Vaccines for cats explained by Dr. Dietsch

By: | September 16, 2020

One of the easiest ways to keep your cats happy and healthy is to keep them up to date on vaccines. Why is it so important to vaccinate? Vaccines trigger the immune system to produce antibodies for a disease, so if there is an exposure to the disease, there is an immediate response to fight it. Without a vaccine, it could be days before the immune system responds.

Vaccines are referred to as core and non-core. Core vaccines are routine vaccinations that should be given to all cats. Non-core vaccines, are for those cats with more threatening environments such as outdoor cats. The core vaccines are for Rabies and FVRCP. Below, we’ll explain these vaccine in more detail:

Rabies:
Rabies causes inflammation of the brain. Symptoms include: aggression, restlessness, lethargy, vocalization, loss of appetite, disorientation, seizures and death. It’s transmitted through bites and scratches. High on the list of carriers are bats, racoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes. Opossums are not on the list. Humans are susceptible. This is why rabies vaccines are for cars and dogs are required by city and state health departments.

Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis:
FVRCP stands for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis Calici Virus Panleukopenia. It is an upper respiratory infection. They look like we do with a cold. Symptoms include Fever, sneezing, nasal discharge, inflamed, weepy eyes. FVRCP progresses to depression and loss of appetite. The usual course is 5-10 days but some severe cases can last up to 6 weeks. This virus is in the herpes family but not usually transmitted to people. It is spread from cat to cat through contact with eyes or noses of infected cats. Can also be infected from toys, blankets, water and food bowls contaminated by sick cats.

Calici Virus:
This virus effects the mouth and lungs. Ulcerated lesions can often be seen on the tongue. This can also cause difficultly with eating and drinking. Signs are most often seen in kittens that are 8-12 weeks old. The prognosis is usually good and the virus usually runs its course in 7-10 days.

Panleukopenia:
This is a highly contagious disease and often fatal. The symptoms include: fever, depression, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. This disease usually runs its course in 5-7 days. This virus can be picked up through a contaminated environment and there does not have to be direct contact with an infected cat.

Non-Core Vaccine:
Feline Leukemia: Feline Leukemia is a non-core vaccine because the chances of an indoor car getting leukemia are slim. There has to be direct contact with an infected cat, which is why this vaccine is very important for outdoor cats. Feline Leukemia causes the suppression of the immune system. Signs are usually from secondary illness due to the poor immune system. Anemia, cancer, intestinal problems and neurological disorders can all occur. The progression of the disease can be slow, ranging from months to years. It is usually fatal for cats that show symptoms. Transmission is through saliva and urine. The usual routs are grooming, shared litter boxes, and fighting. Mother to kitten transmission is the greatest source though. There is no cure. It is highly recommended to test any new cat for leukemia before allowing any contact with other cats in the home.

So, for your cat’s health, make sure that they are up to date on vaccinations. Please contact your veterinarian and find out what vaccination protocols they recommend. Show your cats you love them!

Pets are especially vulnerable right now. Pets like Mimi.

By: | July 29, 2020

Mimi’s Story

Mimi came to the APA after spending much of her six years of life in a small, dilapidated enclosure with limited human contact and only a plastic crate to shield her from the elements. She had heartworms, a persistent cough, two masses on her legs and one on her mammary.

Mimi was placed with a wonderful foster family who fell in love with her. They provided her all the love and cuddling she could handle. She grew particularly fond of the family’s dog, Otis, a gentle giant (and an APA alum).

Meanwhile, the team at the APA went to work scheduling a biopsy of Mimi’s tumors and learned that the cancer had filled her body. While there is no treatment for Mimi, she is not in pain. Her new family decided to be her twilight foster, providing her with all the care she needs until the end of her life.  For the first time in her life she is happy and she is home.

Pets are especially vulnerable right now. Pets like Mimi.

There are thousands more pets just like Mimi who need our help and we have recalibrated our programming to continue uninterrupted service to those most in need.

Even during an unprecedented pandemic, the Animal Protective Association of Missouri continues to be a safe and loving space for the most vulnerable pets (and their people) in our community. Whether it is finding more than 300 foster families for homeless or abandoned pets awaiting adoption, providing curbside wellness visits through our clinic, or distributing 4,000 pounds of pet food to families in need, the APA is dedicated to fulfilling our mission.

As pets show up on our doorstep, we are a welcome stop in their journey to a safe and loving home. In fact, 800 pets since March have been in our care. And, as we receive calls from families who need support to keep caring for their pet, we are there to help provide access to pet food, veterinary care and medication, or even community resources.

