A helpful guide to caring for the newest member of your family
Having a new kitten is very exciting, but sometimes it can be overwhelming. Enclosed you will find helpful facts regarding vaccines for your kitten, general information about common health concerns, details about our hospital, and key emergency contact numbers, should you ever need them.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Parasites and their prevention…............16-21
Common kitten behavior....................….22-25
Spaying and neutering….........................26-30
Toxic foods and poison control............34-37
Helpful brochures and handouts.........38-50Congratulations!
Mon: 7:30am - 6:00pm
Tue: 7:30am - 8:00pm
Wed: 7:30am - 8:00pm
Thurs: 7:30am - 8:00pm
Fri: 7:30am - 6:00pm
Sat: 8:00am - 3:00pm
If you encounter an emergency after our emergency hours,
please call one of the following emergency hospitals:
Ocean State Veterinary Specialists (401) 886-6787
Tufts-Cummings Veterinary Emergency (508) 839-5395
Mass/RI Veterinary ER (508) 730-1112
Hours of Operation
Here's a little bit more about us:
NorthPaws Veterinary Center is a well-established, full-service, small animal veterinary hospital providing comprehensive medical, surgical and dental care. Additionally we are one of the few hospitals in Rhode Island accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (read more on page 6).
We provide a broad spectrum of diagnostic procedures through in-house testing and the use of external laboratories. We also work closely with local specialists when more advanced procedures are required. Our hospital is equipped with a modern surgical suite, laser therapy, in-house x-ray and ultrasound capabilities, and a closely supervised hospitalization area. We also have a well-stocked pharmacy and provide a large selection of prescription diets.
Doctors currently practicing at NorthPaws Veterinary Center include:
Dr. Danielle Paradise, VMD, CVA
Dr. Mark Paradise, VMD
Dr. Shannon Arnold, DVM
Dr. Meagan Connolly, VMD
Dr. Stephen Dyer, DVM, DABVP
Dr. Diane Fortier, DVM
Dr. Carolyn Vasquez, DVM
(Feel free to request a preferred doctor when scheduling an appointment.)
We look forward to keeping your pet happy and healthy
as he or she continues to grow through the years!
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) is an association of veterinary members who primarily treat companion animals, or pets. There are over 32,000 AAHA members, including veterinarians, technicians, managers, receptionists, and more.
AAHA developed their Accreditation Program to improve the level of care being provided to companion animals and raise the bar of veterinary excellence. AAHA, along with a group of veterinary experts, developed the AAHA Standards of Accreditation as benchmarks of excellence. AAHA accredited practices are regularly evaluated by a Practice Consultant to ensure they continue to meet AAHA’s standards.
Veterinary practices choose to become AAHA-accredited for many reasons, including the desire to:
Have challenging benchmarks to reach Ensure that practices are up-to-date on changes in veterinary medicine Improve practice operations and check skills Enhance credibility with peers and clients Encourage leadership development Have their achievements recognized We are accredited!
The following list is a sample of some of the standards of care used to define an AAHA accredited hospital like NorthPaws:
Anesthesia: Methods for assessing anesthetic needs in patients and appropriateness of equipment Client Service: Communicates well with clients during all aspects of their visit Contagious Disease: Protocols, processes and facilities to handle contagious diseases and avoid outbreaks Continuing Education: Continuing education tools and opportunities for staff members Dentistry: Safe dental procedures that protect both the patient and staff members Diagnostic Imaging: Adequate equipment to generate quality diagnostic images and utilizes proper procedures and equipment to protect staff members from radiation Emergency/Urgent Care: Equipment handling and process for emergencies Examination Facilities: Properly equipped for thorough examinations Housekeeping and Maintenance: Cleanliness Human Resources: Handling of personnel matters Laboratory: Laboratory services for the prompt diagnosis of patients Leadership: Leadership’s commitment to creating a positive work environment and providing highquality care Medical Records: Continuity of care through medical record details Pain Management: Pain assessment, management and training Patient Care: Humane and advantageous care to patients during all aspects of their visit Pharmacy: Proper handling, storing and dispensing of medications Safety: Safety of environment for patients, clients and team Surgery: Patient safety in an aseptic environment with appropriate pre- and post-operative care AAHA Standards
FELINE INFECTIOUS DISEASES or "DISTEMPER" (FVRCP)
A combination vaccine recommended for all felines,
FVRCP protects against 3 common feline diseases:
feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR), calicivirus (C), and panleukopenia (P).
