Cat Vaccination Pricing

Vaccination Prices
FREE Veterinary express exam with multiple vaccinations.
A $5 exam fee with single vaccine purchase.
$1 – $3 Waste Disposal fee per animal.
Prices subject to change and vary by state.
Test Prices
Feline Leukemia Test (FeLV) $29.99
FeLV / FIV $38.00
Feline Heartworm $25.00
Giardia $25.00
Microchipping
Not all pet microchips are created equal. There are important differences to consider when selecting a microchip. That’s why at Tender Loving Care Vet Services we only use ISO-compliant technology. Using these microchips safeguards pets and helps to increase the possibility for a pet to be reunited, should it ever become lost, compared to pets that only wear collar tags.
There are several different pet microchip systems in use today in the United States. They differ according to the frequency of the microchip and whether the microchip is encrypted. Encrypted microchips are not ISO-compliant, and can be read only by a scanner designed to read that specific, encrypted microchip. If a veterinarian or animal shelter does not own that specific scanner, it limits the chance of that microchip being read and the possibility of that pet being reunited with its owner. At Tender Loving Care we only use microchips that contain an individual, preprogrammed code that is permanent, unique worldwide, and cannot be altered. Our microchips are unbreakable, do not require a battery, and are designed to last the pet’s lifetime.
Microchipping $34.99
Heartworm Preventatives
Heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that is spread from host to host through the bites of mosquitoes. The heartworm is a type of filarid, a small thread-like worm. The definitive host is the dog but it also infects cats, and other animals, such as ferrets and even, under very rare circumstances, humans. The parasite is commonly called “heartworm” because the adult reproductive stage of its lifecycle resides primarily in the right ventricle of its host where it can live for many years. Heartworm infection may result in serious disease for the host. Heartworm disease is preventable with such products as Iverhart or Heartgard Plus! Protect your dog or cat from heartworm disease by giving medication once monthly, year-round or as directed by your veterinarian.
Flea and Tick Control
Don’t let your animal be infected by fleas and ticks. It can happen. Fleas and ticks can silently invite themselves onto your pet and into your yard and families home. These pests can then harm your pet by laying eggs and maturing into adult fleas and ticks. Ticks in some cases carry such diseases as Lyme Disease which can infect both you and your pet. A simple to use once a month spot on or tablet can help kill fleas and ticks on your dog or cat and prevents re-infestation.
Vaccination Schedule for Felines
All Cats should be vaccinated for Distemper (4-In-1), Leukemia and Rabies (for if they get outdoors). These diseases are contagious and fatal to cats. Who can predict when or if your cat will get sick or injured? Now you’re off to a veterinary hospital. Next, you’re in the waiting room that has been occupied by a lot of sick animals. Now think of how vulnerable your cat is to all the contagious and fatal viruses that cats get. After all, it is a hospital. Where else do people take their sick pets? It would be comforting to know that if such an unpredictable situation occurs, your cat is protected.
     6 – 8 weeks          Distemper (4-In-1) w/o Leukemia + Worming • (booster in 3 weeks w/Leukemia)
     9 – 15 weeks          Distemper/Leukemia Combo + Worming • (booster in 3 weeks, then annually)
     16 weeks & older           Rabies + Worming •
     First time 16 weeks & older           Distemper/Leukemia + Rabies + Worming • (booster in 3 weeks, then annually)
Ask about Feline Leukemia Testing of all cats regardless of age.
For animals’ first time vaccinations at 16 weeks and older may require vaccines to be split up at veterinarian’s discretion for the safety of your animals’ health.
 
Roundworms are a naturally occurring parasite of all puppies and kittens, and contagious to people. This is why the Center of Disease Control recommends all puppies and kittens are wormed automatically, regardless of fecal results. Worm eggs may not be present in the sample you select.
 
 
Vaccine / Parasite Information
 
Feline Panleukopenia (Distemper)

Distemper is an old term that has been used for a feline disease, based on a somewhat similar disease in dogs. It is more properly known as Feline Panleukopenia. The word “panleukopenia” means a decrease in the number of all of the white blood cells. The feline disease, “Panleukopenia,” is a disease that causes the white blood cell count to fall far below normal. Since white blood cells are important in defending a cat against infections and disease, this makes the cat vulnerable to additional infections. This disease also causes severe damage to the lining of the stomach and intestines.

A virus of the Parvovirus family causes panleukopenia. It is related to the virus that causes Parvo in dogs, which also has similar symptoms.

The virus is shed in all body secretions, particularly feces, of infected cats. It can be ingested directly or transferred to a susceptible cat via contaminated water, food bowls, or on shoes. The incubation period is typically 3 to 5 days, seldom longer than a week.

