An annual examination at the vet’s office is an important part of keeping your cat healthy, even if your pet isn’t displaying any signs of illness. Not only are cats known for being able to “hide” health problems, but they are also quick to catch and treat any major problems early. Moreover, cat food is one of the factors that lead to many problems and diseases in your cat. Hence, you can consider getting Wellness cat food to ensure the well-being and a happy relationship with your cat.
However, annual exams help your vet establish a baseline for health in case of any problems down the road. If you want, you can also merge a routine wellness examination of your cat with the annual visit. But you should plan to do this only when you witness no apparent signs of any hygiene-related issues. Also, you can take some cat treats with you to the vet’s clinic. This will keep your cat busy and satiated even if there are some people in the queue before your turn.
Also, make sure when you leave your home for a vet’s visit, your cat should be in a proper cat costume. This will keep your cat away from any skin conditions which might be caused due to exposure to dust and bacteria. Moreover, putting comfortable clothing on your cat will help you control its behavior-related issues.
Although many cats (and their pet parents) find the experience of going to the vet stressful, the health benefits outweigh any short-term downsides. Plus, you should not wait till you detect early signs of illnesses in your cat. Make sure you have a routine complete body checkup of your cat. Consider using a cat harness and leash if you are going to visit a new vet. This is important because your cat might get aggressive seeing a stranger. This article will list what to expect at your cat’s examination.
Arrival and Check-in
When you arrive at the vet’s office, there will be some paperwork. This is your first opportunity to make a note of any health concerns you might have about your cat.
Your vet’s office should be able to quote you a standard exam fee upfront for a regular checkup. This should include the vet’s physical exam and any standard fecal tests they run. Any necessary vaccinations will be add-on costs.
When you are called back to an examination room, a vet tech may ask you to help hold your cat while their temperature is taken with a rectal thermometer. Then their weight will be recorded since significant weight gain or loss can be symptomatic of a major health problem.
A Cat’s Physical Exam
A regular physical exam scans your cat from nose to tail. Here’s what your veterinarian will look for during a routine physical:
- Fur and skin: Your cat’s coat and skin are indicators of their physical health. Problems with dandruff or fur can be indicators of the fact that some important nutritional needs are not being met or suffering from some serious health problems. Your vet will also probably pull a section of your cat’s skin gently up to check for the signs of lethargy, dehydration, etc.
- Ears: Your vet will examine both ear canals for unusual buildup in the ears, skin conditions, or signs of mites.
- Heart and lungs: Using a stethoscope, the vet will listen to your cat’s heart and breathing. Any abnormalities may require further testing, such as an EKG.
- Abdomen: Your vet will carefully feel your cat’s abdomen to check their organs and feel for any abnormal masses. This should be a painless process, so any discomfort your vet finds may indicate a health concern.
- Mouth: Dental hygiene is sometimes an overlooked aspect of pet health. Your vet may recommend professional cleaning or a home regimen to help improve your cat’s health and comfort in eating. Older cats are particularly susceptible to oral health problems.
- Eyes: Looking at the eyes and lids, your vet will check for early signs of cataracts, lesions caused by upper respiratory infections, and any other abnormalities like excessive tearing or signs of allergies.
- Nose: The vet will check for congestion, a runny nose, or other signs of an infection.
- Paws: Your vet will examine your cat’s paws, pads, and nails. They may also offer complimentary nail trimming (one of the most dreaded maintenance routines for cat owners).
- Backside and feces: Your vet will do a visual examination of your cat’s anus to make sure there are no signs of worms or an anal gland infection. If your vet’s office asks you to bring a fecal sample, they will take it for parasite testing and call you with the test results.
Some Common Diseases May Be Diagnosed During an Annual Visit
Even though fleas are very small, they can still be troublesome for your cat. Fleas are parasites that live in the fur of cats and other animals. They feed on blood and often bite humans, resulting in itchy skin or little red bumps after you're bitten.
When fleas bite your cat, they can cause an allergic reaction that makes their skin irritated, cause hair loss around the neck and back, and even spread diseases like tapeworms. If that wasn't enough, fleas also make your pet very uncomfortable by biting all over his body so he'll constantly scratch, forcing your cat to constantly scratch.
In such a scenario, you, as a pet parent, must look for the best flea treatment for cats. There are many solutions available in the market; however, we suggest you take your vet’s advice before making any decision. Still, you can use Advantage for cats, which is quite easy to apply and eliminates all kinds of fleas in contact.
The most common cat allergies are fleas, pollen, food, and dust. But that's not to say that any of these can't cause problems for your cat.
- Pollen: Cats can get allergies from pollen just like people do! If you have seasonal allergies like hay fever or asthma, there's a chance your kitty will too.
- Food: Sometimes cats have trouble digesting some types of food because they're allergic to them—this could cause diarrhea or vomiting, or even anemia if left untreated for long enough.
- Dust: Do you know that dust mites can lead to cat allergies? If you live in an environment, which is surrounded by high dust, the chances of your cat suffering from skin and other allergies are high.