1. FELINE VIRAL RHINOTRACHEITIS (FVR)
Causes nearly half of all upper respiratory disease infections in cats.
2. FELINE CALICIVIRUS (C)
Major upper respiratory infection, often along with feline rhinotracheitis.Transmission - By droplets sneezed and coughed from an infected cat
3. FELINE PANLEUKOPENIA (P)
Highly contagious virus that can destroy cells in bone marrow, brain, intestines, and lymph tissue.Transmission - By saliva and mucus secretions of acutely ill cats
Feline Core Vaccinations: Distemper
RABIES is an acute viral brain disease that can infect any mammal. Cats are the most reported domestic animal with rabies. Rabies is a zoonotic disease, which means it can spread to humans.
All kittens require a series of initial distemper boosters during their first year
in order to develop adequate protection.
Distemper is boostered one year after finishing the kitten series, then every three years.
The standard rabies vaccination for cats is given once yearly starting around 3 months of age.
Mandated by law
FELINE LEUKEMIA VIRUS (FeLV):
Causes malignant tumors and anemia; suppresses immune system, making cats vulnerable to other diseases; highly contagious between cats; recommended for outdoor cats with exposure to unknown felinesTransmission – Virus is transmitted by saliva, urine, and blood. Can also be passed from mother to kitten
Feline Optional Vaccinations
Recommended for felines with a high exposure risk
Testing for FeLV and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
FIV and FeLV are leading causes of illness and death in cats. The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) urges all cat owners to have their cats tested for FIV and FeLV, especially at-risk cats, sick cats, and kittens. Simply put, all cats are at risk. Even "indoor" cats should be tested to rule out the possibility of infection. However, there are factors that can put some cats at higher risk than others.
AT RISK CATS INCLUDE THOSE WHO;
Early detection of infection via a simple blood test will enable you to manage the disease and maintain the health of your cat.*31 million cats are at risk for FIV each year* *Only 11% of cats at risk for FIV/FeLV are ever tested*
FACTS ABOUT FIV and FELV
Parasites and their prevention
While this means heartworm disease often gets undiagnosed in cats, it is important to understand that even immature worms can cause real damage in the form of a condition known as heartworm associated respiratory disease (HARD). Moreover, the medication used to treat heartworm infection in dogs cannot be used in cats, so prevention is the only means of protecting cats from the effects of heartworm disease.
Heartworm disease in cats is very different from heartworm disease in dogs. The cat is an atypical host for heartworms, and most worms in cats do not survive to the adult stage. Cats with adult heartworms typically have just one to three worms, and many cats affected by heartworms have no adult worms at all!
Parasites: Feline Heartworm Disease
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF HEARTWORM DISEASE IN CATS?
Signs of heartworm disease in cats can be very subtle or very dramatic. Symptoms may include coughing, asthma-like attacks, periodic vomiting, lack of appetite, or weight loss. Occasionally, an affeted cat may have difficulty walking, experience fainting or seizures, or suffer from fluid accumulation in the abdomen. Unfortunately, the first sign in some cases is sudden collapse of the cat or sudden death.
WHEN SHOULD MY CAT BE TESTED?
Heartworm infection in cats is harder to detect than in dogs, because cats are much less likely to have adult heartworms. The preferred method for screening cats includes the use of both an antigen and an antibody test (the "antibody" test detects exposure to heartworm larvae). Your veterinarian may also use x-rays or ultrasound to look for heartworm infection. Cats should be tested before being put on a prevention that treats heartworm, and they should be retested as the veterinarian deems appropriate to document continued exposure and risk. Because there is no approved treatment for heartworm infection in cats, prevention is critical.
