We are open M, T, W, F
and 2:30pm-6pm

Thursday & Saturday 8am-noon

Doctor's hours are by appointment.

To make an appointment, please call

1120 Maricopa Hwy.
Ojai, CA 93023


NEW VACCINE for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus!

After many years of research, a vaccine has finally been developed for FIV . Your cat will receive 3 initial doses of the vaccine each given two weeks apart, followed by an annual booster.

Unfortunately, there is some question about how effective it is.

What is Feline Immunodeficiency Virus?

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus or FIV (also known as feline AIDS), passes from cat to cat through bite wounds. The virus is present in the saliva. Once bitten and the virus is transmitted it infects the cells, replicates and spreads throughout the body.

FIV can also be transmitted by an infected mother to her kittens through nursing.

Unlike Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), FIV does not appear to be spread by casual contact.

Not all cats exposed to FIV will become ill. It is possible for your cat to test positive for the FIV antibody without showing any signs of illness. Some cats can effectively ‘fight off’ the virus, but will still show a positive test result. Others will harbor the virus for years before symptoms become visible.

Symptoms for the FIV positive cat who becomes ill can vary greatly; but the most common are:
• Severe Gingivitis (gum disease)
• Frequent and recurring skin, bladder and respiratory infections
• Poor coat condition
• Fatigue
• Weight Loss

Treatment is primarily supportive care; antibiotics for the recurring infections, fluid therapy, steroids and even blood transfusions. There is no “cure” for FIV and it is eventually fatal.

Feline Hyperthyroidism

Treatment of Feline Hyperthyroidism

There are actually several treatments available for Feline Hyperthyroidism.

Drugs can be given that block thyroid hormone effectiveness. These drugs have to be given at least twice daily and can lead to stomach upsets in many cats; especially if the initial dose needs to be increased over time. Additionally, side effects including scratching or rubbing the face, decreased white blood cells, elevations in liver enzymes and decrease in platelets causing increased bleeding problems may occur. It must be remembered that these drugs do nothing to deal with the enlargement of the thyroid glands. As time passes, the glands will usually continue to grow in size, requiring more medication to control the problem. Periodic laboratory blood tests must be performed to track the disease and fine tune treatment protocols. Periodic testing also helps us monitor the appearance of the side effects discussed earlier.

Surgical removal of the thyroid glands is an available option. This surgery is potentially life threatening. The parathyroid glands, which control calcium and potassium levels in the body, are very near to the thyroid glands. If the parathyroid glands are damaged or removed your pet would require a delicate balance of medications to avoid serious problems. It is possible for the thyroid gland to re-grow if not completely excised, which could eventually result in the overproduction of thyroid hormone again in the future.

Radioiodine treatment requires an injection of a radioactive dye into the blood that selectively damages the thyroid tissues and effectively stops the overproduction of thyroid hormone. If all of the thyroid gland is not destroyed by the radioiodine, it is possible for the thyroid gland to re-grow which could ultimately result in overproduction of thyroid hormone again in the future. 

A new diet called YD is available. This provides a minimum amount of iodine so the  thyroid is essentially "starved" for iodine and cannot produce more than the normal amount of thyroid hormone. This seems to be working very well.

On-Going Care for Feline Hyperthyroidism

Because most cats diagnosed with Feline Hyperthyroidism are older, many will suffer from kidney disease as well. Because the disease causes increased blood pressure in most cats, correction of hyperthyroidism can cause a lowering of the blood pressure which can adversely affect the kidney disease. Monitoring this situation with periodic laboratory blood testing and blood pressure monitoring, and controlling the kidney disease with diet and proper dental care is also important.

We will need to recheck your cat’s CBC (complete blood count) and platelet count every two weeks for a period of time. We will then need to recheck the thyroid levels, liver and kidney functions in four weeks. Assuming no problems develop and we are able to continue the medication, we can reduce retesting intervals. If we find that medication needs to be increased in the future, then the retesting protocol will need to be changed.

While Feline Hyperthyroidism is a very serious disease, we can greatly improve your cat’s life by appropriately responding to the existing problems. Diagnosis of Feline Hyperthyroidism is just the beginning. Ongoing management of the disease is the true key to success.

What is Feline Hyperthyroidism?
Feline Hyperthyroidism occurs most often in middle-aged and geriatric cats. Itis a disease caused by the growth of a tumor inside the thyroid gland, resultingin the overproduction of thyroid hormone. This growth is almost always NOT cancerous;but 1-2% of the cases are diagnosed as cancerous.

The most common symptoms of Feline Hyperthyroidism are:
• Nervousness or hyperactivity
• Weight loss in spite of large appetite
• Increased drinking & urination
• Diarrhea
• Intermittent fever
• Difficulty breathing
• Vomiting
• Signs of cardiovascular disease
• Rapid heart rate
• Hair loss
• Voice changes

A thorough physical examination and laboratory blood tests are used to diagnose Feline Hyperthyroidism. Periodic laboratory tests of both blood and urine are the most effective tools for early detection of any disease.