Why Feline Wellness Plans?
Why Feline Preventive Care Matters
At Family Pet Clinic of Newberg we have a wide range of Wellness Plans to fit your cat’s life stage form Kitten to Senior, as well as to coincide with their lifestyle. Providing optimum veterinary care is not always financially possible, however by bundling wellness care into packages at a discounted rate the financial burden can be reduced.
Preventive Care for our pets is as important as providing them with food, shelter, and love. Although the items listed below may not be attainable for every pet owner, it is our job as pet healthcare providers to inform you of available tests and why they are important. Our pets age much more swiftly than we do and cannot tell us when something hurts, makes them nauseous, or makes them otherwise uncomfortable. It is our job to help them tell us if something is wrong.
If you are interested in hearing more about our Feline Wellness Plans please ask one of our team members to explain which version would be optimal for your pet. The items/tests listed below can also be performed ala carte at a non-discounted rate. Here is a brief synopsis of the different components found in the plans and why we recommend them.
Exams: These are the foundation of health. Our pets cannot talk and thus rely on their owners and their veterinarians to be their voice.
Blood work: Our CBC/Chemistry/Total Thyroid screening is very comprehensive, covering over 48 individual blood tests. These tests investigate for hidden liver and kidney dysfunction, thyroid disease, diabetes, anemia, cancer and other diseases. Many of these diseases can be treated more readily if discovered in their early stages. If all the tests return as normal, now we have a healthy baseline for your pet to compare to should he/she become ill at a later date.
Occult Heart Disease Testing: Approximately 25% of all cats have underlying Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) which can lead to sudden death, pulmonary thromboembolism, and leg vessel thromboembolism as young as one year of age. Every year we lose patients to this disease that could have been detected with a simple blood test called a Cardiopet that searches for elevated heart muscle enzymes. If your cat is found to have HCM, placing it on blood thinners such as generic Plavix or even inexpensive Aspirin can help prevent clot formation and extend his/her life.
Urinalysis: This is probably the most important test that we perform on cats. Male cats are extremely susceptible to Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), and if caught before they become symptomatic, it is more successfully treated. Every year we lose patients to FLUTD that could have been saved with a simple food change. Female cats are susceptible to urinary tract infections due to their short urinary tract and also often suffer from stress induced bladder troubles such as Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC). Even cats that never miss their litter box can be afflicted by urinary issues, and oftentimes cats that are going out of the box on occasion have more than just a behavioral issue. To help prevent urinary problems in our cats, it is advisable to feed them (especially males!) at least half of their diet in wet food. Out in the wild their diet is closer to wet food and their bodies need the extra moisture. Some cats are resistant to wet food and become addicted to dry foods especially if they were never introduced to it as kittens. In that situation, adding water to their dry food and encouraging water consumption with a water fountain can help to keep their urinary system healthy and closer to their wild ancestors.
Fecal Testing: Most parasites affecting cats are not visible to the naked eye. Also, no single dewormer can eliminate all parasites from our pets. With a fecal test we centrifuge the stool in a special liquid and then analyze this sample under a microscope to find the parasite eggs. Roundworms and Hookworms are a human health hazard especially for children as their larvae can migrate into a child’s eye leading to blindness. One parasite that cannot be easily seen under the microscope is tapeworms. Cats get tapeworms by ingesting fleas or from eating mice. Outdoor cats need to be dewormed for tapeworms at least once per year and heavy hunters should be dewormed 2-4 times per year. If you see “grains of rice” around your cat’s rectum or in its stool, it should be dewormed for tapeworms immediately and treatment should be repeated three weeks later.
Deworming: For those of you who were unable to bring a fecal sample in today, and are not currently on Revolution, we recommend deworming for Roundworms and Hookworms as a public health service and to protect your family. We will provide you with a fecal container at your exam and if you return it at a later date will refund the cost of the roundworm/hookworm dewormer.
Vaccines: Routine vaccinations are vital to prevent disease in our pets and help with community immunity for all animals. All indoor only cats and kittens should be vaccinated for Feline Leukemia until they are past two years of age. All cats that venture outside or live with a cat that goes outside should receive Feline Leukemia Vaccination every year. Feline Rabies is an important vaccine for all cats regardless of lifestyle and should be repeated every year. The most common rabies vector in Oregon is the bat…bats do get into houses and can lead to rabies in our indoor cats too. Feline Distemper/Upper Respiratory vaccine (RCP) is necessary for both indoor and outdoor cats every three years. All feline rabies and leukemia vaccines utilized at Family Pet Clinic are non-adjuvanted, live vaccines with the DNA of the disease inserted into a live canarypox virus. This type of vaccine is the safest, most cutting edge technology available, and although slightly more expensive, it is the least likely type of vaccine to cause an adverse local tissue reaction. Adjuvanted vaccines used by many veterinarians, vaccine clinics, and shelters have been shown to induce local tissue reactions that have been linked to Soft Tissue Sarcomas in a small percentage of cats. Our RCP vaccine is also a non-adjuvanted vaccine that lasts for three years. If your cat is not due for a particular vaccine it will be deducted from the cost of the wellness plan.
Feline Aids (FIV) and Feline Leukemia (FELK) testing: In adult cats FIV is spread mainly by bite wounds that are often undetected. FELK can be spread through communal food dishes and close contact with outdoor positive cats. FIV is very common in the Newberg area and all cats that go outdoors should be tested once a year or 60 days after their last known bite wound. All new kittens should be tested for these diseases as they can be born with them or contract them from their mother. Indoor only cats do not need to be tested for these diseases.
Flea Control: Fleas carry disease, are part of the tapeworm life cycle, cause discomfort, and lead to allergic reactions. Fleas can be difficult to find on cats as they will often groom all the evidence away. If your cat goes outside or it lives with a dog, it should have year round flea control. If your cat is the only pet in your house and is indoors only it may not need flea control at all. We recommend three different topical flea controls: Bravecto, Activyl, or Revolution. Bravecto lasts for 12 weeks and can really help to break the flea life cycle. Activyl lasts for 4 weeks and becomes toxic once ingested by the flea. Revolution is great for outdoor cats as it treats ear mites, roundworms, hookworms and fleas. All of these are newer products that the fleas have not become resistant to yet. Of the three, Bravecto is the gold standard for feline flea control.
Comprehensive Dental Exam (CDE) and Cleaning: The teeth are the gateway to the body and even with regular care many pets will lose teeth in their lifetimes. Gingivitis and abscessing teeth allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, these bacteria contribute to heart, kidney, and liver damage. Without anesthesia, we are only able to see about 50% of the problems that could be causing discomfort in your pet’s mouth. Unlike us, they will continue to eat normally and show no signs of pain even with abscessing teeth. Not every pet needs dental work and we only recommend this service if absolutely necessary. A CDE can be added on to any of our Wellness Plans at a discounted rate.