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When Cats Drool

| January 12, 2018
Oral problems and central nervous system disorders are common reasons for ptyalism and subsequent drooling

Oral problems and central nervous system disorders are common reasons for ptyalism and subsequent drooling

Cat owners are surely familiar with the behavioral signs of kitty contentment.  Happy cats will purr, knead their paws, and offer up a few head butts for good measure. Occasionally, cats really on cloud nine will drool on their owners.  As the owner of such a cat, I interpret the flow of saliva as the utmost compliment.  At the veterinary office, however, patients rarely drool with glee. In a veterinary setting, drooling more likely signifies that something is amiss.

Saliva is continuously produced by the salivary glands.  Excessive production and secretion of saliva is called ptyalism.  Oral problems and central nervous system disorders are common reasons for ptyalism and subsequent drooling.  Ptyalism should not be confused with pseudoptyalism, in which normal amounts of saliva is being produced, but it overflows from the mouth due to anatomic abnormalities, such as malocclusion (abnormal alignment of the teeth), or to an inability or reluctance to swallow because of pain associated with swallowing.

The initial step in determining the cause of a cat’s drooling is a thorough oral examination.  This may require sedation, tranquilization, or even general anesthesia, as cats with painful mouths are often head-shy and won’t allow a comprehensive exam.

Disorders of the teeth and gums are a common reason for drooling.  “Periodontal disease and the accompanying gingivitis, if severe, can lead to halitosis (bad breath), dysphagia (difficulty eating), and drooling”, says Dr. Theresa Paoloni, owner of Veterinary Care Unlimited in Ozone Park, New York.  “Periodontal disease is easily diagnosed during an oral examination, however, determination of the true extent of periodontal disease often requires oral radiographs”. Some cats experience gingivitis or stomatitis (inflammation of the entire mouth) of such severity that they paw at their mouth, refuse to eat hard food, and may drool excessively.  Biopsy of the gums or other affected oral tissues may reveal a severe infiltration of inflammatory cells. This condition, called “lymphocytic/plasmacytic gingivitis or stomatitis” is usually quite painful.  Treatment consists of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, and in extreme cases, extraction of all of the teeth.    (See Sidebar: Tips on Keeping Your Cat’s Mouth Healthy)

 During an oral exam, the cat should be evaluated to see if it can close its mouth properly.  Some cats cannot, due to malocclusion.  Although congenital and developmental disorders are common causes of malocclusion, oral tumors can cause misalignment of the teeth and/or jaw, leading to improper closing of the mouth and subsequent drooling.  In fact, oral cancer is a very common cause of drooling in geriatric cats. Such was the case with “Milo”, an 18 year-old American Shorthair belonging to Amy Cousins.  Last May, Milo presented to my hospital with a mouth that was oozing foul-smelling drool.  Initially, it appeared as if severe periodontal disease alone might be the cause of his problem, however, upon extracting one of his diseased upper canine teeth, a piece of bone came loose, attached to the tooth root.  Submission of the bone specimen to the pathologist confirmed our fears: squamous cell carcinoma, an aggressive oral cancer.

Damage or paralysis of the trigeminal nerve (cranial nerve V) can lead to drooling secondary to an inability to close the mouth.  Lesions involving other cranial nerves (cranial nerve VII, IX, X, and XII) can also lead to drooling.  Fortunately, cranial nerve disorders are uncommon in cats.

Oral trauma and associated pain and discomfort can lead to drooling.  Broken teeth with resultant nerve exposure, a fractured jaw, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are traumatic injuries that often lead to pain and drooling.

Kidney failure is a very common condition, especially in geriatric cats.  Cats with severe kidney failure may have significant uremia (literally “urine in the blood”).  Uremic cats often develop ulcers on the gums, tongue, and edges of the lips.  These ulcers are painful, and many of these cats drool foul-smelling saliva as a result. These ulcers are readily visible on oral examination.

If the oral cavity is determined to be normal, other causes for drooling that should be considered include liver disease, nausea, seizure activity, and drug or toxic stimulation of salivation.

