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What

When

Why

Physical Examination and Consultation Every six months Because cats can’t tell us how they feel.  Adult cats age 4 times faster than humans.  Signs of illness are often subtle and go unrecognized until they are advanced.  Early detection or diagnosis is the key to successful treatment.  Senior cats have a higher risk of obesity, dental disease, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer, plus diseases of the thyroid, kidney, heart, and gastrointestinal tract.
Vaccination Rabies–yearly 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.
Herpesvirus, calicivirus, distemper–every 3 years 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–not recommended Cats over the age of 8 years have an extremely low risk of contracting feline leukemia or AIDs.
Parasite Control High risk cats (outdoors, households with other outdoor pets, households with young children or at risk adults) deworm seasonally, test stool sample yearly, use flea/heartworm preventive monthlyLow risk cats deworm periodically, test stool sample periodically Roundworms can pose a health risk to humans, especially young children and debilitated adults.  Roundworms and tapeworms can cause weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, flatulence, poor hair coat, but often show no signs at all.  Tapeworms are caused by eating prey animals such as mice or by ingesting a flea while grooming.  Tapeworm segments may sometimes be seen on the hair on the hind end or in the stool, but roundworm eggs are microscopic.  Heartworm is a blood parasite.  It is extremely difficult to diagnose in cats, and can cause severe lung disease and even death with just one worm larva.  All it takes is one mosquito bite.
Lab Testing Blood and urine tests, including B12 and thyroid, every six months or more often as indicated by the patient’s health To screen for signs of infection, anemia, cancer, clotting disorders, diabetes, and diseases of the thyroid, kidneys, intestines, and liver.  The key to successful treatment is early diagnosis.  Old age is not a disease, but older cats get diseases more often.
Dentistry Home care, dental diet, professional cleaning Dental disease affects approximately 75% of all pets over 4 years of age.  Dental disease causes pain, infection, tooth loss, and affects the health of the entire body.  A dental examination is part of a complete physical exam.