Monday, January 07, 2019

Is Your Cat Nervous?

Written by Dr. Gloria Ku


Anxiety in cats is not uncommon.  In nature, the instinct to be stealthy and able to react quickly is an advantage.  In domestic life, sometimes this can be a disadvantage.  Anxiety over changes in season, routine, dietary choices, litter preferences, and even sudden movements can make our kitty companions seem a bit jumpy sometimes. 

For the most part, cats can adjust their sensitivity to our lives by hiding and basically avoiding the “negative stimulus.”  When avoidance is not enough, some cats will express their anxiety in other ways.  Elimination issues are probably one of the most common ways that cats will express anxiety in the home, or perhaps it is the most noticeable as urinating on the rug or the toaster.  This will surely get our attention!
Just like with us, stress can actually create physiological responses in the body that alert us to a problem.  This can be increased acid production in the stomach, even to the point of creating inflammation and pain in the gut, vomiting or diarrhea.  Stress in cats in particular can cause inflammation in the bladder wall that can lead to something termed Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disorder (or “FLUTD”).  This inflammation can lead to increased urination and urgency or straining, often resulting in blood in the urine, and behavioral concerns that typically involve urinating outside the box, somewhere. 

Since our feline friends are not always as communicative as other species, subtle signs of stress can go undetected by their human companions until they reach a level of creating physical signs.  For example, Autumn is a common time for urinary problems to occur when indoor/outdoor cats feel the change in temperature and start to spend more time indoors.  Being indoors, they may have to adjust to litter boxes again. Cats may hold their urine longer because litter has a deodorizer in it they don’t like, or possibly another cat has also just used the litter box.  Because male cats in particular have a small urethra, they are often the ones that have the worst time with stress as the urethra also starts to swell, resulting in urine sediment or red blood cells (if there is accompanying bleeding due to inflammation) to have trouble passing.  This can cause the urethra to become plugged, not allowing urine to be eliminated, what is commonly referred to as a “blocked cat” and can result in an emergency situation.  If waste cannot be eliminated, the toxins will build up in the body, and the bladder could fill to the point of near rupture; the cat can become quite depressed and even unresponsive in a matter of hours.  This is an emergency situation and one needs to seek help as soon as possible or it can actually lead to death. 

Less critical but still very important stress responses can create chronic vomiting, diarrhea, or immunosuppression just like we experience.  Sometimes cats are forgiven for vomiting because we are expecting them to have hairballs.  But if you are consistently seeing vomit without hair, there is a clue that they may be vomiting for other reasons.
(Click here to read about cat hairballs: https://hattonvethosp.blogspot.com/2018/06/what-did-i-just-step-on-oh-its-hairball.html)

If you think your cat is experiencing excessive stress, here are a few things you can try to help reduce stress for him or her:

  • Feliway is a spray or plug in diffuser with a pheromone that helps to calm cats.  It actually works pretty well.  (Feliway Website: https://www.feliway.com/us)
  • Often, knowing what the trigger is, helps us to know how best to counteract the stressor.  Occasionally, we also use oral medication to help with anxiety.  Once you recognize stress in your pet, it is often not too difficult to address their issues and it may help to avoid more serious health consequences later. 
Cats are sensitive but not always as obvious about their needs. As their human friends, it helps to be attentive to their clues.  Often they are subtle, until they aren’t! 😉

Thursday, December 06, 2018

It’s Time for a Snow Day!


