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Cat Advice

Keeping Your Cat Healthy & Happy

In this section of our site, we aim to introduce you to a number of pet health care topics, such as medicating your cat, information on Cat Fleas, Worms, Neutering and much, much more.

We have also included a number of topics on 1st aid for your pets, as well as the most commonly encountered health & behavioural problems.

Please use the expandable buttons below to find the information you are looking for.

If you have a suggestion on any article which you feel should be included on this site, please contact us at the clinic.

You may also download our FREE ABC Guide to kitten care by clicking here.

First Aid

The First thing to remember is DON'T PANIC!

Contact your vet as soon as possible and explain the problem. They will advise you if your pet needs urgent attention.

DON'T GIVE ANYTHING TO EAT OR DRINK UNLESS THE VET TELLS YOU TO DO SO

There are ways that you can prepare for emergencies, and first aid can often save a life.

1. Keep the name, address and telephone number of your own vet next to the phone.

2. Keep a working pen and paper by the phone to take down instructions if necessary.

3. Don't dash along to the practice without telephoning first.

4. Keep a Pet First Aid kit at home and with you when you are travelling.

If you suspect your pet has been poisoned CONTACT YOUR VET IMMEDIATELY.

Poisoning:

  • There are too many types of poisoning to discuss in one article and each case will need different treatment.
  • Do not try to induce vomiting unless you have been advised by your vet.

Vaccinations

Immunity levels do decline over a period of time and therefore it is essential to vaccinate your pets against these life-threatening diseases every year. It is also a requirement of catteries that your pets are up-to-date with their vaccinations & they may refuse them if you can't prove this.

The 3 major diseases we vaccinate against in the UK are cat flu, feline enteritis and feline leukaemia. There are 2 main considerations that decide which vaccinations a cat should receive: the cat's age and the environment they live in.  

We recommend the following vaccination schemes:

Kitten Course

The kitten course involves two injections, given 3 weeks apart. The earliest age for the first vaccination is 9 weeks.

We recommend that all cats be vaccinated against cat flu (calicivirus and rhinotracheitis virus) and enteritis (feline panleukopaenia virus). This also includes indoor cats, since it is possible for owners to transport the viruses inside the house on their clothing/shoes etc.

For cats that go outside, we strongly recommend vaccination against feline leukaemia virus as well. This virus is spread by direct contact between cats, and is the second most common cause of death in young/middle-aged cats after road traffic accidents.

The cat flu, enteritis and leukaemia vaccinations can be given at the same time.

The kitten achieves sufficient protection from the vaccinations 1 week after the second vaccination. At this point, it is safe for the kitten to go outside.

Annual Booster

Cats require an annual booster, which is given up to 15 months after the last vaccination. If the cat has not had a vaccination within the last 15 months, Intervet (the vaccine manufacturer) recommend restarting the vaccination course and giving a course of 2 injections 3 weeks apart (i.e. treating the adult cat as if he were a kitten).

The component of the vaccine is the same each year (cat flu, enteritis +/- leukaemia).

If you require further information on the vaccination process, please contact the clinic or book online today. 

Fleas

Flea infestations of our domestic pets can be a continual problem for both them and their owners. Flea bites can cause quite severe reactions in both animals and humans alike, and can also cause anaemia in heavily infested young and old animals. Fleas are much more of a problem during the warmer months of the year; however, animals kept inside in a warm environment during winter can still harbour these nasty bloodsuckers.

Clinical Signs

Clinical signs of flea bites are varied. Some animals may have large flea populations yet show no adverse effects, while an animal that is sensitive to fleas may have a pronounced inflammatory response (redness, itching, hair loss) to a single flea bite. Identifying these parasites or their faeces in the animal's coat makes diagnosis of fleas easy. However, for conditions other than simple infestation, veterinary advice should be sought.

Treatment

There are numerous preparations that aid in the control of adult fleas, but we recommend the use of both Frontline and Stronghold. Both of these products kill adult fleas, and both are available as monthly 'spot-on' preparations. Frontline remains effective with repeated exposure to water (when applied in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions), and is also available in a spray form, which is also useful for tick prevention. We can advise you as to the suitability of either of these treatments for your pet, in addition to other products available.

Environment

It is also important to treat the pet's environment when aiming to control fleas. Bedding should be washed regularly and allowed to dry thoroughly each time. Kennels should be protected from the elements and well ventilated. Regular vacuuming of all areas of the house to which pets have access will keep eggs and developing fleas to a minimum, and where infestations are especially bad, we recommend using household flea sprays such as Indorex. One use of this product will protect the environment from flea infestation for up to 12 months.

Worms

It is estimated that three out of every four cats carry intestinal worms. Not only can worms make your cat sick, some species of worms can also be transferred to humans, with children being most at risk.

Control of Gastrointestinal Worms in your Cat

•  Regular de-worming of all pets, including pregnant queens and kittens, will minimise infestation of your cat and help prevent infection of humans.

