Just what are all those vaccines that you want my cat to get? Do they really need them? After all, my cat never goes outside.
We hear this a lot. And while there are some vaccines that your cat may not need if they truly never go outside, there are others that they should have to protect them and keep them healthy even if they are always indoors.
Feline Vaccines: Due to significant concerns regarding a possible link between traditional “killed, adjuvant containing” vaccines and Feline Sarcoma, we have chosen to use Merial’s “Pure-Vax” line of vaccines for our feline patients. These are the most technologically advanced, live virus, genetically modified recombinant DNA vaccines available, which provide for greatly reduced Feline Sarcoma risk with excellent immune stimulation.
Rabies: Legally REQUIRED for all feline patients. This is to protect you and your pet. Rabies is zoonotic (which means people can catch it from animals). The State of Texas requires all domestic pets to be vaccinated for rabies. If your cat should ever bite anyone (either at the vet or at home), the state requires they be rabies quarantined for 10 days at the facility of Animal Controls choice.
FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calkicivirus, and Panleukopenia): Recommended for ALL feline patients as these are easily transmitted through the air, and can be very contagious, even to the “indoor only” cat.
FeLV (Feline Leukemia): Recommended for all juvenile feline patients, and for all adults with ANY outdoor access. (For purposes of immunization consideration an “indoor cat” is 100% indoors, and an “outdoor cat” is outdoors between 1% and 100% of the time.
Are there any other reasons I should take my cat to the vet?
Physical Exam: Cats age at a much faster rate than we do (about 7 years to our 1), so twice annual examinations by a veterinarian is recommended. These physical exams help identify impending health problems early, so that medical intervention can be begun early and with more positive outcomes.
Intestinal Parasites Control: Outdoor cats are exposed to numerous potential parasites, and should be regularly monitored via physical exam and fecal testing. Indoor cats have less exposure, but they do indeed have potential exposure to parasites, that can be found in potting soil, can be brought into the home by other pets, or even on shoes or clothing of humans. So they should be checked regularly too. Bringing a sample from the litter box to their exam visit, can help minimize stress associated with sample collection during the exam.
Heartworms: Yes, cats can and do sometimes get heartworms! Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes and are a serious and ongoing threat for ALL cats; even those that are 100% indoors! With no good treatment options available for cats, prevention of infection is that much more critical, and can be easily accomplished with prescription medications available from your veterinarian. For more information on Feline Heartworms see our page on the subject http://www.roanokeanimalhospital.com/feline-heartworms.html.
Other: Regular blood work, urinalysis, or other testing can also be very helpful in keeping your feline family member healthy, by identifying potential problems, even before they are evident on a physical exam, so that early treatment and management can be more helpful in increasing your cat’s quality and quantity of life.