The cornerstone of preventative wellness and care is the wellness examination. During our examination, we evaluate all organ systems for physical health as well as evaluate emotional, behavioral, and social wellbeing. We will investigate the problems and concerns you have in addition to looking for issues you may not be aware of. Our goal is to identify and respond to trends in health rather than treating disorders. Vaccinations, dental care, weight management, exercise, and environmental enrichment are all important aspects of wellness that will be discussed. We provide education and reference material for you on all of the aspects of preventive care as well as what you can do at home to maximize your pet’s health and wellness.
Recommended Feline Preventative Health Care
Routine Physical Exam: It is recommended for all cats until they reach senior age to have an annual wellness examination. This exam gives our doctors an opportunity to perform a thorough, comprehensive physical examination, as well as discuss with you any health concerns such as dental care, behavioral problems, and weight management. In addition, our staff will perform intestinal parasite checks, urinalysis, and other routine health care screens. Once your cat reaches their senior years, nine years old, we recommend bi-annual examinations.
Vaccinations: Vaccine regimens are based on your cat’s individual needs and risk factors.
- Kittens: In order to ensure that all kittens become fully protected, a series of vaccines will be given starting as early as six weeks of age until they are older than 12 weeks of age. All kittens receive vaccination for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calici Virus, Panleukopenia Virus (FVRCP), and Rabies Virus (RV). Recent clinical research has shown that receiving the Feline Leukemia Virus vaccination series as a kitten and at one year of age provides lifelong immunity to this fatal virus. These vaccines will be administered again at one year of age.
- “Homebody”: Cats that live indoors and in a closed multi-cat household in which all cats have tested negative for Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus fit into this category. These cats’ vaccine needs are FVRCP and Rabies every three years.
- “Adventurer”: These cats live outdoors or spend some portion of their day outdoors. These cats include indoor/ outdoor cats, cattery facilities, open multi-cat households, and Feline leukemia or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus positive households. These cats are at risk of contracting many life-threatening diseases. These cats require vaccination for FVRCP and Rabies every three years, while Feline Leukemia requires annual vaccination for outdoor cats.
***Please note that some pets may need vaccinations even more, or less frequently due to increased risk of exposure or other health factors. Be assured that every pet’s risks will be evaluated and the best preventative care will be recommended.***
Dental Care: Preventative dental care is the most important facet of health care for your pet. Studies have shown a direct relationship between periodontal disease (gingivitis, halitosis, and calculus/tartar) and heart disease, kidney, and liver failure. For most cats, it is important to have their teeth cleaned annually as well as daily dental care at home. There are many options now available that have been proven to be easy, effective, and enjoyable for your pet. Be sure to ask one of our health care team members about recommendations for daily dental care.
Intestinal Parasites: Parasitic zoonotic diseases (parasites infectious to humans and animals) are a serious concern for all pet owners, especially for those with small children in the home. It is recommended that all cats be tested annually for intestinal parasites as well as be on a monthly preventative which provides intestinal parasite control.
Heartworm Disease: South Carolina is a highly endemic area for heartworm infection and disease. Heartworm infection is transmitted to cats during the feeding of many species of mosquitoes and causes damage to the heart and blood vessels of the lungs. All cats, regardless of housing status, should be on a heartworm preventative year-round. There are numerous monthly preventatives available, be sure to ask one of our health care team members which one may be right for you and your cat.
Flea and Tick Control: Fleas and ticks are not only a nuisance but they transmit diseases such as Babesiosis, Haemobartonella, and Cat Scratch Fever. It is recommended that all cats be on some form of external parasite control. We now have many very safe and effective products without having to use messy dips, sprays, or collars. Ask one of our health care team professionals about which one may be right for your cat.
Spay/Neuter: Spaying your female cat reduces her risk of breast cancer and eliminates the possibility of life-threatening uterine infections and cancer later in life. Neutering your male cat reduces his desire to roam and “mark” his territory and almost entirely eliminates his chances of prostate and testicular problems later in life. This procedure provides convenience to you and better health for your cat, and helps the serious pet overpopulation problems as well!
Diet: What your cat eats, from their very first day, will influence their general health for their entire lives. We recommend an appropriate life stage diet (kitten, adult, mature, and senior) for each individual cat. Many diets are now available to help with dental care, weight management, and other health issues. Our doctors are well trained in diet recommendations and would be happy to help you with your choice of foods.
Microchip: Each year, the nation’s animal shelters receive 8-12 million pets and euthanize 30-60% of these. With 75% of pets presented without collars or identification, only 2% are reclaimed by their owners. Thanks to new technology, those statistics can be changed. The chip is about the size of a grain of rice, which will never break, move, or be noticed. Once implanted, it can be activated by a special reader to transmit a unique code that identifies your pet. All animal shelters have access to these scanners. As a result, we recommend for all our clients have their pet implanted with a microchip to serve as permanent identification.
**Please inform the veterinarian if anyone in your household has any conditions resulting in a decreased immune system, as pets in such households require increased disease monitoring and parasite control.**