•  It is also important to maintain a hygienic environment.

Remove faeces from litter trays and children's sand pits and dispose of thoroughly. Clean sleeping areas regularly.

•  Feed your cat quality-cooked or tinned meat or, better still, a complete diet such as Hills.

•  Always wash your hands after handling your pet and before eating, and remember that it is particularly important for children to be taught this!

•  Do not let pets lick your face.

•  Use a complete flea control programme, and control other intermediate hosts such as rats and mice.

De-worming your Cat

A wide variety of cat de-worming preparations are available from the Barrier Animal Care Clinic, including basic multi-wormers and combination medications, which incorporate flea control and ear mite control. (If you need a little help to give your cat pills, read our advice on the best method to give your cat medication.)

All wormer preparations vary in the frequency of dosing, please refer to the packaging supplied and drug label for more information.

If you would like any advice on gastrointestinal worm control in your cat, please don't hesitate to contact us, or drop in and speak to one of our staff.

Medicating

First and foremost, please always follow our dosing instructions for any medication. These can be found on the label that was with the medication prescribed to your pet.

One way to give your cat tablets is outlined below:

1. Ask a helper, located behind your pet, to hold the cat's forelegs and chest so that the animal isn't able to raise its paws. Then, with your left hand, hold the cat's head firmly.

2. Gently tip the cat's head back, and you'll notice that the cat will open its mouth slightly. Using your other hand, open the mouth fully by pushing down on the cat's lower front teeth.

3. Drop the medication into the cat's mouth and push it as far to the back of the mouth as possible with your finger or the rubber end of a pencil.

Close the cat's mouth and gently rub beneath the nose to stimulate the animal to swallow.

If you have trouble with the method above, why not visit the clinic and we can give you advice on your technique, or discuss other methods of medicating your cat, including using a "pill-popper", a device designed to make this an easier task.

Microchipping

Protect Your Pet From Loss With A Microchip - Quick, Simple And Permanent

The best way to ensure that a lost pet is reunited is to have him/her identified with a microchip. This tiny microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is injected under the loose skin on the back of your pet's neck. Once inserted, the identichip is permanent and should cause no pain or side effects.

We are now also able to offer the latest innovation in animal temperature reading, Identichip with Bio Thermo.

The new chip combines unique animal identification with a bio sensor, which enables immediate, simple and accurate animal temperature reading at the press of a button. As a result, the whole experience of taking an animal's temperature will now be much less stressful for pet, client and vet.

The clinic is currently offering a promotional discount on all Bio Therm microchips implanted whist your pet is under anaesthetic for any procedure – for further information and current prices, please contact us at the clinic.

Neutering

Cat Neutering is one of the most frequently performed surgical procedures at our clinic. We now recommend neutering your cat from as early as 12-14 weeks of age.

If you are interested in having this done with your pets but are on a low household income, the Cats Protection is here to help. Depending on your current circumstances, they will either pay the full cost of neutering or a percentage towards the final bill.

For more information on this scheme, please contact the CPL on (020) 8855 1027. We are also able to provide flea & worm treatment at the time of surgery if required (additional costs apply).

Neutering involves removal of the testicles in male animals (castration) and removal of the ovaries and uterus in female animals (spaying). We usually recommend that the procedure be carried out when the animal is about six months old. This ensures that the animal doesn’t develop any unwanted ‘sex linked’ behaviour – for example: Spraying urine or ‘interacting’ with objects they find attractive.

All neutering is carried out under general anaesthetic, which means that your pet will have to be left at the vets for a few hours. They are usually ready to come home around tea time. We generally ask that your animal comes back to the vets the day after the procedure for a check up, and then a week later to have any remaining stitches removed.

If you are not planning on letting your pet have a litter, we would recommend neutering. There are many advantages to having your pet neutered:

For females, there is less mess, less unwanted attention from males and no chance of unplanned pregnancies. The procedure also prevents infection in the uterus and can reduce the chances of the animal developing types of mammary cancer.

In males, there is significantly reduced chances of developing cancer of the prostate, testicles and some types of anal cancer. Neutering a male animal will also curb aggressive or enthusiastic sexual behaviour.

What precautions should I take after surgery?

When you take your cat home from hospital, it is best to keep her confined indoors to restrict her activity, which avoids putting too much strain on the surgery site. In the short term, it also allows her body temperature to adjust after the anaesthetic. Full post-operative care Instructions are provided at the time of the procedure.

Dental Care

Just like humans, cats are vulnerable to gum disease, infections and tooth problems. In fact, 60% of pets more than 5 years old suffer from serious dental disease, and in certain breeds of cat (Somali, Abyssinian, Burmese and Siamese), the proportion is as high as 80-90%.

Bad breath is caused by the action of bacteria in the mouth, and is an indicator of dental disease. If the problem is not attended to at this stage, it can progress until tooth loss, bleeding from the mouth and/or decreased appetite are seen.