Cats experience depression or listlessness that may lead to collapse. Vomiting and diarrhea are frequent, and the diarrhea may be watery and contain blood. The fur quickly becomes dull and rough, and the skin loses it elasticity due to dehydration.

Because it is a viral disease, there is no specific treatment that kills the virus. The secondary infections that usually occur are treated with antibiotics. Dehydration and shock are life-threatening components of panleukopenia; intravenous fluid therapy and intense nursing is critical to control them. Drugs are also given to control vomiting and diarrhea. Some cats do not recover from this disease, however with prompt medical treatment it is possible for the cat to survive.

There are vaccines available and are routinely recommended by veterinarians as part of a vaccination program. The immunity that the vaccine provides is strong and long lasting, but it will decrease with time. An annual booster vaccination should be given for life.

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Chlamydiosis

Feline Chlamydophila disease refers to infection with a type of bacterium called Chlamydophila felis. Many strains of Chlamydia type bacteria exist. Each strain usually infects one or a small number of different animals. The bacterium that infects cats, rarely, causes disease in other animals.

Chlamydophila organisms will not survive for a lengthy period of time in the environment. Infection is spread cat to cat.

In cats, C felis mainly causes conjunctivitis, which is an infection and inflammation of the membranes or conjunctiva that cover the inner surface of the eyelids and the white part of the eye. Symptoms usually develop within a few days to a week after infection and usually begin as a watery discharge from one or both eyes. Sometimes only one eye is affected when signs first develop, however, within a few days it will usually spread to both eyes. Affected cats may hold their eyelids closed. As the disease progresses, severe swelling and reddening of the eyes may be seen and the discharge changes from watery to a thicker yellowish discharge. Conjunctivitis is the most common symptom; there may also be mild sneezing and nasal discharge in some affected cats. The cat can also have a mild fever that can lead to a lack of energy, but most affected cats remain bright and eat well. If left untreated, the conjunctivitis often persists for six to eight weeks and cats may continue to shed the organism for many months.

While this disease mainly affects the eyes, C felis has also been found in the lungs, gastrointestinal tract and reproductive tract of cats and there is some speculation that it may be a cause of infertility in female cats.

Chlamydophila infection is relatively common in cats and up to 30% of cases of chronic conjunctivitis may be caused by this organism. Because the organism does not survive in the environment and requires direct contact between cats to spread, the disease is much more commonly seen where larger groups of cats are kept together, such as multi-cat households and shelters. Although cats of all ages can be infected, the disease is most commonly reoccurs in young kittens
Because there are other causes of conjunctivitis, diagnosis requires positive presence of the organism. Swabs can be taken from the eyes of affected cats and sent to laboratories where the presence of the organism can be identified. This is the most accurate means of diagnosis.
 

Chlamydophila infection responds well to a number of different antibiotics. A group of antibiotics known as tetracyclines have been considered the treatment of choice for Chlamydophila in cats. Certain other antibiotics may also be effective, but have to be chosen carefully as a number of antibiotics are completely ineffective against the organism. Eye drops or ointments is recommended, combined with oral therapy as the organism can be present at sites other than just the eyes. Generally, treatment is recommended for a period of four weeks and all cats in the household should be treated. Care has to be taken treating pregnant cats and young at the same time other antibiotics may be used.

A vaccine exists to protect cats against Chlamydophila conjunctivitis. The vaccine does not always prevent infection, but is certainly helpful in preventing severe disease.

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Feline Leukemia Virus Disease

Feline leukemia virus infection was, until recently, the most common fatal disease of cats. Because we can now protect cats with a leukemia virus vaccine, we are seeing fewer cases of the disease. It still remains a major cause of death in cats. Leukemia is defined as cancer of the white blood cells. This was the first disease associated with the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and, thus, the source of its name. This virus causes many other fatal diseases, in addition to leukemia.

The most common transfer of this disease is through cats fighting. Because large quantities of the FeLV are shed in cat saliva, puncture wounds associated with fighting result in injection of the virus into other cats. Other means of infection come from food/water bowls, cats grooming each other, and transmission from mother to kittens before birth.

