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  • Get Help Quickly if Your Male Cat is Straining in the Litterbox

    Get Help Quickly if Your Male Cat is Straining in the Litterbox

    If your cat is straining to urinate and only produces a few drops of urine or none at all, he needs to be seen by a veterinarian immediately. Your cat could be experiencing urethral obstruction, and if the problem is not solved, he could die within just a couple of days.

    What is urethral obstruction, and why is it life-threatening?
    The urethra is a tubelike structure that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. Sometimes, mineral crystals or stones form in the urethra and block the path to the outside. The blockage is called a urethral plug. Because a male cat’s urethra is longer and narrower than a female’s, urethral plugs are most often seen in males (whether or not they are neutered). Once a plug has formed, urine builds up in the bladder. This is not only painful to the cat, but can quickly cause kidney damage. The kidneys’ job is to release poisonous wastes from the body; when kidneys don’t function properly, these poisons accumulate in the bloodstream. The final result, if not treated: a painful death.

    The cause of urethral plugs is not fully known. Plugs could result from a combination of poor diet and highly concentrated, alkaline (low acid) urine. Possibly, some viruses or bacterial infections trigger their formation. Some experts believe plugs may be linked to tumors, masses, or diseases of the prostate gland in some cases.

    If Kitty is using his litter box often, but with no or little resulting urine; if he is trying to urinate in unusual places; or if he is constantly licking his genitalia, he may have a urethral obstruction. Don’t assume your cat is constipated and just give him laxatives. Instead, play it safe and seek veterinary attention. Other signs of obstruction include depression, weakness, vomiting, a lack of appetite, dehydration, and collapse.

    Urethral obstruction is an emergency. Yet, if the symptoms are noticed early and professional treatment is obtained immediately, your cat’s chance of recovery is almost 100 percent.

    Your veterinarian will first try to relieve the obstruction by applying gentle pressure to the bladder and manipulating the penis. If the plug remains, the doctor may insert a catheter through the urethra into the bladder (with the cat sedated or under a light anesthesia) or suction urine directly from the bladder with a needle and syringe.

    Usually, one of the above procedures will remove the obstruction. As a last resort, however, or if the cat is prone to obstructions, surgery is required. Even if the initial procedures do work, obstruction may recur in some cats within days or weeks.

    What does the surgery entail?
    The surgical procedure is called a perineal urethrostomy. Your veterinarian will remove much of the penis and the narrow portion of the urethra and leave a wider opening for the remaining portion under the anus. Your cat may be hospitalized for several days, and often a catheter will be left in place overnight or longer. Afterward, Kitty may be treated with antibiotics, urinary antiseptics, and urinary acidifiers. Post-operative care at home will require you to carefully observe Kitty and his potty habits.

    Perineal urethrostomy will permanently cure urethral obstruction in 90 percent of male cats. The surgery does not affect the formation of crystals (which result in the plug to begin with), but provides a wider passageway for their release outside the body. Thus, blockages should not recur, but bladder infections might.

    All cats should be encouraged to exercise and be kept at a trim, healthy weight. Feed your cat a high quality cat food that is low in magnesium. Entice him to urinate frequently by keeping his litter box clean and always accessible. He should have constant access to plenty of fresh water, as well; if necessary, you can add salt (sparingly) to Kitty’s food to encourage him to drink more. If your cat is prone to obstructions, you may need to administer medications, Vitamin C, or a special diet to help keep his urine acidic. You can also increase his urine’s overall acidity by restricting feeding to twice daily. This is because the digestive process temporarily lowers the acidity, so every time Kitty eats, his urine becomes less acidic for awhile. In addition, have your veterinarian perform periodic urinalyses on Kitty. This will keep you and your veterinarian alert to the urine’s acidity level and to the presence of any crystal formations, so you can stop problems before they start.

    Be sure to discuss these and other preventative measures with your veterinarian, and get his or her approval before administering any medication or supplements to your cat.

    Help your cat live a long, full life
    Urethral obstruction in cats is becoming less common as more cats are routinely fed premium quality cat foods that discourage crystal formation. Pet owners should be aware that the condition is an emergency situation.

