Services for your cat

Services for your cat

At The Cat Clinic we strive to give our feline patients the best of care, and your cat’s health is our priority. As the years go by, the ageing process can create more and more concerns for your cat and just like in people, early detection is the key to successful treatment.

The problems that our senior patients are at risk of developing include:

  • kidney disease
  • diabetes
  • over active thyroid glands
  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • high blood pressure
  • arthritis

Over the last few years there have been excellent advances in the treatment of many of these diseases seen in older cats, especially kidney disease. For these new treatments to have their greatest benefit though, they must start early before you notice any signs of illness.

We consider any cat 10 years of age or older to be a senior cat and re recommend that all senior cats start on our Senior Cat Care Program. The program involves a full veterinary check up, weigh in, dental examination, arthritis assessment, blood pressure measurement and some simple blood and urine screening tests designed to detect early signs of disease. Senior cat checks can be done at the same time as an annual vaccination which saves on one extra trip to the vet.

Senior cats should then be reassessed every 6 months to ensure any disease is diagnosed early and optimal treated provided. A senior cat program allows us to provide your cat with the best possible care and advise you on the special needs of your senior cat to ensure a long healthy life.

Cat years Human years
1 16
3 27
5 35
7 43
9 51
11 59
13 67
15 75
17 83
19 91

How old is your cat in human years?

The clinical examination is an essential part of preventative health care, however, we need to do some tests to help up see how the body is functioning. A brief description of the tests and what they mean follows.

Blood pressure is just as important in cats as it is in people, it is much harder to measure in cats though.  We use an ultrasound detector to amplify the pulse to we can make the measurement. High blood pressure is often caused by kidney disease or overactive thyroid glands.

Urine specific gravity is a test on the urine that lets us know how concentrated a cat’s urine is.  Cats are desert animals and they are supposed to have concentrated urine. This is one test where a high result is good. Urine that is not concentrated can be the first sign of many diseases including kidney disease and diabetes. When urine is not concentrated, you will usually see an increase in thirst.
Urine dipstick analysis use test strips to measure the levels of many chemicals in the urine. This is an excellent way of screening for diabetes and urinary tract disease. Information about some parts of kidney function can also be determined.

Creatinine is a waste product that is made in the muscles. The kidneys remove creatinine from the blood. We measure the levels in the blood to help see how well the kidneys are working.  If they are not working well then creatinine will build up to high levels. Although it is the best routine blood test available it is not able to detect very early kidney disease

Urea is a waste product made from the breakdown of spare protein, much of which comes from food. Like creatinine we can measure urea and a build up show the kidneys are not working properly. It is not as accurate a test as creatinine but it will often detect kidney disease slightly earlier.

ALT is an enzyme that is found in the liver and elevated levels indicate liver problems. Common causes of liver problems in older cats include bacterial infections, liver cancer and overactive thyroid glands.

Total protein is a simple test that measures the levels of protein in the blood. Abnormalities can be caused by many problems including inflammation, blood loss, liver, kidney, or intestinal disease.

Packed cell volume is a measure of how many red blood cells your cat has in their blood and tells us if anaemia is present or if there is dehydration.

Phone us today to arrange a senior check for your cat and join our Senior Cat Care Program.

We operate an emergency service for cats that require veterinary attention after hours. This service operates from our Mt Gravatt hospital and is available for our clients as well as general public. Call 3349 0811 and listen for instructions.

From time to time most of us need to get away and finding a safe place to leave your cat can be quite a stressful event. Relax, you can leave them with us. Each clinic accepts overnight stays, with longer visits transferred to our facility at Paddington where they have beautiful city views. With staff around all the time to keep an eye on them, your cat will be safe and sound until you return. Like all boarding facilities we require cats to be vaccinated and free of fleas.

From the moment you walk into the clinic, both you and your cat will appreciate the clean, calm and quiet surroundings. The reception area and consultation rooms are cat friendly and, most importantly, our staff are too. Our veterinarians will understand your cats behaviour no matter how good or bad their manners. They are skilled at handling cats and by focusing on one species they are skilled in recognising and treating cat diseases.

Cat CT ScannerThe Cat Clinic is equipped with a mutli-slice CT scanner. A CT (Computed Tomography) uses X-rays to produce cross sectional images which let us look inside complex structures in the body. The use of CT scanning allows us to diagnose many diseases that would otherwise be hidden.

CT scans are most useful to investigate disease of the head, chest and spine. In cats, some CT scans are done with anaesthesia and some while the cat is awake.

