Kittens and cats are at risk from a number of serious infections. However, they can be protected from most of these diseases by a simple vaccination program. As both cats and their owners are very mobile it is likely that your pet will come into contact with infections present in unvaccinated kittens and cats or in the environment. Vaccination is a cost effective way of protecting your cat or kitten against serious disease and the possible high costs involved in their treatment. Kittens and cats can be protected from the following infectious diseases by vaccination:
Also known as Feline Panleukopania, is a serious viral disease of cats. It is highly contagious and can spread rapidly. Kittens and young cats under 12 months of age are the most susceptible.
Signs of disease include depression, vomiting, diarrhoea (commonly containing blood), marked dehydration and severe abdominal pain. If queens contract the disease whilst pregnant, the kittens may be born with co-ordination problems or other abnormalities.
The virus is very hardy and survives well in the environment. The small number of cats that do become infected and survive can carry the virus for some time. They can still infect other cats. All cats should be vaccinated.
This disease complex is almost always caused by one of two viruses, calicivirus or rhinotracheitis virus.
These viruses can infect cats of all ages and the disease is very easily spread from cat to cat through coughing or sneezing.
Signs of this disease complex include sneezing, nasal and ocular discharge, limping, depressed appetite and ulcers on the tongue and/or eyes. Some of these signs can last for many weeks and cause significant discomfort.
This disease complex commonly occurs in multi-cat households. It is not uncommon for cats to become carriers after they have recovered from this disease and to infect other cats and, particularly, kittens. All cats should be vaccinated.
This disease is caused by the feline leukaemia virus and can be transmitted by infected cats years after they were initially infected. Approximately one third of infected cats remain infected until they die years later.
These cats can transmit the disease in their saliva, tears, urine and nasal secretions. As with other contagious diseases, this virus can be transmitted by sharing communal feeding areas, litter trays and toys and by mutual grooming.
The disease often leads to a depressed appetite, weight loss, anaemia, vomiting, diarrhoea, reproductive problems and a highly increased risk of developing other infections and tumours. These signs can present years after the initial infection. All cats should be vaccinated.
Regular worming is essential – every 3 months for adult cats. While treatment kills worms present in the intestine at the time, re-infections can occur from other pets and the environment. Once is not enough.
Kittens need to be wormed at 6, 8, and 12 weeks then 3 monthly. Pregnant and lactating queens should be treated prior to mating, ten days before kittening, and two to four weeks after kittening.
Hookworms are small worms that burrow into the pet’s intestinal wall and suck blood, causing weakness, anaemia, bloody diarrhoea and death in kittens, or a slower onset of weight loss and weakness. Infection can take place by ingestion of eggs in the soil, through the skin or through the mother’s milk in kittens. The hookworm larvae can penetrate the skin of humans, causing an itchy dermatitis.
Cats become infected with roundworm by swallowing eggs from the environment or by eating infected mice, birds and beetles. Kittens can be infected via their mother’s milk immediately after birth. Adult worms in the intestine are quite long, up to 10cm, and cause blockage as well as reduced appetite. The main sign of ‘wormy’ kittens is failure to grow (ill-thrift), a ‘pot-belly’ appearance and death in severe cases.
Humans can accidentally ingest infective eggs from both dog and cat droppings that attach to dirt, bedding and feed bowls. This can cause a serious disease, Visceral Larva Migrants (VLM), especially in children who are in frequent contact with their pets and the soil in backyards. Migrating larvae hatched from the infected eggs cause damage to the liver and occasionally the eyes or nervous system.
Flea tapeworms are a common parasite in dogs and cats and are spread by fleas. Part of the tapeworm’s lifecycle develops in fleas & when a cat eats an infected flea (mostly during grooming) the tapeworm develops in the animal’s intestine. The tapeworm can be up to 50cm long but usually only single segments (containing eggs) are seen in the cat’s faeces or around the tail and anus – like rice grains – causing itchiness and continual licking. Infection is not usually serious and people are rarely infected.
Other tapeworms in cats include Taenia taeniaeformis and Spirometra erinacei (Zipper worm) – these may be a problem in outdoor cats that regularly hunt rodents, lizards and other wildlife. Hydatid tapeworms do not occur in cats.
When over 6,000 kittens are destroyed each year can anyone justify breeding, many are abandoned or suffer when they go to unsuitable homes. Cats can start breeding at 5 months of age, it is a case of kittens having kittens. Sterilised cats are healthier, live longer and are less of a nuisance to the community.
It is a myth that female cats need a first litter, which is one of the reasons why the much loved cats belonging to animal welfare members never breed. Uncontrolled cats mating at night is a major source of noise complaints to councils.
The cat needs to come to the clinic on the appointed morning being fasted for 12 hours. Admission time is between 8am and 9 am.
The surgery will take place under general anaesthesia during the day and your cat will be ready to go home 3 pm but we will give you a call to confirm a time. The cat needs to be kept as quite as possible for the first day after surgery. The stitches need to come out 14 days after surgery. Complications are rare but you need to keep an eye on the wound and be on the lookout for swelling and infection.
A sterilisation subsidy from the Fremantle City Council is available for both cats and dogs. Conditions apply. For further information regarding the subsidy telephone the Service and Information Counter on 9432 9899
From November 1st 2013 all domestic cats over the age of 6 months must be:
Microchips can be implanted at Hilton Vet Hospital. To get your cat microchipped, call to make an appointment.
Sterilisation can be done at Hilton Vet Hospital. To book your cat in for sterilisation or for an estimate, please call us.
Registration can be done at your local council.
Many health problems are associated with feeding the wrong diets. Feeding soft diets to cats can lead to serious dental problems as they get older. Most cats will start to show signs of plaque and even tartar build up from as young as 3 years of age.
Too much magnesium and phosphate can lead to urinary crystals developing that can cause life threatening urethral obstructions in male cats. Too much protein and phosphate can put a heavy load on an old cat’s kidneys. All these problems can be solved with feeding the correct diet.
Nutrition can help the cat’s body recover faster, stay healthy longer and even help defend against diseases. ROYAL CANIN has a complete line of veterinary diets designed to help minimize clinical symptoms, promote recovery and help prevent disease.
Our approach to treating the disease with therapeutic diets includes addressing the nutritional needs of the cat as a whole. ROYAL CANIN Veterinary Diets deliver high-quality, premium nutrition with exceptional palatability.