Our Standard Care Recommendations
The following is a representation of our basic recommendations for adult cats, these represent our core recommendations for the treatment of the pets you have entrusted to us. We will offer you these things at visits as they are part of what we value as preventative care. You may receive reminders for these vaccines and tests though you have not had them previously performed, as this is our effort to recommend the best treatment possible for your pet.
All adult cats should have a yearly wellness exam until the age of 7, at that age we recommend examinations twice yearly for health concerns that become more prominent as pets age. This allows us to check your pet’s eyes, teeth, ears, skin, and body condition to detect any health issues as well as listen to your pet’s heart and lungs for any detectable abnormalities.
All cats should have an annual intestinal parasite screening to ensure they do not have an active parasite infection. Almost all parasites and their eggs are invisible to human eyes, because of this it is imperative to have your pet routinely tested for these parasites. Hookworms, coccidia, and whipworms are some examples of parasites that can go undetected without proper screening. In many cases, parasites are zoonotic, meaning that they can be transferred to humans. Electing to have a parasite screening allows our staff or outside laboratory to examine your pet’s fecal sample for microscopic evidence of parasites. This preventative testing could be the difference in catching an infection early; before it becomes a major health concern for your pet. Remember, if your pet has a parasite infection you typically will not see any outward signs of the infection until it has become a major infection. Please, test annually to help ensure the safety of your pet and family members.
*One exception to parasites not being visible is tapeworm infections, in many cases tapeworms can be observed in a pet’s fecal sample. Evidence of a tapeworm infection is often indicated by the presence of rice-like segments in your pet’s stool sample.
State law requires “Pursuant to G.S. 130A-185, every owner of a domestic dog, cat or ferret in North Carolina is required to have their animal currently vaccinated against rabies by four months of age and maintain the animal’s current rabies vaccination status throughout the animal’s entire lifetime. The owner should retain the original copy of the rabies vaccination certificate, provided by the legally authorized vaccinator as evidence of the animal’s current vaccination status. There are no legal waivers or exemptions, rabies vaccinations are required by law for domestic dogs, cats, and ferrets in North Carolina” ², therefore, we require a current rabies vaccine consisting of a first vaccine given lasting the duration of 1 year for dogs and then a booster thereafter that lasts the duration of 3 years.
At Felines First Veterinary Hospital we use adjuvant free rabies for our feline patients. The normal 3-year vaccine that has been used in years past and the same one still given to canine patients has been shown to increase the risk of injection site carcinomas in cats. The 2006 AAFP Feline Vaccine Advisory Panel Report addresses concerns over the potential relationship among adjuvanted vaccine, vaccination site inflammation, and tumorigenesis. The report recommends that veterinarians avoid the use of inflammatory products whenever feasible. Whether or not this recommendation will have a measurable impact on the prevalence of vaccine-associated tumors is not known. However, the use of non-adjuvanted vaccines in cats does offer an important and rational alternative”³ We, in order to reduce the risk of any increased chance of an injection site tumor, use a one-year non-adjuvanted vaccine manufactured by Boehringer-Ingelheim.
All cats should have an initial feline leukemia vaccine. Cats who remain indoors following this vaccine are considered low risk for contracting the virus and therefore are not vaccinated further. Cats who are exposed to the outdoors should be vaccinated yearly after testing negative for the virus as the vaccination is not given to positive cats. “FeLV transmission most commonly occurs through close, social contact. Contact with saliva from infected cats is a primary mode of transmission because the concentration of the virus is high in saliva. But the virus is also shed in blood, urine, feces, nasal secretions, and milk. Sharing food and water dishes, using the same litter box, mutual grooming, and bite wounds are all possible methods of transmission. Infected queens can infect fetuses during pregnancy. Infected queens can infect neonates when the babies drink the infected milk.”⁸
Every cat that is exposed to the outdoors should be vaccinated with a distemper vaccine yearly. Every indoor cat should be vaccinated with a distemper vaccine every 3 years following the initial booster of their kitten vaccines at the age of one. Their risk of exposure to the diseases covered by the vaccine decreases greatly by being kept indoors. As with dogs the distemper vaccine actually covers multiple viruses and diseases-“PUREVAX FELINE 4 [Feline Rhinotracheitis-Calici-Panleukopenia (MLV) + Chlamydia psittaci (Attenuated)] is recommended for the vaccination of healthy cats 6 weeks of age and older for prevention of disease due to feline rhinotracheitis, calici, and panleukopenia viruses and as an aid in the reduction of disease due to Chlamydia psittaci.”⁵
All cats should receive routine blood screenings after they become geriatric at 7 years of age. “Your pet’s health changes with age, just as yours does. But our pets actually age much faster than we do. Regardless of your pet’s age, you play a key role in helping him combat illness and remain as healthy as possible. Remember, your pet cannot describe symptoms to you, but he will show you signs of disease or illness. Awareness of the signs of the most common diseases is one way to help reduce your pet’s risk. It’s a little scary to consider that 10% of pets that appear healthy to their owners during their regular checkups have underlying diseases. Testing can frequently detect illness in your pet before we see any outward signs of disease. Testing gives us immediate insights that we might not otherwise discover. And, treating your pet early can lead to a better outcome and possibly lower treatment costs.”⁹ Screens for common issues including diabetes, kidney failure, liver disease, and thyroid problems are part of medically managing your pet in their older age. It allows for faster detection of issues that may cause your pet’s health to decline.