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Are you a new Pet Owner?

December 27 2017

Getting a new pet is a big deal and everyone knows it’s important to get off to a good start. So besides buying supplies and making your home pet-safe, what else should you be doing if you’re adding a new, furry, four-legged member to the family? 

As a pet owner myself - these are the recommended IDEXX tests that should be done on ALL pets regardless of age. 

FIV and FeLV test

If your new pet is a cat than feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia virus (FeLV) tests are essential. FeLV and FIV are important disease causing viruses in cats. FIV is sometimes called feline “AIDS” because like HIV, it attacks the immune system and makes the host vulnerable to opportunistic infections. FeLV also weakens the immune system, but in addition to predisposing them to infections, it increases their risk of lymphosarcoma, a highly malignant cancer. Testing cats for FIV and FeLV is important for 2 different reasons.

If you already have a cat, you want to make sure that your new cat is free from FIV and FeLV. FIV can be transmitted by a bite or scratch from an infected cat and FeLV can be transmitted by sharing food and water bowls or even a litter box with an infected cat.

The second reason to test is that knowing that your new cat has FIV or FeLV is important even though there is no cure for either disease. FIV and FeLV are terrible diseases, but they are not death sentences and cats can live with FIV and FeLV. If you know your cat is infected, you can take additional precautions to protect them from infections.

Read more about IDEXX Snap FIV/FelV test here

Heartworm testing

When most people think of heartworm, they think of a disease that only affects dogs. In reality, heartworm disease can also affect cats, although less frequently.

Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal condition caused by a type of worm that lives in the heart and the arteries of the lungs. It is transmitted by mosquitos. In the UAE, heartworms are not a problem, but keep in mind that your pet could have been infected in a country where it was before coming here.  The best treatment for heartworm disease is prevention. Before starting preventative treatments, it is recommended that pets are tested for heartworm disease because serious complications can develop if an animal is already infected. 

Read more about IDEXX Heartwork RT test here

So lastly check your adopted pet’s medical record to find out what has already been done by the shelter.  Take your newly adopted pet to the veterinarian to review your pet’s medical records to determine which other tests or vaccines should be done.

Following these recommendations can help insure a healthy start for your new animal friend. 


Sources: IDEXX US & Pet Health Network