Animal Clinic of Kalispell - May 2020

Pet Press KALISPELL MAY 2020



It’s fun to ask where a unique pet name is from and to learn about the shows, books, and even video games that my clients are into.

Celebrating Dogs Named Kylo, Earnhardt, and Hamilton

Here’s one for all the Star Wars nerds out there: “May the 4th Be With You.” This pun comes from the iconic line “May the Force be with you,” and it’s the catchphrase for “Star Wars” Day celebrated on May 4. This month I want to shout out all of the Star Wars fans who come to the clinic. I know there are a lot of you because your pets have told me. Or more accurately, your pets’ names told me. Over the course of my career, I’ve treated countless Lukes, Vaders, Yodas, Han Solos, Chewbaccas, and Princess Leias. Right now we have several dogs named Leia, a puppy named Kylo, a few chihuahuas named Obi- Wan, and a pitbull named Poe. Star Wars has always inspired good pet names. These names can also be generational. I can usually guess what generation a client is from based on which Star Wars names they choose for their pets. People who chose names like Rey, Poe, or Kylo for their new puppy are too young to appreciate 1980s special effects.

I’ve cared for pets named Bach, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky — spelled phonetically as “Chicowski.” Then there’s the NASCAR families with Jimmy, Junior, Dale, Earnhardt, Gordon, and Petty. We have Favre, Elway, Steve, Peyton,

and Brady. There’s Gandolf and Bilbo, Scarlet and Rhett, and of course Kintla, Bowman, Tally, and Siyeh.

My own pets have theme names. When I was a little kid, Barry Switzer was the football coach at the University of Oklahoma. I loved Barry Switzer, so we named one of our springer spaniels Switzy after him. Today, there are a bunch of founding fathers running around my house: TJ (Thomas Jefferson) the cat, Lincoln the springer, and Hamilton the golden. To be honest, the patriotic-themed names happened by accident. Our cat’s name was Teardrop when we first got him, but that’s a terrible name for a cat, so we switched it to TJ. Later, we got 6-month-old Lincoln who already had his name. My son pointed out that TJ was short for Thomas Jefferson, so when we got a new puppy last year, Hamilton fit right in. My pets’ names now suggest that I’m the kind of person who gets teary-eyed during the national anthem before the Super Bowl, which wouldn’t be totally inaccurate. The way we name our pets is really interesting because we often pick names inspired by something we already love. It shows how we’re already ready to love this new dog or cat that we’ve brought into our home. That’s pretty cool, in a nerdy sort of way.

Of course, it’s not just Star Wars that people turn to for inspiration when naming a new pet. When I see really unusual or unique names on a pet’s paperwork, I know it’s got to be named after some fantasy character. For example, I’ve never seen “Game of Thrones,” but when a German shepherd named Khaleesi came in, I knew her name had to have come from some fantasy story. It’s fun to ask where a unique pet name is from and to learn about the shows, books, and even video games that my clients are into. Pet names can also give insight into an owner’s hobbies and interests.

– Dr. Jevon Clark



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Gunner photos

Health Benefits of Family Gardening GIVE YOUR KID THE GIFT OF A GREEN THUMB Yes, there will always be football season, basketball season, and soccer season, but right now, it’s gardening season. That means it’s time to roll up your sleeves and play in the dirt. If you’ve been searching for a way to get the kids away from technology and engaged with the real world, gardening is the perfect activity for the whole family to enjoy. Not only is it fun, but it’s also beneficial for your kids’ development.

