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The Importance Of Cat Wellness Exams

It is very important to have a veterinarian examine your cat at least once a year. Cats age significantly faster than humans and therefore it is imperative for cat owners to stay on top of wellness exams in order to catch any potential health problems before they begin.



Featured Quote:

These are things that can greatly impact your cat's health and certainly how they feel so I think it's a really important thing to address.

Video Transcript:

I usually just start off by asking what's a typical day in the life of your cat because I want to know, one, what they're eating, what their behavior patterns are, and their exercise routine. Obviously you're not generally taking your cat out for a walk, but cat's do need stimulus, they need exercise, and sometimes behavior is part of maybe some issues that they may be experiencing and we can help you to remedy that.

Certainly what your cat is exposed to if they're indoor or outdoor as far as other pets in the household and another where you live, if there are other cats that they may be exposed to we need to talk about vaccine status. If they're boarding often, again, vaccine status, and then certainly parasite control both internal and external. These are things that can greatly impact your cat's health and certainly how they feel so I think it's a really important thing to address.

When we discuss parasite control with clients we're going to learn about all the pets in the household and what their lifestyle is to determine whether or not ticks and fleas and intestinal parasites, what they're going to be exposed to in there for what we're going to recommend for them to use. In addition obviously the vaccine protocols that we're going to use depending on the cat's lifestyle so it will vary somewhat based on that.

In addition again discussing nutrition, weight. We see many kitties that are indoor that are overweight and we're going to talk to you about what are the best diets and the amounts to be fed. If people have more than one cat in the household, which often they do, there may be a thin cat and an overweight cat and how we're going to help them to figure out the best feeding plan for that. Then again, how to enrich a cat's environment is really important because kitties when they live indoor and they don't have the enriched environment it's actually a form of stress for them which can lead to a condition such as urinary issues and such and we really don't want to see those things happen because they're tough. They make your kitty not feel well and they're tough on you also.

A lot of cats have problems with inflammatory bowel disease and when we go through the full exam we can actually palpate the abdomen. I can feel if a cat's intestines are thickened and this give me clues as to issues that may be going on, listen to the heart and lungs. Asthma in kitties is actually pretty common and heart disease actually is something also that we're listening for, the rate of the heart and whether there's a murmur, those are things we're listening for. Looking in the ears and the eyes and then of course definitely addressing dental health because dental health in kitties is a very silent disease. Cats are not going to say when they have pain in their mouth, but by looking inside the mouth we're going to get a pretty good idea of what's going on inside.

Those are just some of the many things we cover when we do the exam and things we're going to talk about with you to make sure your cat is living as healthy and feeling as good as possible.

Most cat illnesses are much easier and less expensive to treat and cure when caught in the early stages before they progress or develop complications. Therefore, regular cat wellness exams are the cornerstone of preventive veterinary medicine.

Cats are good at hiding any type of illness, by being quiet and hiding, You may not be fully aware that something is wrong since cats can be experts at hiding pain or discomfort. By nature, cats are independent animals, however they still need to be examined by a veterinarian on a at least a yearly basis.

As a cat owner, you should be aware of any changes in eating habits, playfulness and general overall health. If you notice any changes in behavior, such as a change in eating habits, not greeting you the way they normally would, reluctance to jump up or move around the way they typically would… these are the subtle signs of what could be a serious health problem, and it is time to schedule a veterinary exam.

At the Drake Center, we recommend performing basic lab tests at least once a year, as well as reviewing nutrition and any behavioral issues you may be noticing.

Of course, we realize that some cats don’t like getting into the cat carrier and going for a ride. In these circumstances, we recommend coaxing your cat into his carrier by using a treat, and trying to soothe your kitty during the car ride.

What Is Involved In A Cat Wellness Exam?

A wellness exam is the perfect time to discuss your cat’s daily habits, diet, and any problems you may have noticed. At The Drake Center our animal hospital is a certified cat friendly practice, meaning that we have facilities and protocols that are specifically designed to cater to the special needs of cats. Our staff is specifically trained to make your cat feel comfortable to reduce stress and so that we can perform a thorough examination. We typically allow the cat to slowly exit his carrier and get comfortable with his surroundings first before handling him. During this time we will talk with you about your cat’s daily routine, and if you have noticed anything out of the ordinary. Your vet will discuss the following topics with you:

  • The appropriate food and weight for your cat
  • Behavioral issues
  • Daily water consumption
  • Your cat’s stool production, or litterbox habits
  • The amount of activity your cat gets daily
  • Whether or not your cat is alert and content

Cats should have a thorough dental cleaning around age 4. We will do a dental exam and look for any abnormalities in the mouth. By age 4 virtually all cats have some kind of painful dental issue. In addition to problems with their teeth, cats can develop tumors inside of their mouths and since they are so adept at hiding pain, especially dental pain, it is very easy to overlook these issues. However, make no mistake, dental issues are painful and seriously affect the quality of life.

At The Drake Center, we assess the body condition of the cat, and determine if he is the correct weight. A wellness exam also includes palpating the abdomen for organ size making sure that all is normal and checking for any lumps or bumps. We will also collect urine and blood samples for yearly labs. Preventative care is extremely important, along with vaccines, parasite control and deworming.

This is the time to bring up any issues you are not sure about. If you notice that your cat coughs a lot and you think it may be a hairball, mention this to your vet. Some cats are prone to asthma, a condition that can be diagnosed and treated to improve the quality of life for your cat.

How Often Should Cats Be Examined?

Your cat should be examined at least once per year. You may not be aware that kitty is not feeling well, and it’s better to stay one step ahead of any potential medical issues. Older or geriatric cats should have a semi-annual (twice yearly) wellness exam.

Why Might Additional Tests Be Recommended?

Cats age much quicker than we do, so doing yearly labs are advised. Cats can be prone to kidney disease a condition we see quite often. If we can catch the kidney disease early, we may be able to change their diet to control or reverse it to improve their quality of life. We will also check your cat for intestinal parasites by checking a stool sample. Depending on the condition of your cat, any symptoms you have noticed, concerns you have or test results, diagnostic imaging may also be recommended when appropriate to provide our doctors with the information necessary to make an accurate diagnosis and come to a recommendation for treatment.

Schedule A Wellness Exam For Your Cat

At The Drake Center, our veterinary staff is here to ensure that your cat is able to enjoy a long and healthy life as your companion. Call us today to make a cat wellness exam appointment with one of our veterinarians.

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