Cat Health Care Checklist
The following are preventive health care options available for your cat at different stages in its life. Please review the procedures which we strongly recommend to keep your pet healthy and guard against disease. Ask a staff member or your doctor if you have any questions regarding a procedure or need more information.
___ Complete Physical Exam: Exams should be done once a year, cats older than 7 years of age every 6 months. Examination of general appearance, weight, attitude, skin, muscle, bones, joints, heart, lungs, digestive system, eyes, ears, nervous system, urinary/reproductive system, lymph nodes, gums, and teeth for any abnormalities that may be signs of disease.
___ Vaccinations: Frequency of vaccination varies with the type of vaccine. We evaluate each cat's risk of disease to determine which vaccines are needed. Vaccinations are important in disease prevention of Respiratory Disease and Feline Distemper___, Feline Leukemia___, and Rabies___.
___ Intestinal Parasite Screen: Screening for eggs released by intestinal parasites should be done annually. A positive test will help guide the intestinal parasite medication program. Not detecting parasites does not rule out that the animal does not have parasites--it may not have any in that particular sample. Tapeworm segments may be seen attached to the hair around the anus.
___ Intestinal Parasite Medication: Some parasites are transmissible to humans and can cause disease in the cat and people, therefore we recommend deworming on a monthly basis or more frequently if indicated. Common intestinal parasites are roundworm, tapeworm and coccidia. A cat gets the tapeworm by eating a flea or rodent, the intermediate host for the tapeworm. Droncit is highly effective in eliminating the tapeworm but preventing ingestion of the intermediate host and good flea control will help prevent future infections.
___ Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Test: All cats should be tested annually for FeLV and FIV. These two viruses cause suppression of the immune system much like the HIV virus in man. They are spread by saliva, urine, and other body secretions. If an animal tests positive, additional confirmatory tests should by run. Isolate the cat indoors to prevent spread to other cats, and treat the cat early at any sign of illness. Negative animals can be vaccinated for Feline Leukemia and FIV.
___ Flea Products: It is important to treat all the animals in the household monthly for fleas. We highly recommend Advantage and Frontline topical flea products to safely kill the adult flea. Since cats groom themselves, the products need to be applied monthly for good control of the flea population. Controlling the adult flea and its' bite has greatly diminished flea allergies that cause the cat to excessively lick and leads to hair loss.
___ Microchip Identification: A microchip, the size of a grain of rice, can be implanted under the skin at any age. Scanners used by veterinarians, humane societies and shelters can detect the chip and the information it carries resulting in the return of a lost pet to its owner or identify a FIV vaccinated cat.
___ Blood Profile: Blood profiles should be performed every 6-12 months or prior to anesthesia. Tests include those that evaluate the liver and kidney function, glucose level for low values or diabetes, and total protein level for hydration, liver disease, blood loss or inflammatory diseases. By establishing normal baseline values for your cat, if it is sick we have normal blood values to compare to. If anesthesia is indicated, it is important to know that the liver and kidney are working properly. Detection of health problems early may minimize amount of medical care needed to treat the problem and develop a plan to decrease the risks for the problem to be life threatening.
___ Urinalysis: Urinalysis should be done every 6-12 months depending on the age, medications or disease condition. The test evaluates kidney function and also aids in the detection of crystals in the urine, bladder infection, bladder stones, bladder cancer, diabetes and other systemic diseases.
___ Thyroid Gland Evaluation: Thyroid gland evaluation should be done annually in cats older than 7 years. Commonly, senior cats have changes in the thyroid gland causing abnormally high levels of the thyroid hormone. This results in weight loss, heart disease, and gastrointestinal problems.
___ Spay/Neuter: Surgery can be done as early as 2-6 months of age and should be done in any adult not used for breeding. The surgery will prevent reproduction, certain behavior problems, infection and female mammary cancer.
___ Dental Services: Annual professional cleaning of the teeth under anesthesia helps promote a healthy mouth and prevents disease in the body. Dental exams may reveal tartar buildup resulting in gum disease, fractured teeth, enamel lesions exposing the sensitive portions of the tooth, retained baby teeth or mouth infections. At home, brushing teeth with pet tooth paste, OraVet Home Care or Prescription Diet T/D will help reduce tartar.