The white, fluffy fresh powder in the mountains entices us to get ready for a fun snow day!  As we pack our cars with our sleds, winter sporting gear, and cold weather coats, our furry friends are wondering if they are coming along for the ride too.  For many pets, it’s a lot of fun running on snow-packed fields and catching snowballs flying through the air!  But before you start up the car and head towards the snowy mountains, here are some tips for your fun snow day adventure!
According to the AVMA’s (American Veterinary Medical Association) website, these reminders are helpful when planning your next snow day adventure!
Winter wellness: Has your pet had his/her preventive care exam (wellness exam) yet? Cold weather may worsen some medical conditions such as arthritis. Your pet should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year, and it's as good a time as any to get him/her checked out to make sure (s)he is ready and as healthy as possible for cold weather.
Know the limits: Just like people, pets' cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Be aware of your pet's tolerance for cold weather, and adjust accordingly. You will probably need to shorten your dog's walks in very cold weather to protect you both from weather-associated health risks. Arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice and may be more prone to slipping and falling. Long-haired or thick-coated dogs tend to be more cold-tolerant, but are still at risk in cold weather. Short-haired pets feel the cold faster because they have less protection, and short-legged pets may become cold faster because their bellies and bodies are more likely to come into contact with snow-covered ground. Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing's disease) may have a harder time regulating their body temperature, and may be more susceptible to problems from temperature extremes. The same goes for very young and very old pets. If you need help determining your pet's temperature limits, consult your veterinarian.
Make some noise: A warm vehicle engine can be an appealing heat source for outdoor and feral cats, but it's deadly. Check underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn before starting the engine to encourage feline hitchhikers to abandon their roost under the hood.
Check the paws: Check your dog's paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. During a walk, a sudden lameness may be due to an injury or may be due to ice accumulation between his/her toes. You may be able to reduce the chance of ice ball accumulation by clipping the hair between your dog's toes.
Play dress-up: If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog coat. Have several on hand, so you can use a dry sweater or coat each time your dog goes outside. Wet sweaters or coats can actually make your dog colder. Some pet owners also use booties to protect their dog's feet; if you choose to use them, make sure they fit properly.
Wipe down: During walks, your dog's feet, legs and belly may pick up deicers, antifreeze, or other chemicals that could be toxic. When you get back inside, wipe down (or wash) your pet's feet, legs and belly to remove these chemicals and reduce the risk that your dog will be poisoned after (s)he licks them off of his/her feet or fur. Consider using pet-safe deicers on your property to protect your pets and the others in your neighborhood.
Collar and chip: Many pets become lost in winter because snow and ice can hide recognizable scents that might normally help your pet find his/her way back home. Make sure your pet has a well-fitting collar with up-to-date identification and contact information. A microchip is a more permanent means of identification, but it's critical that you keep the registration up to date.
Avoid ice: When walking your dog, stay away from frozen ponds, lakes and other water. You don't know if the ice will support your dog's weight, and if your dog breaks through the ice it could be deadly. And if this happens and you instinctively try to save your dog, both of your lives could be in jeopardy.
Recognize problems: If your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, slows down or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow, get them back inside quickly because they are showing signs of hypothermia. Frostbite is harder to detect, and may not be fully recognized until a few days after the damage is done. If you suspect your pet has hypothermia or frostbite, consult your veterinarian immediately.
Be prepared: Cold weather also brings the risks of severe winter weather, blizzards and power outages. Prepare a disaster/emergency kit, and include your pet in your plans. Have enough food, water and medicine (including any prescription medications as well as heartworm and flea/tick preventives) on hand to get through at least 5 days.
Feed well: Keep your pet at a healthy weight throughout the winter. Some pet owners feel that a little extra weight gives their pet some extra protection from cold, but the health risks associated with that extra weight don't make it worth doing. Watch your pet's body condition and keep them in the healthy range. Outdoor pets will require more calories in the winter to generate enough body heat and energy to keep them warm – talk to your veterinarian about your pet's nutritional needs during cold weather.

(Source: www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Cold-weather-pet-safety.aspx)


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Question: Dr. Ku, some dogs are so furry, do they really need jackets or booties to protect them when they are outside playing in snow?
Answer: "It really depends on how long they are going to be outside and how acclimated they are to the colder temperatures.  If they normally spend their time inside at 70 degrees or so by the fire and then you suddenly spend 6 hours in the snow, they will be cold!  If you are planning a trip to the snow, it’s a good idea to start spending more time outside in colder temperatures here in the Valley for a week or so before your trip.  Most dogs with enough fur do not need a coat or jacket unless you plan to be out for more than a few hours, but if the coat is thin, even though it may be long (like a Yorkshire Terrier, for example), they may still need a coat.  Small breed dogs in general tend to be a little more sensitive to temperature changes, and their feet are also more prone to frostbite and pain from the snow.  Even furry big dogs (like Huskies) can have cuts or cold toes from the snow if they aren’t used to walking in snow.  Monitor all dog’s feet closely when they are playing or walking in snow, even for what may seem like a short trek.  While we have on socks and boots usually, we forget what it may feel like to go barefoot in the snow, and they may be having so much fun, our pooches may not notice either! 😉 " -Dr. Gloria Ku    HAPPY TRAVELS!

Friday, November 09, 2018

Emergency Kit Ideas for Your Family & Pets

Is your family ready for emergencies or evacuations?  If you have to leave your home in a hurry, do you know what to grab at the last minute?  Everywhere around the world, many people have had to make these decisions when Mother Nature threatens their family and pets.  You never know when an emergency will happen.  However, if it’s possible to take preparations beforehand, here are some helpful lists of things to consider for your families’ (human & pets) emergency kit(s).

The AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) recommends you pack:

Basic electronics
Pack an extra phone charger in case you’re fortunate enough to have electricity, and a portable battery pack in case you’re not. Also stash a long-lasting LED flashlight. Pack a small hand-cranked or battery-operated AM/FM radio (with extra batteries).
Personal needs
While getting ready for a typical day, list every toiletry you use, then buy a travel-size version of each. Pack backup eyeglasses, as well as a first-aid kit, baby wipes and a multipurpose tool with a knife and can opener.
Clothing
Pack a few days’ worth. Include layers you can add or remove, plus lightweight rain gear and waterproof boots.
Your meds
Pack about three days’ worth of each of your prescriptions, which should last until you can get to a pharmacy that’s open. If you need larger items, such as an oxygen tank, make sure you have a portable version.
The perfect bag
Think small and portable. A backpack is ideal, but a lightweight suitcase with wheels will also do. Just remember, you may literally be running with it.
Paperwork
Fill a zip-top waterproof bag with photocopies of your birth certificate; driver’s license; Social Security and Medicare cards; power of attorney and will; any marriage, adoption or naturalization certificates; proof of address; insurance, medical and immunization records; and information about your credit and ATM cards.
Food and drink
Bottled water is essential. Granola or energy bars are great because they are small and filling, and they come in a variety of flavors.
Cash
In addition to enough money for a few days, include small bills and a roll of quarters. If you need to buy something out of a vending machine, you don’t want to start asking equally desperate strangers for change.


(Source: https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2017/packing-your-emergency-preparedness-kit-fd.html)
Reviewing the CDC website (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), they have this list posted on their website for pet disaster kits:
Documents
·         Photocopied veterinary records
o    Rabies certificate
o    Vaccinations
o    Medical summary
o    Prescriptions for medications
o    Most recent heartworm test result (dogs)
o    Most recent FeLV/FIV test result (cats)


·         Photocopied registration information (ex: proof of ownership or adoption records)
·         Pet description(s) (ex: breed, sex, color, weight)
·         Recent photographs of each of your pets
·         Waterproof container for documents
·         Microchip information (ex: microchip number, name and number of the microchip company)
·         Your contact information (phone numbers and addresses for your family and friends or relatives you may be staying with)
Water, Food, Medications
·         2-week supply of food for each animal stored in waterproof containers
·         2-week supply of water for each animal
·         Non-spill food and water dishes
·         Manual can opener
·         Feeding instructions for each animal
·         2-week supply of any medications (if applicable)
·         Medication instructions (if applicable)
·         1-month supply of flea, tick, and heartworm preventative
Other Supplies
·         Leash, collar with ID, and harness
·         Litter and litter box (cats)
·         Toys
·         Appropriate-sized pet carrier with bedding, blanket, or towel
·         Pet first aid book and first aid kit
·         Cleaning supplies for accidents (paper towels, plastic bags, disinfectant)

 Visit their link:
for helpful checklists & boarding information documents.



(Source: www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pet-disaster-prep-kit.html)

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Question:  Dr. Ku, what kind of advice can you give to pet owners about stressful situations such as emergencies and how to help calm the pet?

