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Welcome to Lake Howell Animal Clinic

"Your pet’s health and well-being is our number one concern."

Your Dog, Cat, and Exotics Veterinarian in Maitland, FL
Call us at (407) 628-8000

Veterinary Services:

  • Medical Care
  • Dental Care
  • Orthopedics
  • Surgery
  • Spay/Neuter
  • Critical Care
  • Vaccinations
  • Boarding
  • Diet & Nutrition
  • Referrals
  • Education

Cat Health and Care Information

Spay and Neuter
Spaying and neutering is part of what every responsible pet owner should do.  It is very important in order to prevent diseases such as mammary gland (breast) cancer, prostate cancer, testicular cancer and pyometra (potentially fatal infection of the uterus). Overpopulation and stray animals are a concern in our country.

By spaying and neutering your pet, you contribute to controlling overpopulation.  A heartbreaking consequence to overpopulation is massive euthanasia of stray and abandoned pets at shelters and clinics all over the country.

You should plan on spaying or neutering your pet between 4-7 months of age ideally. It is best to perform this surgery in females before they get a first heat cycle since this will decrease the chances of developing malignant breast cancer by 95-98%. 

Physical Exams

Physical exams are important to maintain optimal health for your beloved pet. We recommend bringing your pet at least once a year for a complete wellness exam.  If your pet is over 7 years old, physical exams should be done twice a year.  Cats age quicker than humans - remember, one human year can be equal to about 5-7 years in your pet's life. A lot of changes can take place in that much time.

By performing a complete physical exam, your veterinarian can pinpoint signs of a chronic or silent illness. Examining the eyes and ears will assess degree of vision and hearing loss.  Looking in the mouth can show dental disease and small tumors.  Auscultation of the heart can detect murmurs that otherwise would go unnoticed until your pet shows signs of heart failure. Palpating the abdomen could reveal an enlarged liver, kidneys or spleen.  Checking the skin could help you find out if that little lump you found a few weeks ago, is something to be worried about.

As your pet gets older, it is even more important to get a full comprehensive exam including tests to evaluate the function of the liver, kidneys, thyroid gland and bone marrow.  There are health problems that most people will write off as just "old age” but that in reality can be diagnosed and treated.  Our goal is to help your geriatric friend live his “golden years” with a good quality of life, free of pain and happy.

It is also important that you tell your veterinarian about any strange behavior or changes in your pet’s personality.  Do not keep any concerns to yourself, thinking “it’s probably nothing.” You know your pet better than anyone else and if you think there is something wrong, you are probably right.  A complete physical examination can pick up early signs of different diseases and by finding, diagnosing and treating these problems early, your pet will live a much healthier and longer life.

Feline Vaccinations

Young kittens receive antibodies from their mother’s milk.  Unfortunately, this immune protection begins to disappear after 6 weeks of age.  In order to protect kittens, a series of vaccines is given every 3-4 weeks.  The series starts with a combination of feline panleukopenia (also known as feline distemper), herpesvirus, calicivirus and rhinotracheitis (this vaccine is commonly abbreviated FDR or FVRCP). Some veterinarians will add feline leukemia (FeLV) in the vaccination series.  The rabies vaccine is given after 15 weeks of age.  There are different and newer vaccines
available that are not routinely given at Lake Howell Animal Clinic such as Feline
Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).  If you would like more information on any of these
 vaccines, please call your veterinarian.

Our vaccine protocol for kittens:

Approximate Age




  8-10 weeks


  11-14 weeks



  15+ weeks




After these series of boosters is finished, your kitten will need more boosters one year after.  For its first series of adult vaccines, we recommend FVRCP, FeLV (if necessary) and Rabies.  The FVRCP and FeLV will be repeated yearly but the Rabies will be good for 3 years

Heartworm Prevention

Heartworm disease is a potentially deadly parasitic disease caused by a long worm that takes residence in the heart and blood vessels of dogs.  When a mosquito bites a dog with heartworm infection, it will collect the heartworm infective stage and then pass it on to another dog or cat.