Parasites: Feline Heartworm Disease, cont.
WHAT IF MY CAT TESTS POSITIVE?
Because a cat is not an ideal host for heartworms, some infections resolve on their own, although these infections can sometimes leave cats with respiratory system damage. Heartworms in the circulatory system can also affect the cat's immune system and cause symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. Heartworms may also migrate to other parts of the body, such as the brain, eye, or spinal cord. Severe complications, though rarer, may include things like blood clots in the lungs or lung inflammation when the adult worms die in the cat's body.
HOW CAN I PREVENT HEARTWORM DISEASE IN MY CAT?
Administration of monthly heartworm prevention is the key to making sure your cat is safe. All cats are at risk for heartworm disease, but there are increased risks for those who spend a lot of time outdoors. Feline heartworm preventatives often come in either a topical or oral form, and many, such as Revolution, offer the added benefit of controlling infections from additional parasites. Talk to your veterinarian if you feel your cat is at risk, and together you can determine the appropriate preventative options for your cat.
Parasites: Feline Heartworm Disease, continued
Fleas are an external parasite that are a year round problem and are found throughout the country. They can easily infest your pet and your home. Like many parasites, fleas need to live on a host. Cats and dogs are the preferred host for the common flea because of the warm, protective environment of pet hair. Pets also provide transportation for the fleas from one host to another.
Some pets are highly sensitive to flea bites and may develop an allergic reaction to even one bite. These pets often become very itchy and uncomfortable, possibly leading to fur loss and skin infections. Fleas can also carry tapeworms, which can infect be ingested by pets during grooming.
Adult fleas are only a small percentage (5%) of the total flea population and are the only life stage that lives on a pet and can be seen. The other 95% of the flea population is made up of eggs, larvae and pupae. These stages may hide everywhere your pet goes in the house including carpeting, bedding, furniture, and crevices in doors and flooring.
The best way to keep fleas off your pet is to use a veterinarian recommended flea product year round. These topical or oral medications will kill the adult fleas on your pet and prevent adults from laying eggs. Not all products are created equal and many simply don't work, so ask your vet what they recommend for your pet.
Almost every kitten has been exposed to potentially dangerous intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. These intestinal worms steal vital nutrients and can cause blood loss, discomfort, vomiting, weight loss, and poor growth, especially in puppies. Microscopic protozoa such as coccidia and giardia can also affect your cat.
Proper identification of parasites is essential to administer appropriate treatment. A microscopic examination of your pet’s fecal sample will identify any parasite eggs or protozoa (which are not visible with the naked eye). If your pet is treated for a parasite, another fecal sample should be examined 3-4 weeks after treatment to ensure all parasites have been eliminated. To prevent reinfection, clean your pet’s litterbox as quickly as possible.
Some of these parasites can affect humans. The risk of exposure to humans (especially small children) should be discussed with your veterinarian. Preventatives and routine fecal screening for pets will help keep everyone in the family healthy.
Common kitten behavior
By nature, cats are inquisitive and playful, which frequently gets them into trouble. Cat-proofing your home with these tips will help prevent accidents:
1. Physical punishment is the least effective method for training cats. Hitting or striking your cat will only frighten or anger it, frequently leading to biting and clawing. Instead, keep a squirt gun or water bottle available. Water won’t hurt your cat, but it will deter most kittens from doing things they shouldn’t, such as jumping up on counters.
2. Spend lots of time playing! Tie an object to a string or a pole and wave it around while watching TV. Encourage your kitten to chase this toy instead of your fingers or toes, which encourages biting. Be careful not to leave a kitten unattended with a piece of string. These are among the most common and deadly of intestinal obstructions.
3. Do not grab at your cat, play too rough, or intentionally scare it. This leads to the development of biting reactions and encourages aggression.
