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"Health is not valued until sickness comes.'
Dr Thomas Fuller (1654-1734)
Wellness exams, appropriate vaccinations and good nutrition make up the cornerstone of preventive medicine.
Regular wellness exams and their importance cannot be over emphasized. Cats are normally rather low-key and stoic which means it is often quite difficult for their owners to appreciate that they actually have a problem. Many of their health problems start out with subtle signs that manifest slowly and almost imperceptibly over time. And by the time the symptoms become noticeable, the disease in question may already be quite advanced. Obviously the sooner we are able to treat a problem, the easier it often is and prolonged convalescence is avoided.
And given that one year in the life of a cat is equivalent to approximately four years in human terms, a lot of physical changes can occur in that time. At the Cat Practice, we recommend annual wellness exams for all cats up to the age of five years. For all cats over the age of five, we recommend wellness exams twice a year with appropriate blood work and a urine analysis yearly, which conforms with the standards of care as defined by the American Animal Hospital Association. Please refer to the age chart to help you to understand how old your cat is in human years.
Vaccines have been of immeasurable benefit to cats. For example, the once common and usually deadly disease known as Panleukopenia is now seen only rarely. An initial series of vaccinations is given during kittenhood and then boosters are given throughout adulthood based on the guidelines developed by the American Association of Feline Practitioners. We do not routinely give every cat all of the vaccines available for felines. Each cat is assessed for need based on lifestyle, age and overall well-being. We strive to use only vaccines that are safe for your cat, and this may mean that the vaccines we use may change over time, and that our protocols may change with improved information.
Nutrition is obviously fundamental to proper growth and development and for continued well-being throughout all stages of a cat's life. It is a false economy to feed a cat the cheapest food available. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for and cats like people do not thrive on poor quality food. We provide nutritional advise at all stages of a cats life. For several feline health problems, special prescription dietary formulas are used as one of the tools in the overall management of the disease. We keep an extensive line of the diets in stock for your convenience. As you know, cats are carnivores, and in the wild they eat a diet that consists mostly of small animals they catch. Since we cannot emulate this diet in the home (we hope), one way we can do it is by increasing the amount of protein that is fed, and decreasing carbohydrates. Canned food is an easy way to do this. Dry food might benefit the teeth, but canned food keeps the urinary system, the skin and hair, and the metabolism more healthy, and has been shown to help prevent obesity and reduce the risk of diabetes. So when you are feeding your new kitten or your adult cat, we recommend you feed both canned and dry food to give your cat a healthier metabolism, as well as healthy teeth.
"Let food be your first medicine."
Microchipping is a permanent way to provide identification for your cat. A small plastic coated chip is inserted under the skin via a sterile syringe. The inert material is not reactive with the tissue, so will not cause any problems with swelling or pain. The chip is read with a scanner, providing a number that can then be traced back to the person registered to that number. When you have your cat microchipped at The Cat Practice, we send in the registration for you. You will be provided contact information to allow you to change the information, should you move, change your name, or have to give your cat to someone else. All shelters, humane societies, and animal control facilities in the country have been given scanners by the various companies that make the chips, and any animal taken to a shelter or similar facility is scanned for identification. We have had three cats over the past year that were brought in or found and identified using microchip technology. These cats were able to be returned to their grateful owners safely. This is the best reason I can think of to get your cat chipped. We may not plan for them to go outside, but if they ever get out, or get taken from you or escape during an emergency in your house or vehicle, there is a way to identify them that will not fall off nor can it be removed.