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Cat Advice

Our tips to keep your feline friend in top condition

  • Oral Hygiene
  • Feeding
  • Microchipping
  • Neutering
  • Flea and Tick Treatment
  • Worming
  • Vaccinations

Oral Hygiene

Your cat's oral hygiene is an important part of good health. Your cat uses its teeth for eating, chewing and picking up toys to play with, all of which can have negative effects on oral hygiene. There are many pet products available that can be used to maintain your cat's oral hygiene that are safe and easy to use.

Poor oral hygiene  can lead to abscessed or loose teeth, each of which may be very painful.   Just like human teeth,  your pets teeth are prone to excess plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease and tooth decay. Too much plaque can cause bacterial infections and may lead to liver, heart, or kidney failure. These serious conditions can be prevented by cleaning or brushing your pet's teeth on a regular basis.

How can I maintain my pets oral hygeine?

Tooth brushing

This is the gold standard of dental care for your cat and ideally, this should be done twice daily much like you do yourself. You can buy finger brushes or specially designed dental brushes and toothpaste from your vet to brush your cats teeth with.
 
Water supplements

Dentagen aqua, which is added to your cats drinking water daily, contains RF2, a plant extract and contains no harmful additives. This supplement is scientifically proven to prevent the build up of plaque on your animal's teeth.

Diet

A prescription diet available from your vet to manage and help prevent dental disease.  

Unique shaped kibble biscuits scrub away plaque in the mouth to promote systemic health,  and is clinically proven to reduce plaque, stain and tartar buildup.

Reduces bad breath.

Added antioxidants to control cell oxidation and promote a healthy immune system.

Awarded the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Seal of Acceptance for helping reduce both plaque and tartar accumulation.

Feeding your cat a dry food diet helps to maintain healthy teeth as the action of chewing helps to remove plaque.

Feeding

Cats need balanced nutrition, like any other animal, but they have a specific dietary need for meat. Cats are obligate carnivores, and this means that they need meat for protein that provides essential nutrients which they cannot synthesise from other foods. Their need for protein means that their diet must be based on meat.

Water is an essential part of a cat’s diet, and a supply of clean, fresh water should be available at all times. It is worth noting that cats can be particular about where they will drink, and often dislike the double-diner style dishes, and metal dishes. They may prefer a wide water dish, possibly in a different place from their food bowl, and some cats even prefer running water, and water fountains are available for this.

There are many different cat foods available, and the following information will help you to make the right choice in deciding what to feed your cat.

What diet should I choose?

To ensure good all-round nutrition, it is best to choose a good quality ‘complete’ diet for your cat. Complete diets are available in wet and dry form, and your choice may depend on your cat’s preference. Dry food is less smelly and messy though, and may help to keep your cat’s teeth cleaner than wet food.

It is important to check the ingredients in your cat’s food. Meat should be the main ingredient, and filler ingredients such as starch, should be avoided. Cat food should contain little or no sugar, and doesn’t need to contain carbohydrate, although cats can extract energy from carbohydrates.

Life-stage feeding

Your cat’s dietary requirements will vary with its life-stage. Kittens up to one year old need food with plenty of energy plus the right nutrients for growth and development. It is important to establish good nutrition from the start of your kitten’s life, and, after weaning, he or she will benefit from a good quality diet that is specifically formulated for kittens. Feed your kitten four smaller meals daily, rather than one or two larger ones until six months of age. At this stage the frequency of feeding can be reduced.

Young adult cats between one and six years should be fed a good quality complete diet aimed at adult cats. At this life-stage, the nutritional aim is to keep your cat in the best possible condition. Most adult cats should be neutered, and so a food that is formulated for neutered cats is the best choice. Neutering affects your cat’s metabolism, and lowers energy requirements, so it is important to feed your cat accordingly to prevent it becoming overweight. Neutered male cats are particularly prone to problems with their urinary systems, and should be fed a diet that is formulated to maintain the health of their urinary system.

Once cats are over seven years old, their dietary requirements will change to reflect changes in metabolism, exercise levels, digestion and appetite. A good quality diet that is formulated for mature or senior cats is the best choice, and should reflect the need for carefully balanced protein and fat to maintain an ideal bodyweight, and for balanced minerals for urinary system health. Older cats are particularly susceptible to kidney disease, and their intake of sodium and phosphorus should be controlled by their diet to help keep their kidneys functioning properly. Some older cats have a reduced energy requirement, and would benefit from a diet for mature or senior cats that is lower in calories. Other older cats may have a reduced appetite due to underlying problems such as bad teeth or undiagnosed disease. It is important to investigate any change in appetite to ensure that any problems are picked up as soon as possible.

Microchipping

If your pet goes missing, it is unlikely to find its way home.  With microchipping anyone who finds your pet can have it scanned and quickly help get it back to you.

Every year more than 300,000 treasured pets get lost or go missing. That’s why we recommend having your pet microchipped to give your pet the best possible chance of being reunited with you.  