4. To prevent chewing on cords and shoes, use unscented roll-on antiperspirant on these items once or twice each week. Cats don’t like the drying, bitter taste and will soon learn to avoid these things.
Kitten Behavior and Training Tips
5. Aluminum foil can be used to keep your cat away from areas you don't want him to be (such as potted plants, many of which are toxic, or countertops). Cats generally don’t like shiny, noisy foil and will avoid it. Double-sided sticky tape also works well on couches and chairs to prevent scratching and jumping up.
5. Confine your kitten to one room with no plants or other dangerous objects when you are not home. Common hazards include rubber bands, pencil erasers, ear plugs, needles & thread, small toys, paper clips, fabric scraps, and earrings. Anything smaller than 1” in diameter could potentially be swallowed.
6. Providing at least one scratching post goes a long way toward preventing a cat from sharpening his nails on your furniture, and even declawed cats like to stretch and knead their paws. Rubbing catnip on the scratching post will encourage its use. Keep the post in a place where the kitten spends a lot of time. Cats usually prefer a larger post that they can climb up and down. Use your squirt bottle if you see him scratching in inappropriate places.
8. Be cautious of the laundry room and kitchen. Many cats die each year after exploring the washing machine, taking a nap in the dryer, or jumping on or in a hot stove or oven. These areas contain things like laundry soap and bleach that can be toxic if a cat walks through the area and then licks their paws. Remember, cats are also very good at learning how to open cabinet doors.
9. A collar and ID tag ensures your cat can be identified if it escapes outside, but use breakaway collars to prevent choking. Better yet, get your cat microchipped to provide permanent identification.
10. Be sure that a litter pan is always accessible and in a quiet place. Clean it frequently (every day)! If your house is large, it is best to have more than one box. There should also be one more litter pan than the total number of cats in a multi-cat household. Avoid heavily scented litter if you can — cats often don’t like the perfume smell. They may also become averse to using the litter box if you abruptly change brands of litter.
Spaying and neutering
Spaying or neutering your pet is an important decision for all pet owners. It is recommended to have your pet spayed or neutered between the ages of five and six months. Puppies and kittens can reproduce as early as six to nine months of age!
Spaying Benefits (females):
Neutering Benefits (males):Neutering at an early age can significantly decrease aggression towards people as well as interdog aggression. Most animals that are hit by a car are intact males. If neutered, males are less likely to roam. Intact males can sense a female in heat up to two miles away! Intact males are at a higher risk for prostatitis (enlarged prostate) and prostate cancer. Eliminates risk for testicular tumors. Unneutered males mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine and are much more likely to urinate in the house. Benefits of Spaying/Neutering Your Pet
NorthPaws Veterinary Center offers a complimentary pre-surgical exam approximately one week prior to your kitten's spay or neuter surgery. At this time, the doctor will talk to you about our standards of care and what to expect with the surgery and recovery.
We also recommend pre-surgical bloodwork at this time. Just as your doctor would run a blood test before your surgery, we do the same for cats and dogs. A pre-anesthetic screening assesses organ function and identifies any unknown diseases. These tests let us create an individualized anesthetic plan for your kitten in order to avoid possible complications during the procedure. It also give us a baseline to use as a part of your pets medical history. If any results are not within normal ranges, we can alter your pet's anesthetic procedure or take other precautions to ensure your pet's safety.
1. Does NorthPaws Veterinary Center offer surgical services?
Yes! NorthPaws has a modern, fully equipped surgical facility on the premises.
2. Are all types of surgeries performed at NorthPaws?
Yes. Almost all routine and non-routine surgeries can be performed by NorthPaws’ doctors. We also offer in-house services by a Board Certified veterinary surgeon for the occasional case that falls outside the scope of our regular doctors’ training.
Will my pet receive a thorough physical exam prior to anesthesia?
Will presurgical bloodwork be recommended to determine if there may be any increased risks during anesthesia?