A leukemia test is used to determine if the virus is present. Three different tests may be used to detect one particular virus protein in the cat. Some tests detect earlier stages of infection, while different tests are used to detect later stages of infection.
     1. The blood ELISA test is performed on a blood sample and detects the FeLV at any stage of infection. This test turns positive within a           few days of infection and, in some cases, may later turn negative if the cat’s immune system eliminates the infection.
     2. The IFA test is performed on a blood smear and turns positive only after the FeLV infection has progressed to a late stage of infection.          Once positive, the IFA test usually means that the cat has a permanent infection. A cat that tests IFA positive is only rarely able to          successfully eliminate the virus.
     3. The tears/saliva ELISA test is performed on a sample of tears or saliva. It turns positive only in a late stage of infection; therefore, it           may yield a false negative result in cats that are in the early stage of FeLV infection. It also has been associated with some false           positive results due to inherent errors in the way the test is performed. Because of these problems, the tears and saliva tests are not          used routinely.
There are four possible outcomes for cats with FeLV.
     1. IMMUNITY – The cat’s immune system eliminates the infection. This is the most desired outcome because it means that the cat will          not become persistently infected with the virus. Immunity to the virus is more likely to develop in the adult cat than in the kitten.
     2. INFECTION – The cat’s immune system is overwhelmed by the virus. This is the least desired outcome because the cat becomes          permanently infected with the virus. Although the cat may be sick for a few days, it usually recovers and appears normal for weeks,          months, or years. Vaccination of these cats will not cause any problems, but doesn’t help the cat, either.
     3. LATENCY – The cat has the virus but we cannot easily detect it. The FeLV does not directly kill the cat’s cells or make them become          cancerous. Rather, it inserts a copy of its own genetic material or DNA into the cat’s cells; these cells may later be transformed into          cancer cells or cells which will no longer function normally.
     4. IMMUNE CARRIER – The cat becomes an immune carrier. The FeLV becomes hidden in some of the cat’s epithelial cells.          While the FeLV is multiplying, it is not able to get out of these cells because the cat is producing antibodies against the virus. The cat          will appear normal in every way.
Some forms of leukemia are unresponsive to all available forms of cancer treatment. Other types of leukemia may respond to chemotherapy, though most of these have an average survival time of less than one year. The virus is not affected by treatment; the cat will always remain infected with FeLV. Relapse of leukemia is also possible.

A vaccine is available to protect cats from the FeLV. Although not 100% of cats are totally protected, the vaccine is strongly recommended for cats that are exposed to open populations of cats. There has been a definite decline in the incidence of feline leukemia virus infection and related diseases since vaccine use became widespread. The vaccine will not cause a cat to test positive for the virus.

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Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is a severe disease of cats. It does not affect non-feline species, such as dogs. It is caused by a coronavirus. FIP is a chronic disease that results in poor appetite, fever, and weight loss over several weeks; it is usually fatal. Because various organs may be affected (liver, kidneys, brain, eyes, etc.), a variety of symptoms may be associated with this disease. Blindness or seizures may occur in one cat, while another will have signs of liver disease.

There are two forms of FIP. A cat with the wet form will accumulate of large quantities of fluid in the chest or abdomen. If it occurs in the chest, the cat will experience difficulty breathing. When it occurs in the abdomen, a large, bloated appearance will result. A dry form affects the organs in a similar fashion, but no fluid is produced. If enough time passes without the cat dying, the dry form may progress into the wet form. It is easier to diagnose FIP with fluid present.

Diagnosis of FIP is often difficult. There are no specific tests that are reliable in all cases. The most reliable is organ biopsy, however this requires major surgery. As with other viruses, spread of infection to other cats is always a concern. There are three stages of FIP infection, and significant risk to other cats occurs in only the first two stages.
     1. The first stage is initial infection. During the two to four week period following viral infection of the cat, a large amount of virus is shed; other cats in direct contact with virus will be exposed.
     2. The second stage is one of dormancy. The virus is inactive within the cat, so it causes no disease. If the cat is stressed during this stage, some virus shedding may occur. Otherwise, the cat is not contagious. Some cats shed enough virus during this stage to be a threat to surrounding cats. This stage may last a few weeks to several years.
     3. The third stage is clinical illness. It usually lasts a few weeks and ends in death of the cat. Generally, the cat is not contagious during this stage.

There have been no treatments that are consistently successful. Occasionally a cat will recover, but this is the exception rather than the rule. Removing fluid from the chest or abdomen will make them comfortable for a short while, and a few drugs will make some of them feel better. There is no known curative treatment. The prognosis for a cat with FIP is very poor. Once a reasonably reliable diagnosis has been made, euthanasia is the most appropriate decision as there will be a very limited quality of life for the animal.

A preventive vaccine against FIP is available. The vaccine is recommended for cats in contact with free-roaming cats or for those living in households that have had a cat with FIP. Initially, two doses are given at a 2-4 week interval. An annual booster vaccination should be given for life.

