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From the very first day, you should know your Savannah cat's typical state of being and normal behavior so that you recognize great well-being and can quickly notice any signs of disease.

By observing your Savannah cat for changes in activity or behavior, you can spot disease or injury early. Similarly, a vet can evaluate your cat's condition at regular check-ups and keep records of any problems.

Healthy behaviors of Savannah cats:

  • Its expression is bright and alert
  • Runs and jumps freely
  • Friendly or calm with people
  • Grooms self easily
  • Eats and drinks average amounts
  • Urinates and defecates normally

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

This disease is also called kidney failure. CKD is a progressive illness that impairs kidney function. Your cat's kidneys are organs that are responsible for several functions, including electrolyte and fluid balance and excreting waste via urine.

The signs and symptoms of CKD will, in general, get worse over time as the ailment is progressive. The signs include weight reduction, decreased appetite, dullness and weakness, anemia, excessive thirst and/or urination, foul breath, unhealthy fur, and hypertension. Ckd is usually diagnosed by the vet. There's no cure for CKD, but the disease's progression can be controlled.

Cat Diabetes

Damaged blood sugar control can lead to a variety of health problems. The most common feline diabetes signs include excessive urination, excessive thirst, excessive appetite, weight loss.

Because the signs of this disease are similar to other diseases, your vet can confirm a diagnosis through blood and urine tests.

Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV)

FeLV is easily transmitted via the bodily fluids of infected cats. It is common in areas where there are many cats, such as multi-cat homes or communities with a lot of stray or feral felines.

FeLV symptoms can vary but may include: fever, weight loss, loss of appetite, general weakness, unhealthy fur, enlarged lymph nodes, skin, bladder, and respiratory infections.

There is no cure for this disease, but a vet can help an infected cat feel as good as possible for as long as possible by preventing secondary health problems and managing her symptoms.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a viral infection that may lead to impaired immunity and other health problems. Savannah cats typically contact FIV through bites from other infected cats or contact with infected saliva.

Once a Savannah cat has contracted FIV, the cat will never be healed from the virus. When a kitty first contracts the feline immunodeficiency virus, minor and often unnoticed signs of acute viral infection can occur (like a mild fever or swollen lymph nodes).

Feline Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a type of endocrine disorder. It happens when the thyroid gland is too active and secretes excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. This can put pressure on many organs within a Savannah cat's body. This disease can also lead to an overactive metabolism.

Early diagnosis is crucial because it can improve outcomes for an animal with this disease. Standard treatment for this disease in cats includes radioiodine therapy (to destroy overactive thyroid cells), anti-thyroid medications, thyroidectomy (partial or full removal of the affected thyroid gland), and/or nutritional changes.

Lower Urinary Tract Disease

These diseases are infections that affect the bladder and urethra of Savannah cats. There are many causes of lower urinary tract infections. These include bladder stones, bacterial, viral, or fungal infections, obstruction of the urethra, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, birth defects, and trauma to the urinary tract.

You might be able to tell if your Savannah cat has a lower urinary tract infection if she frequently attempts to urinate, even if only a little urine comes out, strains to urinate or vocalizes while urinating (a sign that urination may be painful), excessively licks her genital area and has blood in her urine.

Treatment of a lower urinary tract disease relies on early and accurate diagnosis. Always provide your cat access to clean water. Keep litter boxes clean. Do what you can to limit stress for your cat, for example keeping the litter box in a quiet place in your home and maintaining a consistent daily routine.

Rabies

This disease is a lethal viral infection that affects the central nervous system of mammals. Since rabies can infect any mammal wildlife or not, so outdoor cats who are unvaccinated are at the highest risk of contracting rabies. Feline rabies is a severe and destructive disease that progresses rapidly. There are 3 phases of rabies:

Prodromal phase: Signs and symptoms include behavioral changes and temperamental changes such as restlessness, increased vocalizations, aggression, or unusual segregation. Likewise, she may experience a loss of appetite, trouble walking, excessive salivation, dilated pupils, unintentional muscle movement, fever, and body weakness.

Furious phase: A cat with rabies will begin to behave more erratically after 2 or 3 days of being infected. She may attempt to eat random objects like sticks and stones. Your cat may start to bite herself, snap at items that aren't there. The feline may begin to have seizures or begin to wander.

