Your new kitten: Caring for the newest member of the family

 

 

 

 

Sometimes it can be a little hard to remember everything that the vet told you in your first consult.  So this brochure is to help remind you on the important things to ensure your best friend stays healthy and fit to live a long healthy happy life.

 

VACCINATIONS

Vaccinating your pet against the common diseases/viruses can save you money in the long term.

Kittens vaccination consists of 3 injections 4-6 weeks apart, the first vaccination can be given at 6-8 weeks of age, followed by a booster at 10-12 weeks of age and a final booster at 14-16 weeks of age.

The standard vaccination (‘F3’’) in cats prevents against

> Feline Rhinotracheitis virus (Feline Herpes)

> Feline Calicivirus  (Cat Snuffles)

> Feline Panleukopaenia (Gastro disease)

Cats can be vaccinated against Feline Immunodeficiency virus (FIV) – which is the cat version of human aids or HIV.  FIV is transmitted by infected feral cats through saliva during cat fights.  This vaccination is a non core vaccine and is recommended if your cat is likely to be an outdoor cat and is at risk of being attacked by other feral cats or cats of unknown health status.

 

HEARTWORM

Heartworm is different to all the intestinal worms.  Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes as tiny worm larvae into the bloodstream, before embedding into the heart chambers.  When numerous worms embed into the heart chambers they then block the passage of blood in and out of the heart, creating heart dysfunction that develops into heart failure if left undiagnosed and untreated.

Although heartworm is not as common in cats as it is in dogs, it is still possible.  Heartworm is best prevented from an early age and continued for the life of the cat.

Heartworm in cats is prevented by:

> monthly spot-on (Revolution)

> monthly tablet (Milbemax)

 

INTESTINAL WORMING

The same sort of worms that affect dogs also affect cats.  That includes hookworms, roundworms and tapeworms.   There are fewer worm preventatives in cats than dogs, however the importance in worming your cat successfully is knowing what your wormer targets and the frequency of giving them.

The way worming tablets work is by voiding all the worms in the intestine at the time of treatment, it does not actually prevent worms inhabiting your cat’s intestines.  Signs of worm burden in cats are: pot belly appearance, pale gums, lethargic and weight loss, as well as visualizing the worms in the stools.

Therefore it is recommended that you worm your kitten every 2 weeks until 3 months of age and then every month until 6 months of age followed by every 3 months as a mature adult so that the worm burden doesn’t compromise your cat’s health.

 

Outdoor cats that are prone to eating geckos and lizards can become at risk to contracting ‘zipper’ tapeworm.  This tapeworm is different to the traditional tapeworm thus standard worming tablets are ineffective at voiding these worms, ask us at Gray St Vet Clinic for this wormer at your next visit.

FLEAS AND TICKS

The most important tick to be concerned about is the Paralysis tick—found in certain areas of Queensland—mainly coastal regions and national parks. This tick can be fatal if left untreated, you will be able to identify the paralysis tick from other common ticks by looking at the attachment of the legs— See picture below.

Clinical signs of paralysis tick bite are:  wobbly /weak back legs, changed voice/meow, lethargy and paralysis.  Identified early, paralysis tick can be easily treated.

Other ticks in the central highland regions are only a problem in large infestations—where they are sucking excessive amount of blood.

Fleas are more of a problem in the warmer months and can be a big problem to your cat whether they are in large numbers or as one single flea.  In large numbers they can cause lethargy and blood loss as well as significant illthrift from severe scratching.  One single flea can cause flea allergy dermatitis which is an allergic syndrome in cats where the saliva of the biting flea incites the ravenous scratching behavior and hair loss.

DESEXING

If you are not intending to breed with your pet, getting them castrated or speyed, has many long term advantages.  Desexing males prevents roaming and aggressive behaviours as well as testicular cancer and reducing the risk of prostate infection or cancer.  Desexing female cats prevents unwanted pregnancies, mammary tumours and infection of the uterus (pyometra).

Earliest possible time to desex your male or female cat is at 6 months of age.

 

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