CATS THA When a Hairball is

Have you noticed a difference in how your cat breathes? It can be a very subtle change over a period of time that is difficult to recognize (cats hide illness well) but could indicate a serious problem. Recently, we’ve seen several cats with a rare condition called chylothorax. This is when a duct within the cat’s chest begins leaking lymphatic fluid, or chyle. The chyle accumulates around the lungs, making it difficult for the cat to breathe. Eventually, that fluid accumulation can prevent the lungs from inflating and the cat can’t get enough oxygen, which can cause them to develop respiratory failure. Some data suggests that purebred cats, especially Siamese or Himalayan cats, have an increased risk for chylothorax, however all cats can suffer from the condition. Chylothorax may occur after a trauma like a car accident or a fall or be caused by other conditions including heart failure, a heartworm infection, or a fungal disease. However, most of the time it’s impossible to determine what has caused a cat to suffer from chylothorax. This is called idiopathic chylothorax, and more than 50% of chylothorax cases fall into this category.

For example, gardening can improve your children’s analytical abilities. As Dr. Wendy Matthews says, “Gardening exercises important reasoning, initiation, planning, and organization skills.” Furthermore, several studies, including one at Texas A&M University, suggest that gardening improves a child’s attitude toward fruits and vegetables and may make them more likely to choose them as snacks. Gardening helps kids identify with where their food is coming from, and nothing tastes better than a freshly picked strawberry or pea pod they grew themselves. Jack Gilbert, a scientist at the University of Chicago and a parent himself, and his co-author, Rob Knight, emphasize the health benefits of garden time in their book, “Dirt Is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System.” The two found that exposure to different microbes, like those found in a garden, strengthens a child’s immune system and makes them less likely to develop allergies.

Since the cause of chylothorax isn’t always clear, it’s important for cat owners to recognize the warning signs:

HOMEMADE Chicken and Cranberr CAT TREATS

If this is your first time gardening, you don’t need much to get started. Grab a few shovels, a pair of gloves for each family member, and fresh potting soil, and you’ll be set. Then, you can decide together which plants you’d like to grow! Carrots are fun because of the surprise factor — just imagine your child discovering that the part they eat grows below the ground! Peas are tasty and fairly easy to grow, as are strawberries. The options really are endless. Depending on the growing season in your area, you can choose to buy seeds or opt for rooted plants.

Inspired by

Does your picky kitty turn up their nose at every treat? These homemade goodies are sure to delight even the most finicky of felines!

Last but certainly not least, the best part of gardening as a family is the healthy, fresh produce you’ll get to enjoy all summer long!


1 cup oat flour

3 tbsp unsweetened, dried cranberries

4 oz plain chicken, cooked and chopped into small pieces

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp dried catnip

1 large egg



AN INHALER FOR A CAT? How to Care for a Cat With Asthma It’s not often that cats and humans suffer from the same chronic medical condition, which is what makes feline asthma such an interesting condition. In cats, asthma tends to develop from allergic bronchitis, another breathing problem in which a cat’s airways become inflamed. The College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University estimates that up to 5% of cats are affected by asthma.

AT COUGH s Something Much Worse

• Increased respiratory rate If your cat has been breathing very quickly, even when they are just lounging on the couch, this may be a sign that they’re struggling to breathe due to excess fluid in their chest. • Breathing delays Some cats with chylothorax may look like they are holding their breath because there is a significant delay between their inhales and exhales. • Coughing There are relatively few reasons for a cat to cough, so coughing can be a major indicator of feline asthma or chylothorax.

If your cat is diagnosed with chylothorax, the prognosis is guarded. A veterinarian can use a syringe to drain excess fluid and stabilize the cat’s breathing. This treatment may need to be repeated several times until the condition subsides. Unfortunately, some cats may need surgery in order to seal the leaking duct and keep the fluid from returning. While this condition is exceedingly rare — most cat owners will never encounter it — when it does happen, a cat’s health can go from “just fine” to “in trouble” very quickly. Keep an eye out and be ready to work with your veterinarian at the first sign of trouble.

Though a cat having an asthma attack can be scary, the prognosis is usually okay. Of course, cats can’t use an inhaler in the same way we do, but veterinarians can help stabilize their breathing with a mask

attached to an inhaler. Since most cats don’t like wearing a mask, oral and injectable steroids may also be prescribed to help.