The liver’s job is to help remove toxins from the blood.  If the liver isn’t working properly, the toxins accumulate in the blood stream where they affect the brain. This is called “hepatic encephalopathy”, which translates to a mental condition due to liver dysfunction.  One liver disorder, called a “portosystemic shunt”, is a common cause of this, and is often seen in young cats.  This is a congenital abnormality in which blood coming from the intestinal tract bypasses or “shunts” around the liver rather than flowing through it.  Because the blood bypasses the liver, the liver never gets to detoxify it.  Typical signs of this (and other) liver disorders include behavioral changes, poor appetite, weight loss, excessive thirst and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and drooling.  Compared to dogs, cats are much more prone to drooling as a result of liver disease.

Nausea is the first stage in the process of vomiting.  Although liver disease is a well-documented cause of nausea in cats, any disorder that causes nausea can lead to hypersalivation.

Various drugs and toxins can cause hypersalivation in cats.  Unpleasant tasting drugs can cause cats to salivate profusely.  The antiprotozoal drug metronidazole (Flagyl), the antihistamine chlorpheniramne (Chlortrimeton), and the sulfa antibiotics are particularly notorious for causing cats to salivate copiously if the pill inadvertently lands on the tongue during administration.  These drugs require a client that is proficient in pilling.  Overdosing of flea and tick insecticides can lead to ptyalism, as can the secretions of various toads and newts, and the venom of the black widow spider.  Various plants, including philodendron, diffenbachia, poinsettia, and Christmas trees can cause increased salivation. Household cleaning products can irritate the oral mucosa, resulting in hypersalivation.

Seizure disorders are not as common in cats as they are in dogs.  During a seizure, cats and dogs may drool secondary to reduced swallowing of saliva.

A systematic approach is necessary for diagnosing the underlying cause of drooling in cats.  Though it may seem obvious when a cat is drooling from happiness, any signs of illness, including oral discomfort, unusual behavioral changes, foul odor to the saliva, or saliva that is blood-tinged should be investigated by a veterinarian.

Sidebar:  Tips to Keep Your Cat’s Mouth Healthy

In celebration of Pet Dental Health Month, Rita Santiago, a certified veterinary dental technician working at Manhattan Cat Specialists in New York City, suggests the following tips for keeping your cat’s mouth in tip-top shape

  • Regular veterinary exams – a thorough oral examination, every six months, is essential.  Periodontal disease can be prevented if caught early.  Gingivitis, the earliest stage of periodontal disease, is reversible if detected early and treated promptly

  • Brushing your cats teeth  – brushing your cat’s teeth, ideally every other day, can go a long way toward preventing dental disease. Dental homecare should be introduced during kittenhood, so cats become used to having their lips lifted, their mouth and gums touch and handled, and their teeth brushed.  Specially designed toothbrushes and toothpastes for cats are available from veterinarians.

  • Oral rinses, gels, and sprays – cats with especially tender mouths, or those with established dental problems may benefit from these oral care products.  While brushing is best, rinsing helps protect and clean teeth on days that you cannot brush.

  • Treats and special diets – dental diets are a somewhat recent veterinary development. These diets are designed to prevent or dramatically slow the accumulation of tartar on the teeth.  Also available are dental chews for cats.  These offer an abrasive texture that help remove debris and plaque from your cat’s teeth. They come in flavors like fish or poultry.

Regular home maintenance, combined with frequent veterinary examinations will help your cat maintain a sound, healthy mouth for life.

Copyright & Credit:
Article Source:
Dr. Arnold Plotnick is a board-certified veterinary internist and feline specialist. He is the owner of Manhattan Cat Specialists, , a full-service veterinary facility located in New York City. Dr. Plotnick is the medical editor of Catnip magazine and is a medical advice columnist on CatChannel. He authors his own blog “Cat Man Do”

Photo copyright and courtesy: Mark Heath Photography


Novelty Biscuits

| January 3, 2018

Novelty Biscuits for all occasions


Order your specialised cat and dog biscuits for your animal loving friends and family on the following Facebook Page, or email:

Novelty Biscuits

| January 3, 2018

Novelty Biscuits for all occasions

Specialising in cat and dog biscuits (for humans)

Order your specialised biscuits for your animal loving friends and family on Facebook or email:

Novelty Biscuits

| January 3, 2018


Novelty Biscuits for all Occasions

Specialising in cat and dog Biscuits (for people)

Order your cat and dog biscuits for birthdays, parties, special occasions etc. for animal lovers here:



Alleviating Stress in Your Cat

| December 28, 2017
Alleviating Stress in Your Cat

Cats are by nature independent, and like to be in control of things. When they are not, they can become very anxious and nervous. Some common causes of stress in cats include a move to a new home, travelling or being caged, visits to the vet, or the introduction of other cats within its domain.


