Feline Preventative Medicine Recommendations
Preventative medicine recommendations in veterinary medicine are undergoing radical changes. This is particularly so regarding vaccinations and concepts of early intervention.
Vaccines are powerful tools that save countless lives. However, they can have adverse affects. These adverse reactions may be mild- such as fever, or rarely there may be life threatening immune system problems. These issues are not new. We are just addressing them differently.
Early intervention is recognizing that your pet ages more rapidly than you do. The old adage of 1 year per 7 is approximate enough to use. Blood tests or other diagnostics to serve as both a baseline and for early detection of problems is now a priority.
Here at the Woodbury Animal Hospital, we are taking a critical look at our patients' vaccine needs. Each individual animal will have different exposures to infectious diseases. Each animal needs to be vaccinated with this in mind. The goal is to minimize vaccines without compromising health. We use two simultaneous approaches to this. The first is to look at the vaccines available and determine which diseases your pet might be at risk for. Are your cats just indoors or do they go unattended outside? The second is to look at the frequency with which the vaccines need to be given.
CORE PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE
FVRCP - This is the feline upper respiratory/distemper vaccination. We recommend the kitten series and a booster one year later. After that we will now vaccinate at three year intervals.
Rabies Vaccination - This will be done as we have always done keeping legal and liability issues in mind.
Fecal Exam - This should be done several times as a kitten and yearly after that. If your cat goes outside and hunts a lot, it might be wise to do it more often.
OPTIONAL PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE
Feline Leukemia Vaccination - This should be given if your cat goes outside with potential exposure to other cats, if you have many cats in the house, or if you tend to rescue cats or kittens.
Flea Preventative* - Use as needed based on potential exposure and past history
Tick Preventative* - Use as needed based on potential exposure and past history
*these parasites can carry diseases as well as being a nuisance.
There are cat vaccines for other infectious diseases (Chlamydia, FIP, microsporum, bordetella, FIV, and giardia.) We have not ever used these vaccines and they are not recommended for routine use. We also cannot recommend the routine use of heartworm preventative in cats in this geographic region.
The above approach in vaccinating is consistent with recent trends in veterinary medicine. If you use a boarding kennel or groomer, you may need to check on their requirements. Most boarding kennels and groomers accept these changes. However, please confirm this well in advance of your pet's going to the groomer or kennel.
Early detection and intervention begins with blood tests in young to middle-aged cats. Many disease processes common in older animals are present long before you see signs of illness. There are also specific problems that can manifest at an early age. Non-invasive and relatively inexpensive blood and urine tests allow identification and management of these conditions when they are more treatable and before your pet feels ill. As your pet gets older, we may also suggest x-rays and an EKG. Additional testing would fall into more of a problem based category.
Blood and urine tests to assess the immune system, kidneys, liver, etc. are easy to do, and inexpensive. They can serve as a baseline as your pet ages. They can also help in early detection of problems before your pet shows sign of illness.
We can categorize patients based on age. However, breed, physical exam findings and problems that you notice may dictate how we test.
Young 1-5 years of age Simple blood and urine tests
Middle aged 6-8 Comprehensive blood and urine tests
Senior 8+ Comprehensive blood and urine tests Possibly x-rays, EGK, etc.
Our preventative medicine and early intervention programs are designed to keep your pet healthy. However, should your pet need advanced diagnostics or therapies, you should be aware that we have a lot to offer. We can provide radiology, ultrasound, and endoscopy at our practice. We also work very closely with facilities that have CT, MRI, radiation therapy, critical care, and a variety of veterinary specialists.