    Urethral obstruction can rapidly become life-threatening over the course of just one to two days. Because of this, any cat owner whose male cat is showing signs of frequent efforts of any kind in the litterbox is strongly urged to seek veterinary attention at once.

    Now that you know what to look for, you can help ensure your cat’s good health by reacting quickly to signs of obstruction.

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Exotic Pet Care

  • Here at Animal Care Centers we see all animals great or small! We have certain Doctors who will see pocket pets, reptiles, and even our avian friends. If you have a small pet that needs medical attention please feel free to call us and we can help you set up an appointment.

Parasite Control

  • There is no subtle way to say this. To you, your pet is a family member. To a parasite, your pet is food. Parasites like fleas, ticks and heartworm-carrying mosquitos can carry numerous diseases that can seriously harm your pet. Here at Animal Care Center we offer a top of the line selection to help take care of these parasites and to keep you and your pet safe!

Nutrition Counseling and Premium Pet Diets

  • Here at Animal Care Center we recognize the importance that nutrition plays in the overall health and happiness of our pets. Nutritional evaluations and recommendations are included as a key component of our preventative health care protocols. We strive to be a valuable resource of nutritional information and advice for our clients. We believe that good nutrition is vital to your pet’s health. There are so many facets to nutrition so we understand how overwhelming it can be when you go pet food shopping. We are here to help you understand nutrition and what works best for your pet.

    Here are some nutritional topics that we can discuss with you during an appointment:

    • Understanding the basics of healthy nutrition and feeding practices
    • Reviewing life-stage nutritional recommendations for your pet
    • Determining the daily recommended caloric intake needs of your pet
    • Reading and understanding pet food labels


    If you have ever caught yourself walking up and down pet food aisles and not knowing what in the world is best suited for your pet’s diet, don’t fret you are not alone! We too have become frustrated by the vast number of pet foods, which are often misleading and confusing due to marketing schemes used to confuse owners. Also we are concerned about the number of pet food recalls that have occurred over the past several years. For this reason we are here to help you decide what diet works best for you and your pet. We can provide food lists that we can recommend to you or we also carry veterinarian prescription diets. Our prescription diets are specifically designed to help support the following aspects of our pets’ health:

    • Oral health/Dental Disease
    • Obesity
    • Diabetes
    • Kidney disease
    • Live disease
    • Feline Hyperthyroidism
    • Gastrointestinal disease
    • Urinary tract disease, including urinary stones
    • Joint Disease
    • Food allergies
    • Skin disease
    • Heart disease

Geriatric Care and Wellness Programs

  • We care for your pet that has been in your family’s life! As our pets age they have special health needs that may require more attention and care then younger pets. We do recommend twice-a-year wellness examinations. These are important in order to detect or treat medical problems that may arise. A baseline senior wellness exam should be performed so it can be used as a benchmark for measuring changes in your pet. This exam includes a complete physical exam, oral and rectal examination and recording of body weight and body condition. Our Dr. also examines your pet’s ears, eyes, and various internal organs. Some laboratory work may be done, including a complete blood count, urinalysis, fecal exam, and perhaps endocrine blood tests and other diagnostic tools used to detect health baselines or issues.

Travel Certificates and Health Certificates

  • Domestic and International Health Certificates (USDA accredited) – Traveling with your pet? No problem…We can help! There are a number of travel regulations and requirements that exist and vary according to different airlines and destinations. Always make sure you do the proper research before your appointment to determine what is necessary for your unique travel needs. And if there is something you are not sure of you can always give a call! We are always here to help!

Microchip/Pet Identification

  • Microchipping can save your pet’s life. 1 out of 3 pets become lost in their lifetime. According to the humane society, only about 15% of lost dogs and 2% of lost cats ever find their way back home. Almost 4 million pets are euthanized each year! This includes lost pets whose owners were not found in time. Microchips are an easy and inexpensive way to ensure your pet doesn’t become a statistic.

In-House Pharmacy

  • Our full In-House Pharmacy allows us to fill our patients’ prescriptions and quickly handle pet emergency needs.

