Here at Pine Woods Animal Hospital, we are dedicated to helping your pets live long, healthy and happy lives. We believe that preventative care is critical to achieving that goal.
Preventative care includes:
- Annual and Biannual Examinations
- Routine Vaccinations
- Internal Parasite Testing
- Wellness Blood Work
- Infectious Disease Screening
- Nutritional Recommendations
Whether you have a kitten or an older cat that is still “young at heart”, routine examinations are vital to catching potential problems early. Kittens and younger cats can stay on track with annual examinations, while senior cats should be examined every 6 months.
During a routine appointment, the veterinarian will assess your cat’s external health from head to tail. Starting at the front, the veterinarian will check the eyes, ears and mouth for any signs of disease or infection. Studies report that between 50 and 90% of cats older than four years of age suffer from some form of dental disease! Next, the veterinarian will listen to the heart and lungs, and palpate the abdomen. Finally, an orthopedic exam is performed to check for any signs of pain or arthritis. During the veterinarian’s trip over your cat’s body, he or she is also on the lookout for anything abnormal such as swollen lymph nodes, skin issues, masses and more.
Vaccinations are crucial to protecting your cat from deadly and often preventable diseases.
This vaccination is considered a core vaccine. It is recommended for ALL cats, (including indoor only cats) and is legally required. The rabies virus is transmitted through the saliva of infected animals and the resulting infection is often fatal. Rabies is considered a zoonotic disease, which means that it can be spread to humans.
This vaccine is a core vaccine and it protects your cat from Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Feline Calicivirus and Panleukopenia.
The feline viral rhinotracheitis is caused by the herpes virus which is spread through saliva and secretions from the eyes and nose of infected cat. This virus can lay dormant in your cat until the pet experiences stress. When your pet experiences a flare up, symptoms include lethargy, sneezing, conjunctivitis and/or discharge from the eyes and nose. Pneumonia and corneal ulcers are possible in severe cases as well. While there is no cure for this virus, some of the symptoms can be treated.
The feline calicivirus causes symptoms that are very similar to the feline viral rhinotracheitis and is highly contagious. It is transmitted by saliva and secretions from the eyes or nose of an infected pet. However, cats with the virus can develop oral ulcers and in some cases can develop lethargy, anorexia and joint inflammation. There is a virulent strain of the calicivirus that can be lethal. With this strain symptoms can rapidly become dangerous to the pet and can include high fever, severe depression, jaundice and symptoms of multiple organ disease.
The panleukopenia virus is very contagious and the virus is very resilient in the environment. It is transmitted through infected bodily fluids, feces and it can even be transmitted through contact with fleas from an infected cat. The panleukopenia virus infects the cells of the bone marrow and intestinal tracts. This infection can lead to a low white blood cell count which leaves the cat more susceptible to other infections. Once the panleukopenia infection spreads to the gastrointestinal tract, the pet will have severe diarrhea. This disease can be fatal.
The feline leukemia vaccine is considered a core vaccine. This disease is transferred from cat to cat through bodily secretions and feces. Transmission can occur from a bite wound, mutual grooming and sometime through the shared use of a litter box or food dishes. During initial stages of feline leukemia, the cat may show no signs of the disease. However, over time the infected cat’s health may deteriorate leading to symptoms such as: loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, persistent fever, pale gums and mucous membranes, diarrhea, and infections of the skin, bladder and possibly upper respiratory tract. Currently there is no cure for feline leukemia but veterinarians can treat the symptoms.
Internal Parasite Testing
Pine Woods Animal Hospital recommends internal parasite testing every year. This includes an intestinal parasite screening also known as fecal checks.
Many times, intestinal parasite infections can go undetected while still causing harm to your cat. In addition to negatively impacting your cat’s health, some parasites like roundworms are zoonotic meaning that they can be transmitted from your pet to you. To test for these parasite, we simply need a sample of your cat’s feces. Ideally, the sample should be fresh.
Wellness Blood Work
While the veterinarian can gather a lot of information on your cat’s health from routine exams, wellness bloodwork can detect internal diseases that are not always outwardly apparent. With the information a blood test reveals, a veterinarian can detect diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease and more before your cat starts to show symptoms. Early detection and proactive treatments are the best way to keep harmful diseases from progressing rapidly.
Infectious Disease Screening
Our infectious disease screening will test your cat for feline leukemia (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and heartworm. While heartworm is transmitted through infected mosquitos, feline leukemia and FIV are transmitted from an infected cat to another.
The feline leukemia virus or FeLV is the most common cause of cancer in cats and is transmitted through feline bodily fluids such as saliva. Cat-to-cat transfer can occur from a bite wound, during mutual grooming or from an infected mother cat to her kittens. During the early stages of the disease, it is common for there to be no symptoms. Eventually the infected cat’s health will begin to deteriorate or they may experience repeating cycles of illness and health. The virus can cause an immune deficiency, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, fever, pale gums and more. Currently, there is no cure for the feline leukemia virus.
The feline immunodeficiency virus or FIV is primarily transmitted through bite wounds from an infected cat. Once contracted, the virus attacks the immune system. While many infected cats may not display symptoms of the disease for many years, the immune system will weaken. Once they suffer from an immune deficiency, infected cats will not be able to fight common illnesses and normal environmental bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa can potentially be dangerous. Currently, there is no cure for the feline immunodeficiency virus.
Another internal parasite that is prevalent in this area is heartworm. Heartworm is a “spaghetti-like” parasite that lives in the blood system, specifically the heart and major cardiac vessels in your cat. The heartworm parasite is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Heartworm is detectable through a blood test and can be easily prevented through monthly heartworm prevention. We recommend monthly year-round heartworm prevention, which comes as a topical solution.
Nutrition is important to helping your pet live a healthy long life. Proper nutrition can help your cat fight-off disease, maintain muscle tone, have a healthy skin and hair coat, recover faster from an injury or illness.