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A new kitten. There's nothing quite like owning such an adorable animal. As a responsible pet owner, you will be faced with major decisions concerning your pet's health. Providing good nutrition, shelter, and medical care, deciding if your pet will live indoors or outdoors, and whether you will allow scratching areas or plan to declaw your kitten, etc. Through our routine examination series we can help you answer some of these questions.

IMMUNIZATIONS
Maternal antibodies gradually decrease during the first few months of the kitten's life. That's why kittens are given a series of vaccinations every 3 to 4 weeks until 16 weeks of age. Prior to feline leukemia vaccination, your kitten will be tested for Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. Feline Leukemia Virus has the highest risk of exposure compared to all other viral diseases in cats.

KITTEN SCHEDULE

Age
6 - 8 weeks -- First exam, stool check, Feline Leukemia/Feline Immunodeficiency Virus test, deworming, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia

3 months -- Exam, stool check, deworming, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calcivirus, Panleukopenia, and Feline Leukemia

4 months -- Exam, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, Feline Leukemia, and Rabies

6 months -- Exam, Preanethestic evaluation, Spay/Neuter

16 months -- Annual examination, stool check, FVRCP, FELV, Rabies

Repeat Yearly

LITTER TRAINING/CONFINEMENT
We recommended confining your new kitten to a small room during his/her first week home. This will prevent the kitten from getting lost and will help insure litter box use.

The standard rule of thumb is to provide one litter box per cat in the household. Provide a clean, dry litter, free of deodorants (we like them, cats don't). A lot of cats prefer clumping litter. Scoop litter daily and clean box weekly. The most common cause for inappropriate housesoiling is a dirty box. Place the box in a convenient location for your kitten, not for you. The basement or garage is too far for a kitten.

DIET/FEEDING SCHEDULE
We recommend premium dry or canned cat foods such as Science Diet or Iams. These diets are highly palatable and decrease stool volume and odor. Providing a healthy coat and digestive system and other advantages.

Most cats prefer the food to be left out to eat at their leisure. This is acceptable unless your kitten becomes overweight.

GROOMING
Grooming should be a regular part of your cat's routine. Although your kitten will probably want to make a game of it and try to bite the brush and comb, she will soon come to appreciate the attention she receives.

Hairballs are a common problem. The frequency of hairballs can be diminished by routinely grooming to decrease hair ingestion and by routine administration of a hairball lubricant. Specially formulated high-fiber diets used for hairball control are also available.

INTRODUCTION TO OTHER PETS
If you already have another pet, you should take special care introducing your kitten. It is probably best to confine your kitten to a single room off limits to the resident pet. Prior to an introduction, remove the kitten and place the resident pet in the kitten's room to get used to the new smell in a non-threatening way. The best time for two animals to become acquainted is during meal time. Feed the resident animal and introduce the new addition while the current animal is associating food with pleasure. This introduction should always be closely supervised to prevent a negative confrontation. The younger the existing pet, the better the chances of a peaceful coexistence.

FLEAS
When you think of fleas, think of the life cycle of the butterfly. Fleas come in four stages: the egg, larvae, cocoon, and adult. Adult fleas account for less than 10% of the actual flea population in an infected home. The emphasis in treating fleas is to kill the hidden 90% in the form of eggs, larvae, and cocoons. While many cats are not bothered by fleas, if allowed to multiply (one female flea lays 40 eggs per day, 2000 eggs in a lifetime) fleas will become a problem in cats. Fleas can cause skin irritation/excess grooming, allergic skin disease, tapeworms, and flea bite anemia.

Fleas are a very decisive reason to keep your cat strictly indoors. The old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" applies here. Baths, dips, and sprays, are fortunately treatments of the past. There are many effective prescription flea products available, such as Revolution and Frontline, that are easily accepted and convenient to use. We would be happy to discuss them with you.

INTESTINAL PARASITES
Internal parasites are common in young kittens and puppies. During pregnancy, worms will migrate through the placenta to infect unborn young. Roundworms are most commonly spread from mothers to offspring. Hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms can be picked up from the environment. Soil contaminated with infected feces, fleas infestations, and unsanitary housing can lead to intestinal parasitism. Adult worms will not be seen in the feces. Adult worms live high in the gastrointestinal tract attaching to the lining of the intestine. Microsopic fecal examinations reveal tiny eggs that identify the adult worms present internally.

When the parasite load is severe, symtoms include pot-bellied appearance, diarrhea, poor body condition, and vomiting. Two fecal examinations will be performed during puppy and kitten visits to determine whether your pet may be carrying intestinal worms. Thorough handwashing and sanitary clean up of feces is recommended until your pet is parasite free.

FELINE HEARTWORMS
Feline heartworms are a parasite more commonly thought of in dogs but being seen with an increased frequency in this area's cats. The regional prevalence parallels that in dogs but a lower rate (roughly 5 to 20% than seen in dogs). While this parasite, which is spread by mosquitoes, affects outdoor cats more frequently, indoor cats are also at risk.

SPAY/NEUTER
Spaying or neutering your cat will prevent undesirable sexual behavior common in cats. Marking with urine, yowling, a desire to breed and fighting are good examples. Help your cat to be an enjoyable companion.

When you schedule surgery, we will discuss presurgical instructions and recommended procedures. We perform same day surgeries with discharges in the late afternoon. We perform all surgical procedures with the highest standards set forth by the veterinary profession.

DECLAWING/SCRATCHING
A scratching post will give your kitten a place to scratch and exercise, as well as a way to keep its claws in proper condition. Show your kitten how to use a scratching post, so she will be less likely to damage a piece of furniture. Teaching your kitten to tolerate nail trimming when young can reduce unwanted scratching.

Declawing, removing of claws of the front feet is an option many owners take. This procedure is done under a general anesthetic and requires one to two days of hospital aftercare. We recommend declawing your kitten at three to four months of age. Kittens in this age range have smaller claws and seem to recover quicker than older more physically mature cats. Declawing should be considered seriously, as maintaining a good relationship with your cat is essential.