Cats are by nature independent, and like to be in control of things. When they are not, they can become very anxious and nervous. Some common causes of stress in cats include a move to a  new home, travelling or being caged, visits to the vet, or the introduction of other cats within its domain.

Usual signs of stress include wild eyed frenzy accompanied with the desperate need to escape; irritability, including continual meowing; urinating or scent marking; and clawing at furniture, bedding, or carpets. Some of these symptoms are often mistaken for bad behaviour, but in order to cure the behaviour, one needs to reduce the levels of stress your cat is experiencing.

Feliway Feline Facial Pheromones (try saying this after you’ve had a drink) is a product recommended by vets to soothe and comfort stressed cats, and alleviate unwanted stress related behaviour. This product uses artificial feline pheromones that cats naturally emit from their facial area to mark a safe territory once they feel safe and secure within the confounds of the area. Cats do this by rubbing their faces on items within their area, giving off facial pheromones to mark the territory with their scent, which acts like a kind of kitty comfort blanket that gives them a sense of security and well-being.

The spray replicates the natural scent that cats leave when they perform this scent marking routine, and in so doing, offers a sense of security to alleviate anxiety and calm the cat down. Feliway feline pheromones offer an effective solution to reducing anxiety in distressed felines by replicating the cats natural mechanism that it would use to relay a sense of comfort and well-being, in order to help him cope with a stressful situation.

This product can be purchased in spray form, which is perfect for applying straight onto objects, for example spraying inside a travel cage to offer comfort and reassurance and alleviate stress associated with crating and travel.

The Feliway Feline Facial Pheromone Diffuser offers a novel method of keeping a well-adjusted, happy cat that always comes home to snuggle up in a cosy corner, or just laze contentedly around the house. The diffuser plugs into an electrical wall socket, giving off a continual burst of pheromones. Your cat will definitely believe that there is no place like home. Aside from relieving stress and worry in cats, this product is also great for controlling behaviour such as territory marking by urine spraying, and scratching the furniture, which are often related to stress associated with the introduction of a new cat or pet into your home (or rather, the cats home). The diffuser fills the room and the calming effect of the pheromones will help reduce anxiety and alleviate the behaviour associated with territory and scent marking.

The Feliway Feline Facial Pheromone diffuser comes with a 48ml vial, which lasts up to a month. Refills for the diffuser can be bought separately. Feliway Feline Facial Pheromones can also be bought in a 60ml spray bottle and a 15ml travel bottle for easy portability when needed away from the home.

Copyright & Credit:
Source: | Alex KellyAs a pet owner, my articles are based on issues I feel are important for fellow animal lovers. Pet Promenade has everything you will need for the furry member of the family. From pet food, dog leads, grooming equipment and bird cages.With over 5000 pet products, at competetive prices, it’s worth paying us a visit at

Photo copyright and courtesy: Memories by Jules

About Your Cats Tongue

| October 27, 2017
About Your Cats Tongue. A feeling of rough sandpaper as you are licked by your cat is a reminder that its long, muscular tongue serves many functions, including grooming.

A feeling of rough sandpaper as you are licked by your cat is a reminder that its long, muscular tongue serves many functions, including grooming.

A feeling of rough sandpaper as you are licked by your cat is a reminder that its long, muscular tongue serves many functions, including grooming.

A Grooming Tool and More: A cats ability to groom itself is the result of numerous knobs called papillae on the surface of a cats tongue. Located at the tongues center, the papillae form backward-facing hooks containing large amounts of keratin, the same material found in human fingernails. These hooks provide the abrasiveness a cat needs for self-grooming. The strength of these hooks also helps a cat hold food or struggle with prey.

