Sickness

Poisons *Health Alert!
Internal ParasitesExternal ParasitesHeartworm
Rhinotracheitis Calici VirusFeline LeukemiaRabies
FIPDistemperFleas
Spaying/NeuteringVaccinationsDental Care
 We Recommend! 

A sick animal often has a dull and patchy hair coat, because the skin is one of the first systems to be affected by disease. Another sign of illness is a lack of appetite. Persistent and severe vomiting (with or without diarrhea) and prolonged diarrhea alone are sure signs of illness. Red, watery eyes, which may be accompanied by nasal discharge or sneezing, also can indicate problems. Straining to urinate, bloody urine, or frequent urination signify disease. Any swelling that appears rapidly or continues to increase in size over time is a cause for concern.

Injuries such as those caused by car accidents, falls, being bitten by another animal, or being shut in the door are all potential hazards for cats and usually require veterinary treatment. Those injuries can be greatly reduced by keeping your cat indoors. If you want your cat to enjoy the outdoors, train it to a harness and leash.

In short, use good judgment regarding your cat's health. When in doubt, a simple telephone call to the veterinarian can usually determine if your cat should be examined.

Vaccinations

Cats and kittens need to be protected from deadly infectious feline diseases. If you acquire a new kitten, it is important to find out what vaccinations it has received and at what age. If you obtain an adult cat, you should inquire as to when it had its last booster vaccinations.

A kitten usually will receive a series of two to four vaccinations. The actual number varies depending on a number of variables, including the type of vaccine, the kitten's age at the first visit, whether its mother was vaccinated, and its risk of exposure.

The series of shots most recommended involves:
  • 8 weeks FVRCP (Paleukopenia, Rhinotracheitis, Calcivirus, and Chlamydia)
  • 12 weeks FVRCP Booster
  • 16 weeks FVRCP Booster
  • FeLV Booster
  • 14 months FVRCP annually from this date
  • FeLV annually from this date
  • 18 months Rabies Booster then every three years.

 


 Spaying/Neutering

Traditionally, cats have been spayed or neutered at six months of age or older. However, many
veterinarians recommend performing the procedure at an earlier age to further insure against unwanted pregnancies.

Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) is the surgical removal of the female reproductive organs (ovaries,
oviducts, uterus). It is a recommended procedure for all female cats that will not be used in a breeding program. The removal of the reproductive organs eliminates the behaviors associated with the heat (estrus) cycle (i.e., kneading, howling, restlessness); greatly reduces the incidence of mammary cancer; and helps to decrease overpopulation.

Neutering (castration) is the surgical removal of parts of the male reproductive organs (testes,
epididymis, parts of the vas deferens). The benefits, besides preventing impregnation of a female cat, include the reduction of excessive aggressiveness, urine spraying, and the pungent odor of intact-male urine.

 


FELINE RHINOTRACHEITIS CALICI  VIRUS

Feline calicivirus (FCV) and feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1) are responsible for 80-90% of infectious feline upper respiratory tract diseases. Most cats are exposed to either or both of these viruses at some time in their lives. Once infected, many cats never completely rid themselves of virus.

These "carrier" cats either continuously or intermittently shed the organisms for long periods of time -- perhaps for life -- and serve as a major source of infection to other cats. The currently available vaccines will minimize the severity of upper respiratory infections, although none will prevent disease in all situations. Vaccination is highly recommended for all cats.

In general, the first vaccinations to protect against panleukopenia and diseases caused by FCV and FHV-1 are given at six to eight weeks of age. Occasionally veterinarians will begin vaccination at an earlier age depending on the kitten's risk of exposure and amount of protection received from the mother. The vaccines are then "boosted" at three- to four-week intervals until the kitten is between twelve and sixteen weeks of age. Following this initial vaccination series, boosters will be given regularly to keep the cat protected.

Feline pneumonitis, caused by a Chlamydia organism, is a mild to severe respiratory and eye disease. Chlamydia vaccines are available, often in combination with other vaccines. Although vaccination does not provide complete protection, it will reduce the severity of the disease.


 

 Feline Leukemia

Vaccines can help protect your cat against the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) infection. Ideally, the cat should be tested prior to vaccination, since the vaccine will offer no protection to individuals already infected with the virus. FeLV vaccines should be given twice at three- to four-week intervals; kittens can begin the series when between eight and twelve weeks-of-age. Afterwards, your cat should receive regular re-vaccinations ("booster" vaccinations) against FeLV. Since FeLV vaccines will not protect all cats, your veterinarians will discuss additional ways to help prevent infection.


 

FIP

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is caused by a coronavirus. The currently available FIP vaccine is administered intranasally to cats at 16 weeks of age, with a booster in three to four weeks, and then yearly. Cats in multiple cat facilities have a much greater risk of developing FIP than most household cats. If used appropriately and in conjunction with proper management, the vaccine has been found helpful in reducing the incidence of FIP in certain multiple cat environments. If your cat resides in a high-risk environment, you should discuss the vaccine with your veterinarian.
 

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FELINE INFECTIOUS ENTERITIS FELINE PANLEUKOPENIA (Feline Distemper)

Feline panleukopenia (also called feline distemper) is perhaps the most acute and most often fatal disease of cats.  It involves digestive upsets and significant changes in the blood cells.  Until recent years, panleukopenia claimed the lives of thousands every year. Thanks to the highly effective vaccines currently available, panleukopenia is now considered to be an uncommon disease. However, because of the serious nature of the disease and the continued presence of virus in the environment, vaccination is highly recommended for all cats. Vaccinations are usually started at six weeks of age and repeated at 3-four week intervals until a cat reaches 16 weeks of age.