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Feline Bordetella
Research has demonstrated that B. bronchiseptica acts as a primary or secondary pathogen in feline respiratory disease. Feline herpesvirus (FHV) and feline calicivirus (FCV) have been cited as the most common agents associated with feline upper respiratory infection (URI). Symptoms associated with B. bronchiseptica infection may include fever, sneezing, nasal discharge, and coughing. In some cases, the infection can progress to pneumonia. Because it is transmitted through air, animals in close confinement such as in catteries, boarding facilities, hospitals or pet stores, or cats from multi-cat households have a high risk for infection.
There are seven different viruses or bacteria known to cause feline URIs. Three of these cause serious illness, resulting in anorexia, high fever, and ulcers of the tongue and cornea. These viruses are the feline rhinotracheitis virus (feline herpesvirus), the feline calicivirus, and Bordetella, which causes “kennel cough” in dogs. The remaining viruses cause mild sneezing for a few days but are rarely a serious problem.

There are several conditions that may cause cats to sneeze. Sneezing that lasts more than two days is probably due to a viral upper respiratory infection, similar to a cold that humans may have. The upper part of the name means that the infection is limited to the nose, throat, trachea, and eyes. Lower respiratory infections involving the lungs are relatively uncommon in cats.

While uncomplicated forms of these viral infections are no more severe than the common cold, mild infections can become life threatening if secondary bacterial infections develop in the nose, oral cavity, or eyes. Affected cats may lose their appetites; this represents the single most serious complication. The cat will become malnourished and dehydrated. If not corrected soon, the cat will die.

If a cat has not become infected with the rhinotracheitis virus, the calicivirus, or Bordetella, vaccination is usually successful in preventing infection. For cats that are already carriers of these viruses or bacteria, it is still important to vaccinate. Immunity from vaccination lasts only about 6-18 months. An annual booster vaccination should be given for life.
 
Rabies
Rabies is a viral disease which affects all species of warm-blooded animals, including dogs, cats, and humans. It is transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal that has rabies virus in its saliva. Rabies virus travels in the nerves from the site of the bite to the brain and spinal cord. Rabid animals undergo personality changes during the course of the disease; these changes include aggression and biting or the inverse the cat could be more friendly and affectionate.
Puppies and kittens should be vaccinated against rabies at four months-of-age. The absolute minimum age is 16 weeks. If in doubt about the exact age of a puppy or kitten, wait until tooth eruption indicates that the patient is at least 16 weeks-of-age. Dogs and cats that are under one year-of-age when they receive a rabies vaccination will be protected for only one year. The next rabies vaccination must be given one year after the initial one. Dogs and cats that are over one year-of-age when they receive a rabies vaccination will be protected for three years. A booster vaccination should be given every three years.

There are three stages of the disease. The first is stage is marked by change in temperament. The quiet animal becomes agitated, and the active animals become nervous. Other signs include dilated pupils, excessive drooling, and snapping at imaginary objects. In 2-3 days, the second stage begins.  Animals may experience changes in appetite including eating and swallowing sticks, stones, and other objects. The animal may roam aimlessly, inflict injury upon himself, and have a change in voice. There will often be vicious, aggressive behavior, even towards his guardian. Seizures may occur. In the third stage the animal becomes extremely depressed. His mouth may fall open with the tongue protruding. A progressive paralysis sets in resulting in total body paralysis.

There are a number of diseases that can cause some of the symptoms of rabies. A few conditions can be very similar. Positive identification of rabies can only be made with special tests performed on brain tissue. This requires that the animal be euthanized and its head sent to a special diagnostic laboratory.

Rabies is transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal to another mammal. But even then, the virus is present in saliva of the infected animal for a limited time. If any animal of which you do not know the rabies vaccination status bites you, you should immediately wash the wound with soap and water. Try to establish who owns the animal and whether the pet is currently vaccinated for rabies. In any case, seek the advice of your physician. Prompt medical attention is the key to successful treatment.

Vaccination is the best way to prevent infection and properly vaccinated animals stand very little chance of contracting the disease. While rabies vaccination for dogs is mandatory in all states, as many at 50% of all dogs are not vaccinated. Some communities are now requiring cats to be vaccinated. Currently there are more reported cases of rabies in cats than dogs. Some people estimate that less than 10% of the cat population is vaccinated which contributes to the high incidence of rabies in cats. The standard vaccination protocol is to vaccinate cats and dogs at three to four months and then again at one year of age. A year later, a three-year rabies vaccination is recommended. A few counties, states, or individual veterinarians require yearly or once every two-year vaccination.

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Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV or Feline AIDS)

The Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is also called the Feline AIDS Virus. It is compared to the AIDS virus that affects humans because of the similarities in the two diseases that result. Fortunately, most viruses are species specific. This is the case with the human AIDS virus and with FIV. The AIDS virus affects only humans, and the FIV affects only cats.

The FIV is transmitted primarily through bite wounds that occur when cats fight. Interaction between cats, such as sharing common food and water bowls or grooming each other, have not been shown to significantly transmit the disease.