The important thing is to give a heartworm preventative that will not allow the infective stage to develop into an adult heartworm.  Heartworm disease will injure the cardiovascular system.  Some of the signs include diarrhea, respiratory problems and exerciseintolerance(gettingtiredeasily). 

Prevention of heartworm disease is simple and affordable. A once a month prescription treatment is usually all that you will need to give your pet.  Your veterinarian will prescribe these medications, only after making sure that your dog is not heartworm positive. Heartworm infection in dogs is easily diagnosed with a simple blood test. Using a heartworm preventative in a heartworm positive dog can cause a severe reaction. 

Previous recommendations for heartworm test were for every 1 – 3 year testing but in 2005, the American Heartworm Society (AHS) changed to a yearly testing. Annual testing will allow your veterinarian to detect an infection with plenty of time to manage it effectively. 

For more information about the most recent recommendations on heartworm prevention, visit the guidelines posted on the AHS website at

Tick and Flea Prevention

Ticks and fleas are associated with transmitting and causing diseases in cats.  Ticks are considered excellent carriers and transmitters of diseases such as Ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tick paralysis and Lyme disease. One complication of flea infestation would be anemia in kittens. Flea anemia can be life-threatening in very young or old animals. 

Tick and Flea Control and Prevention

Current flea and tick control products are safe, effective and friendly to the environment. There are oral and topical products available.  These products are very helpful not only for treating but also for prevention. It is recommended that you keep your pet on monthly flea and tick treatments, regardless of them being exclusively indoors.  In cases of heavy flea or tick infestations it is advisable for you to treat the environment (carpets, floors, yards) as well, at least initially.

Tick and flea products labeled to be used for dogs should NEVER be used on cats because severe toxicity and death may occur.

Declawing Cats

The digits (toes) of cats are composed of three small bones known as phalanges. The surgical procedure known as declawing involves removing the third phalange (P3) and the nail bed. There has always been controversy regarding this procedure. Some people consider it unnecessary and painful mutilation. Other people think that declawing is a better option vs. having an owner abandon or euthanize their cat simply because it is scratching furniture or injuring a baby or an elderly person.  There is no denying that declawing is a painful procedure. However, there is a variety of strong and good pain relievers available to use in cats. Make sure to have your veterinarian explain exactly what methods of pain control will be used during and after the surgery.

Alternatives to Declawing

If you are no interested in declawing your cat, there are other options. 

Scratching Posts: Keep one scratching post per cat plus an extra one (Ex: if there are 4 cats, make sure you have 5 posts in the house). Each scratching post should be tall enough for your cat to stretch up to its full height without being able to reach the top. The scratching post should also be steady. If the post rocks, moves or falls over it is very likely that your cat will not use it.  Do not hide the post where it can not be seen. Place the post near areas and furniture that your cat has selected to scratch. After a while, you should be able to put them in more inconspicuous places.

Deterrents: You can protect your furniture with heavy plastic covers to alter its texture and to serve as a deterrent. You can also use a pheromone spray such as Feliway®. The ingredients on this spray serve as a deterrent because the cat will most likely not want to scratch or mark the specific area were you sprayed.  

Nail Covers: “Soft Paws”™ are plastic nail caps that can be super-glued to a cat’s claws. Damage to furniture is practically eliminated while the nail caps remain in place.

Nail Trims: First thing to remember about trimming a cat’s nails is to use appropriate nail clippers (do not use human nail trimmers). Keeping the nails consistently trimmed eliminates the sharp nail edges that can be so damaging. Ask your veterinarian or veterinary technician to teach you how to trim the nails correctly and to recommend a good nail clipper.

Dental Care

One of the most common diseases in our domestic companions is dental or periodontal disease.  Ironically, it is also one of the most preventable and treatable diseases. The following are recommendations for pet oral care. 

