Time for a flu shot? It may be time to bring your cat in for their annual exam and vaccinations as well. We know how tempting it can be to skip the stress of a visit when it seems like your kitty is doing just fine at home… One more year won’t hurt anything, right? Well, actually, it could. Just like in humans, routine exams are an important part of keeping your cat healthy (especially when you consider that just one year in your cat’s life is equal to several human years). A lot can change in a year, and unlike humans, cats can’t tell us when they’re feeling a little off. Not to mention, cats are experts at hiding their symptoms. In the wild, they evolved to mask illness to protect themselves from predators. Because of this, our cats can oftentimes be sick for a long time before an illness has advanced enough for us to be able to notice it. So, regular exams may actually be the best use of time and money that you invest in your cat’s health over the course of their whole life!
“Why Should My Cat Have An Annual Exam?”
- Wellness exams provide a baseline for your veterinarian if your cat were to get sick in the future. If they are familiar with what your cat is like when they are healthy, then it is much easier to notice small changes as time goes by and/or know how to better proceed when they do get sick.
- As mentioned, cats are experts at hiding their symptoms. Veterinarians, however, are experts at detecting the things that may seem invisible to the naked eye.
- Your veterinarian can examine your cat in a way that is impossible to do on a superficial level at home. For example, by palpating the abdomen, vets can get a lot of information about your cat’s internal organ function. Also, by using a stethoscope, they can evaluate the heart as well as the lungs. Not to mention an evaluation of the inside of the ears, the teeth, the lymph nodes, and the anal glands… All from just one exam!
- It is important to be able to detect subtle weight changes which can be indicative of underlying illness (home scales are usually not accurate enough to show such small increases or decreases in weight).
“Does My Cat Really Need Annual Vaccinations As Well?”
Indoor and outdoor cats alike are at risk for many dangerous diseases, some of which are fatal. Diseases like rabies and feline leukemia require direct contact, but did you know that many can be transmitted through the environment such as a feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia, and intestinal parasites? Because of this, we believe that prevention really is the best medicine. Not to mention, some of these illnesses, such as rabies and intestinal parasites, can even be transferred to humans! The following list includes all of the vaccinations that we recommend for your cat:
- Intestinal Parasite Treatment
- FeLV (for outdoor cats)
For a more detailed explanation of each disease including its symptoms, how it’s spread, and why our veterinarians recommend them, visit our article about vaccines.
“Why Does My Cat Need Routine Tests? Isn’t an Exam Enough?”
Even though our veterinarians provide detailed and thorough examinations, there are just some things that can’t be detected by a physical exam alone. As our cats age, many changes start to occur in their body, just as in humans. Regular tests allow for us to get a good baseline for your cat and the ability to detect small changes in order to treat underlying illness. For example, they can detect fluctuations within the body that indicate the beginning of some very common illnesses in cats such as diabetes, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, and many others. Since cats are so good at hiding their symptoms, even our own vets, technicians, and assistants bring their cats in for routine tests! Being able to detect changes within the body allow our vets to treat underlying illnesses before they start to make cats suffer, making your cat both healthier and happier. Just think of having a cavity filled… It is always best to take care of it when it’s small rather than wait until you need to have a root canal or have allowed other irreversible problems to develop because of it.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your cat, then we welcome you to contact us at our clinic in Lake Oswego. We look forward to hearing from you!