An FIV infected cat will go through a period of viral dormancy before it becomes ill. This incubation period can last as long as six years. Thus, veterinarians generally do not diagnose FIV in sick cats that are relatively young. When illness occurs, there may be a variety of severe, chronic illnesses. The most common illness is a severe infection affecting the gums around the teeth. Abscesses from fight wounds that would normally heal within a week or two may remain active for several months. Respiratory infections may last for weeks. The cat may lose weight and go through periods of not eating well. The cat may have episodes of diarrhea. Ultimately, widespread organ failure occurs, and the cat dies.

FIV can be detected by a simple blood test. A positive test means the cat has been infected with the virus and will likely remain infected for the remainder of its life. A negative result may mean that the cat has not been exposed; however, false negatives occur in a few situations.
The vast majority of kittens under 4 months of age who test positive have not been exposed to the virus. Instead, the test is detecting the immunity that was passed from the mother to the kitten. These antibodies may persist until the kitten is about 6 months old. The kitten should be retested at about 6 months of age. If it remains positive, the possibility of true infection is much greater.

If an FIV-infected cat bites a kitten, it can develop a true infection. The test will usually not turn positive for many months. If a mother cat is infected with the FIV at the time she is pregnant or nursing, she can pass large quantities of the virus to her kittens. This means of transmission may result in a positive test result in just a few weeks.

No treatments are available to rid the cat of the FIV. The disease can sometimes be treated with antibiotics or with drugs to stimulate the immune system restoring the cat to relatively good health. The virus will still be in the cat and may become active at a later date.

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Giardia

Giardiasis is an intestinal infection of man and animals. It is caused by a parasite called Giardia intestinalis. These single-celled parasites are not to be confused with the common intestinal parasites: roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. Even though the infection rate is high in cats and dogs, clinical disease is less common.

Infection is rare in healthy cats. It is more common in densely populated groups of animals, such as in a pet store or animal shelter. Kittens have been shown to shed more Giardia cysts in their feces than older cats. Infection can also occur from drinking water that has been contaminated.

These microscopic parasites attach themselves to the intestinal wall and cause foul-smelling diarrhea. The stool will range from soft to watery, and may contain blood. Infected cats tend to have excess mucus in the feces. Sometimes, vomiting can occur.

Ingestion of the cyst stage of the parasite leads to infection. Once inside the cat’s intestine, the cyst goes through several stages of maturation. Eventually, the cat is able to pass infective cysts in the stool, where they can contaminate the environment and infect other cats.

Because of the prevalence of Giardia in the cat, the presence of cysts in the stool does not necessarily indicate that a problem is present. When the cysts are present in a cat with diarrhea, it is important. Kittens and unhealthy adult cats are at risk for death from dehydration caused by diarrhea.

A fecal examination is needed for diagnosis; the flotation test may fail to detect these small cysts. A special solution may be needed for accurate identification of the cysts in the stool. The parasites may be seen on a direct smear of the feces. A test is available for detection of antigens of Giardia in the feces.

The prognosis is good in most cases. Unhealthy or older animals and those with weak immune systems are at increased risk for death. Ask your veterinarian about the Giardia vaccine.

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Worms/Parasites
You may have already heard that worms often infect puppies and kittens as well as older pets. The most common types of these parasitic worms are roundworms and hookworms. They are both intestinal parasites that live and grow in the intestines of your pet. Most pets show no sign of infection, however, some may vomit, lose their appetite, sustain severe weight loss and heavy infections in puppies and kittens may be fatal.
These roundworms and hookworms can also infect people and are known as zoonotic infections. People get roundworm and hookworm infection with direct contact with infected feces that are often found in soil, sand or plant life and hookworms can actually penetrate the skin. Children are more vulnerable than adults as they are more likely to put dirty objects in their mouth and play on the ground with dirt that may be contaminated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate more than 10,000 cases of human infection with roundworms alone per year. Inside the human body, roundworms may cause damage to tissue and sometimes cause permanent nerve or eye damage and even blindness. Hookworms typically move about within the skin of humans, causing inflammation or can penetrate into deeper tissues and cause more serious damage to the intestine and other organs.

Tender Loving Care Vet Servicesrecommends HEARTGARD PLUS / ADVANTAGE MULTI as a monthly treatment to eliminate roundworms and hookworms in your dog/cat and to help reduce the risk of your dog/cat exposing your family to these worm infections.

