COVID-19 update: Client advice on what to do during the Coronavirus crisis
Our advice for caring for cats
Many kittens have roundworms and a heavy burden can cause “poor-doing” and diarrhoea. Roundworms can be transmitted to in-contact humans, especially children, so regular worming is essential, starting at 4 weeks of age and repeated monthly until six months old. It is vital a good quality wormer is used such as Panacur. From 8 weeks of age we recommend monthly treatment with Stronghold “spot-on” up to 6 months of age to treat both roundworms and fleas.
Adult cats should be treated for roundworms and tapeworms 4 times yearly (depending on hunting behaviour). We recommend Milbemax tablets or Profender Spot-On as a routine wormer.
Feed cats cat food (not dog food!!). There are considerable advantages to feeding a dry diet such as Royal Canin. Not only will it not go off when put out, but it costs about half the price of a quality tinned product. Dry diets are also good for teeth and can reduce the incidence of dental operations. We stock a good range of Royal Canin foods at the surgery.
Puberty in cats is typically between 5 and 8 months of age (4 months minimum). In line with recommendations made by many feline charities we therefore advise that kittens are neutered between 4 and 6 months of age. Failure to neuter cats can result in unwanted pregnancies in females and increased fighting and urine marking in male cats. An unneutered cat is more at risk of contracting Feline Leukaemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus through fighting and sexual activity. Unneutered male cats also tend to have much larger territories and are therefore more at risk of injury through road traffic accidents.
Kittens must be well grown (weighing >2kg) and in good health at the time of the surgery. It is also important to wait for 2 weeks following a vaccination before any operation.
Kittens which are to be neutered at 4 months should have a reduced period of starvation before their surgery or 3-5 hours.
Vaccination is given at nine and twelve weeks of age for cat flu, feline enteritis and feline leukaemia. Feline leukaemia vaccination is strongly recommended for all cats, although it can be given at a later date if required. We will sometimes suggest cats are tested negative for leukaemia virus before they are vaccinated, especially those from feral backgrounds. If we do not advise a test but you would like peace of mind about your cat’s health please ask the veterinary surgeon at the time of vaccination. Annual boosters are needed to keep the immunity reliably high and virtually all catteries will insist that your cat is fully vaccinated every year before boarding.
Cats that are not 100% fit and well will not respond reliably to vaccination, so each patient is given a thorough health check by the vet before the booster is given. Every illness is best treated when diagnosed as early as possible, so the annual health check is just as important for your pet as the booster vaccination.
Over 70% of cats pick up this infection at some time in their life and a third of these will develop a related disease (often years later). Some cats will become carriers and spread the virus throughout the cat population. The virus causes many of the cancers seen in cats as well as immunosuppression. This predisposes the infected cat to a very wide spectrum of disease, particularly the infectious agents of feline infectious anaemia, feline infectious peritonitis, viral respiratory disease, mouth infections and abscesses. The virus also causes infertility.
The vaccine is almost 100% effective if given to a non-infected cat. If the cat already has the virus (and it can be passed from the mother to her kittens) then the vaccine may not be protective. All cats can be tested at the practice to see whether they already have FeLV.
This is a rapidly fatal disease caused by a parvovirus. It causes diarrhoea, vomiting and dehydration. Kittens in particular can die within a few days after infection due to the rapid fluid loss. The virus can also cause abortions and neurological disease in kittens if the mother is infected during the pregnancy. Thanks to vaccination this is now a disease that we do not see often but when it does appear we are still limited in our success with treatment.
This is the name for symptoms caused by several viruses acting either together or alone. The main causes are Feline Herpes Virus and several strains of Feline Calicivirus. The vaccine contains several of these viruses in a mixture which gives reliable immunity in most cases. The typical signs noted are those of runny eyes, sneezing, a streaming nose, depression and anorexia. Prompt treatment normally leads to a good recovery but may still cause death particularly in kittens or adults with a compromised immune system. Some cats can end up with continual snuffles after infection or symptoms that return at times of stress. These cats act as carriers of the disease.
Unfortunately cats do sometimes get lost or injured and are brought to the surgery without the owner’s knowledge. We are unable to identify most of these cats and many are re-homed. Fortunately we are able to mark cats with a unique rice grain sized microchip under the skin in the neck that can be read with a hand held scanner. This then enables us to find the owners quickly. The microchip can be inserted while owners wait and we provide a free identichip with our kitten vaccination course.
We believe strongly in the concept of animal insurance. Having your pet insured frees the owner and the vet from the worry of a large bill and therefore your pet receives the best possible treatment. Insurance does not cover routine procedures such as vaccination, neutering or worm/flea control. It is important if you decide to insure your kitten that you choose a reputable company who give lifelong protection. Most cheaper policies will exclude conditions on renewal that have been the subject of a previous claim.
We are able to give 4 weeks free insurance cover with Pet Plan (at no future obligation) for kittens presented for vaccination. Please ask at reception.
For any further information or guidance, please contact our team who will be happy to help.
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