Last Update: 2/9/2018 1:54:00 PM
Ask the vet's pets: Even indoor cats need vaccines
Dear Christopher Cat: We found a cute kitten, Frosty, that we have decided to keep. Since we've never had a cat before, we don't know much about their care. For example, do kittens need vaccinations? Frosty will stay indoors.
Christopher responds: Yes, all kittens need vaccinations, even if they will live indoors exclusively, so make an appointment with your veterinarian. To start with, your vet will tell you Frosty's gender.
Your veterinarian will vaccinate Frosty to protect against distemper and upper respiratory infections. These diseases are so contagious that a kitten can become infected without having direct contact with another cat.
Because even indoor cats are susceptible to rabies, your veterinarian will vaccinate Frosty to provide protection.
Your vet also will test Frosty to ensure that your kitten is free of the feline leukemia and immunodeficiency viruses. Many veterinarians recommend vaccinating kittens for feline leukemia.
In addition, your vet will test Frosty for intestinal parasites and recommend ways to control them, since they can infect indoor cats.
Finally, you'll want your vet to sterilize Frosty to prevent unwanted breeding behaviors. At the same time, your vet can implant a microchip to provide permanent identification, in case Frosty ever escapes from your home.
Choose a veterinarian you respect and enjoy seeing, because you and Frosty will build a lifetime relationship with this professional, your other family doctor.
Dear Daisy Dog: My pug, Biscuit, has been scooting her rear end on the carpet. When I mentioned it to a co-worker who has a pug, she said something about anal sex and recommended I make an appointment with Biscuit's veterinarian. I know Biscuit hasn't had sex of any kind, so now what should I do?
Daisy responds: You may have misheard your co-worker, who probably said she thinks Biscuit has a problem with her anal sacs and should see the veterinarian for treatment.
A dog has two anal sacs, which lie beneath the skin and open into the anus. The sacs are lined by anal glands that produce a foul-smelling liquid which normally is released with each bowel movement to let other dogs know who was there.
But some dogs' anal sacs don't empty as they should. When the sacs fill, the uncomfortable swelling causes the dog to lick the anus or scoot the behind on the ground in an attempt to empty them.
The problem is most common in small dogs, dogs that are overweight, those that have neurologic problems affecting the hind end and dogs whose anal sac ducts are abnormally formed.
If ignored, impacted anal sacs can become infected or rupture through the skin, causing bleeding and pain.
So take Biscuit to the veterinarian, who can confirm the cause of her scooting and, if her anal sacs are impacted, empty them.
Ask the Vet's Pets appears Friday in the print edition of the Reading Eagle. The animal authors of the column live with Lee Pickett, V.M.D., who practices companion animal medicine. Contact them at www.askthevetspets.com.