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Cat Health

pawprintVaccinations are vital in protecting your pet from various diseases that can cause pain, distress and could be fatal.

Annual vaccination appointments also provide an opportunity for regular health checks by us for your pet. kitten

Vaccinations for cats and dogs usually consist of a primary course of 2 vaccinations to stimulate an immune response, followed by annual boosters as the initial immune response gradually fades over time.

Cats can be vaccinated from 9 weeks of age, with a second vaccination 3-4 weeks later. Your pet will be protected 7 days after its 2nd injection. Core cat vaccinations include feline herpesvirus and calicivirus (both responsible for cat flu) and feline panleukopaenia virus which causes Infectious Enteritis.

We also recommend vaccinating your cat against the feline leukaemia virus, a virus which suppresses the immune system and could be fatal.

Why vaccinate your pet?

Unvaccinated pets are at risk of contracting serious and fatal diseases. Like they say ‘prevention is better than a cure’, and it is no different with the diseases that can affect your pets.

Most of these diseases are viral and do not respond well to medication and unfortunately they can be fatal. For this and other reasons we strongly recommend vaccinations. You can protect your cat from contracting these diseases by the vaccination program recommended by us.

pawprintWorming you pet should be regarded as a vital part of keeping your pet happy and healthy, just as much as vaccination or feeding the correct diet. We will give you all the help and advice you need. You can ask the vet during your consultation, arrange a FREE nurse clinic, or call for advice on 01635 40565

Roundworms

Toxocara – Found in cats and kittens. It can be transmitted in several ways:

  • Larvae in pregnant bitches transfer via the placenta to kittens before they are born
  • From the queen via the milk to sucking kittens after birth. A heavily infested queen can shed 15 million eggs per day into the environment
  • Ingestion of intermediate hosts (especially in hunting cats) eg mice, earthworms, birds, slugs
  • Snuffling or ingestion of contaminated soil and grass

If a person (commonly a young child) ingests these eggs or larvae they can contract human toxocariasis. This can cause blindness, asthma and poor appetite. This is a very serious disease. The eggs can survive in soil for up to 2 years. This is also why it is important to pick up after your dog! Death in young cats can occur if infestation is significant enough to develop intestinal obstruction but usually thriftiness with anaemia and intermittent diarrhoea are the presenting signs.

Tapeworms

Dipylidium – the flea tapeworm. When cats have adult fleas on their coat and skin, they are often swallowed during the normal grooming process or when nibbling due to the itchiness. The tapeworm segments can be seen stuck at the base of the tail and these shed eggs onto the coat which in turn are ingested by the flea larvae. Taenia – Cats from eating earthworms,mice, rats and other rodents and birds Echinococcus – Cats from eating infected offal. A very serious disease of any mammal and man if eggs ingested via water, salads, vegetables or licking of fingers.

Treatments

Because of the concerns regarding your pet’s health and the risk to yourselves and family the British Small Animal Veterinary Association and our practice recommends MONTHLY WORMING (especially if you have children) where the risk is greater than normal.

  • Drontal Cat tablets treat all roundworms and all tapeworms
  • Milbemax tablets  treats all roundworms and tapeworms but not lungworm unless given weekly for 4 weeks and then this only gives “a reduction in level of activity”.
  • Stronghold spot-on –  cats – treats roundworms only
  • Advocate spot-on –  cats – ONLY licensed product against lungworm – treats all roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and lungworm.

pawprintYour cat has had an anaesthetic and may be sleepy for up to 48 hours. (Allow peace and quiet during this time).

A mild cough may be present. This is due to a tube having been placed in his trachea during the anaesthesia.
• Keep your cat warm, dry and comfortable; avoid placing bed in extremes of temperature or in a draught. • Avoid activity such as climbing stairs and jumping onto furniture.

