has your cat had a recent check up?

Doug Paterson
Doug Paterson

At our surgery we see all kinds of animals – from snakes to salamanders.

Dogs are easily the most common family pet that we treat, and most of our doggie patients come in every six months for their regular health checks.

Part of this regime also involves a booster vaccination once per year to keep them protected against infectious disease.

There is one species however (according to national statistics) that is under-vaccinated– that is to say that the percentage of that species that is vaccinated is low.

It might surprise you to learn – unless you already guessed by the title of the article – that it is the cat!

Cats are the second most common pet in the UK.

However, in our practice, 10 per cent more dogs come in for annual vaccinations than cats, and this pattern plays out across the UK.

This adds up to a whole lot of cats in the UK who do not receive regular health examinations and are unprotected against infectious disease.

I thought it would be interesting to review what we vaccinate cats against this week, and would like to encourage any cat owners reading The Falkirk Herald this week that if their pet cat has not seen a vet in the last 12 months, they should make an urgent appointment to have puss’s vaccinations brought up to date.

It is a common urban myth that if a pet has vaccinations as a baby they are covered for many years afterwards. This is not true.

Protection from vaccination lasts for around 12 months, and then starts to disappear.

An annual vaccination and health-check is therefore vital to maintain protection.

Urban myth number two is that housecats do not require vaccination – all housecats are at risk of contracting cat flu and a viral gastric bug called Feline Enteritis.

Both these illnesses can result in a cat needing to be hospitalised for intensive treatment, and both are preventable by vaccination.