Our practice uses Tracer Advance microchips, which is the most comprehensive animal identification system available in the UK.  Tracer Advance is the most commonly used and trusted microchip within the veterinary profession.

Tracer Advance is a tiny microchip, hardly bigger than a grain of rice. Unlike other glass chips, tracer advance is encased in a unique bio-polymer material which is ten times stronger than glass and is designed to sit comfortably under your pet's skin.

How is it implanted?

Having a microchip implanted is just like a normal injection. It is implanted under the loose skin of the neck.  

How long does it last?

Microchips are invisible and can't be tampered with. Once it is implanted it lasts a lifetime.

How does it work?

If your pet goes missing, most vets, animal charities and local authorities have microchip readers, so when someone finds your pet they can read the microchip 15 digit code easily. This identifies your pet on the secure petlog database, where all your microchip details and contact details are registered. The database is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Can any animal be microchipped?

Tracer Advance can be used in may animals including:
Dogs, cats and other small mammals such as rabbits and guinea pigs. Also Birds, Fish, Horses and Reptiles eg. lizards, snakes and tortoises.

Microchipping is a legal requirement for pets travelling abroad under DEFRA’s pet travel scheme.

To arrange to have your pet microchipped please contact the practice to arrange an appointment.

Neutering

Neutering is the surgical removal of the testicles of a male animal (also called castration) or the ovaries and uterus (womb) of a female animal (also called spaying).

Why should I get my pet neutered?

Male Cats (Toms):
• Reproductive control - decreases the number of unwanted kittens
• Behavioural control - stops urine-spraying, and reduces aggression so less
likelihood of sustaining nasty cat bite injuries
• Decreases roaming in search of a queen in heat and as a result, decreases
the risk of being involved in car accidents and cat fights

Female Cats (Queens):
• Reproductive control - decreases the number of unwanted kittens
• No need to deal with the problems of a cat in heat, a pregnant cat or
 finding homes for kittens
• Prevents ovarian and uterine cancer

What age can I get my pet neutered?

Male and female cats can be neutered from 6 months of age.

What is involved in having my pet neutered?

We carry out routine operations (including neutering) every day Monday to Friday. You can book the operation in by contacting our reception to make an appointment.

Your cat needs to be fasted from 7pm the evening before the operation. This is important as it prevents vomiting during the operation and recovery time. Water can be left with your pet overnight.
 
Neutering is a day procedure so animals are admitted first thing in the morning and will usually go home that afternoon or evening. A nurse will admit your pet and go through the consent form with you. At this time you will have the option of a pre-anaesthetic blood test which checks liver and kidney function as well as protein and glucose levels. We recommend that all older animals are tested (cats over 9 years and dogs over 7 years) as well as any animal with known health problems. However, very occasionally we do diagnose problems such as kidney disease even in young, apparently healthy animals.
 
Your pet will be weighed, anaesthetised and the surgical site clipped and cleaned before the vet carries out the operation. Your pet will recover in a warm cosy kennel under close supervision and once he/she is well awake will be offered some food and water.
 
Once we are satisfied that your pet is awake enough to go home, a nurse will discharge them. They will explain how to care for your pet following their operation, inform you when you need to bring your pet back for a check-up, and explain any medication that has been prescribed. All dogs and female cats go home wearing a Buster collar to prevent them interfering with the wound - it is really important that this stays on at all times to prevent wound infection and animals taking their own stitches out! Most animals will be a bit sleepy for 24 hours following the surgery but will usually be back to their normal selves afterwards.

 Are there any risks associated with neutering?

No anaesthetic or surgical procedure is completely risk-free and neutering is quite a major operation particularly for females. However, these are routine procedures done on healthy (and often young) pets and we have a lot of experience in performing these operations. A vet will examine your pet on the day of the surgery, and we choose our sedation drugs carefully to suit the individual patient. We use very modern gas anaesthetics which allow good control over the anaesthetic and a nurse will closely monitor your pet throughout the operation and recovery time. Carrying out pre-anaesthetic blood tests help identify problems in advance, and animals undergoing longer operations are put on an intravenous fluid drip. After the operation, it is important to regularly check your pet’s wound for any sign of swelling, redness or discharge, and contact us if you have any concerns. Thankfully complications are extremely rare and most people find their pet is back to normal within a week of the operation. 

Flea and Tick Treatment

Both fleas and ticks can cause disease in our pets, such as skin disease, tapeworm infection and in the case of ticks, Lyme disease. Both fleas and ticks can bite humans.

Fleas

What are fleas?

Fleas are small, black insects about 2 mm in length. They live in the bedding and coats of animals and feed on their blood.

How can I tell if my animal has fleas?

Close examination of your pet may reveal small, black insects moving rapidly through their coat. If there are few fleas present, “flea dirt” may be evident which will appear as small, black specks. To check for flea dirt, place the black specks on a wet piece of cotton wool. The dirt will turn red as the blood pigment dissolves. in cases where the cat has a lot of fleas, owners may get flea bites. Treatment of the cat to kill the fleas will solve the problem in most cases.

