Tuesdays with Tony
There’s a new doctor at Springhill Equine. I had to be told she was new though, because she’s been hanging out here for close to four years. I guess she was a vet student until now, but she always takes the time to pet me when she arrives, so she gets my approval. Anyway, the humans call her Dr. Speziok and she’s going to be bringing some other interesting critters to Springhill Equine besides horses and donkeys. She’ll see dogs and cats, goats, sheep, cows, camelids, and pigs in addition to the run of the mill horses we’re used to.
Since there’s going to be other cats besides just me and Teenie coming by, why don’t we talk about veterinary visits for the feline in your life? Some people think cats don’t need to go to the vet, especially if they live inside. I live at a vet clinic and get fussed over all the time, so I never really thought about it, but health care is important for all animals, especially the best animals—cats!
Cats should go to the veterinarian (or have the vet come to them—Dr. Speziok can do that too!) at least once per year as long as they are healthy. When cats start to get into the double-digit years (cough cough Teenie cough) they ideally have a veterinary exam every 6 months for a checkup.
Cats need vaccines, kind of like horses, but -no surprise- cat immune systems are better than horse immune systems, so they need vaccines a little less often. Every kitten should have a few rounds of a combination shot commonly called feline distemper. It actually includes feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia virus which are all a bunch of nasty diseases no self-respecting cat wants to get.
Kittens also all need to be vaccinated for feline leukemia virus. This disease is way less common than it used to be, so we may not need to continue the vaccine as an adult, but it’s still necessary for the little ones! And then the one we kitties have in common with horses -and most mammals- rabies! Rabies vaccines are required by law and protect us from a deadly disease that we could spread to the humans in our lives.
Adult cats like me need to see their doctor at least once per year for checkups and vaccines, and sometimes need to have dental cleanings. For those, the humans put us under anesthesia, which is great because I would never lower myself to saying “Ahhh” just because I was told to.
Every cat and kitten should be spayed or neutered. There is a tremendous overpopulation of cats in the world, and while we’re awesome, we need to make sure there’s enough human caretakers for all of us. Trust me, as a neutered cat myself, I’m glad I don’t have to worry about online dating! Ridding us of the pesky hormones also decreases the chance of reproductive cancers—especially for the lady cats like Teenie. Kittens can start *ahem* procreating as young as 4 months, so get them fixed sooner rather than later if they’re in mixed groups!
The other thing your favorite feline friend needs is monthly flea and heartworm prevention. This is doubly true for those of us that live in the Sunshine State. There are so many of those nasty, itchy, fleas here that the human bug researchers travel here from all over the country to study them. Now, I’ve always gotten my prevention from my minions (I did choose to let a veterinarian provide for my needs) but it turns out you also need to get your cat prevention from their vet. Some of the grocery and feed stores sell cheap knock off products that claim to kill fleas, but they don’t work! Look alike imports often have a different active ingredient, and aren’t actually the same thing at all. Don’t waste your money on knock offs, get the real deal prescription flea and heartworm prevention from your vet, and use the extra cash you save to buy a new scratching post!
Anyway, I’m sure all of us around here will learn a little more about dogs, ruminants, and most importantly, cats now that Dr. Speziok is here. Be sure to let her know if you have any questions. And if your kitty hasn’t seen a doctor in a while, give my team a call to get on her schedule!
Until next week,
P.S. I know you’re subscribed to my blog (the big purple box below) and my YouTube Channel, which has about a hundred videos packed full of free horse knowledge. And since you are, you won’t miss any of the exciting things that are coming up! The humans are really getting into making videos, and you don’t want to miss out on a thing! Lots of excitement happening around here!
Tuesdays with Tony is the official blog of Tony the Clinic Cat at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. If you liked this blog, please subscribe below, and share it with your friends on social media! For more information, please call us at (352) 472-1620, visit our website at SpringhillEquine.com, or follow us on Facebook!