We recommend annual wellness exams and vaccinations to keep your cat healthy and to diagnose and treat problems before they become serious. We also recommend year round parasite prevention. If you have ever wondered what all these tests and exams tell us about your pet, this brochure should answer those questions.
Our basic adult feline wellness starts with a complete exam. If you have any questions about your pet, any new lumps or bumps you have noticed at home, any behavior changes, and/or changes in eating, drinking, defecating, or urination make sure to bring them up with the doctor. Common problems found on a physical exam can include, obesity, severe dental disease, ear/skin infections, fleas, ticks, heart murmurs, and masses or growths. If a problem is found on exam our doctors may recommend additional diagnostics or procedures to help evaluate your pet’s health and prevent life threatening illnesses before they progress too far.
As long as your pet is healthy, we will then give their vaccinations. Rabies vaccination is required for all cats over 12 weeks of age and must be repeated every year or every three years depending on which vaccine you choose. Rabies vaccination is particularly important in cats because in our area rabies is found most commonly in bats. Cats, even indoor cats, are much more proficient hunters and therefore more likely to be exposed than dogs.
The feline upper respiratory vaccine (FVRCP) is the next annual vaccination. This vaccine protects against feline upper respiratory viruses that can cause chronic, and in some cases, life threatening disease.
For cats that go outside or are exposed to other cats that go outside, we recommend feline leukemia vaccination(FeLv). Feline leukemia is a viral infection that is spread from one cat to another with direct contact. It is a deadly disease, for which there is no cure. Prevention with vaccination is the only way to protect your cat. Before we start vaccination for this virus we require testing for feline leukemia and FIV. This test is also recommended for all kittens over 12 weeks old, even if they may not need the vaccination.
Parasite prevention is also important in maintaining your cat’s health. Routine deworming prevents intestinal parasites that can cause diarrhea and other illnesses.
Fleas can cause life threatening anemias as well as spread many blood born disease. Fleas are also responsible for the tranmission of tapeworms to your cat. Flea infestations increase over grooming, hairballs, and vomiting and are the cause of most allergic skin disease in cats.
Heartworms, while not as common, can be more deadly in cats than dogs. A typical heartworm infection in cats causes severe respiratory symptoms and sudden death has been known to be the only symptom in some cases. There is no safe or effective treatment for heartworm disease in cats, so again prevention is the only way to protect your cat.
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Tennessee Valley Animal Clinic