Just like we humans do, cats often need a visit to the dentist and we are well equipped to cater for them. If treatment is required for tooth extractions or further dental prophylaxis, a short general anaesthesia is required. This allows complete ultrasonic scaling and polishing of every surface of the teeth. The equipment used is exactly the same high quality you expect when you visit your own dentist. X-rays can be taken of suspicious teeth and when required we perform surgical extractions using an iM3 dental machine. We can even treat fractured canine teeth with either a root canal therapy or pulp capping.
Prevention is always better than a cure. Various Dry foods have been formulated specifically to clean your cat’s teeth as well as a mouth rinse and drinking water additive.

How common is dental disease in cats?

Dental disease is one of the most frequent ailments seen by veterinary surgeons, and can be found to some degree in the majority of cats over two years of age fed exclusively commercial cat food. The most common problems are due to periodontal disease, gingivitis and neck lesions (also called resorptive lesions or odontoclastic lesions).

What signs am I likely to see?

There are a number of signs which should alert you to the possibility of dental disease or other mouth problems.. Your cat may show less interest in food, or approach the food bowl then be reluctant to eat, or back away. It may chew with obvious caution and discomfort, drop food from their mouth, or may swallow with difficulty. Dribbling may be seen, possibly with blood, and there may be bad breath. In some cases the cat may be seen pawing at their mouth or head shaking. A reluctance to eat may lead to weight loss.

What usually causes dental disease?

The most common cause of dental disease in cats is due to tartar accumulation. As in humans, cats accumulate bacterial plaque on the surface of their teeth, which if not removed quickly, becomes mineralised to form tartar (also called calculus). The bacterial products and decaying food stuck to tartar are one potential cause of bad breath.

Tartar is easily identified by its light or dark brown colour - it is normally first seen at the gum edge, especially on the back teeth (premolars & molars). In severe cases it may entirely cover the teeth.

The accumulation of tartar and bacteria on the teeth surfaces will, sooner or later, lead to infection and gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). If the disease is caught at this early stage then thorough professional veterinary treatment will permit a full recovery. However, if gingivitis is allowed to persist untreated, then irreversible periodontal disease will occur. During this process the bone and ligaments that support the tooth are destroyed leading to excessive tooth mobility and eventually tooth loss. Infection around the socket causes the formation of pus and a foul odour, and may spread deep into the tooth socket creating an abscess, or even more severe problems.

Once periodontal disease starts, the degenerative changes cannot be reversed. These changes make it easier for more plaque and tartar to collect, so resulting in further disease.

Is gingivitis always associated with dental disease?

A slight degree of redness seen as a thin line just below the edge of the gum may be considered normal in some kittens and adult cats with little evidence of dental disease.

Some cats (most commonly, but not exclusively, in pedigree breeds) develop severe gingivitis with minimal signs of accompanying dental disease. The affected areas may extend beyond the gums to other areas of the mouth, such as the throat or tongue. The cause of this disease is thought to be prior infection with feline Calicivirus. This condition is often very difficult to control and may require repeated or constant treatment.

What are tooth neck lesions?

Neck lesions result from a progressive destruction of the tooth substance effectively resulting in slowly deepening “holes” in the teeth concerned. Once the sensitive parts of the tooth is exposed, these lesions are intensely painful, and usually the only available treatment is to extract the tooth. The cause of this disease is unknown, however poor oral hygiene is suspected to play a role in the disease-process. Tooth neck lesions are very common, especially as cats get older.

What should I do if my cat has signs of dental problems?

If you can see that your cat has evidence of tartar accumulation, gingivitis or is exhibiting any signs of mouth pain or discomfort then you should take it to your vet for a check-up. You will be advised of the most appropriate course of treatment, which may involve having the cat’s teeth examined and cleaned under general anaesthesia.

The rate of tartar accumulation is very variable between individual cats, and in some cases this may necessitate professional cleaning on a regular basis (every 6-12 months)

What can I do to help prevent dental disease in my cat?

In order to help prevent dental disease the prime aim is to keep the mouth as hygienic as possible and to reduce the rate at which tartar builds up on the teeth.

The diet should contain, in part, foodstuffs which encourage chewing, such as tough pieces of meat and raw meaty bones.  Examples include chicken wings and necks. These should be included in the diet on a regular basis, i.e. several times per week.  The act of chewing stimulates the production of saliva, which contains natural antibacterial substances; and the mechanical action helps to scrape plaque and tartar off from the teeth.

