Routine wellness exams and preventative care are important for your cat’s
health. At the wellness exam, a comprehensive physical exam is performed well as discussion of diet, behaviors, parasite prevention, and analysis of lifestyle. Based on your cat’s lifestyle, an individualized vaccination plan is determined (scroll to the bottom of this page to read more details about vaccines). We recommend yearly blood screenings to establish a baseline normal for your individual cat and to assist in detecting problems earlier. Cats are actually known to hide many of their symptoms, and sometimes they are not brought in until disease is already advanced. The visits will differ slightly based on your cat’s life stage. Please see more detailed explanations below based on age.
Kitten (Birth up to 1 year):
Kitten vaccination series start as early as six weeks old and continue every three to four weeks until they are between sixteen and twenty weeks old. Each wellness visit includes a comprehensive exam to make sure your kitten is healthy and developing normally. During the visits, we establish a deworming plan and check for any ectoparasites including ear mites and
fleas. We discuss testing for feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). We will also review the timing for spaying or neutering and parasite prevention products. Any other questions such as diet, grooming, nail trimming, litter box tips, etc will be answered. If it is your kitten’s first visit, we ask that you bring all health papers you may have and a fresh stool sample to examine for intestinal parasites. We also recommend putting your kitten in a carrier or on a harness and leash for their safety.
Young Adult (1-6 years):
Bringing your cat in for yearly physical exams and wellness bloodwork allows us to detect changes before they become major problems. We perform a thorough physical examination that includes an evaluation of
your cat’s coat, skin, eyes, ears, teeth, heart and lungs, joints, and internal organ systems. We will discuss and review if any vaccinations are needed for your cat. As you cat matures, we focus on any changes including grooming habits, behavior, weight, oral health, parasite prevention, etc. Dental cleanings under anesthesia may be recommended based on the stage of dental disease. The annual exam is also the perfect opportunity to speak with our doctors about any concerns.
Mature Adult (7-10 years):
At these visits, we strongly recommend regular blood work. Cats rarely show outward signs of dental disease or early kidney problems, which when more promptly treated can lead to a longer and improved quality of life. Dental disease can be very painful and most cats will benefit from a dental cleaning under anesthesia by this age. We monitor for any changes in appetite, urination, cognitive function, mobility, grooming habits, weight loss, or gain. At this age, environmental changes may be needed such as easy access to litter boxes, beds, etc. A comprehensive physical exam will also allow making sure no other abnormalities are detected.
Senior (>10 years):
At this life stage, we recommend seeing your cat at least every 6 months. During your cat’s senior exam, a thorough physical exam is performed. We often recommend regular blood work to monitor chronic diseases and medications which your pet may be on. Make sure to bring a list of all medications, as well as supplements that your cat is receiving. Closely monitoring your senior pet’s activity, appetite, mobility and thirst can give us clues to changes, which when managed early on can often lead to a better quality of life for our aging companion.
Rabies Vaccine – We offer a one and three-year vaccine. This vaccine is required by law and must be given by a licensed veterinarian. Rabies is a deadly disease that is caused by a virus that affects the nervous system. Cats are exposed most commonly through wildlife such as bats, raccoons, skunks, coyotes, and foxes.
FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis-Calicivirus-Panleukopenia) Vaccine- also referred to as feline distemper vaccine. This is considered a core vaccine for all cats. This vaccine protects against severe upper respiratory tract diseasesas well as feline parvovirus which can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, and low white blood cells.
FeLV – Feline leukemia is a virus that is most commonly transmitted through saliva; it can also be transmitted during pregnancy or through milk of an infected mother. If a progressive infection occurs, it can lead to lymphoma, anemia, or other secondary diseases. This vaccine is considered a core vaccine for kittens and cats less than a year old. For adult cats, this vaccine is a lifestyle vaccine meaning only those cats who go outdoors or are in contact with cats of positive or unknown FeLV status need it yearly.
For general information, questions, appointment requests, call us at:
Phone: (219) 365-8531
Fax: (219) 365-1032
For emergencies please call North Central Veterinary Emergency Center (219) 881-1600
St. John Animal Clinic Hours
Monday 7:30 am - 7:30pm
Tuesday 9:00am - 6:00pm
Wednesday 7:30am - 7:30pm
Thursday 9:00am - 6:00pm
Friday 7:30am - 6:00pm
Saturday 7:30am - 12:00pm