronic vomiting may indicate a low grade inflammation of the stomach or intestines. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) includes an array of problems ranging from intestinal parasites, to food allergies, to inflammatory cells invading the gut, and cancer. Blood tests, x-rays, ultrasound and biopsies may be needed to arrive at a correct diagnosis and permit the proper treatment to begin.

Vomiting pets should be fasted for 12-24 hours just like when you’re sick. If it continues – call your veterinarian.

Dr. Earl Mummert

801 Poquonnock Rd

Groton, Ct. 06340



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Pet Matters-Accommodations for Your Senior Cat

Accommodations for Your Senior Cat


Cats are amazing creatures. While they don’t really have nine lives, they can live into their teens and twenties with good care and good health. Time does march on, though, and many changes that accompany aging may go unnoticed or misinterpreted.

For example, owners may think that a senior cat who suddenly starts urinating or defecating in inappropriate places is incontinent. On questioning, it is not unusual to find that the litter box has always been kept in the cellar. It may not occur to owners that their kitty’s muscles may be weaker and their joints may be painful with arthritis, and that trip down the cellar stairs has become difficult and painful. Moving the litter pan upstairs and choosing a pan with lower sides and a bigger surface area often solves the problem.  ( Yes, we know it’s inconvenient and maybe stinky for the humans, but senior kitty deserves to be comfortable!)

Weight loss is another important clue to changed medical and social issues and is not simply caused by “getting old.” Yearly visits with comparison of annual weight checks might reveal substantial change. Is the kitty used to eating from a high place that is hard to get to? Is there a new animal in the house who won’t allow kitty easy access to the food bowl? Are there any dental problems going on?

Bloodwork and urinalysis are needed in addition to a yearly physical examination to detect underlying medical causes that manifest as weight loss. Hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, and kidney disease are common and, in many cases, manageable. It might be necessary to give daily medication and special diets that now come in chewable or liquid tasty flavors or can come as a cream that can be applied to the ear.

Special diets for kidney disease and other problems are now available by prescription in different flavors and smaller cans.

Cats who have always groomed themselves perfectly may now need help (often not appreciated!)  Gentle combing and brushing may be necessary to prevent mats. The claws of an older cat often become thick and fail to shed their outer layer. Arthritis may again be the cause, The claws may fail to retract, making walking uncomfortable. At times, owners fail to notice that a claw has grown so long that it becomes embedded in the footpad, and the kitty may not give much of a clue until the foot is badly infected.

The message here is to watch for your senior kitty’s signals that they need some help as they get older.  Watch and listen and accept that age catches up to them.

Kathleen -Marie Clark,DVM



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Pet Matters- One Health by Melissa Wash, DVM

One Health by Melissa Wash, DVM
We all want to keep our pets happy and healthy. However, most people don’t realize protecting their pets from many diseases and parasites can help to protect their family too. Diseases and infections that are naturally transmissible between humans and animals are termed as a zoonosis or having zoonotic potential. There are over 200 well documented zoonosis, and the number is growing. Some can be transmitted directly while others are “vector borne,” such as those spread through mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks. The One Health Initiative is the collaborative efforts of many disciplines of human and veterinary medicine working locally, nationally, and globally to help attain optimal health of people, animals, and our environment.
So what can you to help protect your pet and family? Vaccinations, parasite control, and good hygiene are the important first steps. For example vaccinating against Rabies is not only the law but also protects against a very deadly virus that is transmitted through bite wounds and saliva. Another vaccine we recommend for dogs is Leptospirosis, a transmissible bacteria that can cause both liver and kidney damage.
Flea and tick prevention helps reduce the chances of vector borne zoonosis by reducing your potential exposure. Heartworm disease is a real threat to both dogs and cats, and monthly year round prevention is important. However, you may not realize many heartworm preventives also help prevent your pet from developing many intestinal parasites, such as roundworms and hookworms that can infect people especially young children.
Good hygiene is also important. Remove pet waste from your yard promptly. Wash your hands after handling your pets and their waste, especially prior to eating. Also preventing your pet from eating feces, scavenging, and interaction with wildlife will help protect them from getting sick and picking up parasites. Any cuts, scrapes, and skin lesions on your pet should also be evaluated by a veterinarian.
It is recommended that you consult your veterinarian to help tailor a preventative health plan for your pet. If your pet has contracted a zoonosis you may be directed to your primary care physician for your family’s health.
Melissa Wash, DVM is a 2012 graduate of Mississippi State and joined Companion Animal Hospital as an associate veterinarian in January. She has a special interest in preventative medicine, pain management, wound care, pediatrics, and persnickety kitties.

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Pet Matters-Rabbits Unique and Familiar by Kathleen-Marie Clark, DVM

Rabbits – Unique and Familiar by Kathleen-Marie Clark, DVM
Rabbits make fascinating pets and patients. They are simultaneously tough and fragile. They are called “exotic” pets, but the wild version lives in our own back yards. Gastrointestinal problems are common in pet rabbits, both as primary disease and secondary to stress, pain, and other medical issues. With appropriate diet and an understanding of their unique anatomy and physiology, many incidents can be avoided.
It is important to know how rabbits differ from humans, dogs, and cats. Their stomachs can’t stretch, and they can’t vomit. That means they are lacking defenses that we have if we eat something inappropriate. Our digestion takes place in the stomach and the small intestine (upper GI); theirs, in the large cecum (lower GI) via microbial fermentation. They produce two distinct types of stool – the typical hard dry balls we see in the day time, and unique creations called cecotropes – squishy, pea-sized concoctions passed only at night and immediately eaten by the rabbit, giving them a second pass through for absorption of nutrients.
The recommended diet for adult rabbits consists of free choice, good quality timothy hay that provides the fiber needed for the fermentation process to function; fresh green vegetables, and very small amounts of pellets. It is important to avoid the carbohydrates found in popular rabbit treats such as cereal and popcorn, as these can produce painful gas.
Rabbits spend all day nibbling. If your rabbit stops eating, you should seek medical attention immediately. Diarrhea is also a very serious symptom. A rabbit that is not passing stool is usually not constipated – he is probably not eating much.
An excellent resource is the website of the House Rabbit Connection, Inc., a non-profit rescue group ( You can find nutritional information in their Rabbit Care Guide. And on Youtube, you can find me presenting a lecture on the Basics of the Rabbit Gastrointestinal Tract.
Kathleen-Marie Clark, DVM is an associate veterinarian at Companion Animal Hospital. She has a special interest in the medical care of rabbits, guinea pigs, and other pocket pets.

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Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease which is spread through the urine of infected and ‘carrier’ animals. Most mammals, including dogs and people can contract Lepto by contact with infected urine or contaminated soil or water. The bacteria enters the body through broken skin or via the mouth, nose and eyes.

The bacteria typically cause damage to the kidneys, liver and blood cells. Lethargy, poor appetite, vomiting, increased thirst, bleeding and bruising may be the first signs of Lepto. Routine blood tests will identify the kidney, liver or blood problems but additional testing is needed to confirm the presence of the Lepto organism.

Treatment is aimed at supporting the kidneys, liver and blood cells using intravenous fluids and, in some cases, a transfusion. Antibiotics are given to kill the Lepto organism. Medications for nausea and pain may also be indicated.

Since Lepto is transmissible to people, it is important for caregivers and owners to take precautions by avoiding contact with urine, etc. during and for 3+ weeks after treatment.

Leptospirosis is not epidemic in our area but it is endemic – always present. We suggest vaccinating your dogs for the four (in one shot) most common strains of Lepto every year.

Dr. Earl Mummert

801 Poquonnock Rd.

Groton, Ct. 06340


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