Paralytic phase: An infected cat becomes depressed and unresponsive in this phase. She may begin to foam at the mouth. She'll have general weakness and paralysis and will also have issues breathing.

This will eventually deteriorate to respiratory failure and unconsciousness. The infected animal will eventually die from the infection, usually within 1-2 weeks after her symptoms first appear.

Rabies cannot be diagnosed while the animal is still alive, and it cannot be treated. If your pet has interacted with another animal that has died due to rabies, or if it shows any signs or symptoms that could be rabies, you need to go to the vet immediately.

Upper Respiratory Infections

An upper respiratory infection (often known as URI) is an infection of part of a feline's respiratory system, namely the nose and throat.

A Savannah cat may develop this infection by coming in direct contact with secretions from an infected cat. While the bacteria and viruses that cause this infection can't live for a long time outside a host animal, a cat buddy can ingest them if she uses water, and bedding, food bowls or toys that have been contaminated. Upper respiratory infections look a great deal like a cat cold.

What You Can Do at Home:

  • Offer wet food that has been slightly warmed.  It increases the food’s smell so your cat can more easily recognize it and eat
  • Place the cat in your bathroom while you’re taking a hot shower.  The steam vapor may help to loosen respiratory secretions
  • Keep the nose and eyes clean by gently wiping with a warm, damp cloth

An upper respiratory infection may relieve the animal after about 7-10 days. But if symptoms persist, you should see your vet immediately. If untreated, these infections could lead to fatal respiratory diseases.

Dealing With Cat Allergies

Approximately 1 cat in 200 has feline asthma. As in humans, asthma symptoms include coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. It has been discovered that more cats seem to be coming down with the disease than ever before.

Vets agree that an indoor life is safer for your cat than an outdoor one. Cats who stay in the house don't have to cope with dangers like cars, bad weather, and other animals, so they have a longer lifespan (15 years on average for an indoor cat versus 11 years for cats in general). These things can irritate a cat's skin and lungs and cause reactions ranging from rashes to full-blown asthma.

The most ideal approach to allergies is to remove the irritation source. So, making sure your home is free of triggers like dust and smoke can go a long way in helping your Savannah cat feel better.

Experts also recommend the following:

  • Wash your Savannah cat’s and your own beddings in hot water at least two times a month. This will kill dust mites, the main culprits in dust allergies.
  • Give your cat a bath. We all know that cats are averse to water. Still, a bath with a hypoallergenic or an oatmeal-based shampoo will probably soothe your Savannah cat's skin irritation. A bath approximately once a month should be frequently enough for you and your cat to notice a difference.
  • Don't smoke inside.
  • Consult a vet for advice. Various medical options are available to those whose cats have severe allergies. Even though feline asthma is typically a mild condition, severe cases may require medical attention.

The Aging Cat

Many pet Savannah cats who are well cared for can live up to 12 years, some reaching 20 years. However, at about age 10, your cat may begin to give indications of aging: loss (or increase) of weight, weakened eyesight, teeth problems, and a thinner, duller coat.

His character may change, too, with your pet becoming easily disturbed, especially around evening. There are many treatments available to help older cats manage chronic conditions—even senility.

You have to make changes to your cat's diet and everyday environment to maximize his comfort and health as he grows older.

Your vet may suggest a "senior" diet, which will provide the right supplements for the adjustments in your cat's digestive and metabolic processes.

Your Savannah cat may prefer to eat smaller portions of food. If he seems disinterested in eating, try tastier or warmer foods to entice him.

You should also weigh your cat every two weeks; older cats can gain excess weight due to inactivity or weight loss due to difficulty eating or other illnesses. As your cat's body becomes less flexible, she may need help grooming hard-to-reach parts of her body. Delicate brushing a couple of times in a week will keep him clean and at ease.

Use boxes or furniture to make "steppingstones," with the goal that he can reach his preferred windowsills or perches. 

Even an old cat, despite everything, likes to have good times, so give him toys. Playing with your cat assists him with keeping his mind active and lets him express his natural characteristics.

However, you will have to play more delicately than before. You need to watch out for changes in his usual habits. Make sure you inform the vet of any deviation from regular practices.

The kindest thing to do for an old or very sick cat could be to give him a quiet, noble ending.