Endocrinology (hormones)

  • Our doctors are dedicated to diagnosing and treating dogs and cats with a variety of endocrine (hormonal) diseases, such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Addison’s disease and Cushing’s disease. The endocrine system is an intricate arrangement of many hormones and control mechanisms. This complex system can fail in many places. Endocrine disorders are both multitudinous and often difficult to treat. However, our doctors here have seen numerous cases and have proper diagnostic tools to effectively diagnose and treat these disorders. If your dog or cat has an endocrine problem or you believe may have an issue please do not hesitate to call us.

Dermatology & Allergy Services

  • We provide complete medical care for skin conditions including serum allergy testing (QVC) and a full line of veterinary skin care products and diets. Companion animals can suffer from many of the same skin conditions that we do. Whether it be allergies, parasites, or a skin infection, our doctors are able to identify, diagnose and treat a wide variety of skin conditions.

Ophthalmology & Tonometry

  • This is the examination and treatment of conditions of the eye. (Tonometry defines the use of a specialized instrument to measure intraocular pressure which is vital in the detection of Glaucoma in our pets.) Animal Care Centers recognizes the importance of your pet’s eyesight and takes great measures to provide both care and client education.


  • Getting a diagnosis of cancer for your beloved pet can be a very devastating and stressful time. We understand and are here to help both you and your pet. Our highly skilled and experienced doctors are trained to deliver compassionate care using treatment options to help improve the quality and duration of your pet’s life.


  • Animal Care Centers provides comprehensive treatments for conditions of the heart. Through the use of such diagnostic tools as an electrocardiogram (EKG), echocardiogram (scheduled with our participating mobile specialists) and blood pressure monitoring, we are able to accurately diagnose and successfully treat our patients. We also have an in-house pharmacy for cardiac medications.

Laser Therapy

  • We have class IV Laser Therapy which is used to help relieve chronic pain and accelerates your pets healing and rehabilitation time following surgery. Laser Therapy can also be effectively used for on-going treatment of other chronic joint and muscle pains. We have seen positive results in our senior patients and in those who are challenged by arthritis. Read more about Pet Laser Therapy

Pain Management

  • Before, during, and after is our belief here at Animal Care Centers! We believe advanced medical protocols for the relief of acute and chronic patient pain is vital in our field! Not only do we keep our patients pain free during routine or specialized surgery but we also strive to keep our non-surgical patients who have chronic pain as pain alleviated as possible!

Dental Care & Dental Digital Radiology

  • Here at Animal Care Centers we provide complete dental services for your pet which includes full cleaning, polishing and dental radiographs (x-rays). We also provide before and after pictures to each client.

Anesthesia (including Propofol and Isoflurane)

  • We provide complete anesthetic monitoring which includes pulsoximetry, capnometry, blood pressure, EKG, core body temperature, respiration monitors and ventilator. We also provide warm intravenous fluids during surgery.


  • We can send certain diagnostic procedures via telephone or computer. This is a wonderful tool when needing vital tests done as soon as possible. This includes EKGs and Lab Work.


  • Performed in-hospital by a Board Certified Ultrasonographer. Ultrasound plays a dynamic role in determining treatment plans in special cases.

Digital Radiography

  • We have state-of-the-art Direct Digital Radiography allowing for quick and enhanced-image diagnostics.

Patient Care

  • We provide soft bedding, warm IV fluids and therapeutic warm blankets for surgical and medical patients. We also provide our patients with our undivided attention and tender care.

Critical Care and Emergency Services

  • We provide intensive advanced care and treatments for most critical need patients and emergencies. For extreme cases that require highly specialized treatments we can offer stabilizing care until transferred to a specialist. We also have in hospital oxygen cages that are vital in emergency situations.

Full In-House Lab

  • In our laboratory we can run blood work quickly for emergencies or as a routine measure. Blood work that we can run in house includes: complete blood count (CBC) with manual and LaserCyte hematology testing, chemistry profiles, electrolytes, urinalysis, fecal analysis, cytology, heartworm/erhlichia/anaplasma/lyme disease testing, feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus snap tests, and other in house diagnostic snap tests.