We can’t do this work alone.
There are many ways you could support our work and we need your love and support more than ever. Please consider one or more of the following.

Give! As the country adjusts to a post COVID-19 new normal, our donations have declined at the same time that the infrastructure and safety precautions required to do this work have increased. If you have the resources, we ask you to support the APA. As you know, we do not take any government support and are 100% funded by private donations. This keeps us nimble, responsive and independent as we constantly adapt to meet the needs of pets.

Foster! We urgently need foster families. Particularly during the pandemic, when the APA cannot keep facilities open for business as usual, our foster families are super heroes who have swooped in to save these cats and dogs! We are continuously working to find permanent placements for all our pets, but the gift of time and care as we do this work is invaluable. Mimi’s foster family has turned a tragedy into a magical time as Mimi experiences love, care, and a new best friend in Otis, for the first time in her life.
Adopt! Still the heart of what we do, we helped more than 4,000 animals find their forever homes in 2019. We hope that you will consider adding a permanent member to your family. These pets have a capacity to bring joy and comfort to your family and ask only for food, water and love in return. And maybe a soft bed. And a chew toy. But that’s all! They will change your life for the better. We promise.
We are working tirelessly at the APA to continue the work we have done for 98 years. Your support is invaluable to us in this effort. Thank you in advance for considering how you could help us in our mission.

APA Event Updates

By: | July 23, 2020

Dear friends,

After a lot of thoughtful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our 2020 APA Canine Carnival event as a result of the pandemic and rising COVID-19 numbers. While this event is among our favorites, our top priority is protecting the health and safety of the staff, volunteers, community and you, our amazing supporters.

We are deeply disappointed to cancel this year’s event but look forward to an even bigger celebration next year. In fact, we are so excited to host this event that we have already confirmed a date! Please mark your calendars for the 2021 Canine Carnival on Sunday, October 3, 2021.

While the world looks a bit different right now, we still have much to celebrate, even if we can’t do it in person. Did you know the APA turned 98 this year? It’s true! We wear our longevity as a badge of honor (and we have to say, for surviving and thriving through nearly ten decades and the current pandemic, we look pretty darn good). Because everyone could use a little reason to celebrate, we have decided to commemorate this birthday with a whole season of fun, including online and digital engagement and remote fundraising events. For 98 years we have been bringing people and pets together, and we have no intention of stopping. We invite you to join us in this critical effort to raise funds for the APA by participating in the exciting things we have planned – the APA’s 98th Birthday Season of Celebration!

In September, take part in the APA Birthday Cake Challenge. A local bakery will be creating an elaborate APA birthday cake and we will challenge our supporters to replicate the masterpiece. Individuals will submit photos of their re-creations and everyone will have a chance to vote and donate. The top replica cake/baker will win a prize!

In October we invite you to show us your pet’s birthday best by dressing up your cat, dog, guinea pig (or other adorable pet) to compete for a prize.

Also in October we will host a virtual birthday cocktail party. By purchasing your Birthday Party ticket, you’ll receive a paw-some swag bag, tasty treats, and experience some of the successes and behind-the-scenes footage at the APA through a variety of virtual content.

In November, we are celebrating 98 years by asking our closest friends to raise $98 in honor of our birthday. Funds raised through this effort will go directly to care for pets who need us the very most.

We will be sharing more details about our exciting birthday celebration events very soon, so stay tuned!

Thank you for your continued support of the APA and our work. Pets bring so much joy and comfort to our lives, especially right now, and we are so grateful you are part of our mission.

With gratitude,

Sarah Javier

President/Executive Director

 

PS: If you are looking for other ways to help us at the APA Adoption Center during this uncertain time, please click here.

APA Adoption Center and Wellness Clinic Reopening with Modified Operations

By: | July 22, 2020

Effective Monday July, 27 2020

Adoptions

The  APA Adoption Center is open for adoptions with modified operations. It is vital for us to continue placing pets in safe, loving homes as there are still many pets who need us. If you are interested in adopting, please visit our adoptable pets page for up-to-date information on pets currently available for adoption. To contact us, please call 314-645-4610 and select option ‘1’.

Curbside adoptions available for puppies and kittens under 6 months. First visit our website to view photos and profiles of puppies and kittens are currently available. Once you identify a pet you are interested in, please call to speak with an adoption counselor who will help you determine if the pet is a good fit for your home and discuss next steps.

  • Puppy and kitten adoptions will be completed over the phone and a pick up time scheduled.
  • Due to limited visiting capacity we are dedicating our meet and greet rooms to animals 6 months and older. We are not doing visits with puppies and kittens at this time.

