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The Big Kahuna and his brother, Toora Loora Loora

Helpful Information concerning our Feline Friends


Please Note:  Most of the following articles are download documents in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.  If you do not have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer,  you may get it free by clicking here:


Cats & Serious Problems with Shots !

 A very aggressive cancer affecting our animals:  

Vaccine-Associated Feline Sarcoma (VAS)

"Education Before Vaccination"

This cancer usually grows back after the surgery to remove it.   Sylvia's Journey of New Hope Web Site honors Sylvia, a beloved cat whose life was taken and whose humans share an enormous amount of helpful information to educate folks before vaccinating.

"What is the problem? For several years a growing number of cats have developed cancerous tumors at the location site of vaccines. Vaccines such as distemper, rabies and feline leukemia have caused these tumors in what statistics are showing to be anywhere from 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 10,000 vaccine injections. The success rate for treatment of these tumors is unfortunately extremely low."

What to do and What to  watch out for?

Become informed, there's many RESOURCES for information included on the Links on this Web Page.


FELINE PANLEUKOPENIA -- Caution when rescuing Kittens & Cats - read Beatrice Welles' Experience and Marca Leigh's story -- plus helpful information.

Feline Panleukopenia  (Feline Distemper) --

What you may appreciate knowing is that many years ago, a highly regarded researcher, Fred W. Scott, DVM, Ph.D., of Cornell University, said that he has "seen protective titers for feline panleukopenia (Feline Distemper) in 100% of the cats he has tested for 7 years following vaccination (they have not been re-vaccinated in that period of time)".


2000 Report of the American Association of Feline Practitioners [AAFP] and Academy of Feline Medicine [AFM]  Advisory Panel on Feline Vaccines

(pdf format - 44 pages - 1770 KB

[Excerpt] "... These guidelines were  approved by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) Board in December 2004 and are offered by the AAFP for use only as a template; each veterinarian needs to adapt the recommendations to fit each situation....The veterinary  profession has the privilege and responsibility of caring for both animals and people. The benefits of living with a pet are now  well recognized. By preventing and treating behavioral problems, we have the opportunity to protect and strengthen the  human-pet-veterinary bond and increase the quality of life for both pets and pet lovers. The goal of the American Association  of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) Feline Behavior Guidelines is to support veterinarians by providing practical information and  client educational materials to successfully incorporate feline behavioral medicine into every practice that offers feline healthcare.  Veterinarians have a great opportunity to save pets’ lives by recognizing that behavioral medicine is as important as any other field of veterinary medicine, and can routinely be incorporated into each veterinary visit.  Because most veterinarians never received education in veterinary school about feline behavior, and do not have the time and resources to study all the latest research and develop behavior protocols, the panelists have worked to develop a concise, updated and “user friendly” document that can be easily implemented...."


Information about Feline Leukemia Virus  (FeLV) 

&  Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)


FeLV & FIV Guidelines from the AAFP


Feline Vaccination Guidelines
(pdf format - 29 pages - 1904KB)


Effect of vaccination against feline immunodeficiency virus on results of serologic testing in cats

"... To determine the effect of vaccination against FIV on results of serologic assays [blood tests] for FIV infection. ...  Results suggest that vaccination against FIV causes false-positive results for at least 1 year with currently available serologic assays for FIV infection.  Negative FIV antibody assay results are highly reliable for detection of uninfected cats, but positive results should be interpreted with cautionReference: Levy et al, JAVMA 225:1558-61, 2004."


Current Retroviral Testing Guidelines [FeLV & FIV]

(pdf format - 11 pages - 6244KB)

[Excerpt]  "REPORT of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and Academy of Feline Medicine Advisory Panel on Feline Retrovirus Testing and Management 1


FeLV infection occurs worldwide, with prevalence varying by location.1  FeLV is associated with illness in and death of more cats than any other infectious agent.2


The most effective way to prevent infection is to prevent exposure to FeLV-infected cats. Testing to identify infected cats is the mainstay of preventing transmission of FeLV. FeLV vaccination should not be considered a substitute for testing cats.3


Cats should be tested for FeLV infection under the following circumstances:

Whenever they are sick, regardless of age, negative results of previous FeLV tests, and FeLV vaccination status. FeLV infection has been associated with a wide variety of diseases including, but not limited to, anemia, neoplasia, and disorders associated with immune dysfunction.1,4  Although FeLV infection may influence patient management and prognosis, treatment decisions should not be made solely on the basis of whether a cat is infected.


When they are about to be adopted, regardless of age.

  • Cats should be tested before being introduced into a multiple-cat household to prevent exposing resident cats. 

  • Cats should be tested before being introduced into a household, even if no other cats are present in the household at the time of  adoption, for the following reasons: 

  • FeLV infection may have future health ramifications, even if the cats do not presently have any signs of disease. 

