Kitten Health Care
It can be a very exciting time bringing a new kitten into the family. There are a number of things that we can do at Warwick Animal Hospital to make your experience great, while providing your pet with the proper care.
In most cases, you will be visiting us several times during your kitten's first few months so we would like you to feel comfortable asking questions - just remember, that's why we're here! You'll soon learn there is a lot for us to talk about during your kitten visits. This summary of our routine Kitten Wellness Program is designed to give an overview of some of the more important topics during your kitten's first year.
Typically, we recommend beginning your kitten's vaccination program between 6 and 8 weeks of age, with boosters every 3 to 4 weeks apart until he or she is 16 weeks of age. In most cases, we vaccinate for the following diseases:
- Panleukopenia Virus
- Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
- Feline Leukemia
In addition, we recommend testing all kittens for Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus on their first visit.
You will find detailed descriptions of these diseases in your Kitten Care Kit which you will receive at your first visit (if you don't receive your Kitten Care Kit, please ask for one).
Kittens can pick up intestinal parasites from their environment. But what many new pet owners don't realize is that kittens can also get roundworms and hookworms from their mother before birth. For this reason - and because humans can potentially develop serious problems if exposed to immature forms of roundworm or hookworms - we routinely recommend deworming all kittens several times between the ages of 6 and 12 weeks.
Heartworm disease in cats in an emerging problem that is frequently overlooked. There is not a reliable test for cats, so monthly prophylactic medication of cats for heartworms is recommended. There are topical and oral monthly preventives.
FeLV / FIV Testing
Both Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus are similar to HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus which causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in people. Neither FeLV nor FIV can infect humans and HIV cannot infect cats. Both viruses can be transmitted from mother cats to kittens. While neither disease is curable, both can be manageable with early detection. Therefore, we recommend all kittens be tested for both viruses at their first visit. All kittens who may spend even a small amount of time outdoors should be vaccinated for Feline Leukemia. The initial series requires two injections, 3 weeks apart followed by yearly boosters for life. There is also a vaccination currently available for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, and cats spending time outdoors should be strongly considered for this vaccine.
The most common external parasites we encounter are fleas, ticks, and ear mites. We have a variety of parasite control products available which are effective and safe depending on your kitten's age. Revolution and Frontline are also two excellent products used to treat fleas and ticks on kittens and adult cats. Flea control is a very complicated process so please feel free to ask any questions you have about the variety of flea control options available. There are also a number of treatment options for ear mites.
Spaying / Neutering
It is very important to bring your kitten in for one of these common and safe surgical procedures to help lengthen and improve the overall quality of your pet's life.
For females, spaying eliminates or greatly minimizes problems with:
- unwanted pregnancy, which helps prevent pet overpopulation;
- attraction of male cats during "heat" cycles;
- potentially life-threatening uterine infections
- breast cancer
For males, neutering eliminates or greatly minimizes problems with:
- aggression and dominance;
- roaming, which helps prevent pet overpopulation;
- territorial marking with urine.
We hope we've covered all the major topics here but we know new kitten owners - just like new parents - still face new questions almost every day for awhile. Please feel free to contact us at any time.