Good Health Makes For A Happy Savannah Cat And Owner Too!
The Savannah cat is not known to have any breed-specific health problems, but it is still vulnerable to all the diseases and maladies that affect the general cat population.
You can prevent many of these problems by keeping your cat's vaccinations up to date and encouraging a healthy immune system through proper nutrition and exercise.
Some caution must be taken with vaccines and anesthetic with the Savannah cat. Following are a few health considerations before and after your beautiful kitten comes home.
Spaying/neutering a cat will reduce the risk of health problems and unwanted behaviour. If you have not specifically purchased a cat for breeding, many breeders will spay (neuter) their female kittens prior to releasing them and include the veterinary fee within the purchase price.
The operation is usually done between 10 and 14 weeks and the kitten is kept for a week after surgery to ensure that she is healed and ready to settle into her new home.
Male kittens are generally neutered before reaching age six months to avoid spraying/marking of urine in the home and to avoid territorial aggression.
TICA breeders will include this requirement within their contracts with new owners if the neutering has not been completed before release of the kitten.
Savannahs do not require declawing and most owners prefer not to have their pets declawed. If you want the procedure done it will cost approximately $700 and should be done when the kitten is young as it will heal better.
Veterinarians now use lasers to avoid any bleeding and healing occurs within two to three days.
Some veterinarians have noted that African Servals have smaller livers relative to their body size than domestic cats.
Take care with prescription medication for Savannahs with a high percentage of Serval in them. Lower doses per weight of the cat may be necessary because of the smaller liver.
Some (but not all) Savannah breeders believe strongly that modified live vaccines can be fatal for Savannahs and that only killed virus vaccines should be used.
Others are the complete opposite, having had poor reactions to killed vaccines and no vaccine reaction (lethargy, illness, etc.) to the modified live vaccines.
Opinions vary widely from breeder to breeder and research is not available to confirm either position. Many veterinarians who are unfamiliar with Savannahs may not be aware of this controversy, so owners must be vigilant about protecting their new family member.
The vaccine traditionally used for Savannah kittens (FEL-O-VAX PCT) is no longer available and some breeders have found its replacement to be a threat to the Savannah's immune system.
To boost their cats' immune systems, some breeders are now using homeopathic remedies rather than vaccines.
Most professional breeders warn that Savannahs do not respond well to anesthesia containing Ketamine and will request in their contracts that Ketamine not be used for surgeries.
Many have found that Ketamine can have negative or fatal consequences for Savannahs.
If your veterinarian is not familiar with the special needs of a Savannah, it is important to know that the veterinarians used by breeders agree that only Isoflourine should be used.
It is often difficult to tell if your Savannah is ill, as cats mask pain and discomfort better than most animals. It will purr if it is happy but also if it is in pain, so reading your pet's body language can sometimes be difficult.
Ideally you will have access to a vet who knows and understands Savannahs. However, visits to the vets office should be kept to a minimum to avoid unnecessary exposure to potential diseases.
If a problem seems relatively minor, often your breeder will be of great help and glad to be of assistance to a kitten that has been adopted.