For optimum health and wellness, all cats should have a veterinary examination at least once a year. Depending on the circumstances, however, more frequent visits may be appropriate for your cat. This decision is best made on an individual basis in consultation with your cat’s veterinarian. Factors to consider include your cat’s age, special health conditions, and how the environment where you live may affect your cat’s health.
Routine visits to the veterinarian—often called “wellness exams”—are essential for maintaining long-term health and quality of life in cats of all ages. Depending on your cat’s age, the wellness exam will likely include discussions about the following topics:
- Lifestyle factors to determine appropriate vaccines
- Parasites, internal and external
- Appropriate laboratory tests
- Dental health
- Behavioral issues
- Senior care
- Nutrition, including weight, diet, and body condition score
- Other physical examination findings
Vaccinating your cat against certain preventable diseases is an important part of wellness care. The immunity provided by each vaccine varies in how long it lasts, which is why vaccines are repeated at different intervals of time to boost their immunity. Your veterinarian is the appropriate person to recommend which vaccines to give your cat and the frequency with which they should be administered based on your cat’s lifestyle.
Parasite control is necessary in all cats. Your veterinarian can suggest appropriate testing and treatment for any internal or external parasites that are common in cats like yours.
Laboratory testing may be done during the wellness exam or other visits. Being able to collect standard laboratory results for your cat is very helpful. It allows for the early detection of disease and for monitoring changes in clinical or laboratory parameters that may be of concern. Additionally, it provides a baseline for interpretation of data from subsequent visits.
Dental disease is extremely common in cats, yet most owners are unaware that it can threaten their cat’s health and welfare. Your veterinarian will check your cat’s teeth and may recommend a cleaning or other treatment based on his or her findings.
Your veterinarian can also provide advice regarding any behavioral issues your cat may be exhibiting. Since these issues are sometimes caused by medical conditions, the first recommendation may be a thorough physical exam and laboratory testing. Dealing with potential health problems early is an important part of preventative medicine. If your cat is showing any signs of illness, call our clinic promptly.