By: Talin Seta Shahinian
As a good pet parent, you know to take your cat to the vet if she seems sick. When everything is smooth sailing, and your cat seems content, it can be easy to forget that regularly taking your cat to the veterinarian for a wellness exam is extremely important. Here are some of the reasons why.
What Is a Wellness Exam?
A wellness exam is a routine veterinary examination for your cat, even when he appears to be healthy. This is also referred to as a check-up or physical exam. At a wellness exam, the focus is on health maintenance and preventative care. The goal is to create, or maintain, a state of optimal health for your feline friend.
When Does My Cat Need a Wellness Exam?
The frequency of wellness exam visits depends on your cat’s age and overall health. For kittens, monthly wellness exams are recommended. The average adult cat should visit the vet for an annual wellness exam. For middle-aged, senior, and geriatric cats, semi-annual wellness exams are recommended.
How Do I Prepare My Cat for a Wellness Exam?
When you make a wellness exam appointment with your vet, you should ask if you’ll need to abstain from feeding your cat for any length of time before the visit. Also, ask whether your vet will require the collection of new feline urine or fecal samples to be brought to the exam. If so, you’ll be given instructions on collection procedures. This is usually standard for adult cats but especially important for kittens, who have a higher incidence of intestinal parasites.
What To Expect at a Wellness Exam?
First, your vet will talk with you about your cat. Make sure you have some basic information about your cat ready. Helpful information for your vet includes the brand and type of food you feed your cat, if you allow him to eat any table scraps, or prepare any people’s food for him from scratch. Note if you give your cat any supplements. Also, tell your vet if you’ve noticed anything unusual in your cat’s behavior or general health that concerns you, and ask any questions you may have about keeping your kitty in the best health possible.
After taking all the background information from you during the verbal consultation, your veterinarian will perform a thorough exam of your cat. Your vet will check your cat’s ears, eyes, nose, and teeth. They will feel your cat’s abdomen, checking for any abnormal lumps or bumps there or elsewhere on her body, and check the skin under her tail. Your cat’s neurologic and musculoskeletal system will also be checked. Your vet will listen to your cat’s heart and lungs with a stethoscope. Standard tests will also be performed, including:
- Complete blood count (CBC). This test helps your vet detect the possible presence of anemia, leukemia, infections, and other illnesses.
- Blood chemistry panel. This test measures your cat’s enzymes, electrolytes, and the chemical elements of their blood, such as their kidney and liver values.
- Urinalysis (UA). Your vet will be checking for elements that aren’t generally found in urine, such as protein, sugar, white blood cells, or blood, the presence of which can help diagnose certain illnesses.
- Fecal exam. Fecal material will be examined on a slide for evidence of worms.
This list isn’t comprehensive, as your vet may suggest other tests if they find anything during standard testing. These tests are the basics of a wellness exam and a jumping-off point to further investigate any abnormal findings. After the physical exam and tests rule out any issues, your vet can advise you on maintaining your cat’s health and wellness until your cat’s next visit. If anything amiss is uncovered, your vet will go over the findings and develop a plan of action to treat any illness or address any risk factors that could lead to disease.
Wellness exams and preventative care are essential to protect your cat from developing illnesses or worsening an undetected disease. Cats are prone to mask signs of discomfort or disease, so getting them seen by your vet regularly is the best way to protect them so that you can enjoy many happy years with your best fur friend by your side.
If you live in NW Wisconsin, Purple Cat Mobile Vet Clinic is here to help you keep your cat healthy and happy. We’re a high-quality, high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter clinic. We see cats exclusively. Find information for scheduling on our www.purplecatvet.com website. You can also check out our Facebook page for more helpful information on all things feline.