Several commercial dry food diets have been developed for preventing dental disease and reducing tartar accumulations. Hills Science Diet have both T/D and Oral Care dry foods and Eukanuba have a Dental Defence System in their foods. Royal Canin have Dental SO,  Whiskas have “Dentabits” and there are several manufacturers who have dental treats for your cat.

It is best to introduce cats to this type of food from an early age. In addition, decreased disease due to Calicivirus should be obtained by using vaccines.

Dental disease is one of the most frequent ailments seen by veterinary surgeons. Most cats over two years of age who are fed exclusively with commercial cat food have some degree of dental disease.
The most common problems are:

  • periodontal disease
  • gingivitis
  • neck lesions (also called resorptive lesions or odontoclastic lesions).

Dental disease is one of the most frequent ailments seen by veterinary surgeons. Most cats over two years of age who are fed exclusively with commercial cat food have some degree of dental disease. The most common problems are:

  • periodontal disease
  • gingivitis
  • neck lesions (also called resorptive lesions or odontoclastic lesions).

What signs am I likely to see that indicate my cat might have dental disease?

If your cat has dental disease you might notice:

  • Lack of interest in eating.
  • Reluctance to eat after approaching his food bowl.
  • Obvious caution or discomfort while chewing.
  • Dropping food from her mouth.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Dribbling, possibly with blood in the saliva.
  • Bad breath.
  • Pawing at his mouth or shaking his head.
  • Weight loss

What usually causes dental disease?

The most common cause of dental disease in cats is tartar accumulation. Just like people, cats accumulate bacterial plaque on the surface of their teeth. If plaque is not removed, it quickly becomes mineralised to form tartar (also called calculus).

Tartar is easily identified by its light or dark brown colour - it is normally first seen at the gum edge, especially on the back teeth (premolars & molars). In severe cases it may entirely cover the teeth.

The accumulation of tartar and bacteria on the teeth surfaces will, sooner or later, lead to infection and gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). If the disease is caught at this early stage, thorough professional veterinary treatment will permit a full recovery.

However, if gingivitis is allowed to persist untreated, then irreversible periodontal disease will occur. When that happens, the bone and ligaments that support the tooth are destroyed. Eventually, your cat will start to lose her teeth.

Tooth sockets may become infected and your cat can get tooth abscesses, or even more severe problems.

Once periodontal disease starts, the degenerative changes cannot be reversed. These changes make it easier for more plaque and tartar to collect, resulting in further disease.

Is gingivitis always associated with dental disease?

Some kittens and adult cats may show a slight degree of redness, indicating mild gingivitis, just below the edge of the gum. This can be normal if there is no other evidence of dental disease.

Some cats develop severe gingivitis with minimal signs of accompanying dental disease. This usually happens in pedigreed cats, although mixed breeds may develop gingivitis, too. Sometimes the gingivitis extends beyond the gums to other areas of the mouth, such as the throat or tongue. It is probably caused by Feline Calicivirus infection. This condition is often very difficult to control and may require repeated or constant treatment.

What are tooth neck lesions?

Neck lesions result from a progressive destruction of the tooth substance. Slowly deepening “holes” form in the teeth. Eventually the sensitive parts of the tooth are exposed and the lesions become intensely painful. Most of the time, the tooth has to be pulled.

The cause of tooth neck lesions is unknown, but poor oral hygiene is suspected to play a role. Neck lesions are very common, especially as cats get older.

What should I do if my cat has signs of dental problems?

If you can see that your cat has evidence of tartar accumulation, gingivitis or is exhibiting any signs of mouth pain or discomfort then you should take it to your vet for a check-up. Your vet may advise examining and cleaning the cat’s teeth under general anaesthesia.

The rate of tartar accumulation is very variable between individual cats, and some cats may need to have their teeth cleaned on a regular basis (every 6-12 months)

What can I do to help prevent dental disease in my cat?

The best way to prevent dental disease is to keep your cat’s mouth as clean as possible and reduce the rate of tartar build up. You can do this by including things in her diet that encourage chewing. Chewing stimulates the production of saliva, which contains natural antibacterial substances. In addition, the mechanical action of chewing helps scrape plaque and tartar from the teeth.

Some dietary options to help prevent dental disease are:

  • Tough pieces of meat and raw meaty bones, like chicken wings and necks. These can be added to your cat’s diet several times a week.
  • Commercially prepared dry food that has been developed to prevent dental disease, such as:
  • Hills Science Diet T/D or Oral Care
  • Eukanuba Dental Defence System
  • Royal Canin Dental SO
  • Dental treats, such as Whiskas Dentabits

It’s best to introduce these foods at an early age.

