With April being a month we are promoting feline wellness here are five reasons to bring your cat in for annual visits
1.Preventative care is better for your cat’s health and saves you money
Preventative care doesn’t just mean vaccinations. An annual physical exam and baseline lab work can help catch chronic diseases early when they are easier and less expensive to treat. Catching these diseases early and initiating treatment can also often prevent costly emergency visits down the road.
Your cat’s annual exam also gives us the opportunity to discuss your cat’s diet and behavior and address any concerns you may have.
2.Cats are masters at hiding signs of disease
Cats are generally independent creatures – one of the reasons why we love them! But as a result it can be very difficult to notice signs of pain or discomfort. Fortunately, we can detect these signs on physical examination and can discuss ways to treat or manage these conditions to help improve your cat’s quality of life. In addition, cats can have many chronic diseases (such a high blood pressure, thyroid dysfunction, kidney insufficiency, dental disease) that have little to no outward signs until they are quite severe.
3.Cats age much faster than humans
On average, cats age 7 years for every “human” year. Imagine how much your health can change over the course of 7 years!
4.Even cats that spend their whole lives inside are susceptible to diseases
Many people think that their indoor only cat is protected from disease. While it is true that keeping a cat indoors is a great way to improve their overall health and average lifespan, even indoor cats are susceptible to diseases.
Not only can indoor cats get chronic diseases such as the ones mentioned above, but they are susceptible to parasites – including fleas, intestinal worms, heartworms, and even ticks! This surprises many people. How do these make it inside your house? For many, we as humans (or our other household pets that do go outside) are usually the culprits since we leave the house carry these parasites back inside with us on our shoes or clothing where they can infest our cats. For heartworm disease, the mosquito that transmits heartworm gets into our house through open doors or small holes in our window screens.
In addition to being gross and affecting our cats’ health, some of these parasites can make us sick, too. This is why we recommend all cats – even indoor only cats – have a fecal sample checked once a year for intestinal parasites and be on year round parasite prevention.
5.Helps make veterinary visits less stressful for your cat
It is a very rare cat that enjoys going to the veterinarian. For most cats the carrier is something they only see for veterinary visits. Then after a struggle to get our cat into the carrier they are taken out of their home and on a car ride that sometimes makes them nauseous. Finally, they are taken into a weird smelling building with strange people who examine them.
It’s understandable that many people want to avoid this unless their cat is clearly sick. However, bringing your cat to visit the veterinarian when they appear to be healthy is a great way to start to acclimate your cat to veterinary visits and help their experience be more positive and enjoyable. In addition, for cats that are anxious or are prone to carsickness, we can discuss techniques to help improve their experience, through exercises you can do at home, pheromones to help relieve anxiety, or medication given just prior to their veterinary visit.
Remember, all of the doctors at MBVC along with some team members are Fear Free Certified to help reduce the fear, anxiety, and stress veterinary visits can bring to our patients!
Written by Emily Cornwell, DVM, PhD, CertAqV