Woodbrook Animal Clinic

Cat Care

Feline Care Guide

Life with your feline friend can be very rewarding.

Whether it is one or a multitude of feline friends we are here to help you give him or her the best life possible.

Cats can be great at hiding illness so it is important for them to have a physical exam at least once a year.

We are able to detect some of those subtle changes. We try to make your friend’s clinic experience as comfortable as possible to minimize stress but also recognized the nuances of our feline friends.

We are able to discuss and offer services to help your cat have a quality of life experience.

During that exam, we will ask questions and do a nose to the tip of the tail exam that helps us try to detect any early signs of disease.

  • Good care can reduce medical expense
  • Nutritional health and exercise plans
  • Spaying or neutering
  • Individualized vaccination recommendations based on risk
  • Help ensure a healthy start to life from the first kitten visit
  • Dental health to help minimize bad breath, painful infections, and loss of teeth
  • Exercise and nutrition
  • Litter box training and socialization
  • Routine health maintenance
  • Health screening
  • Dental care
  • Surgery services
  • Emergency care and hospitalization
  • Specialist referral relationships: oncology, internal medicine, orthopedics, and neurology
  • House calls

Routine feline health maintenance

Our pets do not speak our same language but they do talk to us. We like to work together with you the owner and our trained health care team to recognize early signs of illness to give the best quality and length of life as we can. While vaccinations are important in preventing diseases, we feel the physical exam is the most important aspect of keeping your pet healthy.

Most people are aware of the 7 years to our one that dogs age, but this applies to cats as well but is closer to a 5-year comparison.
During a wellness visit, your pet’s history is reviewed. You will be asked questions about changes in behavior, amount of water or food consumed, stiffness getting up, change in breath and other questions that help us become aware of issues that may exist.
It often looks like we are just petting your pet but we are also gathering information for our exam looking for lumps and bumps, feeling of coat, feeling lymph nodes, and watching movement and response to touch.
We look at many systems of the body during the exam from eyes, ears, teeth, heart, lungs, skin, joints, and a good feel to the belly.


Recommended vaccinations

Rabies: A fatal disease for mammals. It is important to vaccinate your cats for rabies. Cats are the most commonly reported domestic animal with rabies. Cats having a bite wound where it is unsure how they received them raises a concern for exposure.

Rhinotracheitis: causes half of all upper respiratory diseases in cats. This can be transmitted by coughing and sneezing of an infected cat but can also be brought home by the owner.

Calicivirus: A virus that can cause a lifelong infection of sneezing and running eyes. Signs can include fever, ulcers in the mouth, and blisters on the tongue

Panleukopenia: The feline distemper. It is often fatal. It is also found everywhere. It is likely most cats will be exposed to this virus during their lifetime.

Feline Leukemia: This virus attacks the immune system and leaves them vulnerable to secondary infections. This virus if a cat acquires it is often deadly within three years of infection.

Common Feline Medical Emergencies & Conditions

  • Ingestion of ribbon, string, or toy
  • Poisoning
  • Renal failure
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)
  • Dental disease
  • Cancer

Signs of an Emergency in Cats

Be prepared: Phone number: ASPCA 888-426-4435, list on your refrigerator or have as speed dial on phone.

  • Non-responsive
  • Labored breathing
  • Drooling profusely
  • Incessant vomiting
  • Profuse diarrhea
  • Abnormal coloration to gums
  • Fever> 103
  • Known poisoning
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Not urinating


Click on the different tabs to read about common pet health concerns!


Like people, dogs can have allergies in which their immune systems recognize everyday substances as allergens. Some common substances that can cause dog allergies are fleas, food ingredients, pollens, mold spores, mites, perfumes, cleaning products, fabrics, or rubber and plastic materials.

Although there may be a genetic component, any breed of dog can develop allergies at any age. However, most allergies develop between one and four years of age.

Most commonly, dogs with allergies will be ITCHY. They may show this by scratching, licking or chewing themselves. Itchiness around the back or tail base is often due to flea allergies. They may have additional dermatologic symptoms, including itchy, red, moist or scabbed skin, brown discolored fur, hair loss, itchy and runny eyes, ear infections, and eye infections. Secondary bacterial or yeast skin infections that require further treatment. Depending on the type of allergy and the severity, signs may also include sneezing, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Severe allergic reactions include hives, facial swelling (especially in dogs), and rarely shock, respiratory and cardiac failure leading to death. These are often to certain drugs, chemicals or insect bites.


