How can preventative care extend the life and improve the health of cats?

Preventative care is really important even in our feline patients and even if our patients are indoor only. There are a lot of diseases that are still prevalent in those populations, and if we can prevent those instead of having to treat them, it's going to extend their life. Another thing is that if we can identify other health conditions earlier, there's more treatment options available.

Meagan Darby
Hebron Animal Hospital

What types of preventative care do you recommend for indoor cats versus outdoor cats?

For indoor cats, we still recommend the rabies vaccine for all cats, along with the FVRCP vaccine, commonly called an upper respiratory or feline distemper vaccine. These are core vaccines for all cats. Additionally, if you have any pets that go inside and outside, we recommend that all pets are on a flea and tick prevention.

What are some possible conditions that can be avoided with cat preventative care?

Some possible conditions that can be avoided include rabies, which is especially important in places like Kentucky where bats, which can carry rabies, might get into houses. Preventative care can stop the spread and transmission of rabies. We can also prevent some internal parasites and the transmission of fleas from pet to pet. Additionally, we can prevent Bartonella, also known as cat scratch fever, which can be a significant issue for both humans and pets.

Why is it so important to avoid self-diagnosing my cat versus calling the vet hospital?

One of the main reasons we recommend bringing your pets in for an exam, especially cats, is because many of their symptoms can be very similar. Even though a Google search or some research or previous experience might make you think it's one disease, it could easily be five or six others. We need more experienced eyes and diagnostics to discern those.

What will you do during a cat preventative care appointment yourself?

During our cat preventative care exams, one of the main things we do is a full exam from nose to tail, looking for any abnormalities that need to be addressed. We also test for internal parasites with a fecal sample and sometimes do a blood sample to test commonly for feline leukemia and feline AIDS. For older pets or pets that need screening, we check chemistries and blood values.

What are some things at home that I can do for cat preventative care?

At home, you can brush your cat's teeth if they'll tolerate it. Another thing you can do is get them used to handling, so they allow us to conduct a thorough exam during their appointments. Additionally, get familiar with your cat's normal behavior and reactions. Knowing what's normal and what's abnormal can help you identify when they're sick.

What are some things you would recommend for an outdoor cat like Otto here?

For outdoor cats, we recommend a few extra preventative measures. One is the Feline Leukemia Vaccine, which we test for before vaccinating. This disease is spread cat to cat, usually through saliva, shared water bowls, food bowls, or grooming. We also recommend keeping your cat out of fights to prevent the spread of diseases and injuries. Additionally, ensure they are on flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives, as cats can get heartworm, which is just as detrimental as in dogs.

If you have any other questions, please give us a call at (859) 349-1020. You can also email us at [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as we are able. Don't forget to follow us on social media: Facebook and Instagram