Mount Rose Animal Hospital offers a variety of preventative medicine approaches, procedures, testing, and vaccinations designed to prevent disease and promote a happy, healthy life for your pets. Read below to learn more about the various options available for your pet.
FELV / FIV Testing
FELV (Feline Leukemia Virus) and FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) are two devastating feline immunodeficiency causing diseases. People cannot get these diseases. Both FELV and FIV viruses operate in cats similarly as HIV operates in people. The FIV virus is most commonly transmitted from cat to cat via bites, while the FELV virus can be transmitted through infected cat saliva and nasal secretions (i.e. using the same water/food bowls; biting is not required). Also, it is possible for a mother cat positive with either virus to pass the virus to her kittens. Due to the various forms of transmission, stray cats, shelter cats, indoor/outdoor cats and fighting cats are the highest risk group. Once infected with either virus, the cat becomes a potential silent carrier. A carrier of FELV or FIV can be asymptomatic for years or can be come sick very quickly. Every patient is different. The clinically sick patient with FELV or FIV can have a multitude of problems including any of the following: weight loss, dehydration and fever. Other symptoms can include kidney problems, ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, cystitis (urinary tract infection), etc. The symptoms are wide ranging and can also include skin diseases, nerve damage and cancerous growths.
FIV also has a wide ranging group of symptoms. Since the immune system is depressed, upper respiratory infections can become chronic. The mouth can become inflamed there can be loss of weight due to chronic diarrhea, fevers, enlargement of the lymph glands, chronic abscesses and cystitis (urinary tract infection). Younger, healthier cats can live for years with the disease in remission.
As you can see, FELV and FIV diseases can be extremely challenging to recognize. Unfortunately, there are no specific treatments for cats that have either disease. Aggressive supportive care for individual illness events is the best tactic we can provide. For all cats, these viruses at some juncture typically lead to the death of the pet.
At Mount Rose Animal Hospital, our doctors and staff believe all cats should be screened for FELV and FIV; healthy cats, sick cats, new cats, cats in multi-cat households and all indoor/outdoor cats…it is always good to know your cat's status! Testing your cat for FELV/FIV is very simple. The test is also relatively inexpensive. It can be performed quickly in the hospital with a turn-around time of results in less than an hour. All that is required is a few drops of your cat's blood to run the analysis.
Our best strategy for combating FELV/FIV is prevention. Our first and best line of defense for cats against FELV/FIV infection is avoidance. In other words, strictly indoor cats that have been tested negative are extremely unlikely to acquire these viruses if not exposed to other cats. Our second line of defense is vaccination. A very effective vaccine currently available for FELV prevention and should be administered to all indoor/outdoor cats annually. There is also an FIV vaccination available; however, there are controversial issues still surrounding its use. The doctors of Mount Rose Animal Hospital will be happy to discuss the vaccine protocol options that will be best for your cat.
Heartworm Disease Testing
Heartworm disease is a blood-borne parasitic worm infection transmitted from dog to dog via a mosquito vector. In an infected patient not diagnosed and treated, this disease results in fatal heart and lung problems. Due to Reno's more desert-like arid climate, with fewer mosquito vectors, our immediate community is considered to be a "low-risk" zone. However, many people travel with their pets and even if you don't, the doctors and staff at Mount Rose Animal Hospital advocate that all dogs are regularly tested for heartworm and are on heartworm preventative year round. There have been reported cases of heartworm positive dogs with no knowledge of travel beyond Reno or the surrounding area. And without question, heartworm disease is prevalent throughout California and most of the rest of the United States.
Any dog older than 7 months of age should be tested for heartworm disease prior to starting the preventative. This test is inexpensive, often performed in-house with a rapid (less than 1 hour) turn-around time for results. Heartworm testing merely requires a few drops of your pet’s blood to perform.
Once a negative heartworm test result is confirmed, there are several medication choices available for heartworm prevention. All of these medications prevent heartworm disease…how they differ is two-fold: 1. By what route you administer the medications (i.e. oral, topical, etc.) and; 2. What other parasites (fleas ticks, intestinal parasites, etc.) these preventatives also protect your pet from.
The doctors at Mount Rose Animal Hospital can discuss with you which preventative option will be best for your pet.
A fecal floatation test is a simple, inexpensive test which checks for evidence of intestinal parasites in your pet's stool. At Mount Rose Animal Hospital, the doctors and staff recommend that all puppies and kittens have fecal test run during their initial visits. Even if their stool appears normal, many young pets have intestinal parasites; thus all should be checked and de-wormed. In addition, many adult dogs and cats should have fecal tests run annually. The animals that benefit the most from such tests are indoor/outdoor cats (aka "the hunters") and dogs that are frequently exposed to other dogs (i.e. those going to shows, kennels, dog parks, etc). Certainly, all pets experiencing diarrhea and/or vomiting problems should have a fecal test performed as a part of their medical work-up.