Cat Health and Wellness: The Cornerstone of a Happy Life
Cats are amazing creatures. They are also, however, masters at hiding signs of pain or discomfort. This means we may not know something is wrong until it’s too late, which is why we want to take a moment to focus on cat health and wellness.
In the wild, cats who show weakness or disease are targets for predators, so it’s no surprise that they’ve developed a survival instinct to hide their pain. This means the best way to ensure your kitty is healthy (even if they seem ok) is with regularly scheduled veterinary exams.
The Importance of Wellness Visits
The purpose of wellness exams (or preventive care exams) is to make sure your cat is in good health and to prevent problems from developing later on. Cats age much faster than humans, so it’s important that they be seen at least once a year. Young pets, senior pets, and those with chronic conditions should be seen more frequently.
At Animal Family Veterinary Care Center, our exams touch on many areas of cat health and wellness. We follow the standards set forth by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). This includes:
History – Your concise and thorough observations of your cat’s behavior at home are important. How much they eat, drink, eliminate, and their general demeanor is all valuable information to your veterinarian.
Physical exam – The physical exam is the bedrock of preventive care. We’re not just petting your cat (although that is a bonus!); we’re palpating to check organ size, listening for heart murmurs or abnormal lung sounds, checking oral health, and assessing the eyes, ears, nose, throat, skin, coat, and more!
Diagnostic testing – While a physical exam is very informative, the only way to get a full picture of your cat’s internal health is with diagnostic testing of blood and urine. This tells us a lot about organ function and can alert us to early signs of kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, diabetes, hormone imbalances, cancer, and other life-threatening conditions.
Dental care – By the age of 4, most cats have some form of dental disease. This condition is not only painful, it can also cause organ damage and tooth loss. Luckily, periodontal disease is entirely preventable with annual oral exams and professional dental cleanings.
Nutrition and weight management – Just like with humans, the leaner your cat, the longer they’re likely to live. We use a tool called body condition scoring to determine your cat’s nutritional health. A high-quality diet is important (ask us for recommendations!).
Parasite prevention – Parasites like fleas, ticks, and heartworm can make your cat’s life miserable. They can even be life-threatening. Intestinal parasites can also damage organs. We screen for common parasites and recommend preventives that are both safe and effective.
Vaccination – Vaccines are an important way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We consider your cat’s lifestyle and make individual recommendations based on their needs.
Behavior and training – We’re happy to discuss any questions or concerns you might have about your cat’s behavior. Many problems can be caused by underlying health issues, so don’t be shy!
Please let us know if you’d like more information about cat health and wellness. Call us today to schedule your cat’s next preventive care exam!