Euthanasia is usually carried out in the veterinary hospital. Yet, it can be done at home. The whole process is painless, and the cat will become unconscious before passing away.

Caring for Your Savannah Cat

But like all living things, to maintain good health your Savannah will need the usual care given to any cat. While Savannahs have no health issues that are genetic in nature, they are still susceptible to the same diseases and health conditions that strike cats in general. Standard car will include vaccinations and regular check-up with your veterinarian.  You will also need to establish some consistent routines at home to ensure the continued well-being of your pet.

Establishing a Regular Care Routine

A regular regimen of grooming is highly recommended for your Savannah.  Although meticulously neat on their own, Savannahs do need some help from their owners.  Brushing your Savannah on a weekly basis has a number of benefits.  First, it will allow your kitten to get use to the feel of a brush and being brushed.  Second, it will give you an excellent way of regularly examining your Savannah’s skin, coat and ears for any changes such as the skin becoming flaky, inside of the ears turning red, or patches of baldness.  All these symptoms are clear signs of an underlying problem, and you should make an immediate appointment with your veterinarian for an examination of your pet.

Other good grooming habits include wiping the inside of your Savannah’s ears with baby wipes (non- perfumed, no deodorant), and gently using a q-tip to clean out the ears.  You should also clip the nails every three to four weeks, being sure to only clip the tips and not go near the base of the nail where the nerve is located.  Your Savannah does enjoy water, so would probably appreciate a full bath every six to eight weeks.

All of these routines, when performed on a regular basis, will help keep your Savannah clean, comfortable and healthy. As there are many different pets coming through your Vet’s office area, you should keep the visits to the minimum necessary, but do make them on a regularly scheduled basis.

You will need to carefully choose a pet doctor for you Savannah. The most important trait you will need is a Vet with an open mind.

Many of the “do’s” and “don’ts” you will receive from your breeder concerning health care for your Savannah, may not have a great deal of, and in some cases no, scientific research to support their recommendations.  They most likely have a great deal of anecdotal evidence to go along with their recommendations, which should carry weight with the Veterinarian that you choose.  Once again, an open mind is critical.

Natural Habits and Vaccinations

If your cat has not been spayed or neutered, it will spray to mark its territory.  This is true of all cats, and holds true for Savannahs. The recovery time is better for younger animals than older ones.

Vaccinations are also important. Be sure to check the health certificate that you receive from the breeder.  It should list all of your kitten’s medical history as well as any vaccinations it has had.  You will need to come to an agreement between your breeder’s recommendations on vaccinations and your Veterinarians recommendations.  Always be sure to keep careful, personal records of all vaccination types and dates your pet received them.

Declawing

It’s certainly understandable that you enjoy the furnishing in your home and would like to keep them free of claw marks or shredding. In fact, most breeders will absolutely not recommend, promote or condone declawing. 

Standard declawing with a scalpel or laser is absolutely not recommended.  This amputates the first digit of the toes, and cats subjected to this procedure often develop joint issues later in life.  They also have to relearn how to adjust their center of balance.  This places more weight on their heels which is not a natural walk for a cat, and leads to those joint issues later in life.  If your Veterinarian recommends this procedure to you, you should probably find another Vet.

Tendonectomy is also not recommended.  This procedure severs the tendons that control the claws. They can easily “catch” on fabrics and other porous surfaces, and trip or trap your pet because it can no longer control their claws to free itself.

Claw removal. The claw may grow back, although the risk of that is small.

Savannah Specific Instructions

Be sure to take a copy of the health certificate you received from the breeder with you, so your Vet can have one on file.

  • Anesthesia:  Never give a “cocktail” mixture of gas or Ketamine. 
  • Vaccines:  Never use a vaccine containing a live virus.
  • Do not vaccinate your Savannah for Feline Leukemia Virus (FELV).  It has severe side effects, and your Savannah, being an indoor cat, is not at high-risk for the disease.
  • Do not vaccinate your Savannah for Feline Infectious Peritonitus (FIP).  Once again, it has bad side effects and may cause the very disease it is trying to prevent.

Caring for your Savannah will not be difficult.  It is a hardy breed, and following basic and routine home care, along with regular visits to the Veterinarian is the common sense and effective approach to ensuring your Savannah enjoys a long and healthy life!

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