Fall 2014 
Mews & News
Riverside Cat Hospital

Clinic Hours 
Monday 8am-7pm
Tuesday thru Friday 8am-5pm
Closed weekends

Boarding pick-ups on Sunday at 5pm by special arrangement

Upcoming Holidays:
CLOSED Thursday and Friday Nov. 27th and 28th for Thanksgiving

Upcoming Conference
Dr. Lewis

Dr. Lewis will be out of the office on Thursday and Friday, September 18th and 19th, attending the American Association of Feline Practitioners annual conference in Indianapolis. 

This conference provides valuable lectures and seminars to help keep our office up-to-date on all the latest developments in feline medicine. The office will be open to schedule appointments or dispense medication, but we will not be seeing appointments on these days. We look forward to reporting back on all of the newest information!

Did you know that our clinic is on social media?

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We use it to post interesting links or articles, as well as news updates regarding food recalls or other important information. We also love to see what our patients are up to at home, so you are welcome to post pictures of your cat there as well. Click on the Facebook or Twitter icons above to visit our page.

Referrals from current satisfied clients are our number one source of new clients and patients. Thank you for telling your friends, family, and neighbors about us! We appreciate your trust and will continue to strive to meet and exceed your expectations.
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Wellness Packages
Take the financial worry out of your cat's veterinary care! 

Riverside Cat Hospital offers Wellness Packages designed to make caring for your cat easy!

Wellness Packages are offered in 3 levels for different life stages. Each package level includes "wellness" exams at recommended intervals, all recommended vaccines, fecal testing for parasites, and unlimited nail trims at no additional charge. Kitten Wellness Packages also include feline leukemia testing and the complete series of kitten visits and vaccine boosters. Senior packages include senior screening bloodwork, or thyroid or kidney bloodwork for senior patients with thyroid or kidney disease.

In addition to all of the wellness care listed above, cats with our wellness packages are also entitled to free, unlimited visits with no additional physical exam charges. So you don't have to worry about exam charges for unexpected vet visits if your cat gets sick.

Visit our website to learn more, or call and ask about a wellness package for your cat today!
Contact Us

phone: 517-347-2287

4632 Okemos Rd.
Okemos, MI 48864

Get the Scoop on Vaccines for your Cat
What vaccines does my new kitten need? Do I really have to get my indoor cat vaccinated? Are all these vaccines harmful for my cat? With so much different information available to pet owners today, it can be difficult to sort out the good information from the not-so-good.

a visit to the vet The practice of vaccinating to prevent disease has been around for a long time. In human medicine, vaccines have been used successfully to eradicate, or nearly eradicate, devestating diseases such as polio and smallpox. In veterinary medicine, too, vaccines have been instrumental in protecting our pets from devestating diseases such as feline leukemia, rabies, and canine distemper. But can vaccines make our pets sick? Recent reports link vaccines with certain autoimmune diseases and to the development of cancerous tumors. We share your concerns. However, it is important to understand that vaccines prevent many more animals from becoming sick, in comparison with the very small number of pets that develop vaccine-related illness.

In acknowledgement of these concerns, our clinic has modeled it's vaccine recommendations on those published by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) Feline Vaccine Task Force. These recommendations include a longer vaccination interval for feline distemper/RCP of 3 years, and a move to using nonadjuvanted vaccines. Adjuvants are added to vaccines to improve the patient's immune reponse to the vaccine. However, these molecules have also been found inside of vaccine-associated fibrosarcomas, an aggressive feline cancer that has been linked to vaccines. This has led many experts to believe that adjuvants may contribute to the formation of these tumors in cats that receive vaccines. Fortunately, vaccines that do not include adjuvants are now available for cats.

Many people are also concerned that their pet may have an adverse reaction to a vaccine. 

  • Serious vaccine reactions can occur, but fortunately they are exceedingly rare.
  • Most cats that experience vaccine reactions exhibit less serious symptoms, such as lethargy, transient vomiting or diarrhea, or swelling of the face. 
  • Some cats may develop a vaccine reaction that involves a swelling at the site of injection. These usually develop within 1-2 weeks and recede over 1-2 months. 

Typically, less than 5 cats per year seen at our clinic will develop a vaccine reaction. If your cat has had a vaccine reaction in the past, talk with us to determine if he should be vaccinated again, and what steps may be taken to reduce the risk of another reaction.

