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Preventative Care For Cats

We recognize that your pet’s preventative health care can be a bit overwhelming! Preventative medicine plays a crucial role in keeping your furry family member happy and healthy.  Listed below are the most commonly used preventative care practices utilized in our hospital and may be discussed in our upcoming appointment.

Annual Preventative Care Exam
Annual exams are so much more than just vaccines! During the exam, the doctor will assess your pet from nose to tail. The personal attention your pet receives in the appointment allows us to use their current physical condition, the history provided, and our professional experience to formulate recommendations that we believe will help your pet live the best life possible. Many chronic conditions can be caught and managed early when your pet is evaluated on an annual basis. Every stage of life brings a different set of challenges and as your trusted pet care provider, we will be here to help you every step of the way!

Vaccines
We are committed to the long-term wellness of our pet patients. Below are the primary vaccines we recommend depending on the pet’s lifestyle. We will discuss these with you at your pet’s appointment to determine which of these are recommended.

  • FeLV Vaccine – This vaccine is used to protect your pet from feline leukemia which is a cancerous disease caused by the feline leukemia virus. We will want to run bloodwork the day of your appointment prior to the vaccine being administered to ensure your cat does not already have the virus.
  • FVRCP Vaccine – This vaccine protects your cat against three potentially deadly airborne viruses: rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia
  • Rabies Vaccine– A vaccine that is required by law due to the risk to people and the disease being very fatal.

Make sure to ask us about our Free Vaccines for Life program which is designed specifically for adult animals.  After a one-time Enrollment fee, your pet’s vaccine costs will be free for the rest of their life. All you must do to keep the benefits going year after year is bring them in for their annual Preventative Care exam! Visit http://www.arizonapetvet.com/free_vaccines.php for more information on our program.

Fecal Testing
A fecal exam detects microscopic parasites found in the stool such as tapeworms, hookworms and roundworms. A yearly test is recommended to allow for proper treatment if needed. Make sure to bring a fecal sample in a bag with you to your pet’s preventative care exam.

Heartworm Testing and Prevention
Heartworm is a preventable parasitic disease in dogs and cats spread by mosquitoes. In the last 3 years, Arizona has seen a significant increase in positive cases throughout the state. There are multiple ways to protect your pet, all of which are much simpler, safer, and more cost-effective than treating the disease if it occurs.  We recommend annual blood testing and monthly prevention to ensure your pet is protected.

Flea/Tick Control
Fleas and ticks are the two most common external parasites found in dogs and cats. They survive by feeding on the blood of dogs, cats and sometimes people. Flea and tick bites can lead to health problems including constant itching, hair loss (alopecia), hypersensitivity (allergic reaction), as well as infections and transmission of disease. Fleas and Tick prevention is as easy as a monthly flavored treat.

Nutrition
Proper nutrition is a key to keeping your pet happy and healthy! It is estimated that 60% of cats are overweight. Special diets are commonly used to help reduce the risk of conditions such as oral health, urinary related issues such as bladder stones and kidney disease, weight management and much more! There are many options available to you to help your cat companion fight these common ailments.

Dentistry
If you’ve had a whiff of your pets’ breath and said “Eeeewwww!” you’re not alone! Dental disease is the most common problems found during a pet’s annual wellness exam.

If left untreated, the bacteria can lead to issues such as gum disease, tooth infection, bone loss, chronic pain and infection of the kidneys, liver and even the heart. Veterinary dental treatment has evolved over the years. It requires general anesthesia so that the teeth can be thoroughly evaluated and cleaned. Dental x-rays are also taken to examine the health of the mouth. Talk with your doctor to see if dental treatment is necessary for your pet!

Annual Blood Work
As soon as possible, we would recommend doing annual blood work as a part of your cat’s preventative care plan. Annual blood work helps detect health problems, so treatment is begun before symptoms worsen. It also helps establish a baseline, which can be helpful in comparison with future testing if your pet becomes ill.

We hope this information clarified some of the things we may discuss in your pets upcoming preventative care appointment. We look forward to seeing you and your furry family member soon!

Five Ways to Celebrate National Cat Day

National Cat Cats are awesome creatures and they’re sure to keep you laughing with their antics. Cuddling is also great – but not all cats are the cuddling type. No matter – it’s National Cat Day, so here are five great ways to let your kitty know how much you care!

1/ Adopt a cat or kitten from a local shelter or rescue – there’s always a beautiful kitty in need of a good home.

2/ Make a donation to a local shelter or rescue. Food, blankets, toys, litter and other items are always in demand.

3/ Volunteer at a local shelter or rescue where you can help by cleaning cages and litter boxes, play with the cats and kittens.

4/ Buy or plant some cat grass for your furry friends. It helps them get key nutrients and minerals into their diet, aids with digestion and helps prevent the build-up of hairballs.

5/ Take some time out to play with your cat/s. Try a cat-fishing pole with a toy or feather on the end of the line, a mirror to reflect light (careful- laser pointers can cause eye damage), crumpled paper or best of all – boxes. Cats adore boxes. “If I fits, I sits.”

Why Do Pets Need Vaccinations?

Pets need vaccinationsLike people, pets need vaccinations to stay healthy and to help prevent communicable diseases.

