Cat Wellness Exams
Annual and Semi-Annual Exams for Cat Wellness
Keeping your cat healthy means you could keep them around for up to 20 years. For those of us who are cat lovers, we know this equates to 20 years of lap warming and endless entertainment. And we in the veterinary field want you to have the most quality time possible with your beloved furry feline, which is why we emphasize the importance of regular wellness exams.
Cats are living longer because their owners are active in their health and wellness. Just like you, your cat needs routine, including yearly or twice-yearly physical exams from your veterinarian. This is the best thing you can do for your cat because they can’t tell you if they have a stomachache from the parasites they acquired from the mouse they hunted last week. Unlike dogs, cats are good at hiding illness and pain.
Routine cat wellness exams can also provide preventative care to give the most optimal quality of life. This is the time to discuss weight, exercise, lifestyle stresses, diet, dermatologic issues with fleas and ticks, and dental health. Reach out to a local veterinarian to find out more about why regular veterinary appointments for cats are so imperative for good health.
What to Expect During Your Cat’s Physical Exam
During cat wellness exams, your veterinarian is going to get a detailed history of your cat’s lifestyle, his or her diet, and any concerns such as vomiting or nasal discharge. Your veterinarian wants to know what a day in the life of your cat is like. Does your cat live indoors only, or does he or she go outside? If your cat goes outside, does he or she hunt or hang around other neighborhood cats? Be prepared to be asked what you feed your cat and how much your cat eats.
Your vet will then perform the exam from nose to tail by feeling around on the abdomen to check intestines and kidney size. He or she will also listen to your cat’s heart and lungs, check the quality of the fur to ensure there are no parasites, and look in your cat’s ears and mouth.
Depending on the age of your cat, your veterinarian will want to draw blood and urine to look at your cat’s metabolic state. Bloodwork gives a baseline for liver and kidney function, blood counts, and glucose and thyroid levels. This can help to detect diseases early on, which can help you and your veterinarian come up with a proactive plan. Catching cat diseases - such as diabetes, kidney disease, or thyroid disease - early makes treatment for them much more manageable. A fecal exam may also be done to check for intestinal parasites, which is important for your cat and your whole family.
Preventative Care for Your Cat
It is important to talk to your veterinarian about preventative care for your feline companion. This will keep your cat around happy and healthy. The first line of defense for your cat’s health is vaccinations. Talk with your veterinarian about the core vaccines for your cat. They should include a Respiratory Series, Rabies, and Leukemia vaccines. Even if your cat lives indoors only, they should still be vaccinated for Feline Leukemia as a kitten and have a booster once yearly if they go outside.
Deworming is also an important part of preventative care, as some parasites your cat can contract are zoonotic (spread between animals and humans). Talk to your veterinarian about the route of administration that is best for your cat. Typically, an oral tablet is given, but topical preventatives are also available. If your cat goes outside, talk to your veterinarian about flea and tick preventatives, especially since tapeworms can come from ingesting fleas.
Just as in humans, dental hygiene plays an important role in your cat's health and longevity. Talk to your vet about scheduling a dental cleaning if your cat has tartar build-up. By keeping teeth clean and rid of heavy calculus buildup, your cat could live even longer.
Proper cat nutrition is crucial to keeping your beloved pet in the best body condition. Talk with your veterinarian about what weight concerns you may have and whether you are feeding appropriately, ensuring your cat is consuming the correct number of calories and nutrition they need based on their lifestyle.
Consult With Your Veterinarian
These are all important aspects of your cat’s health and wellness. A detailed history and thorough physical exam can teach you and your vet a lot about your cat since they can’t tell you how they are feeling. Spend some time with your veterinarian to acquire a baseline of your cat’s physical wellbeing and learn how to keep your cat healthy and happy for years to come.
Make sure to reach out to a veterinarian near you to ensure your approach to cat wellness is on par with keeping your furry feline friend around for many years.