It is important to treat all cats and dogs in the household with an appropriate flea product, but also to wash their bedding and treat the animal's environment as well. This is because fleas do not live on the cat all the time and can be found in areas where pets tend to spend their time such as bedding, carpets, chairs and beds. The eggs are often laid in these areas and as the life stages of the flea develop this increases the population of fleas in the house. Using a product which kills flea larvae and adult fleas in the environment is an important part of flea control management. Ask a member of staff for further advice if required.

Ticks

What are ticks?

Ticks are a small, light grey, rounded parasite which belongs to the arachnid family. They feed on the blood of animals and vary in size - when engorged they can reach the size of a pea. Ticks will only feed at certain times of their life. Peak activity is between the months of March to June and from August to November, and most of their life cycle is spent outside in areas of long grasslands and moorland.

How can I tell if my pet has ticks?

Adult ticks can be seen attached to the skin of your pet and will resemble a small, smooth wart or blood blister. If your animal has only a few ticks, they may have little effect on the pet. Occasionally the skin may become irritated due to an allergic reaction to the bite, and if infestations are heavy, anaemia may develop.

Worming

Why should I routinely worm my pet?

Even if your pet looks healthy they can potentially be harbouring worms. Worms carried by cats and dogs pose a health risk to humans as well as animals. Using a veterinary practice bought wormer and using it regularly can ensure that your pet and family remain protected from worms.

What worms will my pet be protected against?

Cats and dogs can be carriers of tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and heartworms(currently not in the UK). All of which can be treated if you purchase a wormer from the practice.

How is my pet wormed?

Dogs and cats can be wormed using a small palatable tablet or liquid. There is also a spot on option for cats.

When should I worm my pet? 

Kittens should be wormed at 6 weeks of age. Worming then continues monthly for 3 months. At 6 months of age your cat can be wormed less frequently;generally every three months or if your cat hunts frequently then we advise that worming continues monthly. If you are not sure how frequently your cat should be wormed please speak to one of our members of staff.

How can I spread the cost of my wormer?

The practice offers a Pet Health Club where the cost of wormer and other preventative health care products and procedures can be spread.

Vaccinations

Why should I vaccinate my pet ?

There are a number of infectious and potentially fatal diseases that can affect your cat. Many of these diseases have no effective treatment. The best and most simple way to protect your cat from these conditions is by vaccination. Disease is spread via animal to animal contact by means of body fluids such as urine, saliva and faeces. Disease can also be spread by an uninfected animal coming into contact with an object that an infected animal has touched such as a water bowl, food bowl or even a lamp post. Contrary to belief, disease is not only spread in areas where there are a large concentration of animals such as a kennels or a cattery but can be spread outside on a walk or in the garden.

If you are thinking of booking your cat into a cattery they will have to be fully vaccinated. The  cattery will ask for proof that your cat is vaccinated so remember to bring your vaccination card with you to the surgery so that we can keep it up to date.

When I vaccinate my pet, what diseases will I help to prevent against?

Cat: Feline Herpes Virus, Feline Calicivirus, Feline Panleucopaenia Virus and Feline Leukaemia Virus.

How are vaccinations given to my pet?

Vaccinations are given via injection, just under the skin. The process is over very quickly and  your cat may well not even notice!

Are there any risks associated with vaccination?

Small skin reactions to the vaccine just around the site of injection are not uncommon. These usually go away within a couple of days. Your cat may also be slightly subdued after vaccination, this will also subside within a day or two. Complete vaccine reactions are very rare but if you suspect that your pet is unwell after vaccination, contact the surgery.  

At what age should I have my cat vaccinated?

We recommend that your new kitten is given their first vaccination at eight to nine weeks old and also given their health check by a veterinary surgeon. A second vaccination is then given three to four weeks later by a veterinary nurse; this is an ideal opportunity to have your pet microchipped and to take advantage of our offer of four weeks free insurance with Pet Plan.

How often should I have my cat vaccinated?

Boosters are given yearly to ensure that your animal remains fully protected from disease for life. At your cat's booster the vet will give your cat a full check to make sure they are fit and well. This gives an opportunity for early signs of disease or illness to be picked up allowing early treatment or management to be discussed and started. Early disease diagnosis is more likely to result in a successful outcome with management of the illness.

How can I spread the cost of vaccinations for my cat?

The practice offers a Pet Health Club where the cost of vaccines and other preventative health care products and procedures can be spread.

Practice information

Struthers & Scott

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  • Mon
    8:00am - 7:00pm
  • Tue
    8:00am - 7:00pm
  • Wed
    8:00am - 7:00pm
  • Thu
    8:00am - 7:00pm
  • Fri
    8:00am - 6:00pm
  • Sat
    8:30am - 12:00pm
  • Sun
    Closed
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Struthers & Scott Veterinary Practice Innes Park Station Wynd Doune Perthshire FK16 6EH
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