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How to keep Your Cat Healthy

Vaccine Reactions: Localized reactions, such as small lumps at the injection site, are not uncommon. More severe, and less common reactions included facial swelling, as is seen in dogs, but not usually in the form of hives. Vaccine reactions can also include vomiting and diarrhea. This usually happens in less than .05% of cats and usually happens immediately. Should your cat have this reaction, seek medical attention immediately.

Feline Panleukopenia (FVRCP): This is also called feline distemper and is one of the most common viruses of cats. It is a highly contagious disease. The highest incidence occurs in kittens 3-5 months of age. Symptoms include: fever, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and death. Your cat does not necessarily need to be in contact with other cats to get this disease.

Feline Calicivirus (FVRCP): This is also an upper respiratory and ulcerative disease of cats. Symptoms and transmission are the same as for the Rhinotracheitis virus.

Feline Pneumonitis (FVRCP): This is a chlamydial infection causing upper respiratory infection in cats. Symptoms and transmission are the same as for the Rhinotracheitis virus.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV): This is a very common and highly contagious virus for cats. It is similar to the human AIDS virus in that it causes suppression of the immune system. This disease cannot be transmitted to people or to animals other than cats.

BanyaTransmission is primarily through exchange of secretions (saliva, blood, urine, feces), such as from grooming, mating, sneezing, and eating out of the same food bowls. It can also be transferred from the mother cat to her kittens either during pregnancy or nursing. There are no specific signs of FeLV disease. Symptoms arise from the secondary diseases and may include: chronic mouth and gum infections, chronic respiratory disease, intestinal infections (diarrhea), skin and ear infections, reproductive disorders (abortion, stillbirth, and fading kitten syndrome), frequent urinary tract infections, loss of appetite, weight loss, fever, lethargy, and other systemic infections. This virus can also cause some tumors to occur. Cats at high risk are outdoor cats, intact male cats, cats in multi-households, and stray cats. Vaccination before exposure to the virus is the best means of protection (although no vaccine is 100% protective) other than absolute isolation from other cats. Cats that spend any time outdoors should be vaccinated for FeLV. Test any new cat or kitten before bringing it into the household.

Feline Rabies Virus: This is a 100% fatal disease that affects the nervous system of ALL warm-blooded animals (that means PEOPLE too). State law requires that all dogs and cats be vaccinated against rabies on an annual or triennial basis. Transmission is usually from bite wounds. Some wild animals, such as skunks, foxes, raccoons, and bats, can serve as reservoirs of the virus.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV): This virus, like the FeLV virus also causes immune suppression and is closer in similarity to the human AIDS virus. Again, only cats can get this disease. This virus is found in the blood and saliva. Transmission is primarily from fighting (bite wounds and scratches). Symptoms are similar to those listed for FeLV. Intact male cats are in the highest risk category for becoming infected with this virus. Also at risk are all outdoor cats, cats in multi-cat households, and stray cats. Some female cats do get this disease. There is a vaccination to prevent this disease. Vaccination is recommended for at risk cats (again, those that spend time outdoors). Once infected, cats remain infected and eventually die from secondary diseases. You can help prevent your pet from becoming infected by keeping it indoors and neutering male cats. Test any new cat or kitten before bringing it into the household.

Heartworm Prevention: Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in cats. It is caused by Dirofilaria immitus. These worms live in the heart and adjacent vessels in infected cats. Cats are infected by mosquitos, and yes, indoor cats are at risk, just as much as outdoor cats. Common clinical signs of heartworm disease are coughing, difficulty breathing, vomiting, weight loss, and in some cases sudden death. Unfortunately, cats cannot be treated for heartworms. But they can be put on Preventive. Please refer to our Feline Heartworm Prevention handout. We recommend that all cats be on heartworm preventative year-round.

Health Exam: It is very important to have your cat examined every six months. This is to help detect hidden health problems (such as a heart murmur, dental tartar, mass or ear infection) so that they may be treated and controlled before your pet develops a serious condition. Every six months is recommended, but at least once a year is required.

We use Purvax vaccines to minimize risk of vaccination reactions.

Spaying and Neutering: This operation will help prevent potential future health problems. Research shows that females should be spayed before six-months of age. Each heat cycle that your pet has increases the risk of her getting breast cancer. It is also common for the middle-aged and elderly female cats to get uterine infections (which can be fatal). Male cats can get cancer in their testicles and inflammation of their prostate gland. Intact male cats tend to want to roam around outdoors and can travel great distances. This exposes them to other cats with varied diseases and puts them at risk of contracting FeLV and FIV. Most people think that neutering their pet is unnecessary and cruel; or, that their cat needs to have one litter or go through a heat cycle. Please realize that these are old wives tales. Neutering does not alter the pet’s personality or cause your cat to become fat. Decreased exercise and overfeeding causes obesity.

Stool Checks: Veterinarians check your cat’s fecal material for different parasites that may cause illness in your pet. This is especially important for kittens and strays. Fecal examinations are recommended yearly. Some intestinal parasites can be harmful to people.

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