Servals are usually very healthy animals if kept on the right diet and in a clean environment but It's important to be prepared in case your serval gets sick. If there is any reason that you suspect that your Serval is ill, the best thing is to take your serval to an exotic pet veterinarian. Your pet Serval can't tell you what is bothering him so you have to be the one to look for signs of illness. The best thing to do is to have a vet already picked out. Not all vets treat exotic animals so search for one and call them to let them know that you will be using them if you run into any trouble. It is a good Idea to try and take your serval on regular visits to the vet in order for the vet and serval to get acquainted. Always keep a eye on your serval and look for any signs of illness, which include drastic mood changes, vomiting, diarrhea, straining while urinating, lathargy and loss of appetite for more than a day. Particularly, you should be wary of diarrhea (watery stools). In young servals, this can dehydrate them in a few hours and they may need fluids intravenously. If you see diarrhea more than two days in a row, it would be a good idea to have a vet check them out. Diarrhea can sometimes result from a change in diet. But this usually goes away within 24 hours.
If you decide to vaccinate, killed vaccines are recommended. Servals can become ill if you use live or modified vaccines. You also have to be careful with the amount of toxins in a vaccine because servals have smaller livers than domestic cats and it takes alot longer for them to rid the toxins from their blood stream. Killed vaccines offer very little protection from a virus. Talk to you exotic vet about your vaccine needs and keep in mind if you do decide to get modifid live try to find a brand that has the least amout of toxins. It is a wise idea to give your serval a IV of fluids to help flush the toxins from her/his blood stream after every shot. I recommend vaccinating if your serval has any possibility of coming into contact with any non-vaccinated animal.
If you are required to get a rabies vaccine use the one made by Maerial without preservatives for cats only. Animals kept in clean and sanitary environments are exposed to fewer diseases than those kept in dirty environments so make sure you clean their environment regularly with a 20 percent bleach solution. Pathogenic virus/bacteria/fungus can grow in filth and this kind of environment often damages the servals immunity. For example, the build up of ammonia in poorly cleaned and/or inadequately ventilated pens or cages damages the lungs making animals more susceptible to respiratory diseases. The practice of vaccinating our animals to prevent disease is a subject of a great deal of debate. Heated discussions arise over what to vaccinate with, when to vaccinate, who to vaccinate, and even whether to vaccinate at all. Every side has strong arguments for why their way is the right way and can show statistics and tell horror stories to prove their point. The bottom line is that there is no such thing as a risk free life. Each one of us must make our own decisions, and no matter what decision we make, there are risks involved.
Servals do some times swallow foreign objects which can become lodged in their throats or intestines. If this happens, they will need veterinarian assistance to remove them. You need to ensure that your serval kittens are safe and can not hurt themselves while they learn how to jump and land. They will chew on everything. One way to keep them form chewing is to offer them chicken necks and chicken legs daily. This will help them continue to have good teeth and reduce the cravings two chew on other things.
Fleas are a big problem in the summer months and it is always a challenge when trying to apply flea spray. I have gotten it down to a science. I use revolution or advantage because it can be easily applied with a few drops between their shoulder blades. Servals do not like being sprayed and will run and hid everytime. So this is not good for the trust issue. If you have a problem getting your serval to stay still while you apply the medication, it will help to get some of his/her favorite foods and sit it close enough to you to make him easy to reach. I use chicken hearts by placing them between my legs while I'm sitting and when they start eating I start to stroke them while appling the revolution ampule. It is usually over before they realize what is going on. Servals must be on a worming program. Our vet recommends Strongent and Panacure wormer. When worming them, you can cook a chicken leg and put the wormer paste on the meat, or mix it with canned cat food. That way they will eat it and you will not have to force it in their mouth.