Vaccinations help prevent many illnesses that can affect pets. There are different vaccines for different diseases, as well as different types and combinations of vaccines. Vaccination have risks and benefits that must be weighed for every pet, depending on factors like age, medical history, environment, travel habits and lifestyle.

Most vets recommend administering core vaccines to healthy pets, however, not every pet needs to be vaccinated against every disease. Talk with your veterinarian about a vaccination protocol that’s right for your pet, and in compliance with your state and local laws. Each state has its own laws governing the administration of the rabies vaccine. Some require yearly rabies vaccination, while other areas call for rabies vaccines to be administered every three years. In almost all states, proof of rabies vaccination is mandatory.

Understanding How Vaccines Work
Vaccines help prepare the immune system to fight disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens, which are similar in structure to the disease-causing organism but don’t actually cause the disease. The vaccine enters the body to mildly stimulate the immune system to fight the ‘disease’. If a pet is exposed to the real disease, the immune system is prepared to destroy the disease-causing organism entirely or reduce the severity and duration of the illness.

Vaccinations for Puppies 
Puppies receive antibodies while nursing, if their mother has a healthy immune system. Puppies should receive a series of vaccinations starting at six to eight weeks of age. Your veterinarian should administer a minimum of three vaccinations at three- to four-week intervals. The final dose should be administered at 16 weeks of age.

Core Vaccinations for Dogs
Some adult dogs may receive certain vaccines annually, while other vaccines might be given every three years or so. Your veterinarian will provide guidance.

Vaccines for canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis and rabies are considered core vaccines. Non-core vaccines are given depending on the dog’s exposure risk and lifestyle. Non-core vaccines include Bordetella bronchiseptica, Borrelia burgdorferi and Leptospira bacteria.

Vaccinations For Kittens
Kittens receive antibodies while nursing, if their mother has a healthy immune system. Once the kitten is around six to eight weeks of age, your veterinarian should administer a series of vaccines at three- or four-week intervals until the kitten reaches 16 weeks of age.

Core Vaccinations for Cats
Vaccines for panleukopenia (feline distemper), feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus type I (rhinotracheitis) and rabies are considered core vaccines. Non-core vaccines are given depending on the cat’s lifestyle. These include vaccines to protect against feline leukemia virus, Bordetella, Chlamydophila felis and feline immunodeficiency virus. Adult cats might be revaccinated annually or every three years.

Your veterinarian can help determine what vaccines are best for your pet. Don’t forget, AZPetVet offers a FREE Vaccines for Life program that can help keep your pet healthy and protected for life, and save you some $$ along the way. (Use the savings for healthy treats and toys – they deserve it!)

National Adopt a Cat Month

Beautiful white cat holds a sign saying adopt me.June is the American Humane Society’s Adopt a Cat month and the ASPCA’s Adopt a Shelter Cat month, so if you’ve been thinking about adding a feline friend (or two) to your family, hooray! There are thousands of beautiful cats of all ages in shelters – all are just waiting for a good home.

If it’s been a while since you adopted a new cat, it’s also a great time to review tips that can help east the stress of bringing a new kitty into your home. Cats are territorial animals, so they’re most likely going to be confused and scared until they settle in. It’s definitely a process, but it’s well worth the effort.

Here are a few tips for helping new kitties settle in:

Consider Adopting Two: If you don’t already have a cat at home, oddly enough you’ll find things to be easier if you adopt a pair. Obviously, it’s important that they get along – with the shelter full of Spring litters, finding bonded pairs is much easier. Cats need stimulation and exercise, and having two provides exactly that – someone to play with when you’re not around. Trust us, they’ll provide plenty of laughs and love for you along the way.

Provide a Safe, Confined Space: New kitties need safe space like a laundry room, spare bedroom or bathroom to live in while they’re adjusting to their new surroundings. A cozy bed, cardboard box or cat carrier can provide a sense of safety for your new friend, but remember, your kitty needs to be able to stand up and turn around easily. Give them access to plenty of food, fresh water and a clean litter box with an inch or two of litter inside their room , but be sure to keep the litter box away from their food. Nobody wants to have dinner next to their toilet, no matter how clean it’s kept.

Patience is Key: It might take a week or two for your new cat or kitten to feel safe enough to come out and explore. if you have other pets in the home, keep them separated from the newcomer and introduce them slowly. They will be very aware of each other’s presence – a baby gate can help keep boundaries intact.Don’t push things. Always keep dogs leashed when they’re meeting the newest family member. Correct them immediately with a command like “Sit!” or “Stay!” if they show any signs of jealousy or threatening behavior. Be extra careful with small children – they can get overexcited and squeeze or pet too roughly, causing the cat to struggle, scratch or bite out of fear.

Book a Wellness Visit: Your vet will carefully examine your new pet, give them any vaccinations, and advise you on good preventive care routine, including regular dental cleanings. We would be honored to help you keep your new pet healthy and happy longer. Find an AZPetVet location near you. Be sure to ask about our new kitten packages and FREE Vaccines for Life program!

The Importance of Dental Health

Virtually no one likes going to the dentist…but we all know it’s important! Dental care for humans and animals alike is something that should never be ignored. Proper dental hygiene is a critical part of keeping your pet healthy and happy, helping to avoid potentially life-threatening issues that come with dental disease. Want to know just a bit more? Dr. Tressa MacLennan from our Scottsdale location did a quick segment with a brief overview! Check it out: