Comprehensive Physical Exam and Consultation
Preventive care for cats starts with a complete physical exam. Our whiskers-to-tail exam includes weighing your cat, assigning a body condition score, pain scoring, and a multi-system examination. We also address any behavior changes and discuss any problems you may have noticed since the last exam. Preventive care exams are recommended every six months, but should never be less frequent than once a year.
Even though we don’t recommend vaccines every year, they’re still an important part of your cat’s overall preventive care program. Your cat’s vaccine protocol will be tailored specifically to his or her life stage, lifestyle, and health.
- FVRCP– a core vaccine recommended for all cats. Protects your cat from feline viral rhinotracheitis (feline herpesvirus), calicivirus, and feline panleukopenia (feline distemper).
- Rabies – a core vaccine recommended for all cats. Protects pets and people from rabies, an incurable fatal disease that can be passed from animals to people.
- Feline Leukemia– a non-core vaccine recommended for Outdoor Enthusiasts–cats that spend usupervised outdoors. Protects against feline leukemia virus, an incurable viral infection that is transmitted from close contact–like mutual grooming, sharing food bowls, and bites–with an infected cat. Feline leukemia causes immune suppression and increases cats’ risk for certain types of cancer.
Along with the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and CAPC (Companion Animal Parasite Control Council), we recommend regular deworming of all pets to protect people. Since Arizona’s hot dry climate is tough on intestinal parasites we recommend this be done twice a year. The medication we use eliminates most parasites that your cat can spread to the rest of the family–two legs or four!
Intestinal Parasite Screening
Broad spectrum dewormers can’t kill every parasite your cat could be exposed to. Annual intestinal parasite screening helps detect parasites that aren’t affected by regular deworming and checks to make sure that deworming was successful. Screening checks cats for Giardia and coccidia, which are both common in Arizona. Even though they don’t harm people, they can cause diarrhea, cramping, weight loss and other problems in pets.
Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Testing
Feline leukemia testing is recommended once a year for all cats that spend unsupervised time outdoors. No vaccine is 100% effective, and annual screening helps make sure that at-risk cats haven’t become infected with feline leukemia. This test also screens for FIV or feline immunodeficiency virus. Like human HIV, FIV causes immune suppression that can make even mild illnesses a life-threatening problem to infected cats.
Cats are experts at hiding signs of illness, so we recommend annual lab screening for all cats to make sure they’re as healthy on the inside as they look during their physical examination. Normal test results serve as a “baseline” that we use to help detect mild changes early. Early detection of common diseases like kidney insufficiency, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism can extend your cat’s life dramatically and save money in the long run.
Microchips are a way to positively identify your cat under any circumstances. Most of the indoor cats we meet don’t wear a collar, a fact that makes a microchip ID even more valuable if an indoor cat should slip outside. A microchip could save your cat’s life if he or she is ever found and taken to an emergency clinic or shelter.