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Heartworm Disease
Cats are resistant hosts of heartworms, and microfilaremia, (the presence of heartworm offspring in the blood of the host animal), is uncommon. When present, microfilaremia is inconsistent and short-lived. Some cats appear to be able to rid themselves of the infection spontaneously. It is assumed that such cats may have developed a strong immune response to the heartworms, which causes the death of the parasites. These heartworms may die as a result of an inability to thrive within a given cat’s body.
Cats typically have fewer and smaller worms than dogs and the life span of the worm is shorter, approximately two to three years, compared to five to seven years in dogs. Heartworms do not need to develop into adults to cause pulmonary damage in cats, and consequences can still be very serious when cats are infected by mosquitoes carrying heartworm larvae. Newly arriving worms and the subsequent death of most of these same worms can result in pulmonary inflammation and lung injury. This initial phase is often misdiagnosed as asthma or allergic bronchitis but in actuality is part of a syndrome now known as Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD).
The symptoms of heartworm infection in cats can be very non-specific, and may mimic many other feline diseases. Diagnosis by clinical signs alone is nearly impossible, but a cat may display signs of illness, such as vomiting intermittently (food or foam, usually unrelated to eating), lethargy, anorexia (lack of appetite), weight loss, coughing, asthma-like signs, gagging, difficulty or rapid breathing.
Some cats exhibit acute clinical signs, with disease often related to the organs where the adult heartworms are thriving. Occasionally such infected cats die quickly without sufficient time to form a diagnosis or for the cat to receive thorough treatment.

It is generally recommended that all cats be tested for both antigens and antibodies serology prior to administration of a heartworm preventive.  Currently there are no drugs approved for treating heartworms in cats. One of the drugs for treating dogs has been used in cats, but there are potential side-effects. Another problem is that when the heartworms die they pass through the pulmonary arteries to the lungs. This can result in sudden death.

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Feline Roundworm Infection

Roundworms are one of the most common intestinal parasites found in cats. They can be a common cause of illness and death in kittens. These are large-bodied round worms, about 3-6 inches in length. They do not attach to the wall of the intestine; they are literally swimming within the intestine.

The scientific name for the feline roundworm is Toxocara cati. Another less common roundworm, Toxascaris leonina, can infect both dogs and cats. Roundworms are sometimes called ascarids and the disease they produce is called ascariasis.

Roundworms are not usually harmful to mature cats, but large numbers may cause life-threatening problems in kittens and adult cats with compromised health conditions. In kittens, common signs include abdominal discomfort, a pot-bellied appearance, depressed appetite, vomiting and diarrhea, or poor growth.

Milk-borne infection is the major cause of roundworm transmission to kittens. The immature roundworms are passed through the mother’s milk to the kittens. Swallowing eggs that contain infective roundworm larvae may infect both kittens and adult cats. These eggs may come from the feces of infected cats or from the tissues of intermediate hosts. Common hosts for roundworms include earthworms, cockroaches, rodents, and birds.

Once ingested, the larvae hatch out in the cat’s gastrointestinal tract and migrate through the muscle, liver, and lungs. After several weeks, the larvae return to the intestine to mature. When these worms begin to reproduce, eggs will pass into the cat’s stool, thus completing the life cycle of the parasite.

To diagnose roundworm infection, a small amount of the cat’s stool is mixed into a special solution that causes the eggs to float to the top. The distinctive eggs are easily recognized under the microscope. Roundworm eggs are usually plentiful but, in some instances, it may take more than one fecal examination to find them. Intact adult roundworms can sometimes be found in the cat’s stool or vomit.

Treatment is simple and inexpensive. After administration of the deworming medication, the worms will pass into the stool. Because of their large size, they are easily identified. Two-to-three treatments will be needed; performed at 2-3 week intervals. Kittens are then dewormed again with each visit for kitten vaccinations. None of these treatments will kill the immature forms of the worm or the migrating larvae. The prognosis of a roundworm infection is good if medication is given promptly.

Roundworms can be a health risk for humans. The most common source of human infection is by ingesting eggs that have come from soil contaminated with cat or dog feces. Children are at a greater risk for health problems should they become infected. A variety of organs may be affected as the larvae travel through the body. In suitable environments, the eggs may remain infective to humans and cats for years.

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Hookworm Infection
Hookworms are intestinal parasites of cats and dogs. Their name is derived from the hook-like mouthparts they use to anchor to the lining of the intestinal wall. They are only about 1/8 inch long and so small in diameter that they are barely visible.

The scientific names for the most common feline hookworms are Ancylostoma tubaeforme and Ancylostoma braziliense. On rare occasions, cats may become infected with the dog hookworm, Ancylostoma caninum.

Cats tend to have relatively fewer hookworms than dogs. The feline hookworms tend to be less aggressive bloodsuckers than the canine species. Hookworms are more common in warm, moist environments. Conditions of overcrowding and poor sanitation contribute to re-infection.