Some cats can wait eight months between steroid doses, while others need an injection every month or they aren’t able to breathe normally. If your cat has asthma, here’s what you can do to help their condition.


1. Reduce your cat’s stress.

Yes, even though they don’t have to go to work or pay taxes, cats do experience a kind of stress called “domestic stress.” This can result from major household changes, an inconsistent schedule, or a lack of mental stimulation. Stress can make asthma worse, so make sure your cat has plenty of toys to play with, things to climb on, and places to hide to help them cope with any stress.


2. Keep the air clean.


Heat oven to 350 F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

If you smoke or vape, make sure not to do it around your cat. But secondhand smoke isn’t the only thing that can trigger your cat’s asthma. Perfumes, deodorizers, room fresheners, scented litters, and cleaning products with strong odors can trigger an asthma attack. Make sure your home is ventilated well and use products without scents whenever possible.


In a food processor, mix flour and cranberries until fine. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until combined.

3. Exercise with care .

3. Measure out 1/4 tsp-sized portions. Roll into small balls, then press flat with your finger on the baking sheet.

Obesity can make asthma worse, so it’s important to exercise your cat and help them stay at a healthy weight. However, if your cat overexerts itself, this can trigger a severe asthma attack. The best course of action is to keep your cat on a healthy diet, cut out treats, and have regular, short play sessions. Much like in humans, asthma in cats can’t be cured, but cat owners can help their feline friends manage their condition. If you suspect your cat has asthma, call 406-755-6886 and talk to your veterinarian right away.

4. Cook treats in the oven for 15–17 minutes, or until golden and dried on top.

5. Allow treats to cool completely before serving to your cat. Treats can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.







What Your Dog’s Name Says About You


What Is Gardening Good For? Why Does My Cat Keep Coughing? DIY Springtime Cat Treats Does Your Cat Hate Your Perfume? The Best Grandfather a Kitten Could Have



THE STORY OF GRANDPA MASON How a Feral Cat Came to Care for Orphaned Kittens

When cats are orphaned as kittens, they don’t get the

a comfortable place to sleep, plenty of food, and time to relax in the last months of his life. Grandpa Mason had a hard time adjusting to domestic life and would often shy away from being petted. In an interview with The Dodo, Roche described him as “an elderly gentleman [who] lived his whole life a certain way, and then, all of a sudden, [was] forced to live completely differently.” After Grandpa Mason grew accustomed to his home, Roche took in several foster kittens, and those new roommates completely altered Grandpa Mason’s behavior. Roche expected him to hiss, swat, or growl at the kittens when they invaded his space, but he didn’t. Instead, he allowed them to crawl all over him and appeared to enjoy it when they licked his ear. Suddenly a playful, affectionate, and gentle personality came out of Grandpa Mason as he played with, bathed, taught, and cared for the orphaned kittens that Roche welcomed into her home. Potentially due to the kittens’ influence, Grandpa Mason surpassed his prognosis by more than two years. During the last few years of his life, Grandpa Mason passed on important lessons and good manners to the kittens he looked after and adored, as a true grandfather should. He passed last September, but he spent his last night in his ultimate happy place: snuggling in his bed surrounded by kittens.

chance to develop all the skills needed to become successful cats. Just like human children, kittens need older role models too. The most famous cat role model had a rough start in life but became an inspiration for kittens and humans alike. His name was Grandpa Mason, and during the last years of his life, he stepped up and gave love, care, and guidance to the orphaned kittens that lived with him. The Canadian animal rescue group TinyKittens rescued Grandpa Mason in 2016 from a property that was scheduled to be bulldozed. The poor feral tabby

was suffering from many health problems, including severe dental issues, a badly injured paw, and advanced kidney disease. Since TinyKittens is a no-kill rescue organization, euthanization was out of the question. Given his health conditions, veterinarians predicted the battle-scarred Grandpa Mason didn’t have long to live, so TinyKittens’ founder, Shelly Roche, took him in and provided him with

WWW.KALISPELLVET.COM Photo credit: via


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