Happy New Year! We hope that 2020 will be filled with prosperity, good health, love, and laughter for you and yours. The first of the year brings on many reminders – resolutions, preparing for tax season, and setting up your feline’s annual appointment.
The AVMA estimates that there is a total cat population in the United States of 58 million felines. The study also found that only 47% of those felines are brought in for a wellness care exam over the course of a year. Just as annual physicals for humans are important, so too are yearly wellness exams are for your cat.
Why is an Annual Exam Important?
First, cats age faster than humans. Consider your cat’s first two years equal to 24 human years, then each additional feline year after that is equivalent to four human years. So, while a four-year-old cat seems only four, their equivalent age is 32. A lot can change within those years (just like it would for humans), and for things to be identified early, we need to have a baseline to compare the changes to. We recommend adult cats come in for a visit every year, and senior cats (ages 7+) come in once every six months.
Secondly, cats are very good at masking pain and hiding changes. For example, if it hurts to urinate, your cat may try to hold it in or urinate outside of the litter box. As a result, you may spend money on a new litter box, different litters, confining your cat, chalking it up to behavioral issues, etc. But if you were to bring your cat in for a yearly exam, we may have caught the early signs of urinary tract infection or arthritis. A cat who is thinning as they age may simply be eating less, or it could be signs of dental or thyroid problems. Annual exams help us track any subtle changes your cat experience as they age and catch early any medical problems that symptoms have yet to manifest.
hat Happens During an Annual Exam?
When you bring in your feline companion for an annual exam in our clinic, we will look at the whole health of your pet. First, we meet with you and your cat and discuss any changes you may have noticed since the last time we met as well as their diet and what changes to diet they may need as they age.
Then we will physically examine your pet from nose to tail, checking their eyes and ears, teeth, body condition, skin and coat condition, and more. We will also review their vaccination needs and make recommendations on which vaccines need updating. If approved, we will then administer the vaccines. We may also recommend blood tests to check for any viruses, a CBC (complete blood count) to check for infections, and a chemistry panel to check the condition of internal organs.
If any of these tests or examinations indicate further testing, radiographs, or ultrasounds are necessary, we will discuss those needs with you and provide quotes for the services if necessary. If everything looks good, then you (and your feline) leave our office with peace of mind!
Our ultimate goal is to extend the precious time you have with your feline family member and to maintain the best quality of life and care they can possibly have. If you have any questions about what an annual exam at TLC Cat Clinic includes or costs, or to set up an appointment, please contact our office at 763-559-8787.