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Posted on 06-12-2017

If you’re a cat lover, you know how true the expression is “dogs come when they’re called. Cats take a message and get back to you.” The same holds true for our patients in the hospital. When it comes to letting us know they’re sick, dogs tend to “read the textbook”- they present with outward clinical signs that their parents can pick up on and we can investigate further through physical examination and other diagnostic tools. Cats, on the other hand, much prefer to hide their underlying illnesses through subtle changes in behavior, appetite, and body condition. It’s for this reason that we recommend our feline patients still be seen on a yearly basis (or twice yearly for our senior kitties) even though they may have a low risk, indoor only lifestyle and are current on their vaccinations.

So what is specifically gained by seeing our feline patients on a yearly or twice yearly basis?

  • Thorough physical exam allows us to track overall outward health, including but not limited to body condition, muscle mass, dental health, heart and lung sounds, and organ size/shape

  • By tracking vitals, such as body weight, temperature, and blood pressure, we can detect early changes that may be signs of an underlying disease process

  • Annual wellness blood work or a twice yearly senior blood work screening can help us closely assess internal organ function so that abnormalities can be addressed as early as possible

  • Most importantly, wellness check-ups allow us to see our feline friends when they’re feeling and looking their best!

Here’s a few signs that you can look out for at home that may indicate it’s time for your kitty to come and see us:

  1. Decrease in energy level or socialization with people or other cats in the household

  2. Change in appetite- both an increased or decreased appetite should be considered abnormal

  3. Change in thirst level- filling up the water bowl more often, seeking out other sources of water (cups, faucets, and yes, even toilets), or not drinking as much water as normal

  4. Inappropriate urination- urinating outside the litter box, urinating in the litter box but making more frequent trips, large or more numerous urine clumps in the litter box

  5. Change in body condition- weight loss or weight gain despite a change in the amount or type of food you’re offering

 

Bottom line- don’t wait for your cat to return your message. Be proactive! Wellness visits and preventative care are the best ways to ensure a long and healthy life for your kitty companion!

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