Answer:  "Staying calm yourself is the best way to help your pet, and yourself.  Remember to breath!  If you have anxiety medication for your pet for thunderstorms or fireworks, these may be helpful for emergency situations and can be given to them for initial transitions especially.  If not, the most important thing you can do is project calm and stability to your pet and trying to avoid as many transitions as possible depending on the situation.  If you have a crate for your pet, put them in it sooner rather than later, and leave them in the car while you pack up your other belongings.  Be sure they have water if it is hot, and clean air to breath (especially in a fire situation) wherever you leave them, and that they will not overheat while unattended.  Just like with young children, our pets take their lead from us.  As their providers, we can help them through any situation best by being level headed and prepared.  And taking few seconds to take a few deep belly breaths will do wonders to calm any situation down.  😉" -Dr. Gloria Ku

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

What's So Important About Doing Labwork?


Written by Dr. Gloria Ku
   
Sometimes it feels like we are always being asked to do a blood test or have a urine test and if you have ever had these tests done for your pet, you know that labwork can be expensive.  When our pet is ill, we understand the need to look for abnormalities and markers to help us guide our treatment and assess the severity of the problem.  But when our pet is healthy or feeling fine, is it really necessary?


From a veterinarian’s point of view, the more information we can gather about your pet, the more we understand and can accurately assess their overall health.  Unlike people, your pet will usually only tell you when something bothers them enough not to eat, to cause them to vomit, or urinate on your dining room floor, or limp..

But problems can start before symptoms are obvious. And if detected earlier, very often we can do more to alleviate the problem.  On top of that, our pets age much faster than we do.  By age 3, my young puppy is already equivalent to a 21 year old, and by age 5 she is middle aged at what is equivalent to 35.  By 8 years of age she is equivalent to 56, and by 10 she is 70.


Between the ages of 35-70, people have likely had multiple opportunities to have bloodwork and urine tests done by our physicians to help us evaluate our health.  Ideally, we would like to have a little data to compare back to by the time your pet reaches 10 as well.

What we are looking for are signs of organ disease (e.g. kidney, liver, pancreas, etc.), infections or conditions that may be low grade and undetected because our pet doesn’t exhibit outward symptoms (e.g. urinary tract infections, blood born parasites, bladder stones, etc.) and imbalances that may be developing (electrolyte or mineral imbalances, hormonal imbalances, etc.).  Sometimes we also need to be sure they are healthy enough for anesthesia for routine dental work or to have a growth removed, for instance. 

If you aren’t sure if it is necessary, it is always best to ask how important it is and why.  That is really the only way to know what the risks of not testing are, if any, and whether the benefits are worth the cost.  Each situation is unique and we are happy to help you make the best decisions you can regarding your pet’s care. 

Saturday, September 01, 2018

What Should I Feed My New Cat?


Written by Dr. Gloria Ku

Over the years, feline dietary recommendations have certainly evolved, and we can expect that to continue.  Although that makes recommendations more difficult to follow, it is the result of continued experience and research.  We now have more data to understand how cats metabolize foods, and what medical conditions can be more readily affected by diet. 

We have always known that cats are more strictly carnivorous as a species, compared to dogs or humans.  There are some essential amino acids that they require from their diet (such as taurine, carnitine and arginine), that they cannot synthesize on their own.  They also differ in their metabolism and utilization of glucose such that they need about twice as much protein than do dogs or humans to meet their energy needs.  Since these metabolic pathways are already in play, extra carbohydrates or sugars are not necessarily utilized in lieu of protein for energy as in other species.  Excess carbohydrates generally will lead to obesity, and sometimes liver or gall bladder disease, pancreatitis and diabetes. 

A few other differences in their metabolism make our human feeding patterns create a slight mismatch in their metabolism.  Domestic cats, while no longer wild, have been domesticated from ancestors who fed on about 8 small prey meals/day.  It takes about 10-15 attempts to catch each prey, so a large part of food consumption centered around the catch as well.  Wild cats are also not as socially interactive around mealtime, whereas people are more likely to want to interact during meals.  Our schedules also lead us to prefer to feed our cats twice a day.  In an effort to meet the demands of a cat looking for 8 small meals, we leave them food all day, which allows them to eat more than they need, without the effort required to capture prey.  And if they want to interact and play (or “hunt”) we mistakenly interpret that as “feed me” and do that instead. 

It is not hard to see why so many domestic cats are overweight.  Commercial foods are relatively easy to feed, but many of our dry diets are not as high in protein as cats need.  In order to create a “dry” food, more carbohydrate needs to be added to keep it “dry” and crunchy.  While this may make feeding more convenient and sometimes help with lowering plaque and tartar accumulation, it deviates from what nature has provided in the past.

