Health Topics

Preventive Care

Preventive care is the most important factor in maintaining your cat’s health. Three actions you can take to help care for your cat include vaccinations, parasite control, and heart worm prevention.

VACCINATIONS: We recommend vaccinating for Feline Rhinotracheitis/Feline Calicivirus/Panleukopenia (FVRCP) and Rabies. Outdoor cats should also receive the Feline Leukemia Virus vaccine. We follow the AAFP’s guidelines for vaccinations. Vaccinations are only done with an examination by a veterinarian to ensure your cat is healthy enough to receive vaccines. Vaccine Brochure

PARASITE CONTROL: Fleas and intestinal parasites.

Where does my cat get fleas? Fleas are found outside. Even if your cat only goes outside once, they can pick up fleas. If you have a dog, the dog can bring fleas inside. Any exposure to open windows or screens can allow a flea infestation as well.

Why are they a problem? Fleas multiply rapidly, laying many eggs. The eggs can persist in the environment (especially carpets, fabric, closets or other dark areas) for several months.

In a severe flea infestation, your cat can become very sick. Fleas feed on blood and if there are enough present, they can cause anemia or blood loss in your cat which can lead to an emergency.

Some cats have a flea allergy and will develop severe skin problems due to fleas. While fleas do not live directly on people, they can bite people and cause redness and irritation to the skin. Fleas can carry some infectious diseases such as tapeworms and cat scratch disease

How to treat. It is recommended to use a flea medication obtained from a veterinarian. There are many over the counter products that may be ineffective and unsafe for your cat. NEVER apply dog flea medication to a cat, this can result in tremors, severe illness and even death.

Every cat or dog in the house needs to be treated at the same time, once monthly, for at least 3 months to get rid of the fleas in the environment. The first application will kill live fleas present on the pet and prevent new fleas from attaching, but the eggs that are left in the environment can then hatch and reattach at the end of the month. To break the life cycle, treatment for at least 3 months is recommended. If your cat goes outside or you have a dog, you will need to treat during the months when the temperatures are over 40 degrees (usually April – November).

INTESTINAL PARASITES: Read more about Gastrointestinal Parasites of cats in this brochure from the Cornell Feline Health Center.

HEART WORM DISEASE: Here’s what you need to know.