Another way to help prevent dental disease is to have your cat vaccinated against Feline Calcivirus.

Neutering Your Kitten

Male cats make much better companions if they are neutered before they reach maturity. The advantages of neutering your cat include:

  • Less roaming. Intact adult male cats tend to disappear for days at a time, searching for females and staking out their territory. (They really are tomcatting around!)
  • Less aggressive behaviour. Nearly all cats will fight, but most fights are between intact males. Fights lead to abscesses and the spread of disease.
  • Less spraying. Intact male cats (and females) mark their territory by spraying walls or any other vertical surface. Neutered males are less likely to spray and their urine is not as strong smelling as an intact male’s is.
  • Longer life. Because they get into fewer fights and do less roaming, neutered cats live longer than intact male cats do.
  • Population control. Many cats are euthanized because they are unwanted. Preventing unwanted litters of kittens is part of responsible pet ownership.

The Best Time to Neuter

The best time to neuter your kitten is around six months. Many veterinarians prefer to wait until the kitten is around six months because he will receive a general anaesthetic for the operation. It’s preferable to neuter your kitten before he reaches maturity, however.

Castration vs Vasectomy

Sometimes feral cats are vasectomized and returned to their original location. This is done to reduce cat populations.

A vasectomy does keep the cat from impregnating a female. It doesn’t, however, stop his male behaviours. Roaming, aggression and spraying are driven by male hormones. In order to stop those behaviours, you have to remove the testes, or castrate the cat.

Before Surgery

Your cat should not have any food or water after 8:00 pm the night before surgery. Neutering is major surgery and your cat will have a general anaesthetic. If he has food or water in his stomach when surgery is performed, he could vomit or choke.

You might want to consider having any or all of the following procedures done at the same time you have your cat neutered:

  • Have him microchipped. Microchipping identifies your cat if he gets lost. If your cat goes outdoors, microchipping is a good idea.
  • Having routine vaccinations given.

After Surgery

Your cat should be able to go home the same day he is neutered. Following are instructions for caring for your cat after you take him home:

  • Offer only a small meal the first evening after surgery. The next day he can resume normal feeding. If he is not eating by the end of the second day, notify your veterinarian.
  • Keep him indoors for the first night. Anaesthetic and painkillers may affect his balance and judgment.
  • Every cat recovers from surgery on his own schedule. Allow your cat to control the amount of physical activity he wants to do for several days after surgery.
  • If your cat licks excessively at the surgical site, please call your vet. The cat may need an Elizabethan collar to keep him from licking the site.
  • Your cat will not have sutures. You may notice some swelling at the surgical site for a few days. If the swelling seems excessive, or if there is any drainage, contact your vet.
  • Your cat will receive pain medication before he goes home. If you think he needs more pain relief, do not hesitate to call your vet.

Neutering your male kitten helps prevent unwanted litters of kittens, many of which wind up being euthanised. It also makes your kitten a better companion. He will be less aggressive, less likely to roam and — most importantly for many pet owners — he will be less likely to spray your home. Your neutered kitten will be a healthy, happy companion for many years to come.

Spaying Your Cat
Spaying, or ovariohysterectomy, is the most common surgery performed by veterinarians. It is a major abdominal surgery, and the cat’s ovaries and uterus are removed.

Why Spay?
Here are several good reasons to spay your cat:

She won’t go into heat after being spayed. Cats in heat are extremely annoying and noisy.
She won’t get pregnant. Your cat avoids the risks of pregnancy, and you don’t have to deal with a litter of kittens.

Cats who are spayed before their first heat have a significantly reduced risk of getting breast cancer later in life.
She won’t suffer from reproductive infections and disorders later in life.
It controls the population of unwanted cats, who are often euthanized.

When to Spay
There are varying opinions about when to spay your cat. We recommend spaying at five months of age. Some cats, however, go into heat before they are five months old, especially during later winter and early spring.

Cats who are in heat can be spayed, but there is an increased risk because the blood supply to the uterus is increased. The surgery requires a bit more care. If your cat goes into heat before she is spayed, discuss it with your vet.

If your cat is an adult, the best time to spay is now. The sooner cats are spayed, the fewer health problems they will have later.

