Feline Preventative Care
Pets are like kids–it’s
a never-ending job to keep them safe and happy. Routine preventative health
care such as vaccinations, viral testing and internal parasite screenings are
very important to minimize certain diseases.
While any medical
treatment involves some degree of risk, in the case of vaccinations, the
benefits far outweigh any potential side effects. Adverse reactions are rare
and usually mild and short-term when they do occur.
Vaccine & Screenings For Cats
Which vaccinations and
routine screenings should your cat have?
Below are the different
types of vaccinations and preventative health screenings that we offer and
recommend to our feline patients:
- Rabies- considered a “core” vaccination.
- Rabies vaccinations are required by law and meant for the protection of people more so than your pet. Rabies is a fatal disease for which there is no cure and our pets tend to be the “middle man” so to speak between humans and Rabies due to their tendencies to come into contact with other wildlife that may be carrying Rabies. Any pet, who is not properly vaccinated for Rabies, who bites, scratches, or otherwise breaks human skin in any fashion may be subject to Rabies observation in accordance with the law. Rabies vaccination is given as early as 12-16 weeks of age and is good for one year. Subsequent Rabies vaccinations are every 1 to 3 years for cats depending on the type of vaccine used. At Waukesha Walk-in Vet, we prefer to use the safest vaccines possible for our patients so the majority of our feline patients will receive the non-adjuvanted PureVax Rabies vaccine which is given annually. We use this vaccination in felines to eliminate the risk of vaccine-related sarcomas that cats can develop when using regular adjuvanted vaccines.
- FVRCP- considered a “core” vaccine.
- FVRCP stands for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia. These viruses are life-threatening and highly contagious even in the most inclement environment. It is especially important for all kittens to be properly vaccinated in order to stimulate their immune systems to fight off any exposure to these viruses. Typically, kittens will receive their first FVRCP vaccine at 8 weeks and receive additional boosters at 12 and 16 weeks. The minimum number of boosters for a cat of any age who has never been properly vaccinated for FVRCP is a series of two vaccines, given 1 month apart, followed by an annual booster. At Waukesha Walk-In Veterinary Clinic, we practice a 3-year protocol for FVRCP, so after your pet has received its first annual booster, they will only need an FVRCP booster every 3 years thereafter. We also offer titer testing for clients who wish to determine if their pet’s immune system is still mounting an adequate response to these diseases in lieu of periodic vaccination.
- Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)- considered a kitten “core” vaccine and an adult lifestyle vaccine.
- Feline Leukemia is a non-curable virus that is contagious to other cats. For indoor-only cats, the risk of contracting FeLV is very low. Outdoor cats and cats in multi-cat households are more at risk, especially if they share water and food dishes and litter boxes. Exposure to infected cats raises your cat’s risk of contracting FeLV, especially for kittens and young adult cats. Older cats are less likely to contract the infection, because natural immunity increases with age. In accordance with the recommendations of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, Waukesha Walk-In Veterinary Clinic recommends all kittens be vaccinated against Feline Leukemia, regardless of their lifestyle. The FeLV vaccine series consists of two vaccinations, 1 month apart and boosted 1 year later. After their annual booster, we will re-evaluate your cat’s lifestyle with you to determine if continuing annual vaccination for feline leukemia is necessary. All cats must be tested for Feline Leukemia prior to vaccination. This is a quick 10 minute test that requires only a small blood sample. More information about testing is below.
- Viral (FeLV/FIV) Testing- preventative care screening.
- Feline leukemia (FeLV) is a disease that only affects cats — it cannot be transmitted to people, dogs, or other animals. FeLV is passed from one cat to another through saliva, blood, and to some extent, urine and feces. Kittens can contract the disease in utero or through an infected mother’s milk. The disease is often spread by apparently healthy cats, so even if a cat appears healthy, it may be infected and able to transmit the virus. The virus commonly causes anemia or lymphoma, but because it suppresses the immune system, it can also predispose cats to deadly infections. Yet, exposure to the feline leukemia virus doesn’t have to be a death sentence; about 70% of cats who encounter the virus are able to resist infection or eliminate the virus on their own.
- Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), commonly referred to as feline AIDS is also a disease that only affects cats—it cannot be transmitted to people, dogs or other animals. It is also passed from one cat to another through saliva, blood and to some extent, urine and feces. It is a complex retrovirus that prevents the body from developing a normal immune response. Most affected cats do not have symptoms and have a normal life expectancy, however, they are prone to developing infections and certain types of cancer. There is no effective vaccination against FIV. Waukesha Walk-In Veterinary Clinic recommends all kittens be screened for FIV and FeLV as well as any adult cats who have not been tested before, regardless of lifestyle. Outdoor cats or any cat at increased risk for these viruses should be tested annually. Knowing your cat’s viral status is very important as it may affect your cat’s ability to fight disease and infection should they ever become sick.
- – Fecal (Stool Sample) Testing- annual preventative care testing.
- Fecal testing screens your cat for various intestinal parasites such as Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms, Tapeworms, Coccidia, and Giardia. These parasites are contracted through fecal-oral ingestion in a number of ways including grooming, contaminated soil, and contaminated water. Another way they can be contracted is through the ingestion of rodents or fleas. Intestinal parasites can cause diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, inappetence, and weight loss. Kittens are especially sensitive to intestinal parasites and they can make them very sick very quickly. All kittens should have their stool tested for parasites when they first come in to see us along with a second follow-up test at some point before completing their kitten vaccination series. Prophylactic deworming for common parasites in kittens is also performed even in the event of a negative fecal test. We recommend all adult cats have their stool tested at least once yearly even for indoor-only cats.
-Internal and External Parasite
Cats are just as susceptible to internal and external parasites as dogs are such
as roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms, giardia, coccida, fleas, ticks,
ear mites and even heartworm. At Waukesha Veterinary Clinic we recommend
monthly prevention for all cats, but especially for those cats that routinely
Feline Preventative Care in Waukesha, WI
Your pet’s routine preventative care is very important to your pet’s overall health and well being. The team at Waukesha Walk-In Veterinary Clinic is dedicated to educating and advising you of the best recommendations for your pet based on age, health, and lifestyle. For more information or to make a feline preventative care appointment, call us at 262-549-2000.