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The Importance Of Cat Wellness Exams

Hi, this is Dr. Soverns from Countryside Veterinary Clinic. I'm going to talk to you today about cats. They're really fun pets to have, but they do come with responsibility. So today we have Daisy here, and Daisy's here for her wellness checkup, and I'm going to show you how we do that.

Dr.Mary Beth Soverns
Countryside Veterinary Clinic

Number one, I always look at their eyes. I use my ophthalmoscope. And I have a helper here to hold her, and I'm going to look in her eyes just like a doctor would look in your eyes, and they look bright and shiny. Then I take the top off the ophthalmoscope and turn it into an otoscope, and I'm going to look at her ears. So we're going to aim her towards you a little, and I'm going to look down in each ear. I'm looking to make sure that there's no discharge in there and everything in there is nice and clean, and it is.

The third thing I do is I look in their mouth like a dentist would, or a doctor. I look at her teeth. I have her say, "Ah." And look all the way down there. I look at her tongue look at her teeth, make sure that they're nice and clean, and her gums are nice and pink.

I also feel her lymph nodes. It looks like a veterinarian's petting your pet, which we are, but we're also feeling all over their lymph nodes. I squeeze her tummy to make sure that I feel her stomach and her kidneys and her urinary bladder, and everything in there feels normal.

And lastly, I use my stethoscope and I put it in my ears and I listen to her heart and lungs. The heart sounds like this, "Lub dub, lub dub." And cat's heart rates can be 180 beats per minute. Children are probably around 100 or 120 beats per minute.

And I want to show you one other little surprise today. Daisy had kittens and she brought those with her today, and look how cute these are. How old did we decide they were? Almost six weeks of age. And look at how many she had.

There's this little one here. And here's a second one. This one here, this little cream-colored little girl. They don't have names yet. They haven't gotten to their new homes. And we reach in here again. And look at this. This is also a little girl, I think. There she is. And then one more. It's a real cutie here. Look how adorable he is too.

So let me show you them together. You can see how much the mother loves her little kittens. She probably might even lick them or groom them a little. There she is. She's licking her little kittens. They're just learning how to walk and explore. And they came for checkups today and to get a deworming medicine.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (410) 461-2400, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

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. 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. You may not be aware that something is wrong since cats can be experts at hiding their pain or discomfort. By nature, cats are independent animals, but they still need to be examined by a veterinarian on a yearly basis.

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

At Countryside Veterinary Clinic, we recommend performing basic lab tests at least once a year as well as reviewing your cat's 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 or her carrier with a treat and trying to soothe your him or her during the car ride.

What Is Involved In A Cat Wellness Exam?

A wellness exam is a perfect time to discuss your cat’s daily habits, diet, and any problems you may have noticed. At Countryside Veterinary Clinic, 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 allow us to perform a thorough examination. We typically allow the cat to slowly exit his or her carrier and get comfortable with the new surroundings first before handling him or her. During this time we will talk with you about your cat’s daily routine and whether you have noticed anything out of the ordinary. Your veterinarian 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. At that time, we will perform 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 your cat's life.

At Countryside Veterinary Clinic we assess the body condition of your cat and determine whether he or she is the correct weight. A wellness exam also includes palpating the abdomen for organ size to make sure that all is normal and check 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 your cat's quality of life.

How Often Should Cats Be Examined?

Your cat should be examined at least once per year. You may not be aware that he or she 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 yearly labs are advised. Cats can be prone to kidney disease, a condition we see quite often. If we can catch kidney disease early, we may be able to control or reverse it with changes in diet. We will also check your cat for intestinal parasites by examining 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 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 Countryside Veterinary Clinic, 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. You can reach us at (410) 657-8024.

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