Sometimes, dental disease can lead to far more serious problems elsewhere in the body. Bacteria multiply readily in the mouth, and as the gums become inflamed and start to bleed, these bacteria gain access to the blood stream. They circulate throughout the body (a condition called "septicaemia") and lodge in organs, causing abscesses to form. The tissues most prone to this are the heart valves, organs that filter blood (kidney and liver), and tissues with many, very small vessels (lungs and joints). This process can lead to problems such as severe arthritis, or major life-threatening illnesses such as kidney or heart failure.

So what can I do?

Have your pet's teeth examined by your veterinarian, and proceed with a professional dental clean if it is recommended. However, long-term control and prevention of dental disease requires regular home care.

Dental home care may include:

• Tooth brushing (at least 3 times a week). This is the best form of dental hygiene and many products are now available to assist you.

• Dental exercisers, chew toys and special diets (e.g. Hill's t/d diet). These all assist in reducing plaque, but are rarely enough to treat advanced dental disease.

The important thing to remember is to start early. Kittens quickly learn to accept dental home care as part of their daily routine, allowing you to develop proper dental hygiene early enough to prevent problems. However, older animals can also learn and benefit from the same processes. Regular and frequent attention to your pet's teeth will avoid annual visits to the hospital for a professional dental clean, and will also improve your pet's overall health.

Nutrition & Diet

There is a multitude of different foods on the market to feed our pets, so it is often hard to decide which is the most appropriate for our pet. When choosing a food, it is important to realise that the needs of our pets will change throughout their lives and will vary for different species and breeds.

On collecting your new puppy or kitten, you will usually be informed of the diet the animal has received. However, the diets given are not always easy to follow, consisting of combinations of weetabix, porridge, scrambled egg, tripe or similar concoctions! Many have the disadvantage of not being completely balanced in minerals and vitamins. It is much better to use a kitten or puppy food that has been properly formulated and has a feeding guide to enable you to supply the correct amount of calories.

Kitten & puppy food has a much higher level of calories than adult food. Growing animals need lots of energy, and also a higher level of protein, than adults to enable them to mature properly. Their food also tends to be higher in calcium for their growing bones.

Once an adult, the growth food needs to be changed to a maintenance diet. Any diet change should be done gradually over a couple of weeks, even if using the same brand, to avoid a tummy upset.

Adult food is lower in fat and protein as the body requires less of these nutrients for maintaining body condition, compared to growing.

Light versions of a maintenance diet are available if you your pet cannot keep its weight down. These are lower in protein and fat but higher in fibre and are ideal for less active, neutered or obesity-prone animals.

Senior diets can be introduced from 7 to 8 years of age. Again, these are lower in protein to help older kidneys from having to detoxify excess protein. They are also lower in fat as calorie requirements are less in senior animals, due to inactivity and loss of muscle. Senior diets tend to be higher in vitamins compared to adult foods, to help maintain body functions like tissue repair and cell production.

In summary, match your pet’s age to their food to enable them to get the most from it! Our Vets & Nurses will be able to advise you on a suitable diet for your pet.

Please remember we offer:

A 10% DISCOUNT OFF THE RRP of all dry foods 7.5Kg and over.

10% Discount for all prescription diets to PDSA registered clients with a valid prescription from the vet.

Contact us for more Information & prices.

Passports

The Rules

• To travel from the UK to another EU country, a pet must be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies and issued with an EU pet passport.

• Some EU countries have additional requirements (see later).

• To enter or re-enter the UK from other EU countries without quarantine, a pet must, in this order, be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies, blood-tested, issued with an EU pet passport and treated against ticks and tapeworms

The 6 month rule for entering the UK:

• A pet may not re-enter the UK under PETS until 6 calendar months have passed from the date the rabies blood sample, which gave a satisfactory result, was taken.

• Pets only require one satisfactory blood test and 6 month wait, provided the subsequent rabies booster vaccinations are given by the required date.

• The rules are to protect human and animal health and to reduce the risk of importing rabies into the UK. An animal infected with rabies before vaccination would not be protected by the vaccine. Six months is the time needed for most infected animals to display any clinical signs of rabies.

• Animals not meeting all the rules are licensed into quarantine.

You can contact the surgery to discuss details of preparing your pet to travel abroad, or you can visit the below websites to read details information from DEFRA (the Government department which sets the rules and regulations): DEFRA - Taking Your Pet Abroad.

Practice information

Eastmoor Place Surgery

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  • Mon
    8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Tue
    8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Wed
    8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Thu
    8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Fri
    8:00am - 6:30pm
  • Sat
    9:00am - 5:00pm
  • Sun
    Closed

Emergency Details

Please call:

020 8293 6580
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Find us here:

Barrier Animal Care Clinic 32 Hardens Manor Way Eastmoor Place Charlton London SE7 8LP
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Please call this number for emergencies:

020 8293 6580