Annual Comprehensive Physical Examination:
A comprehensive annual physical examination is the basis for your cat’s health. Senior cats (over 10 yrs of age) will greatly benefit from twice yearly (semi-annual) health check-ups. Since our cats age so much more rapidly than we do, health problems may arise in seemingly short periods of time. By 6 months of age, your kitten is the equivalent of a 3 year old child and by 8 years of age, your cat is the equivalent of a 50-60 year old person! You have probably heard it said that diseases in people such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease may be SILENT KILLERS. This is because often times there are NO obvious clinical signs until severe illness develops. Likewise, cats have many “silent killer” diseases that afflict them. Many people believe that indoor cats are not susceptible to disease. Infectious diseases certainly are less likely to afflict indoor cats, but they have NO immunity to silent killers like heart, kidney, and dental disease. EARLY DETECTION through a comprehensive annual examination is the key to your cat’s well being.
Feline Leukemia & Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Test:
Feline leukemia (FELV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV or Feline AIDS) are two of the most important infectious diseases affecting cats today. Both are incurable and both may be fatal. It is extremely important to blood test your cat to make sure that your cat is not a carrier of one or both of these diseases. Kittens may be born with these diseases or may acquire them shortly after birth if the mother cat is affected. Cats may harbor these diseases hidden in their bone marrow for years before ever becoming sick. Always test a new cat BEFORE introducing it to a resident cat in your household!
Kittens should begin their vaccination (immunization) series at 6-8 weeks of age. Additional booster vaccines are given every 3-4 weeks until they are at least 16 weeks of age. Adult cats that have no prior history of vaccination need to be given an initial vaccine followed by booster vaccinations 3-4 weeks later.
“Core” vaccinations are those vaccinations that are currently recommended for ALL CATS. These include feline viral (RCP) rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia, and rabies. Other vaccinations, like the feline leukemia virus vaccination, are currently recommended for all kittens, and then recommended to be continued for adult cats based on their lifestyle.
FYI: A poorly understood problem in cats is a vaccine induced growth called a fibrosarcoma. While the incidence of this problem is low, studies have shown that the risks of developing a vaccination associated fibrosarcoma are most often correlated to the 3 yr Rabies vaccination and the feline leukemia vaccination. As a result of this, we use a line of vaccinations specially formulated for cats in an attempt to limit the precursors that may cause the formation of fibrosarcoma. Because of the special formulation of these vaccines- the Rabies vaccination is only approved to guarantee immunity for 1 year. We also limit our recommendations for vaccinating against feline leukemia to those cats that are outdoors for any time period, or being housed in the same environment that houses other cats that may be (or have been) exposed to the virus.
Intestinal parasite control:
The center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that ALL kittens be routinely dewormed for roundworms at least 2-3 times whether or not eggs for this parasite are found in the stool. This parasite commonly infects kittens prior to birth by migrating across the placenta of the mother cat. Not only are these parasites dangerous to the health of your kitten, but the immature worm is capable of infecting people (primarily children) as well. It is for this reason that the CDC makes the recommendation to deworm. Annual fecal exams are necessary to check for a variety of other intestinal parasites that may affect your cat. If you are not able to provide stool sample at the annual exam time, we recommend prophylactic deworming your cat.
The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body. A healthy, clean mouth helps to insure a healthy body. Tarter and plaque on teeth harbor a wide variety of bacteria that may cause infections elsewhere in the body such as in the heart, liver, or kidneys. The practice of home dental care should be started with your kitten to get him/her used to having its teeth cleaned at an early age. Brushing is the most effective method of home dental care, but if this is not possible, other options may be beneficial such as the feeding of a specially formulated diet or offering treats impregnated with an enzyme that helps remove plaque. Regular dental exams along with professional dental cleanings are an important part of your cat’s good oral hygiene.
Flea and Tick control:
These parasites are capable of causing extreme skin irritation to you and your cat as well as potentially transmitting dangerous diseases. The bite of an infected flea is capable of transmitting blood parasites, and the ingestion of a flea can cause tapeworms. Not all over-the-counter topical products are safe for cats. Please let us advise you on what type of product may be safe and effective for your cat.
Studies now show that cats may become infected with heartworms. Heartworms are transmitted by the bite of a mosquito. Although the incidence of heartworms in cats is much lower than dogs, the result of heartworm infection may be sudden death. At this time, diagnosis and treatment of feline heartworms is much more difficult in cats than in dogs. For this reason, if you have a cat that is “at risk” (ie. outdoors, etc) then placing your cat on a heartworm preventative is the best course of action.