We can break down the components of food scientifically.  We can test feed animals to establish minimum nutrient standards for vitamins, minerals, protein, etc. But when a client asks me what to feed their cat, they aren’t asking “what is the minimum I can feed to keep my cat healthy?”  What they really want to know is “what should I feed to keep my cat as healthy as possible for as long as possible?” 

The answer is as variable as when a person asks their doctor “what is the best diet for me?”  The truth is there is no perfect answer.  In general, veterinarians think we have been feeding cats below the optimum protein level for their species, and many diet companies are starting to respond to that.  Many veterinarians are suggesting canned food to compensate for this problem as canned food in general has a higher percentage of protein vs. carbohydrate than dry.  With the exception of kidney disease (which is certainly a concern for many cats as they age), most cats will benefit from a relatively high protein diet.  I would suggest looking for dry food with at least 30-40% protein for most healthy cats, and/or feeding primarily canned food as canned formulations in general will meet this goal.  (The protein percentage listed is somewhat confusing in canned vs. dry food because of the amount of weight associated with water in canned food). 

An average rodent meal is about 30-35 kcal, and the average 10-11 lb. cat needs about 240 kcal/day.  This amounts to about 8 small rodent sized meals, or approximately 10 kibble/meal or about 1/6th of a can/meal, on average.  For individual animals, their activity level can cause that amount to vary.  For example, if your cat sleeps all day, they may actually need less food to maintain their ideal weight. 

While commercial diets may have limitations, the advantages may still outweigh the disadvantages.  Nutritionists are still trying to work out the best balances.  Ingredients can vary based on source and processing.  But the minimum standards are assessed in most commercial diets, and met if they are “AAFCO” approved.  This is important because without meeting even the minimum standards, health issues are more likely to occur.  Home cooked diets or diets formulated by companies that do not get their products evaluated for minimum standards can be deficient and lead to health concerns sooner. 

There are many diets available to choose from and looking at labels can be helpful.  If your pet has a specific health condition, I suggest you consult with your veterinarian.  Hopefully these guidelines will help you in deciding what and how much to feed your new cat!

Meanwhile, here are a few links to examples of feeding/activity toys that may be fun and healthy for your new cat:




For some of you who want more information, the following is a lengthy detailed chart of protein and carbohydrate nutritional composition of a large variety of canned cat foods, put together by a very dedicated feline practitioner, Dr. Lisa Pierson.  While her opinions on feeding may not fit exactly with your own, or your veterinarian’s, philosophy, I include it here for informational purposes as the nutritional content information can be very helpful for individuals who are watching these factors closely.

If you are interested in more information about specific nutritional questions or home cooked recipe formulations, I would suggest the UC Davis VMTH Nutrition Department as a good resource for you through your veterinarian.  They can tailor a diet to your pet’s specific health needs and modify it as time and conditions change through their life. 

Choice and variety are so prevalent down the cat food aisle.  This can be both a blessing and a hardship for us all!  Feel free to consult with your veterinarian further as often opening this door leads to more questions, not less.  But that’s what leads to better information and more appropriate new questions.  Thanks for continuing the journey to happier and healthier kitties! 


Monday, August 20, 2018

Happy 25th Anniversary, Hatton Veterinary Hospital!

In late August of 1993, Dr. Peter Hatton opened the doors to Hatton Veterinary Hospital.

Old sign in front of hospital
Prior to Dr. Hatton building and opening Hatton Veterinary Hospital, he worked at and co-owned Greenhaven Veterinary Hospital in the Greenhaven/Pocket area.  Some of our current staff, Dr. Laura Takata, Dr. Gloria Ku, and RVT (Registered Veterinary Technician) Judy, had also worked at Greenhaven Vet for many years before coming over to Hatton Vet.

When Dr. Hatton first opened his practice here in Elk Grove, some of our current staff, RVT Suzanne, RVT Lisa, and Vet Tech Assistant Rhea, were among the few who were working in the early years.

