The practice offers a free kitten check for everyone who finds themselves with a new little furry friend. This is a good time to get advice on how to feed and look after your new pet. The most important things to know about are vaccinations, feeding, insurance, identichipping and worming.
The standard practice policy is to vaccinate against cat flu and parvovirus enteritis. We would, however, strongly recommend vaccination against feline leukaemia.
Kittens should start their vaccinations at 9 weeks or as soon as possible after this. 2 visits are needed, 3 weeks apart and the second booster should be given when the kitten is over 12 weeks old. Until the kitten has had the second booster it should be kept away from other cats because all of these diseases are common and easily spread from one cat to the next. Annual boosters are needed to keep the immunity reliably high. Cats can also be vaccinated against rabies for the Pet Travel Scheme. Virtually all catteries will insist that your cat is fully vaccinated every year before admitting any cat.
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.
Feline Leukaemia Virus
Over 70% of cats pick up this infection at some time in their life and a third of these will develop a disease related to this - often years later. Some cats will become carriers of the disease 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 and can be a major problem for breeders. 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 Feline Leukaemia Virus.
Feline Infectious Enteritis (Feline Panleucopenia Virus)
This is a rapidly fatal disease caused by a parvovirus. It causes terrible diarrhoea, vomiting and marked 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 it is now a disease that we do not see that often but when it does appear we are still limited in our success with treatment.
This is the name for symptoms caused by several cat 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 those adults with a compromised immune system due to concurrent infection with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus or Feline Leukaemia Virus. 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 and in-contact cats will develop full blown cat flu if they are not protected.
Rabies is not present in the UK at the moment and there is no need for the routine vaccination of cats and dogs. For those who which to take their pet to any of those countries participating in the Pet Travel Scheme, rabies vaccination is mandatory.
We recommend that all kittens are wormed every month until they are 6 months old. This very important because kittens are sometimes born with a large number of worm larvae. These can cause serious problems as they mature into adult worms. Cats from the age of 6 months should then be wormed every 3 months throughout their life. Not only is it beneficial to the cat to have no worms, but it is also the duty of every responsible cat owner to reduce the risk to human health from the worm larvae. It is advisable to use Drontal worm tablets which you can purchase from the Clinic.
Kittens should be fed a proprietary kitten food from weaning to the age of 6 months. After this a cat should receive an adult cat food. There are special dietary considerations for older or overweight cats. Please contact the surgery for more information if needed.
We recommend that all cats are microchipped. This involves a tiny electronic chip being placed under the skin between the shoulder blades. The chip is read by a special scanner and it means that your pet is permanently identified. If your cat is knocked over by a car and brought to us, or picked up as a stray by any of the other rescue charities then he/she can quickly be returned to you.
We would recommend that every cat is insured if possible. Due to the recent advances in veterinary medicine we have more and more specialised equipment and treatments available for ill pets. This is great for your pet because we have more ways of keeping her/him healthy for longer. Unfortunately this modern veterinary medicine comes at a cost and if an animal becomes ill many people struggle to afford the best treatment. If your cat is insured then you have peace of mind knowing that you can pay for the very best of treatment when it is needed. Please contact the surgery for more information.
If you would like to have a budgeted plan for the yearly care of your cat then visit our Pet Health Club page.