If you’re the devoted pet owner of a dog and a cat, which pet visits Johnson County Animal Clinic more? Be honest—your dog likely comes in for wellness or sick care more frequently than your cat. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, visits to the veterinarian per pet per year have remained fairly stable for longer than a decade—1.5 times per dog, 0.7 times per cat. In 2016, 78.8% of dog owners said they brought in their animals for preventive care at least once per year, compared with 47.2% of cat owners.
Some pet owners argue that cats are naturally healthier than dogs, so they require less veterinary care. However, that is not the case. Cats are simply much better at hiding illness and pain than their canine counterparts, and could live longer, happier, and healthier lives with routine veterinary care. With preventive care for your feline friend, 15-year-old cats will seem young compared with your healthy 20-plus-year-old kitty. Here are five ways our regular wellness care keeps your cat in tip-top shape.
#1: We thoroughly examine your cat from whiskers-to-tail
One of the most important parts of your cat’s wellness visit is a comprehensive physical exam. While we have invested in state-of-the-art diagnostic testing equipment, we also use our hands, eyes, and ears to search for hidden illness. Our veterinarian carefully listens with a stethoscope to your cat’s heart and lungs for abnormal rates, rhythms, and sounds. We look at your pet’s eyes, ears, and mouth, checking for signs of injury, illness, or disease. Since cats are so skilled at hiding illness or pain, your feline friend may be silently suffering from ear mites, a corneal ulcer, stomatitis, or feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions. During your cat’s exam, our veterinarian may appear to give your pet a full-body massage, but they are searching for evidence of skin conditions, external parasites, and lumps and bumps. If we detect anything unusual, we will recommend the appropriate diagnostic testing.
#2: We perform diagnostic testing to screen for feline illnesses and diseases
Diagnostic testing can do more than discover the cause of your pet’s illness. Through routine diagnostic testing, we can establish a baseline of your cat’s normal values, allowing us to monitor for any small changes over the years that may indicate an early disease process. During your cat’s wellness visit, we may recommend the following diagnostic tests:
- Complete blood count
- Blood chemistry panel
- Fecal test
- Feline immunodeficiency virus and leukemia testing
- Blood pressure
As your cat ages, we may recommend additional testing to more closely monitor potential age-related diseases, such as thyroid problems.
#3: We administer lifestyle-appropriate vaccinations for your cat
Another vital part of your cat’s wellness visit is a discussion about their lifestyle and potential risk for exposure to life-threatening disease. We always take the time to determine which vaccinations are essential for protecting your pet, to ensure we vaccinate for infectious diseases only as needed.
#4: We provide diet and nutrition recommendations for your cat
It’s no secret that many kitties are overweight or obese. While chubby cats may look adorable and squishy, those extra pounds can predispose them to a variety of weight-related diseases, such as diabetes and arthritis. To help your cat shed extra weight and remain slim and healthy, we can show you how to calculate your pet’s body condition score. If your cat’s body condition score isn’t in an ideal range, we can help your kitty reach their perfect weight.
#5: We offer advice on feline dental care
Like dogs, most cats suffer from dental disease by age 3, and cats are particularly prone to painful stomatitis, and feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions. But with their incredible skills at hiding pain, cats can suffer for far too long without routine veterinary exams. During your pet’s wellness visit, we will carefully check for indications of dental disease, and recommend ways to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
During a kitty’s wellness visit, we do so much more than give a few shots. The exam allows you to ask questions about your cat’s health care, including behavior issues, litter box problems, and grooming recommendations. The exam also allows your Johnson County Animal Clinic veterinarian to spot subtle issues that could become serious problems, and take steps to manage or treat the issue. To keep your feline friend happy and healthy for years to come, one of your best tools is routine wellness care. Give us a call to schedule your cat’s wellness visit.