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The care of your cat includes her health concerns. One way you can help her live a long and happy life is to talk openly with your veterinarian about what types of vaccines your cat will need.
Stash money away on a monthly basis for those emergency vet visits, and hopefully, if you do this, emergencies will NOT occur. Also, do not be nervous about asking your veterinarian too many questions. The only dumb question is the one never asked.
A Word About Feline Vaccines
When you first bring the kitty home from the shelter, she is probably current on all the necessary vaccines. But do you know exactly what was in that needle? If you don’t, then it is time to get proactive:
- Talk candidly with your vet.
- Discuss the topic with other cat owners.
- Research the abundance of information found on the internet.
- Learn which of the individual vaccines your cat really needs based on age, risk factor, living conditions as well as other health concerns.
How Often Does My Cat Need To Go To The Vet?
Young, healthy cats (kittens through 8 to 10 years old) shouldn’t need to visit the vet more often than annually unless other health problems arise. But pack as much into that annual visit that you can. Not only will you need any required vaccination boosters, but you will also want to have the vet perform a fecal exam to rule out internal parasites such as Tapeworm or Round, Hook or Whip Worms. You will need to take a fresh fecal sample along with you to this vet visit.
Cats who are allowed to venture outdoors will require frequent worming and anti-flea medications so if your cat enjoys the great outdoors, be prepared to have the kitty in to see the vet at least 4 times per year.
You should request a spot-on type of Flea preventative if fleas are a problem in your area even if your cat never goes outside. If mosquitoes are a big problem in your area, you will also want to discuss heartworm medication for your cat.
A thorough physical examination is also necessary to assess body tone and condition of skin, musculature and fur. Make certain your vet checks inside your cat’s ears and takes a swab if necessary to rule out ear mites or fungal infections. Also, make certain the vet checks inside your cat’s mouth – teeth and gum problems can be caught early so as to avoid secondary problems down the road.
You will want to see that the vet takes your cat’s temperature and gets a current weight. You might also want the vet to take blood and urine samples for lab analysis to establish your cat’s normal values, or “baseline”.
So as not to overlook anything important as a pet owner, ensure a fruitful appointment with your vet by remembering to do each of the following:
- Make a list of all your questions prior to the visit.
- Discuss the pros and cons of vaccinations.
- Take in a fecal sample with you for testing of parasites.
- Insist on a complete exam, including swabbing of the ears.
- Have the kitten/cat tested for all known diseases.
- Discuss spay or neuter options with your vet.
Cats who have reached the age of 6 months should also be assessed for sexual maturity and the decision to spay or neuter should be discussed with your vet at this time. With the pet overpopulation crisis currently in epidemic proportions, the ONLY responsible thing to do is alter your cat. Your cat will be happier and healthier and you will get a good feeling from knowing you have joined what I like to call “Mission Responsible”.
As pet owners are becoming more aware of the dangers of allowing cats to venture outside, we find that as a benefit, our beloved companions are living longer. But sadly, with age comes health issues.
Cats who have reached the age of 8 to 10 years old are considered geriatric and should see the vet at least twice per year. The vet should perform the same thorough exam on older cats as he did on the younger ones, but you will also want to have him take blood and urine samples for outside laboratory analysis. Make certain to discuss any changes in your cat’s habits at this visit and if it helps, remember to write down your concerns beforehand so you can cover everything.
Written by Gaye Flagg
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