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Kitten care info

Taking Care Of Your New Kitten

Let us help you in taking care of your new kitten! We have all the tips and tricks to make your kitten care the best it can be.

What To Expect When You’re Expecting A Kitten

We’ve got your back. Here’s the breakdown for all the information that you’ll need to take care of your new bundle of joy and energy!

6-8 weeks old:
Wellness Exam
FeLV/FIV Combo Test
FVRCP Booster
Intestinal Parasite Check
Monthly Flea Protection
10-12 weeks old:
Wellness Exam
FVRCP Booster
Monthly Flea Protection
12-15 weeks old:
Wellness Exam
FeLV Booster
FVRCP Booster
Monthly Flea Protection
16-18 weeks old:
Wellness Exam
FVRCP Vaccine Annual
FeLV Vaccine Annual
Rabies Vaccine Annual
Monthly Flea Protection
6 months old:
IV Fluids
Presurgical Bloodwork
Additional Pain Meds
1 year old:
Wellness Exam
FeLV Vaccine Annual
FVRCP Vaccine: 3 year
Rabies Vaccine: 3 year
Intestinal Parasite Check
Adult Preventative Screen*
Monthly Flea Protection
Every Year:
Wellness Exam
FeLV Vaccine Annual
Intestinal Parasite Check
Adult Preventative Screen*
Monthly Flea Protection
Every 3 Years:
Rabies Vaccine: 3 year
FVRCP Vaccine: 3 year

*Cats 7 years and older receive the benefit of
our ‘Senior Preventative Screen’, a more
inclusive and comprehensive screening process
designed to detect conditions and disorders
more common in older pets.

Vaccine Explanations


‘FVRCP’ is an acronym for three common, potentially fatal diseases that can cause your feline friend severe respiratory and nervous system distress. Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus (Feline herpesvirus 1), Calicivirus and Panleukopenia (Feline distemper).

Feline Rhinotracheitis (Feline herpesvirus 1): Feline Rhinotracheitis is caused by the feline herpesvirus type 1. It is easily spread through airborne respiratory secretions such as eye, nose, or mouth discharge of an infected animal or direct contact with a carrier cat or contaminated objects. Symptoms include sneezing, salivation, and profuse discharge from the eyes and nose in the early stages. More severe cases can include anorexia, depression, weight loss, and enlargement of the liver and spleen. Feline Rhinotracheitis is an extremely common cause of respiratory disease and often results in chronic, lifelong infection with intermittent recurrences causing respiratory and sometimes eye disease. Unvaccinated cats are most susceptible as well as the very young and very old. You can prevent your kitten from contracting Rhinotracheitis by having them vaccinated.

Calicivirus: This viral infection of the respiratory system is spread by direct contact with an infected cat or by contact with contaminated objects. Calicivirus is resistant to disinfectants and is persistent within the environment. Symptoms can include fever and excessive salivation. Mouth sores resulting in severe oral pain are also common in this potentially fatal virus. Treatment varies based on severity and can consist of antibiotics and palliative care or hospitalization, including intravenous fluids. Prevention is simple and easy by keeping your feline friend up-to-date on the FVRCP vaccine.

Panleukopenia: Also known as “Cat Distemper”, this highly contagious disease affects the gastrointestinal tract, immune system, and the nervous system. Spread by direct contact with infected cats, or by contact with viral particles in the environment, this usually fatal disease causes fever, anorexia, vomiting, depression, diarrhea, and dehydration.

There is no specific treatment for panleukopenia. Palliative care aims to manage symptoms while the patient’s immune system fights the virus. Hospitalization is likely, and this may include a whole blood transfusion, intravenous fluids, injections of vitamins A, B, & C, and IV antibiotics. The best defense against Panleukopenia is vaccination.


