Viewing posts by Rachel Stadler, VMD
Recently, at the cat hospital, we hosted Cat Art as part of the West Chester's Chamber of Commerce Gallery Walk, and it was wonderful. As much as I love cats, I am always amazed and honoured that so many others love cats and want to celebrate them. I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart who made it out and contributed to our event. We had personal pet photos and portraits by very talented artists, wild cat art and some with wildlife mixed in. The raccoon looking in at the curious cat was one of my favorites. We also had a very pretty and kind rescue kitty looking for her forever home.
A healthy mouth, something as humans we worry about a lot with our tooth brushing, flossing, mouthwash, breath mints, and regular professional cleanings. In human medicine it is clearly understood that other human's don't like to see abnormal looking teeth or smell unruly breath and, more importantly, we understand the health benefits of dental care (heart, kidneys, fertility, etc). Unfortunately for our feline friends, human attitude is only in the past years catching up and understanding the importance of dental health in all creatures especially our pets whom we expect to be with us for a long time and want them to be happy and healthy. I can never emphasize enough how enriching pets are for us and for our families. (And yes, we enrich their lives too with good food, attention and love.)
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is a retroviral infection that is a common concern in our pet cats and in feral cat populations. It is a disease that results in an impaired immune system that can effect many body systems (for example causing anemia, mouth inflammation, development of lymphoma, reproductive problems). FeLV is transmitted from cat to cat most often through saliva (including bite wounds or shared grooming), but transmission also may occur through blood, nasal secretions, feces, and milk. The prognosis for infection and development of secondary complications is poor with patients generally becoming ill in months to several years.
In the veterinary world, it is well known that cats are under cared for and often go for years without receiving any basic health care. Kittens come in for their monthly checks and older patients are in more frequently, but a large concern arises with adult and mature adult cats. These patients “seem” well at home, and hence sometimes do not receive attention to their body condition (weight), diet, flea and heartworm prevention, teeth, and other systems. These are all things that can often go ignored at home, but they greatly influence longevity and quality of life.
A new kitten (or an adorable pair of kittens) makes a wonderful addition to any family. They bring youth, fun, companionship and they are just so cute. I can easily remember when my now eight year old girl first hopped out of the carrier at her new home with me. Kittens are fun loving creatures, and if you follow some basic health and socialization guidelines, it is possible to have them in your family for decades. (The statistics for cat longevity are very impressive, and they are related to better healthcare, particularly preventative medicine.)