What to Do If You Suspect Your Pet Has Allergies:

If you suspect your animal suffers from flea, food, or contact allergies, please contact your veterinarian to schedule an appointment. Your veterinarian may recommend further diagnostic testing, including skin cytology and blood tests. If allergies are suspected, your veterinarian may subsequently recommend some or all of the following treatments:

  1. Antibiotics: Secondary bacterial or yeast skin infections are present and may require oral antibiotics or anti-yeast medications to treat these infections prior to further diagnostics or treatments of the underlying allergies.
  2. Shampoos: Natural shampoos (often oatmeal based) are often recommended to remove possible contact allergens from being absorbed thru the skin. Additionally, medicated shampoos may be used to provide added itch relief.
  3. Anti-inflammatory allergy medications: Depending on the nature of the allergy, steroids, antihistamines, or cyclosporine may be prescribed to prevent inflammation and itchiness.
  4. Omega fatty acids: To promote skin and hair coat health, omega fatty acids may be recommended. These may also provide beneficial anti-inflammatory properties.
  5. Change to Hypoallergenic Diet: In instances of suspected food allergies, hypoallergenic diets may be recommended on a trial or permanent basis.


If you suspect a severe allergic reaction and anaphylaxis, contact your veterinarian or Emergency Hotline as soon as possible as this can be a life-threatening condition.

As pets age, pets often develop joint disease that may have mild to severe affects on your pet’s quality of life.

Although dogs (especially larger breeds) are more susceptible to arthritis, it can also be seen in cats. Conditions that can worsen or trigger arthritis include tendon disease, fractures, developmental disorders (such as hip or elbow dysplasia), cancer, inflammatory joint disease (such as from Lyme disease), degenerative joint disease, or many others.


As with humans, signs of arthritis often include stiffness, limping, reluctance to move, difficulty rising (especially after sleep or resting), limb favoring while moving, or evident pain.

If your animal displays any of the signs indicated above, an appointment with a veterinarian is warranted. Further diagnostics may be available to determine a cause of your animal’s lameness (e.g. a Lyme disease test or radiographs to determine if the dog is suffering from hip dysplasia or cranial cruciate disease).

Furthermore, your veterinarian can provide medications and supplements that lessen the progression or clinical signs of arthritis. These may include pain medications, anti-inflammatories, or glucosamine supplements. A weight management plan and exercise routine may also be developed.

A dog and cat ear canal is different from people.

There are three areas of the ear: outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear.

  • The outside is simple called the outer ear. This consist of the the flap called the pinna.
  • The inside of the ear which we can see is part of the outer ear called the ear canal. This is cone shaped and longer then humans. The canal is shaped like an L. The canal ends at the tympanic membrane commonly called the ear drum.
  • Beyond this point special diagnostic tools are needed to see what is going on in the middle ear and the inner ear.

The ear canal is lined with specialized skin containing sebaceous glands, cerum producing glands and hair follicles. The glands secrete oily secretions and enzymes involved with antimicrobial activity. There is a complex micro-environment in the ear involving the constant battle of keeping the level of bacteria and yeast in check.

Dogs that are more prone to ear infections can be the floppy eared breeds more than upright eared breeds. Dogs with hair in the ear verses those without hair are also high risk. These would include the cocker spaniel, golden retriever, poddle and schnauzer.

Floppy ears are not the only cause for the higher risk. The glands and ph of the ear canal can predispose these breeds. Underlying issues increase the risk of ear infections such as allergies and endrocrine disease.

Cats often don’t get ear infections. They are very fastideous and groom themselves so it unusaul to see infections in cats. Most cat ear issues are associated with ear mites. If it is not mites, ear infections are generally a secondary to another underlying issue.

  • infections from bacteria or yeast
  • wax buildup in the ear canal
  • allergies
  • autoimmune disease
  • tumors or polps within the ear canal

There have been 14 species of ticks identified in Maine.  At least 4 of these species can transmit disease.

  • Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis are commonly diagnosed tick borne diseases.
  • During 2014 in Maine: Ticks are most active during the spring and fall months, but can be found during the summer and even on those warmer winter days!
  • 1 in 7 dogs tested positive for Lyme disease,
  • 1 in 12 tested positive for anaplasmosis, and
  • 1 in 78 for ehrlichiosis
  • Diagnosing tick borne disease can be done with a simple blood test here in clinic.
  • WBAC also offers several products to prevent ticks from biting your pets.


Only 5% of the flea life cycle is spent on your pet.  The other 95% is spent in the environment (your home!)

  • Fleas can carry tapeworm and bartenella
  • Female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs a day for 50 days.  That is 2500 egg in 1 female fleas lifetime!
  • 1 flea bite can cause and allergic reaction on your pet known as flea allergy dermatitis
  • Flea eggs can be carried home on clothing or bags.  Indoor pets are not immune to fleas!
  • WBAC has several products available to prevent and treat fleas!