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Park Grove Pet Hospital Park Grove Pet Hospital
7663 79th St South, Cottage Grove, MN 55016 (651) 459-9663 pgph@parkgrovepethospital.com

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Saturday: 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Sunday: Closed

Cute Kitten

Congratulations! Bringing a new kitten into your family can be a very exciting time for both you and your new companion. To keep the newest member of your family happy and healthy, there are several things you need to take into consideration as your kitten grows. This page includes information on preventative care and procedures that will be discussed during your first appointment. Please take the time to read it over carefully so that we can answer any of your questions.

Vaccines

Vaccines are a vital tool to keeping your new kitten healthy by preventing potentially life-threatening diseases. The following discusses common diseases that we vaccinate for at our hospital:

RCP: This is a combination vaccine that protects against Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia.

  • Rhinotracheitis (or feline herpesvirus) is a virus that causes an upper respiratory infection. Signs of this can include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, and eye discharge/abnormalities. This can become life threatening if the infection leads to pneumonia.
  • Calicivirus is another virus that causes an upper respiratory infection. Clinical signs may include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, eye discharge, and mouth sores.  As with feline herpesvirus, the infection can be deadly if it leads to pneumonia.
  • Panleukopenia (feline distemper) is an intestinal disease that causes vomiting, diarrhea, and a dangerous drop in white blood cell count.  This is a very serious infection and is generally life’threatening.

Rabies: This is a virus that is spread when saliva from an infected animal enters an open wound (often because the infected animal bites the victim). Rabies is carried by several common wild animals, including raccoons, skunks, bats, coyotes and foxes. The virus attacks the nervous system and can cause animals to withdraw and avoid contact with people. Other animals may become unusually aggressive. There is no cure for rabies, and death always occurs once infected animals begin to show signs of the disease.

Feline Leukemia: This virus leads to the development of various forms of cancer, blood disorders, immune suppression and life-threatening infections. There is no cure for feline leukemia, and infections are typically fatal. It is spread by casual contact with infected cats (grooming, sharing a litterbox, and bite wounds). FeLV can also be transmitted to a kitten by its mother while she is pregnant or through her milk.

When will my kitten need these vaccines?

When creating a vaccine schedule for your kitten, we will take into account your kitten’s age, his or her anticipated activity profile, and what vaccines have been given already.  This enables us to tailor your kitten’s vaccination schedule to his or her individual needs.

In general, a typical kitten vaccine schedule is as follows:

  • 8 weeks: RCP, FeLV
  • 12 weeks: RCP, FeLV
  • 16 weeks: RCP, Rabies

Feline Leukemia and Feline immunodeficiency Virus Test (FeLV/FIV)

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are two common very serious viral infections in cats. They can be transferred from mother to kitten or by exposure to another infected cat. All new additions to a household should be tested for these two diseases. Both viruses affect cats by weakening their immune system, leaving it unable to fight off other infections. We recommend testing all new kittens for these viruses, especially if there is another cat in the household.  Kittens should be retested at 6 months of age to ensure that they are truly negative.

Intestinal Parasites

There are multiple intestinal parasites that can infect your kitten, such as roundworms, hookworms, lungworms, and tapeworms. Other microorganisms that can affect your kitten’s intestinal tract include Coccidia and Giardia. Some of these can be transmitted to humans (especially children) if not prevented. To maintain your kitten’s health, we recommend that you bring a stool sample to your first visit so we can test for these parasites. If evidence of parasites is found, we will typically treat with an appropriate medication, then run a fecal test again a few weeks after treatment to ensure the parasite infestation has been cleared.

Heartworm and Flea Prevention

Heartworm disease is a life-threatening disease that is transmitted through mosquito bites. To prevent this disease, we recommend giving your kitten a monthly topical preventative known as Revolution. Revolution not only prevents heartworm disease but provides protection against ear mites, fleas, roundworms and hookworms.

Acclimating Your Kitten to Our Clinic

Traveling and going to a new place can be very stressful on your kitten. We suggest you take the following steps to make your kitten’s visit as stress-free as possible.