Your Help is Needed: Although the abrasiveness of a cats tongue helps it to clean itself and untangle its hair, your help is needed through regular grooming. As you groom your cat, you are removing loose and dead hair. Otherwise a cat may ingest this hair and hair balls can form, which can cause vomiting and may cause impaction in the gastrointestinal tract. Longhaired cats need daily grooming; shorthaired cats should be groomed at least once a week.

A Matter of Taste: Studies show that the cats sense of taste is keener than that of the dog. This acute sense of taste is the result of two sets of taste buds. Mushroom-shaped papillae at the tip and sides of the tongue hold some of the largest taste buds. A set of cup-shaped papillae are located at the back of the tongue. Palatability studies at the Purina Pet Care Center and other studies show that in addition to flavor, a cats tongue reacts to the texture or mouthfeel of a particular food. This is one of the reasons dry cat foods come in a variety of shapes. The cats tongue also reacts to temperature and shows a preference for foods at room temperature.

When Cats Lap it Up: A cats tongue becomes spoon-shaped to enable it to lap liquids. Notice how its tongue laps under water in much the same manner as an elephant uses its trunk. It flicks its tongue quickly in and out of the water, swallowing after every third or fourth lap. A cats water intake will vary depending on the season of the year, activity and type of diet being fed. Cats consuming canned cat food diets will not drink as much water as those fed dry food. If, for some reason, a cat does not appear to be drinking enough water, more water can be added to the food. Always keep fresh drinking water in a clean bowl available to your cat. Water is an essential ingredient and is involved in virtually every function of a cats body.

Contributing To A Cats Sense of Taste: Cats also have a highly developed sense of smell and they notice changes in their food. Some researchers suggest that this sense may stimulate their appetite or cause them to refuse to eat. A cats appetite may be affected by many factors including noise, strange people, changes in routine and even feeding dishes washed with a strong detergent and not carefully rinsed. However, if a cat refuses to eat for a period of two to three days, a trip to the veterinarian is in order. This continued food refusal may be a sign of illness.

Copyright & Credit:
Cat Article courtesy of
Cat Author’s Website:

Photo copyright and courtesy: Clix – stock.xchng

Feline Acne Facts and Treatment

| October 16, 2017
Several factors appear to be associated with its development including stress, a suppressed immune system, poor grooming habits, the presence of other diseases, contact or atopic dermatitis, and skin conditions in which abnormal amounts of oils are produced.

Several factors appear to be associated with its development including stress, a suppressed immune system, poor grooming habits, the presence of other diseases, contact or atopic dermatitis, and skin conditions in which abnormal amounts of oils are produced.

Feline acne is one of the skin problems which is easy to diagnose but might be hard to control. Feline acne is a common problem seen in cats. It is found on the cat’s chin & lips. It is generally accepted that this is caused by plastic bowls and for many cats the solution is simply substituting the plastic bowl for a stainless steel bowl or a glass bowl. The problem may be caused by the inability of the cat to clean his chin properly after drinking the milk resulting in a nutrient rich habitat for bacteria. Several factors appear to be associated with its development including stress, a suppressed immune system, poor grooming habits, the presence of other diseases, contact or atopic dermatitis, and skin conditions in which abnormal amounts of oils are produced. Feline acne is more common during the spring and fall shedding seasons, because this is when the body undergoes a cleansing process.


The exact cause of feline acne is not known, but several factors appear to be associated with its development including stress, a suppressed immune system, poor grooming habits, the presence of other diseases, contact or atopic dermatitis, and skin conditions in which abnormal amounts of oils are produced and the hair follicles do not function properly.


Telltale symptoms include a greasy appearance to their fur, especially around the facial area. You might also see dark spots in the fur around their face and jaw area.

However, even though your cat has the symptoms, it might not actually have Feline Acne. There are two contagious diseases that act like this Feline Acne. They are dermatophytosis and demodecosis. Or, the symptoms may be a result of your cat having a food allergy, an allergic reaction to plastic food bowls, or a yeast infection.

Feline Acne Treatment

The best way to treat kitty acne is to clean your pet’s surroundings regularly and thoroughly.