Teeth brushing:  You will need a pet toothbrush and veterinary toothpaste. Human toothpastes and baking soda may cause problems and be potentially toxic to pets.  Pets accumulate plaque every day, just like humans. Therefore it would be ideal for you to brush their teeth every day.   When plaque becomes mineralized, it will form tartar.  Tartar can not be removed with brushing alone.  To remove tartar your pet will need a professional dental cleaning. Talk to your veterinarian or veterinary technician for a demonstration on how to appropriately brush your pet’s teeth. 

Diet:  A good and balanced crunchy diet is preferred over wet food or table food only.  You may also offer a variety of treats that are specifically design to prevent tartar formation.

Even with regular brushing and good diets, your pet may still need a professional dental cleaning at some point.  Make sure to have your veterinarian examine your pet’s mouth at least once a year to determine if a professional cleaning is necessary. 


Microchips are effective and reliable ways to identify pets. The microchip is a tiny computer chip that stores an identification number and is easily placed under the skin through an injection.  Your pet’s identification code is unique.  Inserting the microchip in your pet is only the first step.  Make sure that you submit and mail your contact information to the microchip company.  Without that, if your pet is lost, we will be able to scan and see his microchip number but we will not be able to find you – that defeats the purpose of the microchip.

There are two main companies that produce microchips for pets: AVID® and Home Again®.  Each company has universal scanners that can identify chips from each other as well as other microchip companies that create chips that are also in their same frequency (125 Khz). Scanners are available at veterinary clinics, humane society shelters, SPCA, animal control and other rescue organizations to ensure that every stray pet is scanned and those with chips are reunited with their owners.

How microchips work:  When a lost or stray pet is found and taken to a facility with a scanner, the pet is scanned.  If a microchip is found, the owner can be found by using the pet’s ID number.  All it takes is contacting the microchip company by phone or internet and with the number they’ll provide the owner’s contact information. 


Obesity in pets, just like in humans, has become an epidemic in our country.  Almost 40 percent of our pets are considered obese or likely to become obese. The primary causes of obesity are overeating and lack of exercise. There are also medical, hormonal or metabolic conditions that may induce obesity. 

If you feel that your pet is getting “a little chunky”, see your veterinarian.  Your veterinarian, through physical exam and laboratory tests, can determine if there are any underlying causes for obesity and make recommendations for weight loss. 

Weight loss tips:

  1. Change to a low calorie or weight loss food or reduce the daily amount of food
  2. Increase exercise activity: daily walks, running/playing in your backyard, swimming, etc.
  3. To satiate your pet’s hunger, you may need to increase fiber in the diet and the water supply. 

Obesity in pets can have the same consequences that it has in humans.  Diabetes, painful joints, heart disease and hypertension are among the conditions associated with obesity.  Remember, your pet can not feed itself so it is up to you to provide the appropriate type and amount of food in order to prevent


The normal pregnancy or gestation period in cats varies from 58 to 68 days (the average is 62-63 days). Conditions that may be confused with pregnancy include false pregnancy, mastitis (inflammation of the mammary glands), mammary gland neoplasia (cancer), abdominal enlargement due to fluid accumulation or organ enlargement, or pyometra (infection of the uterus).

If you suspect your pet may be pregnant but are not sure, your veterinarian can determine if your suspicions are real. However, kittens can seldom be palpated early in the pregnancy.  The skeleton of the fetus is visible on an X-ray after 45 days of pregnancy.  An abdominal ultrasound is an excellent way to diagnose pregnancy and estimate litter size.

If a pregnancy is confirmed we recommend feeding a kitten food to your cat during pregnancy and until the kittens are weaned.  You should also have plenty of water available at all times for the mom to drink. It is important to have your veterinarian do regular check ups on your pregnant cat to ensure that everything is going well.

When the time comes for your cat to give birth, you should be prepared for a possible lengthy delivery, especially if the litter has more than 5 kittens.  A possible complication while giving birth is dystocia (difficulty giving birth).  This could be due to the mom getting tired of pushing, to a fetus being to big for the birth canal or to problems with uterine contractions.  If your pet has been pushing but no fetus is coming out, call your veterinarian immediately.  Some pets may need an emergency C-section if the delivery can not be completed naturally.