  1. Use a Carrier: For both your and your kitten’s safety it is recommended that you use a carrier when traveling to our clinic. To make the journey less stressful it is beneficial to place a blanket over the carrier to minimize exposure to potentially frightening new sights.
  2. Allow your kitten become familiar with the carrier: Allow your kitten to explore the carrier on his or her own and become familiar with it while still at home, under conditions of low stress. Use treats to create a positive association when your kitten is inside the carrier. Soon your kitten will learn the carrier is a “safe place” rather than associating it with stressful situations.
  3. Steps to take when at the clinic: At times our clinic can be busy, and the lobby may be alive with noise and activity. We will make our best effort to room you and your kitten as soon as you arrive but occasionally this is not possible. In these cases, we will ask you to place your carrier on top of our reception desk so that your kitten  is not exposed to the foot traffic of the lobby.

By working together, we can make your kitten’s first visit and every visit in the future more pleasant for everyone.

Spaying and Neutering

As your kitten gets older you will need to start considering spaying (females) or neutering (males). We recommend getting your kitten spayed or neutered at 5–6 months of age.

Declawing Policy

Declawing is a controversial procedure that involves amputating the first bone of each digit/toe. We take measures to control discomfort as much as possible. However, it is a painful surgery and changes the structural anatomy of the paw. Please take your cat’s comfort into consideration when making a decision about declawing. Most cats can get along fine in a household while keeping all their claws, as long as the claws are kept appropriately trimmed and plenty of appropriate, designated scratching surfaces are provided. We will be happy to discuss strategies for managing a household cat with intact claws.

Feeding

Feed your pet a high-quality food formulated for kittens until he or she has reached 80% of expected adult weight. This usually occurs around 10–12 months of age. After 10 weeks of age, transition your kitten from “free choice” feeding to meal feeding. In other words, offer discrete meals 2–3 times daily. When determining how much food to offer, use the feeding recommendations on the back of the kitten food bag as a starting point. If the bag recommends 1 and ½ cups total daily for your kitten’s age/size, offer ¾ cup twice daily or ½ cup three times daily. Maintaining an ideal weight is important for your kitten’s long-term health. Body condition scoring (see chart below) is a method of evaluating whether your kitten is getting too much or too little food. If you notice that your kitten is rapidly gaining or losing weight, adjust daily caloric intake appropriately. We can always help you determine appropriate calorie intake for your cat, give his or her current weight and stage of life.

Purina, Hill’s, Royal Canin, and Iams are the leading pet food brands with extensive research and clinical trials backing their products. Of course, there are many high-quality foods available; just be sure to choose a food that is labeled as “complete and balanced” for your kitten’s life stage. Every kitten will respond differently to different foods: there is no “one size fits all” kitten or cat food. Proper diet should be tailored to your cat based on maintenance of proper body weight and condition, appropriately formed stools and healthy skin and coat.

Please incorporate a small amount of canned food into your kitten’s diet to help him or her grow accustomed to this food texture.  This can be helpful if hospitalization or canned prescription diet is necessary in the future. If your kitten is younger than 8 weeks, please consult your veterinarian for nutritional recommendations.

Pet insurance

Pet insurance is becoming more and more common and is something you should consider when your kitten is still young. Some available companies include Trupanion, Pet’s Best, and Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI). Every company is different but in general pet insurance typically only covers the unexpected — illness and injury. Unlike human health insurance, most plans do not cover preventative care.

Wellness Plans

We offer wellness plans that break down the cost of your kitten’s vaccines and exams with monthly payments over a 12–month period. Two kitten plans are available, as shown in the chart below. Both the Cuddly Kitten and Cuddly Kitten Plus plans cover 2 complete physical exams, 2 follow up exams, 2 feline leukemia and FIV tests, 2 fecal exams, 1 nail trim and all vaccinations. The Cuddly Kitten Plus plan also includes a $300 surgery credit that can be used toward spay or neuter surgery. Medications and additional services are not included.

  • Kitten Plans

    • Monthly Payment:
    • One-Time Enrollment Fee:
    • Complete Physical Examinations (2x)
    • Follow Up Examinations (2x)
    • Fecal Examinations (2x)
    • Vaccinations
    • Nail Trim
    • $300 Credit Towards Spay or Neuter
    • 2 FeLV/FIV Tests
  • Cuddly Plan

    • $41.95
    • $30.00
  • Cuddly Plus Plan

    • $64.95
    • $30.00

To ensure your cat’s health we make the following recommendations during your cat’s annual exam:

Vaccinations:

RCP: This is a combination vaccine that protects against Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia.