The “One Litter” Myth
Some cat owners mistakenly believe that a cat should have one litter before she is spayed. This is just a myth. There are no advantages to allowing your cat to have a litter before spaying her. In fact, there are decided disadvantages:

Cats who are spayed before their first heat get the most risk reduction for breast cancer.
Pregnancy and childbirth carry health risks for your cat.
If she has a litter, you have to suffer through her being in heat first.
It is expensive to raise a litter of kittens, and it is not always easy to place the kittens in good homes.

Preparing for Surgery
Spaying is major surgery, and your cat will have a general anaesthetic. To prevent vomiting or choking during surgery, her stomach should be empty. Remove her food and water the night before her surgery, and keep her indoors so she can’t hunt.

If your cat has not had her vaccinations or been microchipped, it is convenient to do it at the same time she is spayed.

Caring for Your Cat After Surgery
Your cat will probably be sleepy when you take her home. She will have received pain medicine to keep her comfortable, and that makes her sleepy. Here are specific instructions for taking care of your cat after surgery:

Keep her inside in a warm, quiet environment for the first night. She will need to use a litter box.
She can have food and water the evening after surgery, but she may not be interested in it.
If she is not fully awake and eating normally by the day after surgery, please notify your vet.

Every cat recovers differently. Let her decide how much activity she wants to do over the next few days.
Treat her with extra gentleness until she has healed. Limit contact with other pets and young children.
Your cat has intra-dermal sutures, which are placed under the skin. The sutures do not need to be removed, and your cat cannot chew them out.

Check her surgery site every day for the next few days. If you notice redness or excessive swelling around the wound, drainage from the wound or opening of the wound take her to the veterinary clinic.
Call your vet if you have any questions or concerns.

Is your cat’s diabetes being managed in the best possible way?
Want expert advice and the best possible result?

The Cat Clinic is a world leader in the treatment of feline diabetes and our research has changed the treatment outcomes of diabetic cats around the world.

We can review your current treatment plan, work closely with your local vet or take over complete management.

We hope your cat never needs it, but sometimes special imaging is required to investigate and treat disease. Sophisticated equipment is used for many non-invasive techniques such as x-ray, ultrasound, endoscopy, colonoscopy and bronchoscopy to visualise internal areas and obtain samples of tissue or fluid for diagnosis.

When required we have outpatient access to CT and MRI.

These are usually done under a light general anaesthetic and can be combined with other short procedures such as dentals or lump removals.

Cats can be clipped fully or alternatively have just their bellies clipped and the rest of their coat groomed thru.

Your cat has been scheduled to have a procedure that requires an anaesthetic to be administered.

What You Need To Do

  1. Do not allow your cat to eat after 8 pm the night before the procedure.
  2. Water is allowed up until admission.
  3. Bring your cat in at the arranged time.
  4. Advise us of any problems your cat has had with anaesthesia in the past.
  5. Advise us of any drug allergies your cat has.
  6. If your cat is receiving medications ask us prior to giving them on the morning of the procedure. If in doubt DO NOT give the medication and advise us at admission.

In order to minimise the risks of anaesthesia our staff use only the best anaesthetic agents and equipment. Our staff will closely monitor your cat before, during and after the procedure. In some cats it is necessary to shave areas of fur for the placement of drips and some of the anaesthetic monitoring equipment.

The areas that are often shaved are on the front legs, the wrist and under the tail. If blood tests need to be taken there may also be a shaved area under the neck. If a surgery is being performed there will be a large amount of fur shaved around the surgery site. Ultrasound examinations will also need to have fur shaved.

We routinely measure heart rate, breathing rate, blood oxygen levels, breath carbon dioxide levels, gum colour and refill, blood pressure and depth of anaesthesia. Measuring all of these allows us to identify and correct any abnormalities that can arise during anaesthesia before they become a problem. Despite taking all precautions it is possible that complications, including death, can still occur in very rare circumstances.

If you have any questions about your cats anaesthetic or procedure, please feel free to ask.

Our hospital at Mt Gravatt has a designated intensive care unit for the really sick cats with continuous monitoring overnight by one of our vets when required. Cats at Paddington and Clayfield that need attention overnight or on weekends, are transferred to the hospital at Mt Gravatt where we can keep a close eye on them.

With no noisy dogs, and staff who understand the special needs of hospitalised cats, the intensive care unit allows recovery of some really sick cats who may otherwise not have survived.

Chronic Pain

Cats are very good at hiding pain and are often overlooked because of it. Pain causes a variety of clinical signs including reduced appetite, difficulty jumping, lameness and resentment of being handled or groomed. Pain relieving medication designed just for cats can be used to effectively relieve pain.

