From day one in veterinary school, we are taught cats are not small dogs. And each day in the hospital is a good reminder as cats behave differently than dogs in everything from their endearingly entitled attitudes to the way they respond to diabetes treatment.
In the early years, annual vaccines (sometimes called shots) are the most common reason we visit with our feline friends. There is a lot of controversy about when vaccines are given and what vaccines are necessary. At Rice Creek Animal Hospital, we use the recommendations as outlined by American Association of Feline Practioners (AAFP). Essentially, this is a group of cat veterinarians who gather all the latest research and knowledge to help ensure cats receive the most effective and safe vaccines. The vaccine plan is tailored to each cat depending on your cat’s history and lifestyle. Of course, we are also paying attention to parasite control, heartworm prevention, diet, and regular wellness maintenance to help provide your cat with the longest and healthiest life possible!
As cats age, the oral health of your cat becomes more significant. Cats can develop periodontal disease, just like you or I, but they also frequently have a condition called tooth resorption. This is a phenomenon where painful erosions or holes form in the tooth allowing pain and infection to develop. In fact, three out of four cats over the age of five have this condition. The problem is, most cats do not show signs of oral pain that we are able to pick up on. Often, the consequences of oral pain are just attributed to aging and can go ignored. Fortunately, Rice Creek Animal Hospital has all the tools necessary to address your pet’s dental disease, including digital dental x-rays similar to what your dentist may use. Often, after we treat a cat for these painful concerns, cat owners comment on what a difference they see in their pet!
Finally, although we hope otherwise, we have to consider all of the diseases that can come up throughout a cat’s lifetime. Cats seem to be prone to developing things like kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland), and not unlike ourselves, obesity. These are all conditions that are better treated sooner than later, and are often identified on blood work prior to any symptoms are shown. An annual physical exam, and as cats mature, routine blood work, can help us ensure that your cat is healthy (or intervene early if necessary!)