Parainfluenza, and canine Parvovirus.

  • Rhinotracheitis (or feline herpesvirus) is a virus that causes an upper respiratory infection.  Signs of this can include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, and eye discharge/abnormalities. This can become life threatening if the infection leads to pneumonia.
  • Calicivirus is another virus that causes an upper respiratory infection. Clinical signs may include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, eye discharge, and mouth sores. As with feline herpesvirus, the infection can be deadly if it leads to pneumonia.
  • Panleukopenia (feline distemper) is an intestinal disease that causes vomiting, diarrhea, and a dangerous drop in white blood cell count.  This is a very serious infection and is generally life-threatening.

Vaccination recommendations:
Revaccination for RCP should be 1 year after kitten doses are administered, and then every 3 years to maintain adequate protection.

Rabies:
This is a virus that is spread when saliva from an infected animal enters an open wound (often because the infected animal bites the victim).  Rabies is carried by several common wild animals, including raccoons, skunks, bats, coyotes and foxes.  The virus attacks the nervous system and can cause animals to withdraw and avoid contact with people. Other animals may become unusually aggressive. There is no cure for rabies, and death always occurs once infected animals begin to show signs of the disease.

Vaccination recommendations:
Revaccinate annually using PureVax recombinant vaccine.

Feline Leukemia: This virus leads to the development of various forms of cancer, blood disorders, immune suppression and life-threatening infections.  There is no cure for feline leukemia, and infections are typically fatal.  It is spread by casual contact with infected cats (grooming, sharing a litterbox, and bite wounds). FeLV can also be transmitted to a kitten by its mother while she is pregnant or through her milk.

Vaccination recommendations:
Two initial vaccinations, given 2-4 weeks apart during kittenhood, and then revaccinate every year for cats that have contact with unfamiliar cats (typically cats that go outdoors).

Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FeLV/FIV test):

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are two common, very serious viral infections in cats. They can be transferred from mother to kitten or by exposure to another infected cat. All new additions to a household should be tested for these two diseases. Both viruses affect cats by weakening their immune system, leaving it unable to fight off other infections. We recommend testing all new kittens for these viruses, especially if there is another cat in the household.  Kittens should be retested at 6 months of age to ensure that they are truly negative.

Test recommendation:
Test all new cats; retest kittens at 6 months of age

Intestinal Parasites:

There are multiple intestinal parasites that can infect your cat, such as roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. Other microorganisms that can affect your cat’s intestinal tract include Coccidia and Giardia, two protozoal parasites. Some of these can be transmitted to humans (especially children) if not prevented. To maintain your cat’s health, we recommend that you bring a stool sample to your annual wellness exam to test for these parasites.  If evidence of parasites is found, we will typically treat with an appropriate medication, then run a fecal test again a few weeks after treatment to ensure the parasite infestation has been cleared.

Heartworm Prevention:

Heartworm disease is a life-threatening disease that is transmitted through mosquito bites. To prevent this disease, we recommend giving your cat a monthly topical preventative known as Revolution. Revolution not only prevents heartworm disease but provides protection against ear mites, fleas, roundworms and hookworms.

Our feline companions age faster than their human caretakers. After the age of 7, your pet is considered a senior. When that time comes, it is especially important to take extra steps to ensure a long, healthy life. These special patients should be examined at least annually, if not twice a year.

During a senior wellness appointment, your veterinarian will perform a head-to-toe examination, paying specific attention to problems common in older pets. We will also discuss dental health, nutrition, vaccinations, and behavioral concerns relevant to your senior companion.

Annual wellness labwork is recommended to evaluate organ function, monitor for age-related changes, and identify developing concerns. A Senior Wellness Profile consists of the following diagnostic tests:

  • CBC (complete blood count): A CBC evaluates numbers and morphology (shape, size) of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
  • Serum chemistry: This test analyzes blood proteins, electrolytes, and organ function.
  • Thyroid hormone level: A total T4 screens for excessively high thyroid hormone.
  • Urinalysis: A urinalysis screens for impaired kidney function, lower urinary tract disease/infection, and diabetes.
  • fPLI (feline pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity): This is a specific test for chronic pancreatitis performed for our feline patients.