If your cat is experiencing any of the above allergies, then look for allergy medicine for cats that may help alleviate different types of allergies. One of such medicines can be Atopica for cats which is a clinically proven medicine to reduce skin allergies, itchiness, and lesions.
Urinary Tract Infections
When diagnosing UTIs in cats, your veterinarian will conduct a physical exam and may perform additional tests such as urinalysis or blood work.
Once the infection is confirmed in your cat, the vet will likely prescribe antibiotics as part of his treatment plan once he determines what type of infection is present. Medicines like Amoxicillin for cats can help in the treatment of UTIs in your cat.
Time to Ask Questions
A yearly checkup is a chance for the cat owners to ask any questions – small or large – about their cat’s health. Feel free to ask your vet about any health or behavior concerns during the exam.
A complete wellness profile is a vital part of keeping your cat healthy. If your vet notices anything of concern during the exam, they will help you design a treatment plan or a watch-and-wait strategy. And if your cat gets a clean bill of health, you can feel good about taking a proactive approach to their wellness.
Lastly, you can ask questions about the best cat food brands. This will empower you to not only select the best for your cat but also ensure long-term savings by keeping your cat healthy.
Want to Spend Less on Your Cat’s Health Needs?
Sign up for PetPlus, the first-ever comprehensive savings plan for pets. Find out how much a membership will help you save.
A Tale of Two Kitties -- Why You Should Go to Your Annual Vet Visit
Despite the heaps of evidence proving why one should always attend their annual vet visits, many pet parents opt out, seeing them as a waste of time and money.
To help reiterate the importance of taking your pet to the vet once a year, we are proud to present:
A TALE OF TWO KITTIES
Milo is an eight-week-old tabby that was recently adopted. His new parents, Roger and Amy, made the responsible choice to take their new kitten to the vet right away to get vaccinated and neutered. They looked online for vet reviews, found a well-rated, inexpensive clinic in the area, and made an appointment for later in the week.
Way to go, team!
Money Spent: $25
Nala is a seven-week-old domestic shorthair that was adopted by Shelly, a girl who just moved out of her parents' house. Shelly decided to get a kitten to keep her company in her new apartment. She was going to make an appointment with a vet, but her new job starts on Monday, and she just didn't have the time.
Money Spent: $25
Thursday is here, and it is time for Milo’s first trip to the vet. Here he has his blood tested, temperature taken, teeth checked, and vaccinations administered, running Roger and Amy a total of $130. After the appointment, Roger and Amy set up another appointment for Milo to be neutered.
Good job, gang!
Money Spent: $155
Thursday rolls around for Shelly. Little did she know that once work started up, her free time was quickly filled up with assignments and deadlines. Nala still has not been to the vet, but she seems healthy enough. She’ll just take her to the vet if something seems wrong.
Come on, Shelly!
Money Spent: $25
10 months later, it is time for Milo’s first birthday. Having already formed a great relationship with their local vet, Roger and Amy receive a letter in the mail reminding them that it is time to schedule Milo’s 1-year checkup. They promptly respond and then blow out the candles on Milo’s tuna cake.
Nice touch, guys!
Money Spent: $155
A year passes, and Nala still has not been to the vet. At this point, she is a fully grown female cat and is now officially in heat. Male cats are yowling outside Shelly’s window, and Nala has been spraying around the house. Also, Nala has been very low energy and has been coughing, for which she has been given cough remedies.
Looks like it is finally time to head to the vet, Shelly.
Money Spent: $25
Milo goes in for his first annual checkup. Roger and Amy tell their vet that Milo has been doing great. She checks Milo’s vitals and confirms Milo’s perfect bill of health, gives him his booster shots, and Roger and Amy are out the doors in record time and with the peace of mind provided by the vet. Well worth the $50.
Way to be, Roger and Amy.
Money Spent: $205
Shelly rushes Nala over to the emergency room, where they wait for an hour and a half to see the vet because they did not make an appointment. After the vet runs a series of tests on Nala, he tells Shelly that Nala has Feline Calicivirus and will likely be prone to upper respiratory infections for the rest of her life. Also, Nala has a tooth extracted -- a form of treatment for the condition.
Sadly, Nala’s condition is not curable -- and while it is not directly life-threatening, it could have been avoided with a simple vaccination. The visit to the ER, along with the antibiotic for Nala’s URI and the tooth extraction, ran Shelly for just over $400. And with Nala’s condition, this is likely just the first of many trips to have a respiratory infection treated.
Money Spent: $430
And that, in a nutshell, outlines the importance of maintaining proper pet health care. Pets, just like people, are finely tuned machines. But even the best machine needs a check under the hood every once in a while. So, if you haven’t scheduled your pet for their annual yet, why not make that call now?
More on Cat Health
Maintaining a Healthy Cat Weight
When To Take Your Cat to the Vet
Cat Heartworm Treatments Comparison Guide
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis, or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.