Adult cats should receive a health examination at least annually. Many health problems may go undetected without a thorough physical exam. Your veterinarian will evaluate your pet’s lifestyle and health risks and determine which vaccinations are appropriate for your pet. Cats may need vaccinations for rabies, FVRCP (feline rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia), and leukemia. A routine fecal examination should be done on all cats at least annually. Cats that go outside who are not on a monthly dewormer, such as Revolution, should receive a broad-spectrum dewormer at least annually.
Comprehensive Health Evaluation
Comprehensive annual health evaluations are critical to the long-term health and well-being of your cat, especially since cats are masters at hiding illness. Annual visits can help us find small problems before they adversely affect your pet’s health. This evaluation will also include a nutritional and weight assessment, discussion of any behavior issues, and a dental evaluation.
Vaccinations protect against preventable infectious diseases and help your cat live a long, healthy life. Your kitten will need a series of vaccinations in order to boost their immune system and develop a full year of immunity. After the initial kitten series, these vaccines should be boosted one year later. After that, some vaccines can provide protection for up to 3 years. We take your pet’s lifestyle and risk into consideration when developing a vaccination schedule so that your pet does not receive any vaccinations that he or she doesn’t need. Once your pet has received the initial series of kitten vaccines, and boosters 1 year later, we prefer to schedule vaccine boosters on a rotating schedule for most patients, providing a lighter burden on the immune system with each annual exam.
Rabies: This vaccine protects against a fatal disease that can be transmitted to humans. Rabies has been detected in foxes, coyotes, and bats in Oregon. Since cats are very curious and bats can get into our houses, we recommend rabies vaccination for all indoor and outdoor cats. We use a non-adjuvanted rabies vaccine in cats that provides protection for 1 year.
Leukemia: The feline leukemia virus is the leading viral killer of cats and is spread through bite wounds, mating, from an infected mother to her kittens, or through casual contact with an infected cat, such as sharing food bowls or litterboxes. We recommend feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) testing for all kittens and new cats. Following a negative test, we recommend an initial two-dose feline leukemia series for all kittens (since even indoor-only kittens may inadvertently get outside or may become indoor/outdoor cats later in life), and then risk should be revisited 1 year later. At-risk cats should continue to be vaccinated on a 3-year schedule. We use a non-adjuvanted feline leukemia vaccine.
We follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for at least annual deworming of all cats, both to protect cats, and also their owners from internal parasites that can cause severe disease, including blindness in children and adults. We use an oral medication called Drontal which treats roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. The monthly preventive Revolution treats most of these internal parasites, except tapeworms and whipworms. Your veterinarian may recommend annual deworming even if your cat is on monthly Revolution based on his lifestyle or if he has a history of having fleas (which are part of the tapeworm lifecycle).
Annual Intestinal Parasite Screening
We recommend annual internal parasite screening for all cats. We test for hookworm, whipworm, roundworm, plus protozoa coccidia and giardia, which love to infect standing water in our wet weather (and which our routine dewormers don’t treat). When we also recommend annual deworming, we wait two weeks to have you submit a fecal sample for analysis, so we can ensure the effectiveness of deworming. Cats with heavy loads of internal parasites may test positive for hookworms, roundworms, or whipworms, even after receiving a broad-spectrum dewormer. Learn more about internal parasites in cats at PetsandParasites.org.
Just as our physical exam is used to evaluate your pet’s health, blood and urine testing provide an exam of your pet’s internal organs, and can help uncover underlying medical problems that may not be obvious from the physical exam. Depending on your cat’s health status and use of prescription medications, your veterinarian may recommend annual or semi-annual screening labwork to monitor your pet’s organ function.
Monthly Flea Prevention
We recommend monthly flea prevention for at-risk cats year-round. We offer a variety of preventives, and can make a recommendation for a product that will best suit you and your pet based on lifestyle and preferences. We carry the following products:
Comfortis—oral prescription flea preventive that kills fleas very quickly (within 4 hours of administration), and the main ingredient is used in organic farming. It is a flavored pill that must be given orally with a full meal.
Cheristin—over-the-counter topical flea preventive that kills fleas within 4 hours of application. The main ingredient is used in organic farming.
Frontline Plus—over-the-counter topical flea preventive that kills fleas within 12 hours of administration.