Cats live longer, happier, healthier lives with good veterinary care that includes the following:
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- Physical exam
- Fear free visits
- Annual vaccination against disease common to our area
- Annual parasite screening
- Annual blood screens
- Year-round flea, tick, and heartworm prevention
Cats are clever creatures and that cleverness extends to their expert ability to hide illness. Do you know that cats can lose up to 75% of their kidney function before they begin exhibiting signs of trouble? Cat owners make a huge mistake in thinking that they can skip an annual visit to the veterinarian because their cat lives indoors. We can make a big difference in the health and wellbeing of your cat with an annual visit. When your cat first arrives, we’ll do a thorough examination. Here are just some of things we observe while conducting a physical checkup.
- Overall behavior and vigor
- Mental state and wellness
- Eyes, ears, and nose
- Oral health
- Glandular normalcy
- How the liver, bladder, kidney, stomach and intestines palpate, or how they feel
- Normal or abnormal signs in the urogenital areas
- Skin and hair coat
- Joint function
- Signs of pain, dehydration, and nutrition
- Respiration rate, heart rate, and temperature
All that, just from the physical! Combined with laboratory testing and other diagnostics, this information is used to catch undiagnosed illness, signs of impending disease, and to improve the life quality of your cat. A physical examination is the start of every appointment at Rockland and an essential tool of medicine since the days of the Greeks!
Fear Free Visits
Another big reason why cat owners don’t bring their cats to see us every year is because the cat demonstrates signs of fearfulness. This is as distressing for us as it is for you! To give you an idea of the extent of our concern, we press all of our employees to bring their cats to our practice annually as though they were a regular client. The process reminds all of us of the difficulties of getting a cat to a vet office, the stress involved, and how important it is that our feline patients remain calm. We also undergo regular training at all practices to understand better how to reduce stress levels in our patients. If you have a cat that has a history of being fearful at the vet, call us. We will teach you how to transport her in a way that will keep her calm. We may even be able to prescribe some medication to settle her nerves!
Annual Vaccination at Rockland Veterinary
At Rockland, cats are given 3 vaccines against common and severe diseases in our area. They are:
Otherwise known as a FVRCP, the ‘distemper’ vaccine is really a combination of vaccines that protect agains three especially virulent and debilitating illnesses: feline rhinotracheitis, Calici, and Panleukopenia. You can read more about these specific illnesses here or visit the American Animal Hospital Association page on the topic. The distemper vaccine is administered to cats every three years after the initial booster series as a kitten and young adult.
Rabies is required by law in New York State. Of the animals sent to the New York State Department of Health for testing, 3 -5 are positive for rabies every month. Rabies is incurable and contagious to humans. NY state law requires that cats that scratch or bite humans and that are suspected of being rabies positive must be quarantined or euthanized. The rabies vaccine is administered every year after the initial doses given to the cat as a kitten and young adult. Some practices use a three year rabies vaccine, but Rockland does not. The three year vaccine contains an adjuvent, or chemical to help stimulate the immune system’s response to the vaccine. Because some data suggests a link between adjuvented vaccines and aggressive cancers, Rockland only uses non-adjuvented vaccines which are approved for annual dosing.
Feline leukemia is a highly contagious illness that compromises a cat’s life over time. Though many cats can live with the disease for many years, infection leaves cats open to secondary illness. Cats with feline leukemia also live shorter lives than those without the disease. The vaccine we use is safe, effective and is given annually.
Annual Parasite Screening
In 2017, roughly 3-5% of all cats tested in Rockland County were positive for some kind of intestinal parasite. Infected cats shed the parasite in the environment, on sidewalks, and on lawns where the eggs or spores can remain dormant for months and even years. Annual screening is essential for all cats, because even with prevention, cats may be exposed to the parasite on a regular basis. Even indoor cats are not exempt! Did you know that parasite eggs have been found in indoor potting soil?! The following is a list of the most common intestinal parasites that we see in our area along with the percentage of cats that test positive for the disease.
- Roundworms 2%
- Hookworms 2%
- Whipworms < 1%
- Giardia 5%
Data for tapeworm infection was not available, but pet owners are cautioned that if cats are infected with fleas, they are also likely infected with tapeworms, as fleas are carriers of the parasite and infect cats on whom they feed. For more on the parasite infection rates of pets in our area, visit the Companion Animal Parasite Council’s prevalence map.
Annual Blood Screens
Annual preventative blood screens are one of the most valuable things you can do to ensure that your cat is healthy and enjoys a long, qualitative life. These affordable, advanced screens tell us about the health of important organ systems like the liver, heart, kidney, spleen, glands, and intestinal tract. This information is very helpful in devising treatment plans that can be as simple as changing your cat’s diet. Annual blood screens can often be run as part of a discounted package that includes your pet’s annual parasite screen. When you’re at our office, ask us about the screen and our recommendation.
Year Round Flea, Tick and Heartworm Prevention
Tick infestation in our area is at a record high. Year-round prevention is essential in keeping fleas and ticks off your cat and stopping potential infection. Rockland Veterinary partners with manufacturers of veterinary-approved preventatives to offer the most affordable, safe products available through our online store. Click the product link below to purchase your cat’s prevention and to take advantage of promotional discounts.