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. 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 often considered to be "the masters of disguise", and you may not be fully aware that something is wrong with them. By nature, cats are independent animals, however they still need to be examined by a veterinarian on 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 Cat Care Center of Baton Rouge, we recommend performing basic lab tests at least once a year, as well as reviewing nutrition and any behavioral changes 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. See our preparing for your first veterinary visit tab, or give us a call for help and more information concerning these topics.
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 be noticing. At Cat Care Center of Baton Rouge our animal hospital strives to be cat friendly, 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 the carrier and get comfortable with their surroundings first before any handling occurs. During this time, we will talk with you about your cat’s daily routine, if you have noticed anything out of the ordinary, and other specific cat topics. Our vet will discuss the following topics with you:
- The appropriate food and weight for your cat
- Behavioral changes
- Daily water consumption
- Your cat’s stool production, or litter box 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 before age 4. We will do a dental examination at each visit, 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 can seriously affect their quality of life. We will work with you to form an individualized preventative dentistry plan for your cat's needs.
At Cat Care Center of Baton Rouge we assess the body condition and muscle condition of your cat at each visit, and determine if this is the ideal 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 or vomits 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. Excessive vomiting may be caused by dietary sensitivities, inflammatory bowel disease, and sometimes even stress.
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. Senior or geriatric cats should have semi-annual (twice yearly) wellness examinations with bloodwork and urinalysis checks.
Why Might Additional Tests Be Recommended?
Cats age much quicker than we do, so doing yearly labs are advised. For example, 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 slow its progression 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 doctor with the information necessary to make an accurate diagnosis and come to a recommendation for treatment.
At Cat Care Center of Baton Rouge, 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 our veterinarian. You can reach us now at: (225) 228-1039