Feline hookworms tend to feed along the lining of the small intestine. When they suck blood, an anti-coagulant substance is injected at the feeding site. The cat suffers blood loss from ingestion by the hookworm, as well as bleeding into the bowel. Blood-loss anemia is attributed to hookworms is a more significant problem in kittens than adult cats.

Adult hookworms pass hundreds of eggs in the cat’s stool. These eggs are not visible to the naked eye. Larvae will hatch from the eggs and persist in the soil for weeks or months. When larvae are swallowed by the cat, hookworm infection is established. The larvae can also burrow through the cat’s skin and migrate to the intestine, completing their life cycle.

In dogs, prenatal infection may be a significant problem. Puppies may become infected by the blood flow before birth and then later through the mother’s milk. Research has not shown prenatal infection to occur in kittens.

Diagnosing hookworm infection requires a small amount of the cat’s stool to be mixed into a special solution, causing the eggs to float to the top. With a microscopic exam, the eggs are easily identified by their unique appearance. Since the eggs are produced on a daily basis, hookworm infection is usually fairly easy to diagnose. The number of eggs does not necessarily correlate with the number of worms present. In fact, the number of eggs passed can be greater with smaller numbers of worms present.

Treatment is safe, simple, and relatively inexpensive. After administration of the deworming medication the adult worms are killed. At least two treatments are needed; they are typically performed at 2-3 week intervals. Kittens should be treated for worms during their kitten vaccination series. In cases of severe anemia, kittens or debilitated cats might require a blood transfusion.
With appropriate diagnosis and treatment, the prognosis is good for full recovery from hookworm infection.

Feline hookworms do not infect humans internally. The tiny larvae can burrow into human skin, causing a disease calledcutaneous larval migrans. Sometimes called ground itch, this skin infection does not lead to maturation of the larvae. Because contact of human skin with moist, larvae-infected soil is required, infection rarely occurs when good hygiene is practiced.

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Tapeworms

Tapeworms are intestinal parasites of cats and dogs. Because they are classified as cestodes, they belong to a different family of worms than hookworms and roundworms called nematodes. Several types of tapeworms are known to infect cats; Dipylidium caninum is by far the most common.

The tapeworm uses its hook-like mouthparts for anchoring to the wall of the small intestine. Eventually, adult tapeworms may reach several inches in length. As the adult matures, individual segments break off from the main body of the tapeworm and pass into the cat’s feces.

Fleas are the intermediate host for the tapeworm. Tapeworms are unable to complete their life cycle without the presence of fleas. Regardless of whether fleas have been seen on the animal, the cat must have ingested a flea in order to have tapeworms. Consequently, tapeworms are more common in environments which are heavily infested with fleas. Lice are also reported as intermediate hosts for tapeworms but they are uncommon parasites of cats.

Tapeworm eggs must be ingested by flea larvae. Contact between flea larvae and tapeworm eggs are facilitated by contaminated bedding or carpet. Adult fleas do not participate in this part of the tapeworm lifecycle.

The cat then chews or licks his skin as a flea bites; the flea is then swallowed. As the flea is digested within the cat’s intestine, the tapeworm hatches and anchors itself to the intestinal lining.

Tapeworms are not particularly harmful to the cat and few symptoms are attributed to their presence. Tapeworms may cause debilitation or weight loss if there are large numbers present. A cat will occasionally scoot or drag his anus across the ground or carpet due to the anal irritation caused by the proglottids. This behavior is much more common in dogs than cats.

Occasionally, a tapeworm will release its attachment in the intestines and migrate to the stomach causing the cat to vomit an adult tapeworm several inches in length.

Most commonly, guardians recognize that the cat has tapeworms and brings this to the attention of the veterinarian. When terminal segments of the tapeworm break off and pass into the cat’s stool, they can be seen crawling on the surface of the feces. These proglottid segments look like grains of cooked white rice. Less commonly, they are seen crawling around the cat’s anus. Each of these proglottid capsules contains up to 20 tapeworm eggs.

Available treatments are safe and effective. The deworming medication may be given as a tablet or as an injection. After treatment, the tapeworm dies and is usually digested within the intestine, so worm segments don’t usually pass into the stool. Side-effects are rarely reported with the newer medications.

Control of fleas is the key to preventing tapeworm infection. With the advanced flea control products which have become available, it is now much easier now than in previous years. Depending on the type of product you use and the presence of other pets in your home, your veterinarian will help you decide whether you also need to treat your house and yard for fleas.

Humans can become infected with tapeworms, although infection is rare because it is established by ingestion of a flea. Most reported cases have involved children. The risk for human infection with Dipylidium caninum is small but does exist.

