Braving the travel battle with your cat for her annual wellness visit with your veterinarian is on par with attempting to medicate a ninja cat. Bringing your dog to our hospital for routine care is likely simpler than handling your feisty feline, but cats need regular care, too. In fact, wellness visits are more important for cats than dogs, since cats are better at hiding signs of illness. Dogs are no slouches at disguising problems, but cats are masters at concealing pain or sickness, often not indicating an issue until it’s become a major problem. Cats naturally hide under the bed, and occasional vomiting is normal, so picking up on a medical issue can be challenging. Routine wellness visits to check out your feline friend from whisker to tail and everywhere in between are therefore essential.
What does a wellness exam entail?
Although your cat may not appreciate a thorough wellness exam, keep in mind that regular check-ups are key for ensuring her optimal health. Components of a wellness visit include:
- Physical exam — Machines, instruments, and other diagnostic tests are excellent for identifying problems, but there’s no replacement for an exam performed by a veterinary professional. Some pets may be hiding an illness from their owners, but our veterinary team will quickly recognize that your pet is sick and may have a hunch about the cause. During a physical exam, we will check for any abnormalities in your pet’s ears, eyes, mouth, gait, abdomen, heart, lungs, weight, skin, and hair coat. If we do notice an issue, our physical exam findings will point us in the right direction for the testing necessary to reach a diagnosis.
- Vaccination recommendations — Many people do not believe that indoor cats require vaccinations. But, what if your cat slips out the door, you bring home a new shelter kitty with a calicivirus infection, or a racoon takes up residence in your attic? Vaccines protect your pet from disease transmission and ensure your beloved companion is safe from rabies, feline leukemia, calicivirus, panleukopenia, and feline viral rhinotracheitis.
- Preventive recommendations — In addition to vaccinations, indoor cats require heartworm and flea prevention to remain healthy. If you’re in a tick-infested area, also consider tick prevention, since you can carry ticks into your home as easily as fleas and mosquitoes. Heartworm disease in cats cannot be treated and is deadly, but fortunately, parasite prevention is simple and effective at keeping these pests from making a meal of your furry friend.
- Baseline tests — While diagnostic tests may seem an unnecessary expense when your pet is healthy, they can be life-saving. Because animals are experts at hiding signs of illness, routine tests, such as blood work, a fecal exam, or urinalysis, must be performed to catch a problem in an early, treatable stage.
With regular veterinary care, you can save your cat from needless suffering due to a hidden illness, increase the chance of a full recovery, and save money on long-term medical costs. Preventive care is a small price to pay for a healthy pet.
How do wellness exams keep my cat healthy?
As routine doctor and dentist visits benefit people, preventive care provides a host of health benefits to pets. While forgoing your healthy pet’s wellness visit is easy, you may inadvertently harm her by missing signs of illness our team can discover. Wellness exams help keep your cat healthy in a variety of ways:
- Uncovering illness earlier — Did you know that routine blood work doesn’t detect kidney disease until 75% of kidney function is lost? Therefore, baseline testing to monitor your cat’s “normal” and watch for trends toward disease is critical. If we suspect your cat is susceptible to certain health issues, we will recommend appropriate diagnostic testing at her routine visit to catch a disease in its early stage.
- Creating a wellness plan — Keeping a cat healthy takes more than food, water, litter, and a bed. We will discuss how you can ensure your pet’s good health with the correct diet, exercise, environmental enrichment, vaccinations, and preventive care.
- Changing unhealthy habits — You may not realize that some habits are unhealthy for your cat, like giving in to her midnight demands for food. We will offer tips to help ensure your cat maintains an ideal body weight, drinks enough water, uses the litter box appropriately, and avoids boredom.
As part of your cat’s health-care team, together we can ensure your beloved companion stays in tip-top shape for many years to come. Build her a healthy foundation and engage in regular preventive care to stave off illness, halt disease, and avoid medical problems.
Is it time to schedule your feline friend’s wellness exam? Visit our hospital, and let’s discuss your cat’s health-care needs.