Sometimes, supplementation with fatty acids is beneficial in this type of treatment. Retin-A can be used but it can be applied very rare as it can leads to irritation. Oral retinoid therapy and teratogenic can be given to treat the feline acne in cats. Any underlying conditions such as ringworm, a Demodex infestation, or a yeast infection should be treated appropriately.

It may be helpful to switch food and water dishes to a stainless steel or glass variety in the event an allergic reaction may be a contributing factor (cats can be allergic to plastics and dyes). Using a very shallow dish can also be helpful.

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Alternative Healing for Animals

| October 16, 2017
Alternative Healing for Animals

Alternative Healing for Animals

There are now available a fairly large array of alternative healing modalities for animals as well as humans and medical science has acknowledged the benefits of some of these. One needs to understand that, in the case of sick animals, choosing an alternative healing method does not mean that you don’t take the animal to the Vet but rather that the modality you choose for the animal works in conjunction with as opposed to instead of.

Animals are wonderful to work with as they have no expectations so the results cannot be written off to “well they expected to feel better so they did”.

Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is one modality to which animals respond extremely well. This is a hands-on healing technique which is thousands of years old. The work Reiki comes from two Japanese words – Rei and Ki. The word Rei as it is used in Reiki can be interpreted to mean Spiritual consciousness and Ki is the life force which is a non-physical energy that animates all living things.

I am a Reiki Master teacher. I have also trained in Touch for Health (a Kinesiology module), Bach Flower remedies, Radionics, Animal Communication and Gestalt.

Working with animals I combine all the above, depending on what is required and will also utilise Tissue Salts and crystals if asked for. The animal can be anywhere in the country as I do not need to see it physically but can work with the hair. No two cases are ever the same – I have worked with horses, dogs and cats exhibiting behavioural problems and/or physical problems with many and varied causes.

I have a feral cat who has lived with me for close on 7 years and who, in conjunction with surgery, literally had to be put together again and learn to walk. Today he is a magnificent, loving cat who likes nothing better than a cuddle and is always the first one to greet visitors.

There have been several Dachshunds with back problems who required surgery but healed faster because of the energetic support.

Often an animal will present with a physical symptom/symptoms which the Vet has been unable to alleviate. Once one gets to the emotional cause, healing can begin. As an example of this, a Maltese was referred to me as a last resort. It had lost most of its fur and was covered in weeping sores. The Vet has changed the diet several times and prescribed many drugs over a period of time – to no avail. The owner had decided that euthanasia was the only option left. What I picked up when working with a minute amount of hair from its tail (the only area still partly furred) was a big black dog which had taken over the Maltese’s role in the household. When checking with the owner she confirmed that there was a black Lab in the house which had arrived several months before the Maltese started having skin problems. In a nutshell, I worked with the Maltese over a period of 3 weeks to heal on an emotional level and reinforce its No. 1 status and its coat grew back and the skin healed completely.

There are enough stories to fill a book about all the amazing animals I have been privileged to help. Humans need to understand the role that animals play in our lives, to acknowledge that they help us in so many ways and to move on from the belief that we own them and are superior to them.

I do work with people as well although this I prefer to do physically and not with hair as I find after a session a client will often want to talk things through.

I am available evenings and weekends and can be contacted on 082 812 3870 or email if you have any queries.

Copyright & Credit: Linda Park
Photo copyright and courtesy: Jorn Jansen
– stock.xchng

How to Protect your Fur-Kids: Your Vaccination Questions Answered

| October 1, 2017

There’s a growing public concern about the risks of vaccinating in both humans and animals. This school of thought, however, isn’t based on fact, and has led to outbreaks of measles in humans and panleukopenia in cats, with their associated mortalities.

This is caused due to misinformation and a lack of vaccination – even though it’s been proven that many life-threatening diseases can be avoided by vaccinating your dogs and cats. With the benefits outweighing the risks, there truly is no excuse not to vaccinate.

Naturally, we turn to our trusted vets for advice. To err is human, and to disagree is human too. Many of our vets may not necessarily share the opinion of another down the road.

So, what do we do?

Fortunately, there is hope. The South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) have put guidelines together in order for you to make an informed decision. They’re based on current scientific knowledge and were compiled by relevant experts. Using these guidelines, we’ve put together a Vaccination Q and A to answer your questions and help you do the best for your fur-babies.

