Cat Care

Feline Vaccinations

All cats should be vaccinated to prevent disease and illness. There are two types of vaccines: core vaccines and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are recommended vaccines for all kittens and adult cats. Non-core vaccines are vaccines that are given based on individual risk exposures. Our clinic administers vaccines manufactured and labeled to provide protection for THREE years. The chart below explains our vaccination protocol for kittens and adult cats.
Click on the information icon for a direct link to  Veterinarypartner.com for descriptions of the diseases. 

 

Core Vaccinations: ALL cats should receive these vaccinations

Kittens less than 16 weeks of age


Kittens 8-9 weeks

of age should have the following vaccines


Rhinotrachitis

Calici

Panleukopenia (Distemper)

Kittens 11-12 weeks

of age should have the following vaccines

Rhinotrachitis

Calici

Panleukopenia (Distemper)

Kittens 12 weeks & Older

Single injection provides one year of protection, booster required in one year

Rabies



Kittens 14-15 weeks
Following this protocol will provide three year protection

Rhinotrachitis

Calici

Panleukopenia (Distemper)

KITTENS 16 WEEKS TO ONE YEAR OF AGE OR ADULT CATS WITH NO VACCINE OR UNKNOWN VACCINE HISTORY


Rhinotracheitis, Calici, Panleukopenia (Distemper)

Initial vaccine followed by booster 3 to 4 weeks later for THREE years of protection.

Rabies

Single injection provides one year of protection. Booster required in one year.

ADULT BOOSTERS


One or three year intervals depending on the type of vaccine given previously (if patient is current on vaccinations). If more than 6 months overdue, two vaccinations 3 to 4 weeks apart, to provide full three year protection (per manufacturers' orders).

One or three year intervals depending on the type of vaccine given previously (if patient is current on vaccinations). If more than 6 months overdue, two vaccinations 3 to 4 weeks apart, to provide full three year protection (per manufacturers' orders).

Rabies

One to three year intervals depending on the type of vaccine given previously (if patient is current on vaccinations). If patient is more than 3 months overdue, a 3 year vaccine booster cannot be given. Patient will be given a ONE year vaccine.

(per manufacturers' orders). 

NON-CORE VACCINES: GIVEN BASED ON RISK OF EXPOSURE


Feline Leukemia

We strongly advise this vaccine for ALL cats who have access to the outdoors

Can be given as early as 9 weeks of age, booster three to four weeks laterm then annually to every three years depending on exposure level.


Note: We prefer to wait until after the rhinotracheitis, calici, panleucopenia series has been completed. We will vaccinate earlier if the patient is in a high risk environment.

Vaccine Reactions

It is not uncommon for a pet to have a mild fever or soreness in the area of the injection. Vaccine reactions can occur at any time, regardless if the pet has received previous vaccinations. The more severe reactions occur during the first couple of hours of the vaccination. Monitor for any of the symptoms listed below and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

  • Vomiting repeatedly
  • Diarrhea
  • Swollen face
  • Hives
  • Wheals
  • Difficulty breathing, wheezing
  • Pale gums
  • Weakness
  • Swelling at the sight of the injection

Flea Control

Fleas are common parasites. They can cause your pet to scratch and itch, cause skin lesions, pass on tapeworms, and pass on diseases to both pets and owners. Because they multiply exponentially, prevention is the best control. Control fleas and ticks using topical products, grooming, and environmental control measures.

The flea passes through four life stages: eggs, larvae, pupae, and adult. The egg phase is 50% of the life cycle, 30% larvae, 15% pupae, and 5% biting adult. The completion of the life phase varies from two weeks to eight months, depending on the amount of "food" available.

A female lays an average of 15 to 20 eggs per day or 600 per lifetime. The eggs hatch within two days to two weeks into the larvae form. Inside the home, they drop into cracks, crevices of the floors, in rugs and carpet, and furniture. The larvae are blind and avoid light, which is the reason why they prefer the shady and protected areas of the yard. The larvae's food supply involves digested blood in the adult flea feces, sloughed skin cells, hair, feathers, and organic debris. Larvae do NOT suck blood.

