Preventive Care for Cats
Whether you’re a past, present, or future cat owner, we can all agree that cats are special creatures. Their wild and wonderful personalities never fail to warm our hearts and make us laugh. However, behind their mysterious nature is a little known fact: cats don’t always warn us when something is wrong with their health.
Cats have evolved over thousands of years to protect themselves from predators. In the wild, cats who show weakness become vulnerable. Therefore, they’ve learned to hide signs of illness or discomfort. This means you may not know when your cat is sick until a condition is too advanced.
Preventive Care for Cats
What is preventive care? Simply put, preventive care involves regular and timely veterinary visits for a seemingly healthy cat. Early detection of disease is easier on your cat and on your wallet. The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” becomes the perfect saying when it comes to caring for your cat.
The American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association have established health guidelines for preventive care for cats. Here’s their expert opinion of what preventive care should entail:
History – A first-hand account of your cat’s behavior at home can put us on the right track to detect problems early on.
Physical exams – A complete nose-to-tail examination should occur at least once a year for every cat (twice a year for some). Cats age much faster than humans, so seeing them regularly, even when everything seems fine, helps us keep them feeling their best. It also allows us to detect issues before things get out of hand.
Testing – Blood, urine, and stool samples are helpful for us to see what’s happening with your cat’s internal organs. Diagnostic testing can help us discover early signs of kidney, liver, and heart disease, as well as diabetes, infectious diseases, hormonal imbalances, and cancer.
Dental care – By the age of 4, studies show that 85% of cats have some form of dental disease. This is not only painful, but it can also affect your cat’s internal health and shorten their life. Dental cleanings are critical to preventive care for cats and for all pets.
Vaccinations – Vaccinations are an important component of preventive care for cats. Infectious disease control can be accomplished through core vaccines, as well as optional vaccines based on your cat’s lifestyle. We can develop a vaccination plan that’s tailored to your cat.
Parasite prevention – Cats are susceptible to parasites such as fleas, ticks, heartworm, and intestinal parasites, all of which can wreak havoc on your cat’s health. Monthly preventives are both effective and inexpensive when compared to treatment. An annual fecal screen for parasite eggs is also recommended.
Nutrition and weight management – Good nutrition and a healthy weight can add years to your cat’s life and can prevent a myriad of health issues. With over half of our nation’s pets either overweight or obese, it’s important to take a proactive approach to nutrition. We can determine your cat’s body condition score and provide recommendations for nutrition and exercise.
Since our cats can’t tell us when something is wrong, it’s up to us to make sure they stay healthy. Regular preventive care for cats is one way to ensure they live longer, happier lives. Please contact us to schedule your cat’s next preventive care exam.