Why do we need to vaccinate our dogs and cats?

Vaccinations build up an immunity against life-threatening, contagious diseases for an individual. By doing so, they prevent outbreaks in populations. By stimulating the animal’s immune system with a safer/inactivated form of a particular virus, the body develops a specialised “army” which would be the first line of defence if the animal’s system was ever challenged by that virus.

Puppies and kittens get antibodies from the bitch in the colostrum which protect them after birth. However, the number of these antibodies in the puppy’s/kitten’s system decreases gradually as they get older, and by the age of 16 weeks, they will all have disappeared.

The other complicating factor is that these antibodies may disappear before 16 weeks of age and there’s no way we can know exactly when this will happen in an individual animal. This is why the vaccination protocol for puppies and kittens has been developed – To protect them despite the antibody levels dropping at unknown and variable times before 16 weeks old.

What are the risks of vaccinating my pets?

With any vaccination, or even dosing of medication, there’s a risk of the animal having an adverse reaction. This may range from very mild lethargy/fever to severe reactions, including hives, facial swelling, anaphylaxis, auto-immune diseases and cancer at the injection sites. That being said, the risk of these occurring doesn’t outweigh the benefit of vaccinating.

According to the WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association), only 38-51 animals for every 10,000 has a reaction after being vaccinated, and most of these are mild reactions.

What are the risks of not vaccinating my pets?

Your pets could contract or even die from a deadly disease. It’s heart breaking to see someone’s beloved pet die from a disease which could easily have been vaccinated against. Even though some of the diseases aren’t very common, you still need to vaccinate your pets in order to keep it that way.

“Herd immunity” is a form of immunity where a certain % of the population must be vaccinated in order to maintain protection in a community. This means that at least 70% of a population of dogs/cats must be vaccinated in order for these vaccinated pets to form a “barrier” which will prevent an outbreak. Unfortunately, in South Africa, we have a problem with the majority of the dog and cat population being unvaccinated.


What vaccinations does my dog or cat really need?

Dogs need the following vaccinations to protect them from the diseases listed below:

  • 5-in-1: Canine Distemper, Canine Parvovirus infection, Infectious Canine Hepatitis (Adenovirus type 1), Canine Adenovirus type 2 (a common cause of Kennel Cough), Canine Parainfluenza (another cause of Kennel Cough)
    • Most vets use this 5-in-1 combination vaccination but some use a 6-in-1 which includes the 5 viruses above, as well as Canine Coronavirus
  • Rabies

Cats need the following vaccinations to protect them from the diseases listed below:

  • 3-in-1: Feline Panleukopenia, Feline Herpesvirus infection and Feline Calicivirus infection
  • Rabies

When should I vaccinate my dog or cat?


  • First 5-in-1 vaccination at 8–9 weeks
  • Second 5-in-1 vaccination at 11–12 weeks; includes the first RABIES vaccination
  • Re-vaccinate 5-in-1 at 14–16 weeks; includes the second RABIES vaccination
  • Re-vaccinate 5-in-1 at one year of age
  • Re-vaccinate 5-in-1 every 3 years, including RABIES


  • First 3-in-1 vaccination at 8 weeks of age
  • Re-vaccinate 3-in-1 at 12 weeks of age; includes RABIES vaccination
  • Re-vaccinate 3-in-1 at 16 weeks in environments with high infection pressure or in breeding catteries. If not applicable, only give the second RABIES vaccination. (Ask your vet what they recommend)
  • Re-vaccinate 3-in-1 at one year of age
  • Repeat 3-in-1 every three years, including RABIES

How often should I vaccinate my adult dog and/or cat?

According to the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA), the 5-in-1 for dogs, 3-in-1 for cats and Rabies (for both dogs and cats) should be repeated every 3 years provided they received their initial set of puppy or kitten vaccinations as above.

How often should we vaccinate our pets against Rabies in South Africa?

Rabies is an extremely dangerous and deadly disease that affects 9-10 people in South Africa every year. In 95% of human Rabies cases, the cause was a bite or scratch from an infected dog. This is why the South African government requires you to vaccinate your dogs and cats against Rabies as per the guidelines below:

  • 12 weeks of age
  • 16 weeks of age
  • Repeat every three years

Even if your dog never goes out, it’s a legal requirement for them to be vaccinated against rabies. 

