Oceanside Animal Clinic Adult Cat Wellness Recommendations
Veterinarians recomm1end regular wellness exams for the same reason your physician and dentist recommend them – if you can detect a problem in its early stages, it’s more likely to be treated and resolved with less expense, less difficulty and better success.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Vaccinations, heartworm prevention and routine deworming are important components of wellness care and can prevent diseases that are not only life-threatening, but very expensive to treat.
It is important to get your puppy established for veterinary care as soon as possible in order to make a plan to ensure he/she receives proper protection and that you receive timely and appropriate advice. An initial health check is typically recommended at a minimum of 6-8 weeks of age, at which time we will begin vaccinations and parasite prevention protocols.
Preventative Care At-A-Glance
Rabies and FVRCP vaccines – repeated every 3 years after initial 1 year booster
Feline Leukemia (FeLV) vaccine – repeated yearly
Intestinal parasite (fecal) testing – recommended yearly
Year-round flea, tick, and heartworm prevention (e.g. Revolution Plus or Advantage Mutli)
Blood and urine testing to monitor organ function – annually starting at any age but particularly by 5-7 years
Feed a complete and balanced diet backed by feeding trials (e.g. Purina Pro Plan, Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canin). We do not recommend feeding grain free diets unless your pet has a diagnosed allergy to a particular ingredient.
Please note, these recommendations are general guidelines and may change based on each pets’ individual needs and circumstances.
Even healthy cats should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year. If your cat is older or has medical problems, more frequent visits may be necessary. Physical exams can detect heart murmurs or skipped heart beats; enlarged lymph nodes; skin tumors; abdominal tumors; and enlarged or shrunken kidneys, liver, or spleen that may mean systemic disease. An orthopedic evaluation can tell if a cat is arthritic and in need of pain medication. A dermatologic evaluation of the hair coat will determine the need for flea and tick control or diagnose skin infections (bacterial, fungal, or parasitic). Hair loss or weight changes may indicate systemic disease or hormonal imbalances.
Additionally, it is important to maintain a valid Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) in order for us to legally prescribe medications for your pet. This constitutes coming in at least annually for your pet to have an exam with one of our veterinarians. We can then authorize any of your pet’s prescription needs (i.e. medications, prescription diets, and prescription parasiticides).
Since cats cannot talk, veterinarians cannot ask them how they are feeling or what is bothering them. Plus, innate survival instincts make cats hide illnesses so they do not appear weak or vulnerable to predators. That means thorough physical exams are crucial to keep cats healthy. And since your veterinarian cannot see what is going on inside a cat’s body, diagnostic testing is often needed to complete the health picture. These preventive medicine steps will diagnose problems earlier making treatment more successful and less costly and, more importantly, helping your cat live a longer, healthier life.
To diagnose organ malfunctions in the early stages, blood tests (complete blood count, chemistry panel, and thyroid screen) and urinalysis should be performed annually. If problems are diagnosed, more frequent testing may be necessary.
It is a well-known fact that oral health impacts a cat’s general health. Simply put, cats with clean mouths live longer. The bacteria involved in periodontal disease do not just stay in the mouth. These organisms invade the blood stream and travel to major organs like the kidneys, liver, and heart, where they cause significant health issues. Regular dental cleanings will also allow your cat to keep their pearly whites in good condition.
Spaying or Neutering
Spaying or neutering can have numerous health or behavioral benefits. Having this surgery done can prevent infections and some types of cancer. If your pet is not already spayed or neutered, we encourage you to discuss the pros and cons of this procedure with us.
It varies, but cats and small dogs are generally considered “senior” at seven years of age. Although senior pets may develop age-related problems, good care allows them to live happy, healthy and active lives in their senior years. Regular veterinary examinations can detect problems in older pets before they become advanced or life-threatening, and improve the chances of a longer and healthier life for your pet. Newer medications can provide safe pain relief in arthritic pets. Please talk to us about your senior pet and what can be done to keep them happier and healthier.
Year-round flea prevention is recommended in this area, and there are several products we recommend based upon your preference and your pets’ needs. Topical Advantage II or Advantage Multi, Revolution Plus, or oral Credelio may be given monthly depending on your preference. Please be sure to bring up any questions you may have regarding these products during your pet’s annual exam.
We know pet foods and nutrition can be overwhelming and you have many, many choices. In general, our recommendations are to feed a commercial cat food that meets AAFCO standards and has undergone extensive feeding trials. Vetted brands include Purina Pro Plan, Hill’s Science Diet, and Royal Canin. If one of these diets is being fed exclusively, they offer a complete and balanced nutrition profile and additional vitamins/supplements are unnecessary. Cats are obligate carnivores, therefore, their diets are higher in protein than dog foods. However, there is no research to support the need for grain-free diets in cats. Keep in mind that in the wild, cats ingest their prey’s stomach contents which consist of grains and plant materials. An ideal diet has a high amount of digestible protein and low relative amount of carbohydrates.
Research has shown that leaner pets live longer and have fewer health problems. It is important for your cat to maintain a healthy body condition. If your pet is overweight, we can discuss methods for safe weight reduction in order to improve your cat’s overall health and quality of life.
Vaccinations are divided into two groups: core vaccines and non-core or optional vaccines. All cats (without medical problems that prevent immunization) should receive vaccinations for rabies, feline distemper (panleukopenia), feline viral rhinotracheitis (feline herpes virus 1), and calicivirus (offered as a combined FVRCP vaccination). We also strongly recommend vaccinating against Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), a highly infectious and often fatal disease that can be passed by casual contact with unvaccinated cats, e.g. sniffing at each other through a window, sharing a food/water bowl, etc.
We do our best to be available to our clients via phone after hours in case of emergency or urgent medical questions. If something urgent comes up after a vaccine appointment or routine surgery, please call our main phone line and listen to the voicemail in order to get the number of the doctor on call. You may be prompted to leave a message, in which case one of us will get back to you as soon as possible. We will always try to triage and help in any way we can, but we may not always have the capability/facilities to help in every emergency situation. Therefore, it is important to keep on hand the numbers of veterinary ERs in the surrounding areas, such as Tanasbourne Veterinary Emergency (503) 629-5800, Olympia Pet Emergency (360) 455-5155 , Dove Lewis Portland (503) 228-7281 , and Pacific Northwest Pet ER Vancouver (360) 635-5302.
If you have questions or concerns, please call us at 360 642 2232 or visit our website www.oceansideveterinary.com