Many cats start having litters of kittens this time of year, and we start seeing them for their first kitten wellness exams at the clinic. We love this time of year, because who doesn’t like to snuggle and play with cute, energetic balls of fur?! Hearing the names that are picked out is always fun for me; there is usually a good story behind each pet’s name.
At West Lake, we recommend bringing your kitten in for its first visit around 8 weeks of age. Each visit varies slightly depending on the kitten’s history and the plan for their future. Typically we recommend a Feline Leukemia/Feline AIDS test to rule out disease that can’t be seen on the physical exam. We also recommend doing a parasite test to check for intestinal worms and coccidia, which are treatable once detected. If the kitten is in overall good health, we will usually perform the first set of vaccinations at this visit as well. Kittens will return to the clinic about once a month until they have their full series of vaccinations finished around 16 weeks of age. In Sangamon County, all cats are required to have a current rabies vaccination.
It is a good idea in Springfield and Rochester to keep your kitten on flea and heartworm prevention year round. We have fairly mild winters in Illinois, and we actually see pets with fleas even throughout the winter. Fleas can make kittens very sick by causing anemia. Heartworm disease is not as prevalent in cats as it is in dogs, but it does happen so preventing it is ideal.
It is important to have your kitten spayed or neutered for several reasons. First of all, it is a necessary procedure to help control pet over-population and keep unwanted dogs and cats out of shelters. Secondly, it has positive medical benefits for your kitten such as decreasing certain cancer risks, reducing territorial behaviors (marking and roaming), and eliminates the risk of uterine infections. At West Lake, we typically recommend having the procedure performed around 6 months of age.
West Lake Animal Hospital’s mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.