  • Additional cats may join the household. 

  • Cats intended to be housed exclusively indoors may escape and expose other cats.

When results of the most recent test are negative, but recent exposure cannot be ruled out. Cats in this situation should be retested a minimum of 28 days after the last potential exposure because test results may be negative during the previremic stage of infection. If the time of the cat's last potential exposure is unknown, clients should be counseled on the potential risk of exposing other cats in an FeLV-negative  household when adding a cat for which results of a single test were negative.


When FeLV infection status is unknown. Infected cats may remain asymptomatic for years, during which time they may serve as inapparent sources of infection to other cats in the household.


General Principles

"  ...All cats should be tested for infection with feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).


Cats infected with FeLV or FIV may live for many years. A decision for euthanasia should never be made solely on the basis of whether or not a cat is infected. A confirmed positive test result should be considered only an indication of retrovirus infection, not clinical disease.


Diseases in cats infected with FeLV or FIV may not necessarily be a result of retrovirus infection. No test is 100% accurate at all times and under all conditions. Therefore, all test results should be interpreted in light of the patient's health and prior likelihood of infection.


Test every cat for FeLV and FIV.2  When they are exposed, or potentially exposed, to cats of unknown infection status (e.g., cats that go outdoors unsupervised), regardless of whether they have been vaccinated against FeLV. Periodic testing may be justifiable in cats at continued risk of exposure, even though adult cats are relatively resistant to FeLV infection. ... 


Test interpretation

No test is 100% accurate at all times and under all conditions. In populations with a low prevalence of FeLV infection, more than half of cats for which test results are positive are likely to be uninfected.8  ..."



Feline practitioners recommend new FIV and FeLV testing guidelines ...

  -- Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association [JAVMA]   April 15, 2001

[Excerpt] Up to one in 12 US cats tests positive for feline immunodeficiency virus, making the virus a leading cause of disease. This statistic concerns feline health experts, who suspect the viral infection may be underdiagnosed.

To help reduce the risk of new FIV infections, new recommendations for feline leukemia virus and FIV testing have been approved by the American Association of Feline Practitioners/Academy of Feline Medicine. They were drafted by the AAFP/AFM Advisory Panel on Feline Retrovirus Testing and Management.

In addition, a public awareness program has been developed to encourage cat owners to have their cats tested.

"The most significant change to existing guidelines is the panel's recommendation that veterinarians know the FIV infection status of all cats, not just cats over 6 months of age," said Dr. Katrin Hartmann, associate professor of companion animal internal medicine at the University of Georgia and member of the AAFP/AFM advisory panel.

"Early detection of feline immunodeficiency virus is an important aspect of caring for cats, particularly cats with other diseases, and in preventing the virus's spread. By knowing the FIV infection status of all cats, we can help pet owners make critical decisions about medical care, protect the health of both FIV-positive and -negative cats, and give cat owners peace of mind."

The AAFP/AFM intends to post the guidelines at for its members by May 1, and they will be accessible to nonmembers 30 days after posting.

Testing recommendations
Testing all cats is essential because identifying FIV-infected cats is the only way to control FIV, Dr. Hartmann added. In its 2001 report, the AAFP/AFM advisory panel recommends FIV testing at the following times:

  • when cats are sick, regardless of previous negative test results
  • when cats are newly adopted, either prior to introduction into a multiple-cat household or at adoption, if no other cats are present in the home
  • when cats live in households with unknown FIV infection status; cats can remain with subclinical infection for years, even while they are transmitting the virus to uninfected cats
  • when cats have had potential exposure, such as a bite inflicted by a cat of unknown infection status; such cats should be tested a minimum of 60 days following exposure
  • when cats are at high risk of infection

Once FIV infection status is known, veterinarians can encourage cat owners to confine FIV-positive cats, reducing potential spread of the virus to other cats. With no commercial FIV vaccine available, avoiding exposure to the virus is the only way to prevent infection.

Dr. Jim Richards, director of the Cornell Feline Health Center at Cornell University and member of the AAFP/AFM advisory panel, said, "Practitioners should already be testing every cat for FeLV infection, which is recognized as a leading cause of disease and death in cats, so testing for FIV infection should not increase practice workload."

Cat owner education important in stopping FIV spread
Cat owners, especially those with high-risk cats, need to know about FIV and be more responsible for careful management of FIV-infected animals, Dr. Hartmann said. Unfortunately, many cat owners are not aware of FIV. ...


Fel - O - Vax® FIV Information Brief

[Excerpt] " ...  Negative FIV-antibody test results remain reliable (see the 2001 Report of the AAFP/AFM Advisory Panel on Feline Retrovirus Testing and Management  ... But until tests that differentiate vaccinated cats from infected cats become readily available, it will be impossible to assess the significance of positive test results. (Is a positive-testing cat infected, vaccinated, or both?) Some consequences of this ambiguity: ..."