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RABIES

Rabies is an acute viral disease that attacks the central nervous system.  It is usually transmitted in saliva, passed along when one animal bites another.  It can also be transmitted if saliva containing the virus touches a cut or sore.  Although the majority of cases involve animals, humans are also affected by the disease.

Symptoms in pets range from loss of appetite, fever and restlessness in the early stages to convulsions and paralysis in the later stages of the disease.

Your cat should be vaccinated against rabies. The first vaccine should be given at twelve weeks-of-age. The second should be given at 18 months, with each subsequent rabies vaccination  effective for three years.   Cats are as susceptible as dogs because exposure is often greater due to the hunting instincts of cats.

   For more information go to our Rabies page.
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  Internal Parasites

Parasites that infect the intestinal tract of cats can be worm-like organisms (e.g., roundworms,
hookworms or tapeworms) or microscopic organisms called protozoa (e.g., Isospora,
Toxoplasma, Giardia). Most intestinal parasites deprive the infected cat of important nutrition,
causing weakness and susceptibility to viral or bacterial infections. Although initially infecting the
intestinal tract, Toxoplasma organisms usually cause disease in other parts of the body. Therefore,
keeping your cat free of parasites is important for its long-term health.

Intestinal parasites can usually be diagnosed when your veterinarian analyzes a fecal sample.
Occasionally, an owner may see an intestinal parasite in vomit or in feces that resembles a white,
threadlike worm, or the parasite may resemble a rice grain near the cat's tail. If your cat is infected,
proper medication should be obtained from your veterinarian. A fecal sample should be checked
after treatment to ensure that the parasites have been eliminated. Because some intestinal parasites
can also cause disease in human beings, have your cat checked at least annually for intestinal
parasites.

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External Parasites

External parasites that infest cats include a variety of small to microscopic insects and arachnids that
derive their nutrients from the cat's blood, tissue fluids, or skin cells. Fleas, ticks, lice, fly larvae and
mites are external parasites that can be source of much irritation to a cat. External parasites cause the most common skin disorders of cats and help transmit other diseases (e.g., bubonic plague,
hemobartonella, Lyme disease, and perhaps cat-scratch disease). Common signs of external
parasitism include intense itching, red crusty lesions or scaly skin. Your veterinarian can provide
effective treatments and control methods for most feline external parasites.

Click on link to find out what We Recommend!


 

Fleas,

the most common external parasite of cats, are wingless, brownish insects that are powerful jumpers. Although fleas are small, they are visible to the naked eye. Adult fleas suck blood from the cat, so a heavy infestation can cause anemia, especially in young kittens. A condition called flea-bite hypersensitivity, the most common allergic skiin disease of cats, affects individuals that are allergic to the flea's saliva.

There are many safe and effective flea-control products currently available on the market, but the
most effective flea control strategies require simultaneous treatment of both the cat and its
environment. Make sure that any insecticides used (e.g., sprays, dips, or powders) are safe for use
on cats, because many flea products formulated for dogs can be very toxic to cats. Some
insecticidal products cannot be used on kittens less than two to three months of age. Also, it's best
not to use insecticides from the same class (e.g. organophosphates) in different forms on the cat or in the environment for fear of cumulative toxic effects.

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Go here for more information on controlling fleas.
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HEARTWORM

Heartworm disease is often thought of as a problem in dogs only, but the internal parasite, Dirofilaria immitis, can infect cats as well. If you reside in an area where dogs are infected, cats living in the area are at risk of infection too. Dirofilaria immitis is carried by mosquitoes, so both indoor and outdoor cats are at risk. Although infection can be serious or even deadly, it is easily avoided by monthly administration of preventative medication.

Heartworm infection is a serious and potentially deadly disease. Evidence has shown that feline heartworm can be found in as many as four out of ten cats. Inside cats are as vulnerable as their outside cousins. In fact, studies show they are infected at a higher rate due to their lower level of  resistance. Heartworms are very difficult to diagnose in felines. Most cats show no signs of the parasite and can die quite suddenly. There is no successful treatment for heartworm disease in cats.

Fortunately, there is now a heartworm preventative available for cats. HEARTGARD is a chewable tablet made specifically for cats and can be given by hand or mixed with food. It is approved for use in cats six weeks and older.

INTERCEPTOR is another highly effective medication that prevents heartworm disease by eliminating infective larvae for 60 days past infection. This single compound when administered monthly, prevents heartworm and treats and controls several intestinal parasites.

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Poisons

  • Asprin, Tylenol and chocolate are poisonous to cats.
  • Cats are attracted to automobile antifreeze because of its sweet taste (so keep it well out of reach).
    Health Alert!

    The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals/National Animal Poison Control Center (ASPCA/NAPCC) wants to educate cat owners about the dangers of certain types of lily. All parts of these lilies are considered toxic to cats and consuming even small amounts can cause severe poisoning. If there is a lily in your home, there is always the chance that your cat could be accidentally exposed. For this reason, cat owners should avoid exposing their cats to plants of the Liliaceae and Hemerocallis family.

    From an article by Jill A. Richardson, D.V.M.
    ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center

    For more the complete article and other news about cats, visit: Catsbuzz
    -submitted by John Guevin

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     We Recommend!

     To protect you cat from heartworm, roundworm, hookworm, fleas, and ear mites, we recommend using Revolution a monthly topical treatment.  Click on the picture below for more information about this extrodinary 5-1 parasite treatment.

    Revolution is your cat's best defense against parasites.

     

     

     

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