Spaying and Neutering:
Cats may be spayed or neutered at any age, but the preferable age is approximately 6-12 months of age. It is of no health benefit to allow your cat to go through a heat cycle or to breed once prior to being spayed or neutered. Spay and neutering prevents annoying sexual behavior, prevents certain cancers and infections, and generally leads to a happier, healthier cat.
One pleasing aspect of owning a kitten is the litter box training is usually much easier than canine house training. Most kittens will naturally be attracted to a litter box for elimination as long as the litter box is accessible and the litter is desirable.
Problems tend to arise when the litter box isn't accessible or clean. Inappropriate elimination outside the litter box is one of the major problems presented to veterinarians. Behavior problems may be the cause of inappropriate elimination, however, medical ailments such as urinary tract disease must first be ruled out.
It is much easier to avoid a litter box problem than fix one. Most cats prefer finely particulate material as an elimination substrate. Some general guidelines are:
Surviving puppyhood is not hard. Puppies are predictable. They chew everything, urinate and defecate everywhere and get into trouble every time they are out of sight. This is normal! Surviving puppyhood with some semblance of calm begins by planning for puppies to behave like puppies. Here are some hints:
Supervise: When your puppy is loose, he must be in sight. Treat him like a human toddler. You would never leave your toddler unsupervised. Don't leave your puppy either.
Entertain: Puppies have active minds as well as active bodies. Get several safe toys and rotate them so your puppy doesn't get bored. Don't give them all the toys at once. Variety helps to keep them interested.
Educate: Your pup is learning every day he is with you. Start teaching him manners right away. Use short sessions with lots of praise and food rewards (freeze dried liver is a great training treat). Even seven-week-old puppies can learn to sit, stay, and come. Educate yourself as well. There are many books and videos available to help you successfully raise a puppy.
Prevention: Put things away. Close cabinets and doors. Coat electrical wires with an anti-chew product (gold Listerine in a spray bottle works well for many pups).
Confine: Confine parents use cribs and playpens. Puppy owners use crates and kennels. Small room with baby gates can be used but remember; a puppy can strip wallpaper, chew the ends of cabinets, or bite holes in drywall. Therefore, our preference is to always use a crate or kennel.
Enjoy: Your puppy is exhausting, frustrating, and demanding. He is also charming, innocent, adorable, eager, smart, and wonderful. Enjoy him every day.
By 4 months of age your puppy should be well on his way to becoming a well-mannered member of the family. To help him achieve this goal, we outline some major "expectations" you should attempt to achieve. Your pup should:
Benefits of spaying your Dog
Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) is a procedure that involves removal of your dog's ovaries and uterus. This surgery may be performed at any age but the preferable age is between 4-12 months. There is NO medical evidence to suggest that your dog will benefit in any way from going through a heat cycle or having a litter prior to being spayed. Spaying can provide you and your dog with the following benefits:
There are many good reasons to have your dog spayed early in life. Unless you are convinced that you would like to show or breed your dog, we recommend spaying at the earliest convenient time.
Benefits of Neutering your Dog
There are many good reasons to neuter your dog early in life. Unless you are convinced that you want to show or breed your dog, we recommend neutering at the earliest convenient time.
KONG Recipes & Stuffing Techniques
Kong toys are uniquely shaped, extraordinarily durable rubber toys with a hollow center which can be filled with food or treats. Un-stuffing Kongs can become a very important and popular activity for your puppy or dog because it can keep him or her content and busy for long periods of time while they crunch up and lick out the food nuggets and treats stuffed inside. Using the KONG in this fashion helps direct your dog's natural desire to chew toward something that is acceptable to your dog and desirable to you. We much prefer that your dog chews on the KONG than the leg of your kitchen table or your favorite pair of shoes!
Suggestions for KONG stuffing include:
Remember to use any stuffing ingredient in moderation. Items such as peanut butter can be fattening. Also, some foods may not "agree" with your dog's stomach so be aware of potential stomach upsets. This is not usually a problem with the previously mentioned stuffing suggestions. Also, remember that it may be necessary to reduce the portion size of your dog's regular meal if you are using lots of food inside KONGs to keep your dog occupied and happy.
Some recipes may become messy as your dogs licks and chews out the contents of the stuffed KONG so be aware of leaving your dog in an area such as a crate, outside in the yard or on an easily cleaned floor while he or she enjoys the KONG. You may periodically need to place the KONG in your dishwasher to clean and sanitize the inside cavity.
**** Please make sure to use the appropriate sized KONG toy that is recommended for your pet's weight. The company makes guidelines to avoid injury. If a smaller sized KONG toy is offered to your dog, instead of the appropriate recommended size, then problems can arise due to ingestion of the toy or it can become a choking hazard. If either one of these situations arises, then please contact our office if it is during normal business hours, or the local emergency clinic (PETS at 717-295- 7387).