Will my pet have an intravenous (IV) catheter for a safety line and IV fluids?
Does anesthetic monitoring on my pet consist of a minimum of noninvasive blood pressure, oxygenation (SpO2), respiratory rate, heart rate, temperature, and CO2 (with ventilation), +/- an electrocardiogram (EKG)?
Will my pet receive pain medications prior to surgery as well as for me to give at home?
Will my pet have someone monitoring them and watching for potential problems from the beginning of surgery until the time where they are fully awake (or are procedures performed in a “production line” fashion)?
Common Surgical Questions
3. What questions should I ask when choosing where my pet should have surgery?
There are several extremely important questions you should be asking any facility that will be performing anesthesia and surgery on your pet. All facilities are not the same. Do not assume the following answers will always be yes!
4. Don't all veterinary facilities have to meet or exceed the minimum accepted standards of care in veterinary medicine for surgery and anesthesia?
No. Unfortunately (and surprisingly), there are no state or federal regulations in veterinary medicine to assure that a hospital or spay/neuter program adheres to the profession’s minimum “Standards of Care” for surgery and anesthesia. Comfort levels with subpar and outdated methods are quite common.
5. Do all of NorthPaws’ procedures, surgical and otherwise, exceed the minimum accepted standards of care in veterinary medicine?
YES! NorthPaws is extremely proud to be one of the very few veterinary hospitals in Rhode Island (and the nation) to be accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). This means that every aspect of our operation is routinely and thoroughly inspected and found to exceed the rigorous standards of care set forth by AAHA.
Common Surgical Questions, continued
Your pet’s oral hygiene greatly affects his overall health. Diseases of the mouth are often painful and can contribute to additional health problems. Most cases of dental disease show little clinical signs until very late in the process, so periodontal disease is often under-treated.
You can help your pet’s dental health by taking an active role, especially when your pet is young. There are several ways you can care for your pet’s teeth every day. A complete home dental care program for your pet often will include brushing in addition to a special pet food or treat that helps care for your pet’s teeth while he or she eats. Even if you aren’t able to brush your pet’s teeth every day, by incorporating a special pet food into your pet’s daily routine you can provide the dental care needed to keep your pet healthy. Be sure to talk with your veterinarian about the options that exist and which are right for your pet.The importance of oral hygiene
STEP 1: Introduce a brushing program to your pet gradually. Avoid over-restraining your pet, and keep brushing sessions short and positive. A cat or small dog can be held in your lap. Praise and reassure your pet throughout the process.
STEP 2: At first, dip a finger into beef bouillon for dogs or tuna water for cats. Rub the soaked finger gently over the pet’s mouth and teeth. Make the initial session short and positive.
STEP 3: Gradually, introduce gauze over the finger and gently scrub the teeth in a circular motion. Start with one tooth and slowly do more teeth if your pet allows. This process may take a few days to a few weeks until your pet is acclimated to it.
STEP 4: Finally, you can introduce a soft toothbrush or fingerbrush designed for pets. Use a sensitive or ultra soft brush designed for people or a brush specifically designed for pets. Special pet toothbrushes are available from your veterinarian or specialty pet store. Always make sure to use veterinary toothpaste. Toothpaste designed for people should never be used, because it could upset your pet’s stomach.Brushing Your Pet's Teeth
Toxic Foods and Poison Control
If you should encounter a possible ingestion of a foreign substance after hours and are unsure of toxicity, please call one of the poison control phone numbers below:
(Please be aware that there may be a fee associated with consultations
with the poison control hotlines)
PET POISON HELPLINE (800) 213-6680
KANSAS STATE POISON CONTROL (800) 222-1222
ASPCA PET POISON CONTROL (888) 426- 4435
Helpful Brochures and Handouts
Congratulations! You made it through the kitten pack! Click below to download a coupon worth $5 off your pet's spay or neuter appointment.
If you have any questions, please call us at 401-949-5030.
We look forward to seeing you soon!