Appointments: (02) 6251 1444
16-18 Purdue St, Belconnen, ACT
(Parking via Gillott Street)
Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 8:30am - 1:00pm
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Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Virus update

Thursday, September 12, 2019
                                               The common strain of Calicivirus is active in the ACT this spring. Kittens with sore mouths, sneezes and runny noses suffer like humans with colds.
Unvaccinated kittens and cats fall victim to Calicivirus and take longer to get over it than vaccinated cats.
Vaccines stimulate the cat's natural immune system to produce defences to viruses.
The two viruses that cause 'cat flu' are calicivirus and herpesvirus. Most cats come into contact with them at some time in their lives.
Owners can bring calicivirus and parvovirus, which causes Feline Panleukopenia or Enteritis, home on their hands and shoes so even indoor cats are at risk of illness.
The vaccine for panleukopaenia is very effective and in adults immunity lasts for 3 years.
The vaccine for the 'cat flu' reduces the severity of flu symptoms and vaccinated cats recover more rapidly.

Home visits

Tuesday, August 13, 2019
                             A Canberra Cat Vet vet and nurse will visit your home to examine, vaccinate or blood test your cats. Mums with young babies, people without transport, anxious cats, senior people, senior cats, and multi cat households love our house call service.

Dr Georgia finds it easier to solve cat behaviour problems like urinating around the house and intercat aggression when she sees the cat's environment.

If you think that this service might suit you and your feline companions please phone and discuss it with our receptionist on 6251 1444.

Your kitten's first vet visit

Thursday, June 14, 2018
Your kitten's first visit to the vet is a big occasion for your kitten and for you. Make sure the carrier is a familiar and secure place for the kitten by leaving it out in the kitten's space for a week or so beforehand. Put some treats in there and let the kitten play around and in it. Line it with a fluffy towel so that if the kitten toilets on the journey in she isn't sitting in it.

In the waiting room place the carrier on the table or the reception desk and cover it with one of our Feliway-soaked blankets. In the consulting room your vet will leave the carrier door ajar while the kitten gets used to the sounds of the clinic and the voices around her.

The vet will discuss diet with you and make some suggestions on the variety of foods you might like to try. Avoiding obesity is a perennial problem especially in cats kept indoors so you will also find out how to check your kitten's waist line. If you have had any trouble with diarrhoea or vomiting then discuss it with your vet. Often diet or changes of diet cause tummy upsets in kittens.

Your vet will design a vaccination programme for your kitten depending on age, whether indoor or outdoor, and if boarding or grooming are likely in the future.

The risk of worms, fleas and other parasites will also be assessed and your kitten treated as necessary.

We also like to discuss any behaviour problems particularly around the litter tray, or with other pets, cats or dogs, at this visit. Inappropriate play behaviour or aggression issues can be addressed also.

Your vet will discuss the best time to desex your kitten and to microchip her if this hasn't already been done. Often this is around the time of the final vaccination. If your kitten has already been desexed we will schedule an adolescent check at about 8 months of age to discuss weight, diet, behaviour and any other concerns you might have as she matures.

Any vaccination follows a discussion of your kitten's general health and environment, as well as a full physical examination. We are as gentle and calm as possible so that we make this first visit pleasant and relaxed. Your kitten's attitude to vet visits depends on a good first impression! 


Kitten deaths in Canberra

Thursday, March 01, 2018


Panleukopenia, also known as Feline Enteritis, has swept through the homeless and rescued kitten population of Canberra in the last month. Kittens died from dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhoea, and massive secondary infection. Aggressive support with intravenous fluids and broad spectrum antibiotics helped some but a high proportion of affected cats died.
Infection with the parvovirus which causes Panleukopenia is highly preventable. Mass vaccination prevents outbreaks. When less than 70 per cent of the population is vaccinated, the situation is perfect for the emergence of a disease epidemic. The current outbreak is a timely reminder that maintaining immunity in populations of animals with effective vaccines is essential.
The usual F3 vaccine is highly effective in protecting against Panleukopenia.
If you are unsure of your cats' vaccination status please phone us on 6251 1444 and we will check our records for you. Cats less than 12 months of age are most vulnerable and must have had an F3 booster after 16 weeks of age to be fully protected.

Enteritis outbreak - check your cats' vaccination record

Thursday, March 02, 2017
 
Since the 1970’s, vigilant use of feline core vaccines has resulted in strong herd immunity against feline enteritis (FPV), also known as panleukopaenia, caused by a parvovirus. Cases of the virus, which causes fevers, vomiting and dreadful diarrhoea, were almost unheard of.
 However, there has been a re-emergence of the potentially fatal enteritis over the last few years, with three outbreaks in Victoria between 2013 and 2015 claiming the lives of around 200 cats. Over the last month, shelter-based outbreaks of the disease have been reported in both New South Wales and Queensland, including Blacktown Pound in Sydney’s west.  At another shelter the infection claimed the lives of five out of seven cats in one litter, before the virus was identified, enabling appropriate treatment of the other two kittens.
The most common form of FPV is the acute form, which presents as a three to four day history of fever, depression and anorexia, progressing to vomiting and diarrhoea.  Severe clinical illness leading to mortality is much more common in young, inadequately vaccinated kittens three to five months of age. 
The key to disease control is still mass vaccination. “Disease in cats is caused by parvoviruses, small DNA viruses. The main one is feline panleucopenia virus but parvoviruses that infect dogs can also cause the disease in cats” Professor Vanessa Barrs, Specialist in Feline Medicine told media publications. When less than 70 per cent of the population is vaccinated, the situation is perfect for the emergence of a disease epidemic, she said. The current outbreak is a timely reminder that maintaining immunity in populations of animals where effective vaccines are available is essential.
If you are unsure of your cats' vaccination status please phone us on 6251 1444 and we will check our records for you. Cats less than 12 months of age are most vulnerable and must have had an F3 booster after 12 weeks of age to be fully protected.