Rabies Virus is an acute viral brain disease that can infect any mammal, including humans. It is almost always transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Symptoms of Rabies in pets include sudden significant changes in behavior such as irritability, aggression, fear, unexplained paralysis, and foaming at the mouth. Once clinical symptoms are present, Rabies is always fatal. There is no treatment and no cure! State law requires unvaccinated animals who have been exposed to the virus to be quarantined and/or euthanized ten days after exposure.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) 

The FIV virus is closely related to human HIV, however, FIV is not transferrable to humans. It is spread among the cat community through saliva, usually through biting. It is also transferred from mother to kitten, not in utero, but through mother’s milk. Early symptoms may include mild illness, lethargy, decreased appetite, and a slight fever. Palliative care may be given to ease symptoms, but there is no cure for the virus itself.

Feline Leukemia Virus Infection (FeLV)

Considered one of the most common and destructive of all cat viruses, Feline Leukemia Virus severely inhibits a cat’s immune system making them extremely vulnerable to infection. The virus is shed in bodily fluids, including saliva, nasal secretions, urine, feces, and blood. However, it is most commonly transmitted through direct contact, mutual grooming, and sharing litter boxes and food bowls.

It can also be passed from mother to kitten in utero and through mother’s milk. Outdoor cats who participate in fighting can receive the virus through bites and scratches. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for Feline Leukemia Virus. It is estimated that less than 20 percent of clinically infected cats will survive more than three years of active infection. While there are no symptoms to alert you to the presence of FeLV, there is a blood test available for the detection of both FeLV and FIV. Testing will occur when your kitten is 8 weeks old or on your first visit. A negative test means we can start your precious feline family member on a vaccine designed to help avoid this unfortunate fate.

Treatment Explanations

Wellness Exam

Certain vaccines can be ineffective or even dangerous if your pet is not in good health. For this reason, prior to vaccination, Dr. Ackler will administer a complete, comprehensive wellness exam. He will look in your pet’s eyes, ears, and mouth and listen to their heart and lungs. The Wellness Exam is concluded with a nose-to-tail physical exam to help keep you and your pet safe and happy.

Intestinal Parasite Check

It is very common for kittens to arrive in their new homes with some uninvited guests: intestinal parasites! This unwelcomed infestation can cause your furry family an array of unpleasant symptoms, including diarrhea, weight loss, weakness, and poor general health. Some infestations may have no symptoms, while a severe case of intestinal parasites can be fatal. And, a cat with intestinal parasites might share more than cuddles with you. Many types of parasites can be transferred to humans, where they cause similar medical problems. Children are at an even greater risk as they are more likely to play on the floor, at pet level, with bare feet and hands, making transfer more likely. Keep yourself and your family safe from these health hazards with regular testing and treatment! Once a pet has tested positive and been treated for intestinal parasites, it is crucial to have them tested again one month later to ensure the treatment was effective. Severe infestations may require more than one treatment to be cured.


According to the American Humane Association, one in three pets will become lost at some point in their lifetime. Unfortunately, only 22% will be reunited with their family after reaching a shelter. Microchipping your pet dramatically increases this return-to-owner rate and helps ensure a lifetime of togetherness with your best friend.

A microchip, no bigger than a grain of rice, is placed under the skin between the shoulder blades during the insertion procedure. Each microchip has a unique identification number that can be read by a pet health professional using a handheld scanning device. Once registered, this identification number is matched with owner information in a comprehensive database. Microchipping is an inexpensive way to give yourself peace of mind and give your pet a path home!

Feline Adult/Senior Preventative Screen

With a single blood sample, Dr. Ackler can check the function of your pet’s internal organs, see a glucose level, and check the health of your pet’s red and white blood cells. The Adult Preventative Screen is a powerful tool in increasing your pet’s longevity and quality of life. If your four-legged friend is going to have a condition or disorder that threatens his health, Dr. Ackler will likely see it here long before it shows up as symptoms, allowing you to make diet and lifestyle changes now that will help to avoid acute disease in the future.