American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP)

Basic Guidelines of Judicious Therapeutic Use of Antimicrobials in Cats

(pdf format - 5 pages - 44KB)

 [Excerpt] "...  designed to provide information to aid practicing veterinarians in choosing appropriate

antimicrobial therapy to best serve their patients and to help minimize the development of

antimicrobial resistance. Presented below are the Principles of Judicious Therapeutic Use

of Antimicrobials adopted as a framework document for the recommended guidelines

developed for cats."


Therapeutic antimicrobial use should be confined to appropriate clinical indications.

    The definitive diagnosis should be established whenever possible.

  • Practitioners should strive to rule out viral infections, parasitism, mycotoxicosis, and
    nutritional imbalances that will not respond to antimicrobial therapies.

  • Antimicrobial therapy is not indicated in feline viral upper respiratory (feline
    herpesvirus and calicivirus) infections not complicated by secondary bacterial

  • Most cases of feline lower urinary tract disease do not involve bacterial infection
    and in such cases antimicrobials are not indicated.

Therapeutic alternatives should be considered prior to antimicrobial therapy.

    This includes supportive care, such as correction of fluid and electrolyte abnormalities,

maintaining acid-base balance, and ensuring adequate nutrition. Surgical intervention may

be necessary in some cases.

Culture and susceptibility results aid in the appropriate selection of antimicrobials.

  • In suspected urinary tract infection (UTIs) in cats, urine collected by cystocentesis can help distinguish infection from contamination.  

  • It is important to note that dilute urine in cats is a risk factor for UTIs, and infection may exist despite the lack of pyuria and bacteriuria on microscopic examination. Urine culture may be the only way to identify infection in such cases.

  • Ideally, minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) sensitivities should be done to identify the best choice of antimicrobials.

  • Gram stains can help determine appropriate antimicrobial choice while awaiting culture results. Since certain antimicrobials are more effective against gram positive or gram negative organisms, interim antimicrobial decisions can be based on gram stain and the site of infection

Use narrow spectrum antimicrobials whenever appropriate.

    It is best to choose an antimicrobial with a narrow spectrum that is effective against the organism.

Antimicrobials considered important in treating refractory infections in human or veterinary

medicine should be used in animals only after careful review and reasonable justification.
    Consider using other antimicrobials for initial therapy.1

Treat for the shortest effective period possible in order to minimize therapeutic exposure to

  • Culture and sensitivity at the conclusion of therapy will determine if additional therapy is necessary.

  • Rechecking complete blood counts and urine analyses may also be indicated.

  • For specific conditions, refer to other resources.

Judicious use of antimicrobials in cats requires the oversight of a veterinarian.

    Judicious use of antimicrobials and extra-label use of antimicrobials should meet all requirements of
a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR - see glossary).

Extralabel antimicrobial therapy must be prescribed in accordance with all federal laws including the
Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act amendments to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and its

Veterinarians should work with those responsible for the care of animals to use antimicrobials


  • Veterinarians must communicate clear, written directions to the client for antimicrobial use. Verbal
    communication and showing proper method of administration of medications are also important.

  • Clients should be advised to complete the entire course of medication even if signs of illness have

  • Clients should be warned of potential adverse reactions, and what to do if any such reactions 
    occur (for example, stop medication and call your veterinarian for further recommendations).

Regimens for therapeutic antimicrobial use should be optimized using current pharmacological
information and principles.

    The antimicrobial chosen should be effective against the organism and be able to penetrate the
affected organ in a proper concentration to eliminate the offending organism.

The routine prophylactic use of antimicrobials should never be used as a substitute for good animal
health management.

    Sterile technique and proper tissue handling eliminate the need for prophylactic antibiotics in
ovariohysterectomies [spay] and most other sterile procedures.

Minimize environmental contamination with antimicrobials whenever possible.


Accurate records of treatment and outcome should be used to evaluate therapeutic regimens.


Recognize risk factors for infections in cats and prevent or correct whenever possible.  These include but are not limited to:

  • Urinary catheterization

  • Dilute urine

  • Intravenous catheters

  • Dental disease

  • Cat fights

  • Environmental factors (stress, crowding, poor hygiene, transportation, temperature,  
    ventilation and humidity)

  • Feline leukemia virus or feline immunodeficiency virus infection

  • Immunosuppressive drugs (chemotherapeutic agents, glucocorticoid therapy)

  • Diabetes mellitus (Diabetic cats are more prone to urinary tract, skin and mouth infections.)

1 In this context, this principle takes into account development of resistance or cross-resistance to

important antimicrobials. ..."



Efficacy and Safety of Transdermal Methimazole in Treating of Cats with Hyperthyroidism

Antech News May 2005

"  ...  Although the overall efficacy of transdermal methimazole is not as high as that of oral methimazole at 2 weeks of treatment, it is associated with fewer GI adverse effects compared to the oral route.  Reference: Sartor et al, JVIM 18: 651-655, 2004."