Once the larvae reach full size, they form a silken cocoon and enter the pupae form. In five to fifteen days, the adult flea emerges from the cocoon. Sometimes it may stay within its cocoon until one of the following: vibration (pet and people movement), pressure (being laid upon), heat, noise, or carbon dioxide levels increase (signaling a potential blood meal). Adult fleas cannot survive or lay eggs without a blood meal, but they can hibernate up to one year without feeding.

Treating the pet
Cats are observed to have the same loss of hair and excoriations to the skin as seen on this dog. We feel that topical flea control products are the safest and most effective method of flea control. We recommend Bravecto. It has a lasting effect of THREE months. (Note: in dogs, Bravecto is an oral product. Do not give this oral product to your cat.) Other products that have been proven effective are Frontline PLUS for cats, Fiproguard PLUS for cats, Advantage II for cats, and Biospot for cats. (Fiproguard PLUS is the generic version of Frontline PLUS). The "Plus" products have growth inhibitors making them more efficient. How to apply topical flea products

For the safety of your cat, never use a product labeled for a dog on your cat. Cats are more sensitive to flea and tick products than dogs. While the product and ingredient may be the same, the concentrations and delivery systems to the cat and dog are different. A cat is NOT a small dog. Use only products label for cats. And, last but not least, make sure that the labeled weight ranges and age of your cat are correct for your pet.

Homeopathic treatments: 
Garlic
is potentially toxic. The use of garlic for flea control is controversial. Garlic does not kill fleas or inhibit growth; it is a repellant. Studies have shown that fleas do not like the taste of garlic. They  do not feed on your pet. Garlic can be toxic to dogs and cats. It causes a Heinz Body anemia, a breakdown of the red blood cells which can be life-threatening. The toxic level is dose related. Cats are more sensitive to the toxic effects. All parts of the garlic plant from the bulbs, bulblets, flowers, leaves, and stems are potentially toxic.

"Veterinary Herbal Medicine, Susan G Wynn and Barbara J. Fougere, 2007 Elsevier lists the dosage for cats as 50 mg of garlic per adult cat, (adult cats are assumed to weigh an average of 10 pounds). Divide the calculated dose into two to three meals. Be sure to round down on the dosage, not up. Other texts list the dosage slightly less, at 5 mg/kg. The dose for a 10-pound cat is approximately 20 mg.

Brewer’s Yeast is very safe. Pet products containing Brewer's yeast for flea and tick control are very safe. It also acts as a repellant for both fleas and ticks. It comes in tablet or powder form. Add to your pet's food per the instructions on the product. You can give one full dose in one meal or spread it throughout the day.

Treating the Indoor Environment
Wash your pet's bedding regularly. Vacuum carpet, floors, couch cushions, anywhere your pet rests on a regular basis. If your home has an extreme infestation, it would be best to contact a reputable professional pesticide company. Be sure to ask for the name of the brand and ingredients that they plan to use and do your research on the product safety.

Treating the Outdoor Environment
Remove brush and leaves regularly, they provide shade and moist conditions for the larvae. If your home has an extreme infestation, it would be best to contact a reputable pesticide company. Be sure to ask for the name of the brand and ingredients that they plan to use and do your research on the product safety.

 

Tick Control

Ticks are more of a problem for dogs than cats, mainly because cats groom and frequently remove the ticks on their own. Ticks live on the skin, using the blood of their hosts as food. Ticks are drawn to motion, warm temperatures from body heat, and the carbon dioxide exhaled by mammals. Due to the minimal amount of pain from the tick bite, many animals are unaware of the tick attachment. The major danger is the transmission of diseases that were present in the previous host. In cats,  Cytauxzoonosis is of concern. Recent studies have shown that it takes about 72 hours for an attached tick to transmit disease. To prevent the transmission of disease, owners must remove the ticks before they have attached for 72 hours.