We asked them to elaborate on their years here at Hatton Veterinary Hospital.  In 25 years, there are a lot of memories amongst our staff…

DR. LAURA TAKATA: Veterinarian


When did you start working with or met Dr. Hatton?
 I started working with Dr. Hatton (and Dr. Sahara)  in 1985 at Greenhaven Veterinary Hospital when I did a preceptorship before my senior year of Veterinary School. They were kind enough to give me the opportunity to work with a great team, and  they hired me upon graduation in 1986.

When did you start working at Hatton Veterinary Hospital?
I started working at Hatton Veterinary Hospital in 1994, a year after it opened.

What inspired you to work with animals? 
When I was in middle school, I knew I wanted to work in a medical/science field. While I was in high school, I began to explore the possibilities and found that I really loved working with animals. For many years  I put in my hours cleaning kennels, walking dogs, working at the zoo, fish and game and wildlife care . As I  gained the confidence that I might be able to go to Veterinary school someday, I really began to focus on that goal.  I  wanted to be able to know as much as I could about the diseases affecting our pets, and wanted to be able to provide the best care to them. I feel a deep connection to animals and to their humans.

What is your favorite story or most memorable moment since working at Hatton?
 I honestly can’t pinpoint a single most memorable moment. There have been so many special pets and moments. I feel very lucky to have such great clients and pets to work with . Every special thank you from them means so much.  We have a beautiful cat quilt on the wall which was made by a very special client who passed away.  Her husband felt she would want us to have it, so we have displayed it ever since, sharing her talents and love  with all who come to visit us.  Our dedicated clients are the reason we are here!




DR. GLORIA KU: Veterinarian

When did you start working with or met Dr. Hatton?
In 1989, I worked with Dr. Hatton while doing my summer internship at Greenhaven Vet Hospital during my senior year in veterinary school.

When did you start working at Hatton Veterinary Hospital?
June 2003

What inspired you to work with animals?
The challenge of working with animals inspired me.  It is not only the science of medicine and disease, but also learning to communicate with different species that don't speak English.  Our pets are so trusting that I wanted to be able to help them and families have optimum experiences together.

What is your favorite story or most memorable moment since working at Hatton?
Most of our pets have originated from work situations, but one stands out especially today, because she is still with me now.  I first met “Flora” when our staff caught her running around the hospital and the field across the street on Labor Day 2005.  She was very friendly and quite happy to be “found.”  She had a microchip but it wasn’t registered and had been placed by Sacramento City Animal Control, so we took her there on the next business day where she was held for 4 days in hopes of her owner finding her there.  No one called.  On her last day before she would have been put down, as the shelter was particularly full that week, I called to check on her.  When I heard that she wasn’t reclaimed, I convinced my husband to come take a look at her and see what he thought.  She had been so friendly when I first met her and her colors matched one of our dogs (black and tan).  We certainly didn’t need another dog because we still had two young large dogs at home, but we had recently said good bye to two of our older pets and we felt like we could handle it.   When we got to the shelter, the dogs had been kept 4 or 5 to a pen because they were so crowded.  He pointed to each dog in the pen asking if that was the one, before I meekly confessed it was the last one, hiding in the back.  But when we brought her out, she lit up again as I had seen her at Hatton’s 4 days earlier.  Now she is probably about 15 years old and enjoying her senior years as an only child.  Kids have left, dogs and cats have “left”, and for the first time, she is “Queen Bee” at our house.  She earned it!  Thanks for finding us at Hatton’s, Flora!! 😊


JUDY: Registered Veterinary Technician

When did you start working with or met Dr. Hatton?
I started working with Dr. Hatton in 1976 at Greenhaven Veterinary Hospital.  I watched Dr. Sahara and Dr. Hatton build the Greenhaven Veterinary Hospital and when Dr. Hatton built Hatton Veterinary Hospital, I came to Elk Grove to work at his practice.

When did you start working at Hatton Veterinary Hospital?
October 1993

What inspired you to work with animals?
I wanted to work with and help care for small pets.

What is your favorite story or most memorable moment since working at Hatton?
I like working with our clients and patients, especially with reconditioning.  A Chihuahua named Lola came in weekly for us to get her desensitized with being here. We were not able to touch her at all.  We used a lot of peanut butter as a treat for her.  With our help, we are now able to pick her up with some “complaints.”

SUZANNE: Registered Veterinary Technician


When did you start working with or met Dr. Hatton?
September 1993 (about 2 weeks after the practice first opened).