"Radiocat Network Gives 21,000 Cats Suffering From Feline Hyperthyroidism a 10th Life

 Monday, 23 May 2005 

["Treating hyperthyroid cats by either surgery or I 131 IS costly but works very well." -- Dr. Jean Dodds]

SPRINGFIELD, VA, (NAMC) - "The Radiocat® network of veterinarians, specializing in the treatment of feline hyperthyroidism with Radioiodine (I-131), has saved the lives of 21,000 cats since the group’s founding in 1995.


The 21,000th cat, an 11-year old brown Tabby from Alexandria, Virginia named, Specka, was treated in March by Dr. Rand Wachsstock, a founding partner of Radiocat, at The Regional Veterinary Center in Springfield, Virginia.


Feline hyperthyroidism, generally affecting older cats, is fatal if left untreated. However, one injection of Radioiodine cures 98 percent of the cats treated with little to no side effects. This method of treating feline hyperthyroidism is safe and affordable. It eliminates expensive surgery and never ending drug treatment. Use of I-131 is the gold standard for curing feline hyperthyroidism, and we are proud to have treated more cats than anyone else currently practicing this discipline,” he said


Dr. Wachsstock says cats undergoing I-131 therapy need to remain in a special recovery ward for less than a week after the injection to allow the radiation contained in the treatment to reach safe and legal levels. He explains, however, that during its stay, a cat is “monitored and made as comfortable as possible, even including listening to tapes of its owner’s voice and watching ‘kitty’ videos.”


I-131 treatment does not require anesthesia and does not affect healthy thyroid tissue. Under the treatment, normal thyroid function often returns within one month, according to Dr. Wachsstock, but he says alternative treatments can be expensive and not as effective as I-131.


“Usually, it takes two surgeries—at a cost of between $700 and $1300—for most cases of feline hyperthyroidism. The disease affects both of a cat’s thyroid glands in 80 percent of the cases, therefore, removing only one side leads to recurrence of the disease in as little as 18 months. In addition, the surgery is dangerous and could lead to fatal calcium deficiency. Anti-thyroid drugs counteract the excess thyroid hormone and can cost between $500 and $700 per year for the remainder of a cat’s life. The medicines seem to lose effectiveness in three to four years and can damage the liver and kidneys—not to mention the owner-pet relationship due to the difficulties of administering one to three pills a day. With those facts in mind, I-131 treatment makes sense, it works, and both pet and owner get everything over with one procedure,” Dr. Wachsstock advised.


The cost of treatment with I-131 averages about $1200, Dr. Wachsstock says.


Dr. David S. Herring of Baltimore, Maryland, co- founder of the Radiocat network, explains that one in 300 cats suffer from hyperthyroidism. He says there are approximately 65 million cats in the U.S.


“We don’t know what causes the disease, so we don’t really have a way to prevent it, but we do have a cure—using I-131. Pet owners should ask their veterinarians about this treatment if their cat is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism,” Dr. Herring said.


About Radiocat:  Dr. David S. Herring and Dr. Rand S. Wachsstock and are co-founders of Radiocat, a veterinary practice dedicated exclusively to the care and treatment of feline hyperthyroidism with practice locations in Phoenix, AZ; San Diego, CA; San Mateo, CA; Middletown, CT; Wilmington, DE; Atlanta, GA; Wheeling, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Baltimore, MD; Greenville, SC; Waltham. MA; White Plains, NY; Pittsburgh, PA; and Springfield, VA.


Contact: Lana Sansur 301-765-9816


"The American Association of Feline Practitioners

supports professional growth and fellowship by providing outstanding continuing education, research and outreach programs intended to improve the health and well-being of cats.  ...  The AAFP seeks to raise the standards of feline medicine and surgery among practitioners by sharing knowledge, rewarding advancement in research, sponsoring continuing education, supporting American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) certification in the Feline Practice category, and encouraging veterinary student interest in feline practice.  ...  a professional organization of veterinarians who share an interest in providing excellence in the care and treatment of cats... "  "The AAFP publishes guidelines for practice excellence. ..."



Feline Senior Care Guidelines - Index

(pdf format - 2 pages - 489KB)
"Due to the large size of this document, the link above opens a table of contents where the Senior Care Guidelines may be downloaded a section at a time in separate pdf documents."  Note: click on the text underlined in red to download a particular section.



Feline Senior Care Guidelines - Entire Document
(pdf format - 27 pages - 19833KB)



Zoonoses Guidelines
(pdf format - 32 pages- 2332KB)

[Quote below Excerpted from the article:]



Also See:


Blood Tests Explained


Thyroid Articles


Vaccination Information





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