The hardest part is usually recognising they are suffering pain.

Kidney disease
We routinely screen cats for evidence of kidney disease and when found, fully investigate the cause so we can recommend the best possible therapy. This often involves analysis urine, imaging the kidneys with ultrasound and collecting a biopsy when indicated.

The Cat Clinic excels at diagnosing and managing kidney disease.

We can perform microchipping. Call us to make an appointment or for more info.

The Cat Clinic takes referrals for a wide range of cases including

  • General medicine
  • Oncology – surgical and chemotherapy
  • Diagnostic imaging including ultrasound, radiology, dental radiology and endoscopy
  • Radio-Iodine therapy for hyperthyroidism
  • Dentistry including dental radiography and root canal therapy
  • Soft tissue surgery
  • Microsurgery
  • Vascular surgery
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • Renal Transplantation

Our clinic is well equipped with a modern ultrasound machine, video endoscopy and full range of feline surgical equipment.

Perhaps most importantly we have a hospital full of staff that love cats and understand their sometime unusual needs. This leaves the clients very happy that you chose The Cat Clinic to refer to.

At The Cat Clinic we strive to give our feline patients the best of care, and your cat’s health is our priority. As the years go by, the ageing process can create more and more concerns for your cat and just like in people, early detection is the key to successful treatment.

The problems that our senior patients are at risk of developing include:

  • kidney disease
  • diabetes
  • overactive thyroid glands
  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • high blood pressure
  • arthritis

Over the last few years there have been excellent advances in the treatment of many of these diseases seen in older cats, especially kidney disease. For these new treatments to have their greatest benefit though, they must start early before you notice any signs of illness.

We consider any cat 10 years of age or older to be a senior cat and re recommend that all senior cats start on our Senior Cat Care Program. The program involves a full veterinary check up, weigh in, dental examination, arthritis assessment, blood pressure measurement and some simple blood and urine screening tests designed to detect early signs of disease. Senior cat checks can be done at the same time as an annual vaccination which saves on one extra trip to the vet.

Senior cats should then be reassessed every 6 months to ensure any disease is diagnosed early and optimal treated provided. A senior cat program allows us to provide your cat with the best possible care and advise you on the special needs of your senior cat to ensure a long healthy life.

Cat years Human years
1 16
3 27
5 35
7 43
9 51
11 59
13 67
15 75
17 83
19 91

How old is your cat in human years?

The clinical examination is an essential part of preventative health care, however, we need to do some tests to help up see how the body is functioning. A brief description of the tests and what they mean follows.

Blood pressure is just as important in cats as it is in people, it is much harder to measure in cats though.  We use an ultrasound detector to amplify the pulse to we can make the measurement. High blood pressure is often caused by kidney disease or overactive thyroid glands.

Urine specific gravity is a test on the urine that lets us know how concentrated a cat’s urine is.  Cats are desert animals and they are supposed to have concentrated urine. This is one test where a high result is good. Urine that is not concentrated can be the first sign of many diseases including kidney disease and diabetes. When urine is not concentrated, you will usually see an increase in thirst.
Urine dipstick analysis use test strips to measure the levels of many chemicals in the urine. This is an excellent way of screening for diabetes and urinary tract disease. Information about some parts of kidney function can also be determined.

Creatinine is a waste product that is made in the muscles. The kidneys remove creatinine from the blood. We measure the levels in the blood to help see how well the kidneys are working.  If they are not working well then creatinine will build up to high levels. Although it is the best routine blood test available it is not able to detect very early kidney disease

Urea is a waste product made from the breakdown of spare protein, much of which comes from food. Like creatinine we can measure urea and a build up show the kidneys are not working properly. It is not as accurate a test as creatinine but it will often detect kidney disease slightly earlier.

ALT is an enzyme that is found in the liver and elevated levels indicate liver problems. Common causes of liver problems in older cats include bacterial infections, liver cancer and overactive thyroid glands.

Total protein is a simple test that measures the levels of protein in the blood. Abnormalities can be caused by many problems including inflammation, blood loss, liver, kidney, or intestinal disease.

Packed cell volume is a measure of how many red blood cells your cat has in their blood and tells us if anaemia is present or if there is dehydration.

Phone us today to arrange a senior check for your cat and join our Senior Cat Care Program.