What inspired you to work with animals?
I have always had a love for animals and wanted to help them.

What is your favorite story or most memorable moment since working at Hatton?
Evacuating animals by rowboat during the flood of 1996 and Lisa’s car floating around in the parking lot!








LISA: Registered Veterinary Technician

When did you start working with or met Dr. Hatton?
In October 1994, I started out as an ROP (Regional Occupational Program) student.  On my 2nd day, Dr. Hatton offered me an employee position.

What inspired you to work with animals?
To be honest, cats inspired me to work in the veterinary field but I have always known that I wanted to work with animals.  I grew up with a love of animals as my home was always filled with pets.  I have always been passionate about science.  I have always known that I would love and enjoy helping animals in need to love, aid care and support.

What is your favorite story or most memorable moment since working at Hatton?
In 2005, a mama cat with her newborn litter arrived at our hospital.  Someone in the past had borrowed on of our extra carriers here, put the mama cat and her kittens in the carrier, and then slipped the carrier into someone’s car at the nearby gas station!  When the owner of the vehicle saw the carrier in their car, they saw that our “Please return to Hatton Veterinary Hospital” label was on the carrier and brought it to us.  Mama cat was a great tortoiseshell cat.  She had 6 kittens that we took in and we instantly fell in love with mama and her babies.  3 of the kittens went to Hatton Vet employees.  I have the black and white domestic short-haired named Danica.  She is 13 years old now.  The last 3 kittens were adopted out to a few clients.

RHEA: Veterinary Technician Assistant

When did you start working with or met Dr. Hatton?
I started volunteering at Hatton Vet in my senior year of High School, through the ROP program.  Dr. Takata interviewed me and offered me a volunteer position.  I met Dr. Hatton after starting my volunteer position.

When did you start working at Hatton Veterinary Hospital?
September of 1999 as a volunteer and then in October 1999 as a part-time employee.

What inspired you to work with animals?
My Grandma had a farm for most of my childhood so I grew up having many types of animals around me.  She and I would buy fertilized chicken eggs then incubate them and raise them.  My Grandma raised pigs, sheep, chickens, a horse, cockatiels, love birds, an ostrich, cats and dogs.  I gained a lot of animal experience and bonded with them.  I think the love and bond I formed with animals for many years made me want to be a Veterinarian.  I can remember being in the 2nd or 3rd grade and my teacher asking everyone what they wanted to be. I always replied, “A Veterinarian.”  I’ve always wanted to work with animals.

What is your favorite story or most memorable moment since working at Hatton?
Being here for over 18 years, it’s hard to narrow down a single story with all these memories.  We had this chinchilla that came in with a broken hind leg.  Dr. Ku and I were able to bandage the leg, and fitted him with a homemade cone on his head.  Yes, a cone can be used on all types of animals.  We saw him multiple times for rechecks and he was healing as planned, except for his decreased appetite.  Since I have chinchillas, I gave the owners some advice on what my “Chicka Girls” liked.  He began to eat better and was thriving!  Right before he had his bandage taken off, he broke the same leg again, but in a different spot.  This was a bad spot to break as it could not be healed with a splint and bandage.  This now required surgery with a specialist.  The family decided to do surgery and amputate his leg.  He made a full recovery and was a happy 3 legged chinchilla!  It was a great, fulfilling experience to help him through his healing process.
(To read the blog about this Chinchilla’s broken leg, click here: http://hattonvethosp.blogspot.com/2013/04/mews-leg-2013.html )
I like learning how to work with each patient and learning about their quirks.  I don’t want their experience to be traumatic so I work hard to gain their trust and make them as comfortable as possible in order to accomplish the treatments needed to help our patients.  We get to know families and their pets, especially if we have seen them ever since they were a “baby”.  Unfortunately, it is hard for us to see beloved pets get older or sick and even harder to help them through their last days and then saying goodbye.

IN THE BEGINNING....
Pictures of Dr. Hatton building Hatton Veterinary Hospital.
(Click on picture to see larger image.)








STAFF EVENT PICTURES

Hatton Staff Boat Outing & Picnic 1995

Staff & Family Holiday Party 2002
Staff & Family Holiday Party 2006