When our pets reach the age of “7,” they are considered senior citizens, and additional care must be taken to ensure their health. Our Senior Preventative Screen is similar to our Adult Preventative Screen, however, it provides a more inclusive and comprehensive screening process designed to detect conditions and disorders more frequent in older pets.

Unfortunately, when it comes to our furry family members, by the time symptoms are present, it is often too late to do anything but treat symptoms and keep them comfortable. The value of having your pet healthy and well is immeasurable, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

FeLV/FIV Combo Test

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) are both underlying conditions that kittens can get from their mom and families. They are transmitted either in utero, via mother’s milk, saliva or other bodily fluids during grooming, shared litter boxes, and feeding bowls. Cats of any age who test negative for FeLV can receive a vaccine to help keep them healthy. While there is no cure for either virus, knowledge is power! Understanding your kitten’s health will allow you to plan for and provide their longest, highest quality life possible.

Spay & Neuter

Over the course of six years, a single female cat and her offspring can produce over 65,000 kittens! Sadly, nearly ten million cats and dogs are euthanized each year due to overpopulation and lack of homes. You can be an important part of the solution by making the loving choice of sterilization.

Animals who have been sterilized reap many health benefits, including avoiding certain types of cancers and prostate disease. The procedure not only encourages a longer, healthier life, it also makes cats more affectionate companions, reduces temperament problems, and eliminates the mess and stress of a female’s heat cycle.

How to Care For Your Kitten and Keep Them Healthy

Just like the rest of your family, pets need proper nutrition, affection, regular exercise, and good preventative health care to maintain good health. Once your cat is past the primary kitten vaccinations, the Annual Physical Exam and Preventative Screenings are the most important things you can do to protect their longevity and quality of life. Some vaccines, like those for Feline Leukemia, require a yearly booster to remain effective. In addition, you should contact us for an exam if you see any of the following symptoms:

  • An increase/decrease in appetite that lasts more than a few days
  • Unusual discharge from the nose, eyes, or other body openings
  • Unusual behavior, including lethargy or aggression
  • Limping or difficulty getting up or laying down
  • Excessive head shaking, scratching, or licking
  • Foul breath or excessive deposits on teeth
  • Changes in urination or drinking habits
  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Swelling or abnormal lumps
  • Obvious injury or illness

In an emergency, call the clinic immediately at (231) 587-0520.
After hours, a message may refer you to an emergency clinic.

These Unwanted Hitchhikers Are Out For My Blood


Fleas are more than just a nuisance for your pet. They can also pose a serious health hazard! Flea bites can cause Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD), which causes severe discomfort for your pet. Flea bites can also transmit diseases such as:

Cat Scratch Disease

Adult fleas on your pet are just the tip of the “infestation iceberg.” A single female can lay up to 2,000 eggs in her 30 to 90-day lifespan. While eggs, larvae, and pupae can be hard to see, they can be found anywhere in your home where an infested pet has been. Treating all household pets is the key to preventing infestation. Indoor pets are susceptible to fleas brought in from other pets and people. Once you use the first dose of a flea and tick control product on your pet, it might appear that the infestation is getting worse. However, the fleas you find are hatching from the immature flea stages that already existed in the environment. These newly hatched fleas will also perish once they attempt to host on a treated pet.


Various tick species can be found across the country. Some of the most common are the American Dog tick, Black-legged tick, Lone Star tick, Brown Dog Tick, and the Woodchuck tick. An adult female can produce thousands of eggs at one time after feeding and mating. Once her eggs hatch, the larvae begin feeding on the blood of their host. From there, they mature into nymphs before becoming adult ticks capable of transmitting diseases such as:

Lyme Disease
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Tick Paralysis

White-tailed deer and other wildlife can bring ticks right into your backyard, putting your pets at risk! Thankfully, prevention is available in oral or topical form to help keep your best friend safe and healthy. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff is here to help direct you to the right product for your family.