If the director of veterinary services in a province deems the Rabies threat is severe enough, he can issue a statement to the vets that advises Rabies is vaccinated against annually.

For more infomation on Rabies in South Africa click here

What other vaccinations may my pet need? 

There are other non-core or optional vaccines which your vet may recommend for your pet depending on your pet’s lifestyle, the area where you live or if your pet will be traveling. Ask your vet to help you decide on what’s best for your pet.


  • Canine Corona virus
  • Leptospirosis
  • Herpes virus
  • Bordatella (another cause of Kennel cough)


  • Chlamydiosis
  • Feline Leukemia Virus
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
  • Bordatella (a cause of Snuffles)

What if I don’t want to have my dog or cat vaccinated every 3 years?

According to the WSAVA, an alternative to vaccinating every 3 years is doing serological testing on them. Your vet can take a blood sample from your pet and send it to the lab to check whether they have an adequate level of antibodies to protect them from the viruses. If this is the case, and they are adequately protected, revaccination isn’t necessary. The cost of performing these tests can be rather hefty, but the option is there if you want it. This is only applicable to Canine Parvovirus, Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Adenovirus and Feline Panleukopenia virus.

Revaccinating your cat with Feline Calici virus and Feline herpes virus should be done every 3 years or, if they are considered to be at a high risk of exposure, annual vaccination may be necessary. This applies to cats in catteries, breeding cats or cats who roam, for example.

Rabies, however, must be vaccinated against every 3 years in dogs and cats in South Africa, despite what the blood tests may say.


Can vaccinations cause cancer?

In cats, non-infectious vaccines like the Feline Leukemia virus and Rabies vaccines, have been suggested to be a cause of Feline Injection Site Sarcomas (FISS). There are, however, other vaccinations and injected substances which have been linked to this lethal cancer. We don’t have any data for South Africa but world-wide the chance of a cat developing a FISS is between 1 in 5 000 and 1 in 10 000.


Why does my vet want me to vaccinate my pet every year?

Annual vaccination has been advised for a few reasons.

Firstly – in order for the vet to perform an annual health check on their patients. Very often subtle changes in some diseases can be detected early and intervention can be implemented sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, if the dog or cat is not due for a vaccination, owners seldom bring them to the vet for a health check. In this case, the risk of missing the early detection of heart or kidney disease, for example, outweighs the risk of vaccinating annually.

Secondly – the vaccine manufacturers had proof that the vaccines’ duration of immunity was at least 1 year. But after multiple studies challenged this, it has become widely accepted practice (endorsed by the SAVA and WSAVA) to repeat the core vaccines every 3 years instead of every year, provided the patient is taken to the vet once or twice a year for a full check-up.

In South Africa, we are dealing with a largely unvaccinated population of animals. This varies between areas, but only around 10-15% of dogs and cats in this country are ever taken to a vet by their owners. Therefore, we are nowhere near the desired 70% to provide herd immunity against deadly viruses. Overvaccination has traditionally not been a major concern.

Lastly – with cats who are at a high risk of contracting Feline Herpes or Calici Virus (common causes of Snuffles), your vet may recommend that annual vaccinations are done and although they may not need the Feline Panleukopenia to be repeated annually, it is included in the 3-in-1 that your vet would keep at their practice. This is a good example of a case where you and your vet need to weigh up what’s best for your cat and make a decision from there.

The general rule is… If you’re a diligent and caring pet-parent who will take your pets to the vet for a check-up every year then there is no reason to vaccinate annually.


Dr Tanya Viljoen

After studying at Onderstepoort, Tanya worked in private practice for 4 years focused mainly on dogs and cats. She believes that the human- animal bond is a precious and essential part of life. Her passion for educating pet-parents and enriching animals lives makes her an important part of the team. She is owned by two fabulous rescue cats, Josh and Jasper, who mean the world to her.


Beware Internet Kitten Purchase Scams!

| September 30, 2017

Tracking and locating the perpetrators of these frauds is an expensive exercise, and has generally not yielded much success.

