Did you know the number of reported cases of rabies is far higher in cats than in dogs, FeLV is a leading viral killer in cats, and 1 in 4 cats infected with heartworms are indoor cats? While statistics like these can be scary, they don’t have to be! Fortunately, all of these diseases can easily be prevented at your cat’s routine check-ups using the following recommendations from our veterinarians. Is your cat up-to-date?
What: Rabies is a viral infection that causes drastic changes in temperament and leads to death. It is transmitted to cats through the saliva of an infected animal. (Note: Rabies can be transmitted to any warm-blooded animal including humans!) Unfortunately, there is no cure.
Who: Recommended for both indoor and outdoor cats because it’s not uncommon for a small animal such as a mouse or a bat to find its way into the home, and if it tests positive for rabies, then that would mean either an expensive 6 month quarantine or, most commonly, euthanasia for your cat if he/she has not had this vaccine.
When: Available as both a 1-year or a 3-year vaccine
What: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR), Calicivirus (C), and Panleukopenia (P) are common viruses that cause symptoms in cats ranging from sneezing, congestion, and inflammation to fever, ulcers, bloody vomit/diarrhea, and lethargy. They are transmitted through both direct and indirect contact. Feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus are actually responsible for up to 90% of all infectious upper respiratory tract diseases in cats!
Who: Recommended for both indoor and outdoor cats because these viruses can live in the environment (i.e. your shoes, your clothing, etc.) for many weeks up to a year so the potential for these diseases to be brought into your home puts indoor cats at risk for infection too. It is also the vaccine that we require for all cats who would like to board at our B&B.
When: Once per year
What: FeLV (feline leukemia) is an infectious virus that causes a variety of other conditions in cats including anemia, suppression of the immune system, and cancer, among others. It is transmitted through direct contact with an infected cat. Unfortunately, FeLV is usually fatal, and most cats die within 3 years of their diagnosis.
Who: Recommended for outdoor cats
When: Every 2 years
What: Cats are at risk for a variety of intestinal parasites including hookworms, roundworms, and tapeworms. Depending on the type of parasite, cats may show no symptoms, but they can cause life-threatening problems in some cats. The transmission of these parasites is varied and includes both direct and indirect contact.
Who: Recommended for both indoor and outdoor cats, especially since some of these parasites can infect humans as well.
When: Once per year
Fleas & Heartworms
What: Fleas are all too common here in Oregon, and we see them on cats every day (even many indoor cats!). Many owners are surprised to learn that fleas can cause health problems for cats (and you!) including an allergic reaction, tapeworms, anemia, Bartonella (aka Cat Scratch Fever), typhus, and the plague.
As for heartworms, cats actually get them almost as often as dogs, and all they need in order to infect your cat is a bite from a mosquito. In fact, it is a primary cause of lung disease in cats and can cause many other health problems including sudden death. Some common symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, lethargy, weight loss, and intermittent vomiting. Since there is no cure, the best way to protect your cat from heartworms is through prevention.
For both fleas and heartworms, we recommended using Revolution. This product is applied topically once per month and is considered by our veterinarians to be the safest and most effective product on the market. It protects cats from fleas, heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, and ear mites!
Who: Recommended for both indoor and outdoor cats
If you have any questions for us or if you would like to schedule an appointment, we welcome you to contact us at our clinic and boarding facility in Lake Oswego or schedule an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!