Wednesday, September 3, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Indoor cats need care, too

By
From page A11 | March 17, 2013 |

Cats are significantly less likely than dogs to receive routine wellness care—annual exams, vaccines, parasite control, and recommended testing—and indoor-only cats seem to get some of these services less likely than their outdoor counterparts. While indoor cats are certainly at less risk of some conditions and/or injuries than outdoor cats, it is no less important to make sure that wellness is a priority.

Annual physical examinations with a veterinarian are recommended for all dogs and cats, and yet cats are only about a quarter to a third as likely as dogs to be current on an annual exam. While this is a complex phenomenon, the perception is likely that cats, and indoor cats in particular, are relatively healthy and take care of themselves.

However, subtle changes in a cat’s physical exam over time may be the earliest indication of disease, so regular examinations are important. Weight changes, deterioration of coat quality, decreased mobility, gingivitis, or lymph node enlargement may not be things that cat owners notice over time, but that a veterinarian is likely to detect. Cats may show no outward symptoms of disease, but may still have some of these physical changes.

Regular exams with a veterinarian are also great times to discuss changes in a cat’s behavior, the shifting nutritional needs of aging cats, and any changes in the household (e.g., a new baby) that might impact a cat and its interaction with its surroundings.

According to a report by the American Association of Feline Practitioners, indoor-only cats should receive regular vaccines, albeit not as many as their outdoor counterparts. The AAFP, which has had experts compile data on vaccines in cats, recommends all cats receive regular vaccines against rabies, especially since this is a fatal disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans.

Additionally, the AAFP recommends that all cats be vaccinated against three diseases that are often combined into one vaccine (such as an “RCP” vaccine): feline herpesvirus, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. While indoor-only cats are at a relatively low risk of exposure to these diseases, there has been found to be enough risk to warrant vaccination. Some of these conditions are contagious enough that a cat owner can act as a fomite, bringing disease into the household from the outside.

Other vaccines, such as the feline leukemia vaccine, are generally not recommended for indoor cats due to a significantly low chance of exposure. The AAFP’s report does determine that some cats may be considered to be exempt from vaccines based on their overall health status.

Internal and external parasite control is also important for the health of indoor cats. For example, fleas can affect indoor cats, especially if there are other animals in the house that do spend time outside. Additionally, heartworm disease is spread by mosquito bites, and mosquitoes can easily find their way inside the house. One study found that almost 25 percent of cats that test positive for heartworm disease are exclusively indoors. As a result, it is recommended that indoor (and outdoor) cats be administered a monthly flea and heartworm preventative medication.

Wellness testing (blood, urine, and fecal testing) is also recommended for indoor cats just as for those who stay outside; after all, many diseases develop irrespective of the cat’s environment. Regular wellness panels can help detect disease early, allowing for prompt treatment or management. The AAFP has developed recommended guidelines for wellness testing based on a cat’s age.

It is important that wellness care for indoor cats not be ignored. Following these and other recommendations can help support a long and healthy life for cats. While it may be stressful for cats to visit a veterinary hospital for routine services, the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term stresses. In fact, veterinarians can provide tips for decreasing the stress that cats experience at the veterinary hospital, thus removing another obstacle to providing appropriate care.

— Keith Rode is a veterinarian at Woodland Veterinary Hospital and a graduate of UC Davis. For more information, call 530-666-2461.

Comments

comments

Keith Rode, DVM

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    At Davis intersections, let’s be careful out there

    By Kim Orendor | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Data reveal racial disparities at Davis High

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Garden celebrations are part of back-to-school activities

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Web tool for kids highlighted at local meeting

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

     
    Young author will present her first book

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Sign up students to make music this school year

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

     
    Comings & Goings, on ‘Davisville’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Sierra Club leaders to hear about Nishi Gateway Project

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Picnic scheduled for diabetes patients

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Poppenga to host campaign kickoff celebration

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Schools offer free obsolete textbooks

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A4

     
    Oncogene test can determine prostate cancer aggression

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Faces in the courtroom

    By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A7

     
    ‘Bak2Sac’ free train ride program launched

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

    Pence Gallery: Art of all kinds will go up for bids

    By Natalie Nelson | From Page: A10 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    .

    Sports

    No patsies for Aggie men’s water polo as NCAA champs are up first

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Look for more of an aerial assault from DHS this fall

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DHS girls are loaded for 2014 cross country season

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Next time it counts: Devils win Foundation Match

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Giants rally from six runs down to win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Sign up now for flag football

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    Oakland comeback falls short

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    Film series returns with ‘In July’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Mania! lands at Woodland Opera House

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    DMTC to open 30th season with ‘Shrek, The Musical’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Black and white explored in coming Artery exhibition

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Outdoor art classes to close out summer

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Marionettes, band concert planned for Grandparents Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Maureen J. Rathfon

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Marilyn Jeanne Van Heuit Brooks

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, September 3, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6