From time to time, cats require surgery to diagnose or treat diseases. There are many differences between cats and dogs and, sadly, cats are often treated as just “small dogs. We focus on things like pain relief before, during and after surgery. Special nursing care, warm soft bedding, a quiet hospital area and attention to appetite are likely to make your cats surgical experience the best possible.

The management of many surgical conditions in cats is often very different to dogs. Understanding these differences allows us to provide the best possible outcome. We perform extensive soft tissue and orthopaedic surgeries and an operating surgical microscope allows us to do microsurgery when required.

We accept referrals for any surgery and welcome referring vets to come and scrub in to theatre with their patients.

An over active thyroid gland, hyperthyroidism, is the most common hormonal disease seen in cats and the best way to cure it is radioactive iodine.

To find out if your cat is a good candidate, call us today and book an appointment. The waiting list for radioiodine therapy can sometimes be several months so book now. We require a 50% deposit with each booking and the account settled (total cost of therapy is approx $1400) before being discharged from hospital.

See Radioiodine Inpatient and Outpatient for more details.

Regular vaccination is an important part of routine health care for your cat and helps to ensure your cat remains fit and well.

Many serious and life-threatening diseases can be prevented by vaccination.

Regular vaccination is an important part of routine health care for your cat and helps to ensure your cat remains fit and well. Many serious and life-threatening diseases can be prevented by vaccination. In Australia, there are a number of vaccines that are currently available for use in cats to protect against the following diseases:-

Feline Herpes Virus Type 1 (FHV-1; feline rhinotracheitis virus)
Feline Calicivirus ( FCV)
Feline Panleukopenia (feline infectious enteritis; feline parvovirus)
Feline Chlamydial Infection
Feline Leukaemia Virus ( FeLV)
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

How do vaccines work?

Vaccines work by exposing the body's immune system to a particular modified infectious agent.  This causes the white blood cells to react to fight the infection by producing proteins (antibodies) which are able to bind to and neutralise the infectious agent (antigen).  Antibodies work together with other white blood cells (lymphocytes) which are able to identify and kill cells within the body which have become infected by the agent (cell mediated response).  After vaccine exposure, the body 'remembers' the particular antigens so that when they are encountered again it can mount a very rapid and strong immune response preventing the cat from showing clinical signs of disease.

It is important to realise that most vaccines work by preventing your cat from becoming ill and may not prevent it from becoming infected.  This means that if a vaccinated cat becomes infected with ‘cat flu’ it may still shed the disease producing organism which can infect unvaccinated animals which will then become ill.  This is not a major consideration in the pet cat but may be important in the breeding colony.

What is the difference between the various types of vaccine?

The 2 major types of vaccines for use in cats are:

Modified live vaccines- these vaccines contain live organisms that are weakened (attenuated) so that they do not produce disease but will multiply in the cat's body. It is not advisable to use modified live vaccines in pregnant queens or cats whose immune system is not working properly e.g. cats infected by feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

Killed (inactivated) vaccines - these vaccines are prepared using fully virulent organisms that have been killed by chemicals, UV light or radiation.  Because, on their own, they do not give such a high level of protection, a chemical (adjuvant) is added to the vaccine to stimulate a better immune response.

 

When should my kitten be vaccinated?

Kittens should be first vaccinated at 6 to 8 weeks and then every 4 weeks until they are 16 weeks or older. For most kittens this will mean 3 vaccinations. A kitten will not be fully protected until 7-10 days after the last vaccination.  Under specific circumstances we may advise an alternative regime.

How often should booster vaccinations be given?

Guidelines for booster vaccinations are constantly being debated around the world. Vaccines currently used in Australia are labelled by the manufacturer to be given every 12 months. We support this and recommend that after the initial series of kitten vaccinations that cats be vaccinated every 12 months.

Will vaccination always protect my cat?

Vaccination will protect the vast majority of cats but under some circumstance vaccine breakdowns will occur.  There are many reasons for this including:-

1.       Variations between different strains of viruses - this is particularly true of FCV where many different strains exist, not all of which are covered by the vaccines available.

2.       Maternally derived antibodies - when a kitten is born it is protected in its early life by antibodies passed from the queen in the first milk (colostrum).  These antibodies can also prevent vaccination from working properly. The amount of colostral antibodies that each kitten receives is variable and so the age at which a kitten can respond to vaccination successfully will also vary.  This is part of the reason why two or three injections are given in the primary course.

3.       The cat was not healthy at the time of vaccination - 'stress' can prevent a good response to vaccination.  For this reason your vet will give your cat a physical examination before a vaccination is given.