Gastro virus spreading north

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Vets at Canberra Cat Vet are urging cat owners, especially those with kittens less than 12 months old to check their vaccination records. They should have had vaccinations against Panleukopaenia virus, also known as Feline Enteritis, at approximately 8, 12 and 16 weeks old with a booster at about 15 months of age.

Panleukopaenia virus, has spread north from Melbourne to Mildura. Vets in Mildura diagnosed the virus in a litter of 5 month old kittens and a 12 month old male cat. The virus will continue to advance through inadequately vaccinated cats.

The virus causes severe diarrhoea, collapse of the immune system, fever and dehydration. There is no cure but some cats survive with supportive treatment.

The vaccine is very effective as long as kittens have had the last of their boosters from about 14-16 weeks of age.

Feline FIV and AIDS

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Australia has one of the highest prevalences of FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) in the world BUT testing positive for FIV is not the same as having the disease feline AIDS.

Feline AIDS describes the terminal stages of disease which may not occur for many years – or at all! A positive FIV test means that your cat has been infected by the virus.

 Are my family at risk?No. Although FIV belongs to the same family of viruses as HIV in people, it only infects cats. There is no risk of cross infection of either virus between species.

 Are other cats in the household likely to be infected?

 The virus is shed in the saliva of infected cats and spread by biting. Cats with a history of cat bite abscesses are more likely to test positive for FIV. Spread between cats in a household is unlikely unless they fight. Normal social interactions such as grooming rarely transmit FIV. The best way to minimise the chances of FIV infection is to confine uninfected cats indoors away from aggressive cats.  How is FIV diagnosed?

FIV is diagnosed with a blood test at the surgery which detects an immune response (antibodies) to the virus. If this test is positive your cat is infected. Kittens with immunity passed on from their mother may test positive until 4 months of age. If a young kitten tests positive we retest them at six months of age. Will my cat recover?

Once a cat is infected with the virus it remains infected for the rest of its life but not all infected cats  become ill.  What diseases does FIV cause?

Like HIV, FIV suppresses the body’s defences so that the cat is vulnerable to diseases it would normally  defeat. The cat is vulnerable to chronic or recurrent infections that fail to respond to regular treatment. These include:
  1. Inflammation of the mouth and tongue leading to appetite loss, drooling and mouth pain
  2. Weight loss
  3. Poor appetite
  4. Fever
  5. Signs of brain dysfunction such as aggression, unequal pupils, convulsions and behavioural changes
  6. Swollen lymph glands
  7. Unusual infections like toxoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, chronic flu, pneumonia, skin disease
  8. Tumours especially those of the lymph system
The non specific signs of weight loss, poor appetite and fever occur in many diseases of cats and are usually unrelated to FIV. Cats with FIV are more likely to suffer from these signs and diseases more often and  be less able to throw them off even with treatment. FIV positive cats have a shorter life expectancy on average than FIV negative cats. Is there any treatment?

Secondary infections with bacteria or fungi are treated with antibiotics and anti-fungals but no specific treatment for the virus is available. Trials with anti-HIV drugs such as AZT have reduced mouth inflammation in affected cats but the cost and availability of AZT makes its use in general practice difficult at present. Anti-inflammatory treatment reduces mouth inflammation and peps up the appetite in many cats. Should I have my cat euthanased?

Certainly not on the basis of a positive FIV test!  Like humans with HIV, cats with FIV appear healthy and happy for a long time before getting sick. On the other hand if your cat has succumbed to multiple infections, is no longer responsive to treatment or is suffering from a chronically painful mouth then euthanasia is the kindest solution. How can I help my cat?

 Confinement indoors of an FIV positive cat  reduces the risk of infection with other agents. It also reduces the risk of transmission of the virus to other cats. A good quality, highly palatable diet as well as worming every 3 months and at least annual health checks will enhance the disease free period. Infections especially abscesses require prompt and aggressive treatment. How do we prevent FIV infection?  Desexing and confinement indoors, especially at night, reduces fighting and therefore the risk of infection. We recommend vaccination with FIV vaccine for all cats with access to the outdoors. Cats older than 6 months of age are tested for FIV before the first vaccination. A series of three primary vaccinations is given 2-4 weeks apart and then a booster is given annually.

 

 

Does my cat need an annual checkup?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Because cats are so good at hiding illness and discomfort it is imperative that they have a check-up at least once a year. Cats older than 9 years of age may need a physical twice a year especially if we identify any problems.

During the examination we check their eyes, mouth, teeth, ears, heart, lungs, skin, joints and belly for any abnormalities. Many cats start having dental problems as early as 3 years old. Skin disease, allergies and gut upsets an happen at any age.

We discuss the optimal diet for your particular cat because every cat is an individual.

Behavioural problems like inappropriate urination, yowling or attacking often come up in discussion, too.

If your cat is likely to go into boarding or other stressful situations then we recommend an annual vaccination for enteritis (also known as panleukopenia or parvovirus) and the two flu viruses (calicivirus and herpesvirus). This vaccine is also known as the F3 or 3 in 1 vaccination. Inside cats who don't go into boarding may need less frequent F3 vaccination.

Cats who go outdoors or who may escape home, particularly if they fight, require an FIV vaccination against feline AIDS every year. It is important that cats receive the FIV vaccine boosters exactly 12 months apart.

We also give or recommend the best worming and flea treatments for your cat during the annual visit.


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A calm, quiet haven for cats and their carers staffed by experienced, cat loving vets and nurses.

Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

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