kittens    10994592_10153069814456085_4011960140965265374_n

What

When

Why

Physical Examination and Consultation When weaned or adopted To identify congenital or infectious diseases, to establish a medical protocol, to teach about kitten behaviour and handling, to discuss diet and lifestyle choices, to establish a positive connection with the kitten and its family
Vaccinations Rabies at 12-16 weeks of age Rabies is a fatal viral disease that is spread via contamination of an open wound with blood or saliva, most often as a bite.  Rabies is a reportable disease, and vaccination is legistlated by the municipal or provincial government.  Any mammal may transmit rabies, but the most common wildlife hosts in Southern Ontario include bats, foxes, and skunks.  Rabies can be transmitted to humans; there is no treatment for rabies.
Feline herpesvirus, calicivirus, distemper at the first visit, then every 3-4 weeks until at least 16 weeks of age Herpesvirus and calicivirus cause mild to severe flu-like signs (sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, fever, malaise) and can be fatal.  Calicivirus also causes ulcers of the mouth and tongue which can be extremely painful, preventing eating.  Cat distemper (panleukopenia) causes severe vomiting and diarrhea with a very high mortality rate.  All these viruses may be spread indirectly (on hands, clothes, environment) so even indoor cats are at risk.
Feline leukemia virus at 12 and 16 weeks of age Leukemia virus is a fatal disease spread by direct contact with an infected cat or from the mother.  Cats under 1 year of age, outdoor cats, or cats in a multi-cat environment are most at risk.
Parasites Deworm every 2 weeks from birth until 12 weeks of age; then monthly until 6 months of age.  Test stool samples at the first visit and at least once more during the first 6 months.  Heartworm preventive medication monthly during mosquito season for outdoor cats in endemic areas. Most kittens get roundworms from their mothers.  Roundworm eggs are microscopic, and can be brought in the house on shoes, etc.  Cats ingest eggs when grooming.  Roundworms can pose a health risk to humans, especially young children and debilitated adults.  Heartworm in cats is extremely difficult to diagnose and can cause severe lung disease and even death with just one worm larva.  All it takes is one mosquito bite.
Lab Tests Feline AIDs and leukemia testing after 8 weeks of age.  Preanesthetic blood and urine tests at neuter/spay surgery Feline AIDs and leukemia are fatal diseases caused by slow viruses that can take years to show signs.  Testing early is the best way to identify carriers and prevent spread of the disease, as well as gives us the best chance of survival.  Inherited kidney or liver disease is uncommon but can be fatal in the face of an anesthetic if not identified.
Neutering
and
Spaying
At 5-6 months of age Neutering (castration for males, spaying for females) prevents undesired behaviours such as roaming, fighting, and urine marking in both males and females.  Neutering prevents unwanted kittens and is the responsible way to control the stray cat population.  Unneutered pets have a higher risk of feline leukemia and AIDs.  Pyometra, a potentially fatal infection of the uterus, is common in unspayed cats over the age of 4 years.