Your cat’s judgement may not be as accurate after an anaesthetic and he may stretch the stitches. • If accepted, give only light meals (e.g. prescription diets) for the first 24 to 48 hours unless otherwise specified.
• If your cat has undergone a surgical procedure, please check for abnormal events such as swelling of the wound, bleeding or other discharge, vomiting and interference of the stitches. Contact the surgery or come in for a check in such cases.
• Stitches are to be removed in 10 – 14 days.
• The stitches placed in a cat spay wound may be dissolving stitches. If they are still present in 3 to 4 weeks, then return for a check-up to have them removed.
• Check dressings/casts/splints at least twice daily for abnormal smells, discolourations, discharges, discomfort, etc.

pawprint Animals do not need any variety in their diets. Cats are prone to becoming very picky eaters when fed a varied diet, causing problems for their owners later on.

So don’t switch foods every other week.

If you do need to change from one product to another, do so gradually by mixing the two diets together for a few days. This will help prevent diarrhoea from a too sudden change in food.

Don’t base your food choices on what you would like to eat, as many pet food manufacturers would like you to do. Pets are colour blind, so they don’t care whether their food is red or brown. They also don’t care if it looks like beef stew or little pork chops!

The fancier the food looks, the more you are paying for unnecessary artificial colouring, flavouring and preservatives.

A dry food is best for your pet’s teeth and gums, so the majority of your dog or cat’s nutritional needs should be met with a DRY type food.

Canned foods are much more expensive to feed, as you are paying for a lot of water and extra packaging. Many people like to supplement their cat’s diet with some canned food, and this is fine as long as you pick a good one, and don’t overdo it.

Canned foods are more likely to have excesses of protein, which can cause or contribute to kidney disease as your pet ages, as well as being worse for your pet’s teeth.

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Fleas

Although dogs and cats carry fleas they are all in fact cat fleas, the true dog flea is rare in Britain. Rabbit and hedgehog fleas will live on any pet.

Fleas live for about 3 weeks and must feed every 20 minutes which can cause cats to itch and scratch. Heavy infestations and kittens can cause anaemia due to blood loss and occasionally death.

An adult flea can lay up to 40 eggs a day and these are distributed all around the house. The eggs change to larvae which feed in the carpet or bedding and then change to pupae which can lay dormant for up to 2 years before they hatch into adult fleas.

The adult flea represents only 5% of the life cycle so simply just treating the pet will not solve the problem.

Ear Mites

Tiny white mites that live in the ear canal of cats and dogs and cause intense irritation and head shaking. They will move from pet to pet either via bedding or direct head to head contact between pets.

Biting Lice

Biting lice are blood sucking insects that can be seen with the naked eye. They have no wings and appear flat. They live only on that host and do not infect humans.

They spend their entire life cycle on the host and do live in the environment.

In large numbers they cause itching and anaemia.

Please speak to us or phone Newbury 01635 40565 if you are concerned about any of these

pawprintYour pet’s death is sadly an inevitable part of pet ownership because of their relatively short lifespan.

Despite this inevitability, it may be one of the most significant losses you could experience due to the depth of the human-pet bond.

For many people, their pet’s passing away is less stressful than the death of a human member of their immediate family, but more stressful than the passing away of other relatives.

You may find that the death of your pet elicits strong feelings that may be the same as the grief response to the loss of a human companion. You will find that you will most likely experience difficulties and disruptions in your lives after your pet dies – it is only normal and important to be aware of it.

One significant difference between humans and your pet dying in the UK, is the option of euthanasia. Euthanasia literally means ‘good death’ and can only be administered by a registered veterinary surgeon. As a result, vets experience the death of their patients five times more than doctors and are directly involved in the decision process.

We are morally and ethically obliged to put an end to an animal’s suffering and pain. Once this decision is made, we are together with you, the owner, put in the uncomfortable situation of having to plan the death of what is effectively a family member.

We experience your immediate displays of grief even when the euthanasia has progressed so peacefully and smoothly. Expressing grief is extremely important as it means that you have accepted what has happened and can open up – tears are important.