Most types of ticks have a two- year life span, requiring three hosts during that two-year period. At each stage, the tick must have a blood meal. If it does not receive any blood, it cannot move on to the next stage. There are some species of hard ticks that have four life stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. Once again, a blood meal is required before they can detach and molt to the next phase. Female ticks can engorge as much as 100 times their original size. The adult tick lays its eggs in secluded areas, preferring areas of vegetation. How many eggs can an adult female lay? Some species lay only 100 eggs at a time, while others can produce 3,000 to 6,000 per batch. 

Two weeks later, the eggs hatch, another generation of larvae are looking for blood meals. Birds and rodents are usually the first hosts for the larval stage. Once the larvae have their first meal, they are called nymphs. The nymphs remain inactive during the winter time, but with the warmer spring weather, they begin moving and find their second hosts, usually rodents, pets, or humans. These nymphs are difficult to see, about the size of a freckle. A nymph becomes an adult with its blood meal. During the autumn months, male and female ticks search for hosts. Females will feed for 8 to 12 days, and remain attached during this entire time. During this period of attachment, mating occurs. Both male and female ticks drop off. The male dies. During the winter, the female remains inactive until spring, when she lays her eggs. Ticks can survive thru the fall and well into spring without a blood meal.

Prevent Ticks from Attaching
In cats, the most effective means of control are topical medications. We recommend the product, Bravecto, for tick control. This product is placed topically once every THREE months. (Note: in dogs, this product is an oral product. Do not give this oral product to your cat.) This product is not a repellant, so it will not be unusual to find a tick on your pet. Be assured that should a tick come in contact with your pet; it will die within the 72 hour period before it can do harm to your pet. Other suggested topical products for tick control: Frontline Plus (fipronil), Fiproguard Plus, (fipronil), and Revolution (selamectin, Be very careful of the products you place on your cat. Cats are not small dogs. Many of the products that are safe for cats are toxic to dogs. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER use a flea or tick product unless it specifically says "to be used on a cat."
HOW TO APPLY TOPICAL TICK PRODUCT 

Find and Remove the Ticks
It is always a good idea to check your pet's body for ticks immediately after possible exposure. Concentrate on the head, ears, neck, armpits, and between the toes. Dab rubbing alcohol on the tick. Using tweezers, grab the tick as close to the skin as possible, and pull slowly and steadily. Try not to leave the head in your pet. Do not use rubbing alcohol alone. It is the removal of the tick that is most important. Additionally, nail polish and petroleum jelly do not work. Do not use hot matches or turpentine. Don't squeeze the head. Squeezing can inject bacteria, protozoa, and other organisms into your pet. Wear gloves to avoid transmission of disease to you. The risk is minimal but does exist.Once you have removed a live tick, don't dispose of it until you have killed it.  Put the tick in alcohol or insecticide to kill it.

Heartworm in Cats

Although the majority of larval heartworms that invade into a cat's body seldom survive to adulthood, the presence of one heartworm in the cat is a potentially lethal condition. The symptoms of heartworm infection in cats usually manifests as lung disease resulting from the inflammatory response within the cat's pulmonary arteries to the presence of the worm. In the dog, the majority of the symptoms point to heart disease.

The natural host for heartworms is the dog, not the cat. In the dog, the heartworm larvae follow specific molecular directions to find its way to the pulmonary arteries in the dog heart. These molecular guidelines are not present in the cat, so the majority lose their way and never make it to the pulmonary arteries. Additionally, the healthy cat's immune system does not tolerate the presence of the heartworm, terminating the few that do make it to the heart.

The average amount of heartworms found in a dog with a moderate infection is between twenty to fifty adults. In the cat, the average moderate infestation is less than six adult worms. But, because cat's hearts and pulmonary vessels are so much smaller than the dogs, these few are capable of causing extreme harm. Heartworms in cats are 5 to 8 inches long. The heartworms in dogs can grow up to 14 inches. Heartworms in cats may live 2 to 3 years, as opposed to up to 5 years in dogs.

Heartworm disease is preventable. There are oral and topical medications. Treatment is once a month.