The Internet is a wonderful source of information and knowledge. However it is increasingly being used to operate scams and hoaxes, as many have discovered to their cost!  A number of complaints have been received by the Southern Africa Cat Council (SACC), from people who thought that they were buying pedigreed kittens via websites listed on the “Net”. They paid their “deposits”, as well as “courier fees”, often into South African bank accounts, and then waited in vain for the arrival of their new kitties!

These scam artists create bogus websites, using the cattery names of well-respected, registered and accredited cat breeders, and posting pictures of kittens and their “parent cats”, that they have downloaded from South African as well as international breeder websites. They run the bogus website for a few weeks, and then replace it with another, so as to be able to con yet another bunch of victims. The President of the SACC, a well known breeder of Burmese cats, discovered, to his horror, that there was a website using his cattery name, advertising kittens of a range of cat breeds that he certainly does not breed or own.

These “breeders” claim to be South African, they often advertise a range of “available” kittens for sale, such as Persians, Ragdolls, Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest, Sphynx etc, with a cell-phone number. When contacted and asked if it is possible to come and see the kittens, (and having established the buyer’s domicile), they will indicate that their cattery is based in another province.  The “sales” are always handled telephonically or via e-mail. Sometimes they will provide a landline telephone number, but closer inspection of the area code may indicate that the scammer is not based where he claims to be. If requested, a picture of the respective kitten may be sent electronically – more often than not down-loaded from the website of a legitimate breeder. They generally require a “deposit” to be paid, often as much as R2000.00 to R3000.00. After a short while, when the “buyer” tries to follow-up, there is no response from the contact numbers that were provided.

Tracking and locating the perpetrators of these frauds is an expensive exercise, and has generally not yielded much success. What is known and suspected about these scammers?

  • It is suspected that they originate in foreign countries, possibly China or India. (A short while ago a similar kitten scam, that focused on the sale of Sphynx kittens, was apparently being operated out of Nigeria!)
  • They probably do have a representative(s) in South Africa, who is able to open and close bank accounts.
  • Their knowledge of our South African geography is often limited, with little understanding of the distances between cities such as Cape Town and Port Elizabeth etc. Likewise their use of telephone number prefixes such as 021, 012, 031 etc is often a give-away.
  • Be wary of a “breeder” that is advertising an unusually large number of cat breeds and numbers of kittens e.g. 100 Maine Coon kittens! (Note: Some legitimate and respected breeders may focus on a number of different breeds, but when on one website, a large number of kittens, representative of some ten plus breeds, are advertised, this is often indicative of unscrupulous “back-yard” breeders or scam-artists).
  • Study the language proficiency and the content of the advertisement. The following are actual examples of text in scam-advertisements: “Kittens leaving at 9wks old, KUSA reg. (KUSA = Kennel Union of South Africa, for registration of pedigreed dogs!), or “…..we can use a shipingcompeny to have the kitten at you home adres when you pay deposit then contact me on my mobil number” (Ship a cat? Cats may be couriered or travel by air)
  • Beware of website addresses that have strange suffixes. South African websites typically end in or .com.

When considering the acquisition of a pedigree kitten, make every effort to visit the breeder and inspect the cattery. Check if the breeder and/or cattery is registered with the either the SACC (the Registrar of the South African Cat Register at 011 616 7017, or e-mail: or the Cat Federation of Southern Africa (016 987 1170, e-mail: or Cat Association of Southern Africa (CASA website: Even though the advertiser may claim that his/her cats are SACC or CFSA registered, verify this for yourself. Finally, pedigreed kittens should never be re-homed under the age of 12 weeks, so be suspicious if younger kittens are being advertised as ready for re-homing.

Buying a pedigreed kitten should be a pleasurable experience, so please be particularly aware when buying “sight unseen” or via the internet. Too many people have been caught up in internet kitten-scams, and end up sorry, but hopefully wiser!

Copyright & Credit:
Article by
Doranne Way –  Official Press Release by the Southern Africa Cat Council
Article Source: ALL ABOUT CATS IN SOUTH AFRICA is a glossy, bi-monthly quality magazine focused on all things feline. Order the latest issue or subscribe online at

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