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Cats are often over-vaccinated…
At Woodland Animal Hospital, our protocols for cat vaccines closely follow the guide lines established by the American Association of Feline Practitioners. In a nutshell these are our guiding principles:
1) It is important to vaccinate young cats. A good basis of vaccine immunity is important for a lifetime of health for cats.
2) We do NOT vaccinate adult cats for things they do not need. Not all cats need all vaccines.
3) We use only the safest vaccines on the market for cats. If you are a scientific nerd you could research the links between certain cancers and adjuvants in vaccines (adjuvants, like alum, are put in vaccines to enhance antigenicity). Non-adjuvanted vaccines are pricier (by about $10.00 dollars), however, most people who love their cats agree that safety is their utmost priority.
Cats are not being fed properly…
If you look (or feel) in a cat's mouth, all of their teeth are very needle-like and sharp. These are teeth that are made to shear meat. Conversely, if you look in a cow's mouth their teeth are big with flat surfaces that are made to grind food. Cats are true carnivores, cows are true herbivores. Look at the brand of maintenance food you are feeding your cat, if the first ingredient is corn meal or another grain (and your cat has no health problems), we generally recommend switching to a food with a protein listed as the first ingredient. Carbohydrates, which are broken down to sugars, create inflammation in the body. This leads to the next topic.
Cats are inflammatory creatures…
Many of the medical problems we see in cats are related to inflammation. Any term ending in "itis" is referring to inflammation of a tissue. Has your cat ever been seen for dermatitis, cystitis, stomatitis, gingivitis, conjunctivitis? We need to ask ourselves if this is normal for the feline species or if we are creating this problem with the wrong foods and maintenance care.
Cats are great masqueraders…
Most cats dislike (abhor) being put into a carrier and going for a ride to the veterinarian. While it is no fun for the owner either, the most important thing that we do for a cat at Woodland Animal Hospital is a thorough history and physical exam. Why? Because cats will hide an illness so well that often, as cat owners, we don't realize they are unwell until the cat is very, very sick. If we find any problems with your cat, we can have in-house labwork and radiograph results within hours. In fact, many people who bring their late middle age and senior cats in for yearly vaccines are pleasantly surprised that we want to address age-related health issues versus just vaccinating for a comparable price.
We now have an exam room dedicated to our feline patients as well as a small scale we use for cats. We use Feliway pheromone spray to help create a more relaxing atmosphere. We will also try giving treats and sometimes a little soft food to aid in distracting cats when they are being vaccinated.
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