We have limited capacity for visits with adoptable animals 6 months and older. To visit with an adoptable animal:

  • First view adoptable animals on our website. While clients are unable to walk through the building at this time, we will bring animals to a meet and greet room for you.
  • Visits are limited to 2 people per household.
  • We cannot accommodate visits with children under age 12 at this time. Under normal circumstances we love to accommodate visits with the entire family and our staff are present on visits with children. However, our meet and greet rooms do not have adequate space for social distancing between potential adopters and staff.
  • Masks are required to enter the building and must remain on the entire time.
  • If there is a wait for the rooms, visits may be limited to a total of 4 pets and/or 30 minutes.
  • Animals over 6 months are also eligible for a 2 week trial adoption where you can foster them first.

Wellness Clinic

The APA’s Wellness clinic is open with modified operations. Our waiting room is limited to one client. Please call to let us know you have arrived (we recommend getting in line for the queue from home first).  Clients cannot accompany pets into the exam room because the space is not large enough for social distancing. However, one client at a time can wait in our waiting room. Masks are required to enter the building and must remain on.

Please do not visit our adoption center or wellness clinic if you are sick with COVID symptoms or have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days.  

Returning the Favor: Supporting Our Pets as We Go Back to Work

By: | June 12, 2020

For many households with pets, the stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 outbreak meant one thing for the animals: more time and attention from humans.  Maybe it meant more cuddle time on the couch, or regular sessions of fetch in the backyard. For some families, frequent dog walks around the neighborhood became a necessary respite.  Some families used this time to welcome new furry friends into their homes, and these animals have only known the “quarantine life.” For many animals, these routines and activities became their new “normal”.  But as businesses start reopening and families begin leaving the house to go back to work and school, another new “normal” will soon come into being.  Companion animals will find themselves spending more time without their humans.  What can we do to help make this transition less stressful for our friends?

First, begin preparing for a change in your routine as soon as possible, even if you are unsure when you will be returning to work. When faced with more time alone, dogs and cats can find destructive ways to pass the time.  Plan for ways to keep them safe and entertained.  Continue engaging in the positive changes you made in your pet’s exercise and enrichment routine – even if it means modifying your routine to fit around your work schedule.  If possible, consider hiring someone or asking for help, or even utilizing technology like a pet camera or remote treat dispenser, to give your best buddy the attention they have grown accustom to.  Next, practice spending more time away from your pets. Start taking more walks alone or go for a drive.  Begin with short intervals away, then gradually work up to longer periods. The key is to make these moments of alone time as pleasant as possible for your pet.

When surrounded by their favorite people, dogs and cats may not feel the need to chew on toys, shoes, or clothes laying on the floor. But when faced with alone time, chewing up those items can help alleviate boredom and anxiety. Get your family in the habit of putting these things away. Provide toys that are safe for dogs and cats to chew on and scratching posts to keep your cats from clawing on furniture. Puppies and younger dogs innately chew when they are bored. Consider crate training to keep them safe.

If you got into the healthy habit of taking a daily walk with your dog, try to work in a walk around your new schedule. For some dogs, a short walk in the morning can help stave off anxious feelings during the day. If a walk is not feasible, think about hiring a dog walker or check into dog daycare facilities near you.  Cats may enjoy watching videos of birds and other creatures or try hanging a bird feeder in a nearby window to give them something to watch. Some cats find pheromone diffusers helpful. Both cats and dogs can benefit from soothing music streaming while you are away. Pet sitters will make home visits to play with cats but, if hiring someone to help is not possible, ask a trusted neighbor or family member to stop in for a visit during the day.

Technology kept humans connected during times of social distancing, so why not use it to stay connected to your pets? There are affordable cameras available that are easy to set up that will allow you to keep an eye on your furry friend while you are away. Some of these cameras even allow you to talk to your pet!  If you are unsure how your pet will react to the new change in routine, this is one way to keep a socially distanced eye on them.

Even with planning and practice, certain animals will experience severe anxiety when separated from the humans with whom they have bonded. If panting, drooling, pacing, excessive barking, inappropriate elimination, destruction of property or attempts to escape occur, be sure to seek professional help from your veterinarian. Veterinary professionals can help assess if there are any underlying medical conditions that need attention, prescribe anxiety medication, and refer you to a trainer experienced in helping separation anxiety.

Our companion animals have supported us through the COVID-19 pandemic by giving us a reason to get out and exercise, by providing us with non-stop comic relief, and reduced our anxiety by warming our hearts with endless affection during such an uncertain time. They made life bearable for us, we must be sure to return the favor.