The educated pet owner should pay attention to the brand of vaccine being used. Many people assume that there is only 1 brand of each vaccine, or that all brands are equal in safety and efficacy, but this is not the case. Your veterinarian should evaluate all of the products available and choose those that will provide the best protection with the least risk. Price should not be a deciding factor, but for many it is! The cost of providing your cat with safe, effective immunity is far less than the emotional and financial cost of dealing with a preventable disease.

According to current AAFP vaccine guidelines, most indoor cats should be kept up-to-date on Rabies and Distemper/RCP vaccines. Kittens 1 year of age and younger, cats who go outdoors,  or cats who live with an outdoor cat may also need a Feline Leukemia vaccine. Other available vaccines, such as FIP, FIV, giardia, and ringworm vaccines, are not considered to be effective and are generally not recommended. Again, your veterinarian will evaluate your cat's lifestyle, age, and health to determine an appropriate vaccine protocol.

Has it been more than 6 months since your cat's last visit? Call us today to schedule a checkup exam and vaccine review!

New! 3 year Rabies vaccine now available!
vaccines We are pleased to announce that we now have a 3 year rabies vaccine available for our feline patients. After several years of FDA testing, Merial has released a PureVax nonadjuvanted rabies vaccine with a 3 year duration of immunity.

Aren't 3 year rabies vaccines already available? How is this vaccine different? 
Yes, 3 year rabies vaccines have been available for many years. However, this is the first nonadjuvanted vaccine that is labeled for 3 year use. We believe strongly that only nonadjuvanted vaccines should be used in cats, because some experts have linked adjuvants with vaccine associated sarcomas in cats. These sarcomas are aggressive cancerous tumors that can develop at the site of a vaccination, and using adjuvanted vaccines can increase the risk. Our clinic stocks and uses only nonadjuvanted vaccines.

Is this vaccine different than the 1 year PureVax rabies vaccine that my cat has received in the past?
Yes, this 3 year vaccine contains higher levels of antigen, the proteins that stimulate the immune response. This allows for a longer duration of immunity following vaccination.

Is this new vaccine more expensive?
The cost of the 3 year rabies vaccine will be a little less than three times the cost of the current 1 year vaccine. This reflects our increased cost of purchasing the vaccine from the manufacturer. While this vaccine is more expensive than other veterinary vaccines, we feel that as a nonadjuvanted vaccine, it is a good value. In addition, the yearly cost of maintaining rabies immunity for your cat will stay about the same, while reducing the number of shots that your cat will require.

My cat has a wellness package. Will this vaccine be included?
Because of the increased cost of this new vaccine, there will be an additional fee for cats to receive the vaccine. However, the fee will reflect a savings over what it would cost to get the vaccine without a wellness package.

Can my cat continue to receive the 1 year rabies vaccine?
Yes, we will continue to stock both the 1 year and 3 year vaccines, and the choice will be up to you. We will be happy to discuss the pros and cons of each vaccine at your cat's next visit.

If I get my cat the 3 year vaccine, does that mean he will only need to visit the vet every 3 years?
We love your cats and we still want to see them every 6 months for regular checkups, even if no vaccines are due. The most important part of your cat's visit is the exam and seeing your cat regularly will help us to identify potential problems early and keep them from turning into serious problems.

Ask Izzy 
Dear Izzy, 

Halloween is coming up next month. Are you going to dress up?

Izzy says,
Well, I have been thinking about this. Here is my costume from last year:
witch Izzy
I'm not sure yet, but this year I am thinking about a mummy, a vampire, or maybe a princess. What do you think?




The Last Word      

 In light of our focus on vaccines with this newsletter, I'd like to make mention of rabies in our area. We continue to get calls on a monthly basis from clients who have found bats in their house, or whose cats have caught a bat. Bats are very common in mid-Michigan, and they account for the most cases of rabies by far, compared to skunks, raccoons, dogs, and cats. Bats can get into houses and apartments through very tiny openings, so even newer houses are not completely "bat-proof".

Exposure to a bat could mean several things. For the cat who is currently vaccinated for rabies, a simple and quick booster vaccine may be all that is needed. For a cat who is not up-to-date, a strict 6 month quarantine may be required. This means strict confinement indoors with no exposure to family members, visitors, or other pets. For cats who contract rabies, there is no cure and the disease is fatal.

Despite this, we still encounter cat owners who decline rabies vaccination for their cats. Usually, they tell us that the cat is indoor-only and so doesn't need any vaccines. Living indoors does not make a cat immune to rabies. It is important to protect our pets wherever they live! Safe and effective vaccines are available, and there is no reason not to protect your pet. If you are not sure about your cat's vaccine status, call us today!

 Dr. Kerry Lewis
Riverside Cat Hospital