4.       The cat may also be pre-infected with the ‘cat flu’ virus and incubating the disease.

If you feel your cat has contracted an infection for which it is vaccinated then let your veterinary surgeon know.  Investigation to establish why vaccination has possibly failed can be undertaken.

What are the risks of vaccination?

Generally the risks of vaccination are extremely low, severe reactions being very rare. Many cats experience mild reactions at the site of vaccination where a lump may occur that can be painful.  Generalised reactions are sometimes seen, the cat being quiet, lame and often off its food for 24 hours after vaccination.  Occasionally more severe signs occur including vomiting, diarrhoea and profound depression.  Under these circumstances your veterinary practice should be informed.  Vaccine reactions appear to occur more commonly in kittens and some purebred cats.

Which are the most important vaccinations to have?

We suggest all cats be vaccinated against feline herpes virus, feline calicivirus and feline panleukopaenia. This is often referred to as a F3 vaccination.
For outdoor cats, we recommend vaccination against feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

Feline respiratory virus infection
Disease is caused by feline herpes virus or feline calicivirus and is commonly termed 'cat flu'.  It is a common disease in unvaccinated cats and can cause long-term problems, including chronic sneezing, nasal discharge, inflamed eyes and severe gum problems.

Feline panleukopenia infection
This is now an uncommon disease that causes a severe and often fatal gastro-enteritis.  Vaccination provides a high level of long lasting protection.

Feline immunodeficiency virus infection
All outdoor cats are susceptible to infection with FIV if bitten by an infected cat unless protected by vaccination against the virus. The initial vaccination is followed up by 2 more vaccinations 2-4 weeks apart and then with annual boosters. FIV vaccines can be given at the same time as regular F3 vaccinations.

Feline Chlamydial infection
This tends to be a particular problem in colony cats. Chlamydial infection causes a painful inflammation and swelling of the conjunctiva (the membrane around the eye) and has been associated with infertility in queens. This vaccine can make many cats sick for several weeks and only suggest vaccination in certain circumstances.

Feline leukaemia virus infection
FeLV causes suppression of the immune system, cancer of the white bloods cells and solid tumours. It is an extremely rare disease in Australia seen mainly in colonies. We only suggest vaccination for FeLV for at-risk cats.

Regular vaccination is an important part of routine health care for your cat and helps to ensure your cat remains fit and well.

Whether your cat is scheduled for an elective procedure or surgery, or needs to be hospitalized because of illness, we understand that you may be concerned about leaving your cat. We want to do all we can to make you and your cat as comfortable as possible. Please feel free to ask any questions or share any concerns you may have. Please advise us of any special dietary requirements your cat has, or any favourite foods.

When your cat is checked in, we will ask you to designate a person to receive information about your cat’s progress. Please ensure that this person is available at all times should we need to get in touch with you. This person can then relay information to the other members of the family. We will also collect contact information and provide you with an estimate for the currently expected procedures if you want one. A veterinarian or nurse (depending on the case) will admit your cat, and answer any questions you have about the planned procedures. A staff member will complete the necessary paperwork, and obtain a deposit if appropriate.

If your cat is here for a routine procedure, such as spaying, castration, or dental cleaning, we will arrange a discharge appointment for the afternoon. Please keep in mind that we see many cats for procedures each day, and we want to make sure all our patients get the attention they deserve while here. Complex medical and surgical patients will stay in hospital for their safety and comfort. Twice each day these cats will have a detailed examination and assessment of their progress. Once they are able to go home, we will ask you to schedule an appointment time for your cat’s discharge. At that time, a staff member will go over any discharge instructions and necessary medications.

If your cat is here for hospitalisation or intensive care (ICU), we will ask you to call us at least once daily, if any major changes occur in your cat’s condition we will call you. Your cat will be medicated and monitored throughout the day by our nurses and veterinarians. Twice each day these cats will have a detailed examination and assessment of their progress.

We encourage visits from family members during normal hospital hours, but it is necessary to call and let us know you are coming. This is so we can make sure your cat isn’t scheduled for any treatments while you are visiting. Your cat will be comforted by friendly faces, but may be overwhelmed by too many visitors at once. While hospitalised, your cat may be connected to IV fluids, urine collection systems or feeding tubes. While we do whatever is needed for your cat’s health and well-being, we realise this can sometimes be disconcerting, especially to younger visitors. Our hospital is staffed 24 hours a day so we can provide excellent care round the clock.

If at any time you have any concerns regarding the care of your cat please feel free to speak us about your concerns.