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Whipworms
Whipworms, Trichuris vulpis, Trichuris campanula are common in dogs and found throughout the United States. Infections withTrichuris serrata, the whipworm that affects cats, are rare in that species. Whipworms get their name from the whip-like shape of the adult worms. This worm has a very thin front portion and thicker posterior end. Whipworms live in the large intestine and cecum a small portion of intestine at the junction of the small intestine and large intestine.
A cat or dog becomes infected by ingesting food or water contaminated with whipworm eggs. The eggs are swallowed, hatch, and in three months, the larvae mature into adults in the cecum and large intestine where they burrow their mouths into the intestinal wall and feed on blood. Adult worms lay eggs that are passed in the feces. The eggs must remain in the soil for about a month to mature and be capable of causing infection. An infection is diagnosed by finding the eggs in the feces. The eggs must be differentiated from those of the bladder worm Capillaria plica, Capillaria felis cati and C. aerophiliarespiratorysystem, but whose eggs may be found in the feces. , a parasite of the
Special care must be taken in examining stool samples from cats. Rodents and mice have parasites whose eggs look like those of feline whipworms. If a cat would ingest one of these infected prey animals, the eggs may pass undigested through the intestine, be found in the cat feces, and an inaccurate diagnosis of whipworm infection could result.
Trichuris infections are rare in cats. If they do occur, the worms are usually present in small numbers, and signs of the infection are rarely present. There have been several cases of more serious infections, in which the cat had small amounts of blood in the stool and was anemic.
There are no FDA-approved medications for treating whipworm infections in cats. A cat with a confirmed diagnosis of whipworms showing signs of infection would need to be treated with medications other than the traditional wormers for cats.
Whipworm eggs can be susceptible to drying, but can also remain alive in moist soil for years, and are resistant to freezing. Because of this, animals should be restricted from contaminated areas. There is no effective method for killing whipworm eggs in the soil. The only alternative is to replace the soil with new soil, gravel, and pavement. To prevent exposure, any feces in the yard should be picked up on a daily basis.
Litter boxes should be cleaned thoroughly, and if possible, be allowed to dry in direct sunlight.

Routine fecal examinations and wormings can help control this parasite in multi-cat homes and shelters or other areas where it may be a problem.

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Ear Mites

While there are several types of mites which may infect cats and dogs, Otodectes cynotis is the mite most commonly seen. Ear mites are an external parasite which causes significant discomfort. Ear mites can live on any part of the body, although they generally live in the ears. This is the most common cause of inflammation of the outer ear canal in the animals. They are most often seen in kittens and puppies, but they can affect cats and dogs of any age and are extremely contagious.

The mites feed on tissue debris and secretions from the ear canal lining. With repeated irritation, the ear canal thickens and debris builds up within the ear canal. This debris, caused by mite waste products, dead tissue and fluid resembles coffee grounds. In long term cases of ear mites in cats and dogs, there are often secondary bacterial and yeast infections creating even more stress on the animal and making treatment more difficult.

Other indications the animal may display are head shaking, scratching the ears, which leads to sores, reddish-brown to black discharge in the ears, and an odor from the ears. Sometimes there may be no observable signs of ear mites.

In chronic cases of ear mites in cats and dogs, there are often secondary bacterial and yeast infections that complicate the treatment, creating more stress on the animal. Damage to the ear could include a thickening of the skin or infection which is caused by the cat or dog damaging the skin by scratching, and bacteria entering these wounds.

The life cycle of an ear mite lasts about twenty-one days from egg to adult, entails going through four stages:

     1. The Eggs – Female ear mites usually lay about 5 eggs daily during their entire adult life. Deposited on the surface lining of the ear          canal, the eggs hatch within 4 days.
     2. The Larvae – Once hatched from the eggs, the larvae feed for 4 days then rest for 24 hours as they molt.
     3. The Nymphs – Two stages of nymphs are recognized. Each feeds for 3 to 5 days and then rests and then molts to the next stage.
     4. The Adults – Just barely visible to the naked eye, the adult ear mite appears white in color and feeds off the debris in the animal’s ear.          There can be literally thousands of mites crawling about the ear canal and external ear surfaces. Ear mites do not burrow into the skin.          They are communicable from one animal to another by direct contact.
A diagnosis of ear mites by the veterinarian is usually made by either visualization of the mites with an otoscope or microscopic examination of the ear discharge.

Although some cats and dogs show no outward signs of ear mite infestations, the mites can be diagnosed as described above. In most cats and dogs with ear mites, if you briskly rub the ear canal area the animal will respond by automatic scratching movements of the back leg. Triggering this automatic scratching movement seldom occurs in animals that do not have ear mites. Your veterinarians will check for ear mites as part of the routine physical exam, especially in multi-pet households.

There are a number of medications used to treat ear mites in cats and dogs. Your veterinarian will prescribe an effective product, be sure to have a follow-up exam done four weeks after prescribed treatment.