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The Importance of Healthcare Plans

We share an essential priority with you – to keep your cat/cats happy and healthy. When your cat is unwell, we are here to act promptly and effectively to treat them. However, we also sincerely believe that prevention is better than cure. Looking after their healthcare needs all year round prevents illness.

We have a Healthcare Plan to provide for all their preventative health needs and give you peace of mind that they are protected. Our plan allows us to tailor a preventative health strategy that is specific to your cat, so you know that you are never giving inappropriate or unnecessary treatments. For example, despite the myriad parasite treatments on the market, you can be sure that your cat is receiving suitable, effective treatment.

In this article, we will look at how the Healthcare Plan protects your cat and simplifies your life. Signing up to the Plan means that you can budget for your cat’s healthcare throughout the year with a fixed monthly direct debit. The discounted products and services also save you money throughout the year. The Healthcare Plan is not the same as an insurance policy – we strongly recommend an insurance policy for the unexpected moments when your cat is ill. This makes a stressful situation easier and having insurance allows you to make decisions about diagnosis and treatment with more financial freedom.

The Pet Healthcare Plan allows you to budget for vaccination and parasite treatments, and also offers discounts on routine services and products.

Vaccination is essential to prevent your cat contracting life-threatening diseases. Cat flu is a very severe upper respiratory disease which can be fatal. Fortunately, it is much less common now that more cats are vaccinated. As it causes cats to lose their sense of smell and taste, it can be extremely difficult to nurse a cat through it. Many infected cats are left with serious chronic disease. Cats are also vaccinated against feline enteritis which is caused by a feline panleucopenia virus. This causes devastating gastrointestinal disease which is often fatal. Feline leukaemia virus vaccination prevents this virus causing cancer in middle-aged cats. We will design a vaccine protocol for your cat to protect them without giving any unnecessary vaccines. The vaccines required depend on age, previous vaccine history and lifestyle.

Parasite control is important, particularly for outdoor cats. Many factors affect the right choice of parasite treatment. In the practice, we are aware of parasite risks in our area as these populations alter with changes to the climate and pet travel. Your cat’s lifestyle is also important – for example, avid hunters need more frequent, broad spectrum parasite protection.

Flea and tick prevention are increasingly important with our native tick populations changing and some ticks carrying disease-causing organisms. Flea infestation can result in debilitating skin disease and large-scale home infestations. Protecting your cat against fleas and ticks protects both you and them from disease.

Protecting your cat against intestinal worms is also important. Worms are zoonotic, meaning that they can infect and cause disease in humans. Children can be severely affected by infection with intestinal worms from cat faeces contaminating the ground and play areas. It is possible for the roundworm larvae to travel to the eye and cause the loss of a child’s eye. Some research suggests that childhood roundworm infection can contribute to asthma, epilepsy and learning difficulties. Again, we would tailor your cat’s worming programme to their lifestyle and contacts.

Regular health checks are an important part of our Healthcare Plan. Seeing your cat regularly means that we are familiar with their behaviour, weight, body condition, heart and breathing rate. This allows us to detect any changes early. Cats are excellent at hiding disease, as any sign of weakness would make them vulnerable to predators in the wild. So, regular examination means that we will notice subtle changes which denote disease. For example, from middle age cats are susceptible to high blood pressure. This can cause damage to the eyes, heart and kidneys. Noticing a trend of increasing blood pressure can alert us to a need for treatment before any organ damage occurs or your cat feels unwell.

Early treatment of medical conditions makes a significant positive impact on the outcome. For example, if diabetes is managed well early, cats can go into remission, no longer needing insulin.

Obesity in cats contributes to many diseases such as arthritis and diabetes, so weight monitoring and management is essential. This is easiest in the practice with cat scales to accurately weigh your cat and record weights.

Dental disease is often silent but toothache is profoundly painful. Regular dental checks allow us to monitor your cat’s dental health and will reveal any pain or infection. Again, early intervention results in treatment being less invasive and more successful.

Regular examinations mean that we can best manage any long-term medication needs and alter treatment as required. An arthritic cat may cope better in the summer and need less medication. We can also advise simple home modifications and supplements which can work alongside the medication as required.

As a cat ages, more regular health screening and management of underlying conditions can prolong life considerably. Discounted screening blood tests, urinalysis, long term medication and prescription food can all help in optimising their healthcare. Being aware of changes to organ function by monitoring blood parameters means intervention occurs earlier and is more effective. Urinalysis can pick up painful infection, bladder stones and be used to monitor kidney function. Discounted dental treatment is usually a boon for the older cat. Our aim is to keep your cat as well as possible for as long as possible.

The Plan suits all life stages, as young cats also benefit from discounted neutering and microchipping. Life stage diets are an important part of managing health needs at different ages and kitten food discounts and advice are invaluable at this time.

The Pet Healthcare Plan offers a simple, proactive way to protect the health of your cat. It is a gift to them while taking the administrative and financial pressure off you. In fact, it can make a lovely Christmas or birthday gift for a beloved cat to keep them happy and healthy.

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