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Why Cats Should Have Routine Veterinary Exams

Updated on July 5, 2009


Preventing diseases is much better and cost effective than treating diseases. This is ultimately why regular vet visits are necessary for your feline friend. It does not take much to abide to at least a once a year physical exam for healthy adult cats and at least a twice a year physical for cats in their geriatric years.

Why Regular Visits to the Vet are Necessary for Cats

  • Vaccinations

Yearly vet visits are necessary to prevent serious contagious diseases. The rabies vaccination in particular, is mandated by law in many States. It is thanks to these vaccination protocols that many dogs and cats are still alive and are no longer succumbing to serious illnesses like Panleukopenia or Feline Infectious Peritonitis.

  • Blood work

Yearly blood work can diagnose conditions so that treatment can be initiated. Blood work as well helps pin point serious conditions before they cause substantial damage to the cat's organs. For instance, blood work in senior cats can diagnose diabetes or kidney diseases in cats that may have shown only subtle symptoms such as increased drinking and increased urination. In these cases, the cat may be treated before more serious issues arise.

  • Oral Check- Ups

Most cats over the age of five have some form of periodontal disease. During a regular routine visit a veterinarian may be able to explain why your cat has been drooling or dropping a few kibbles on the floor when eating. An oral check up may help determine dental issues before they worsen up to a point of causing the accumulation of harmful bacteria that may be carried in the blood stream and cause heart, kidney or liver disease.

  • Physicals

Of course, your cat will under go a physical each time your veterinarian visits him/her. This consists of the oral exam already mentioned plus various other physical examinations. During a physical exam a vet may look into the cat's ears, mouth and nose. He or she may feel the lymph nodes under the jaw, the thyroid gland right near the cat's throat, the bladder, kidneys and liver may be felt when enlarged and the lungs and heart may be listened with a stethoscope.

  • Flea treatments

Many safe and effective flea topicals such as Frontline and Advantage may be prescribed upon seeing a cat for its physical. These effective topicals are mostly available with a prescription only. A physical exam is a good time to have these treatments prescribed so to stock up against annoying fleas and ticks.

  • -Fecal Exams

It is recommended that a cat gets a fecal tests done at least once a year. These fecal tests help rule out or treat annoying parasites such as roundworms. If the fecal tests comes back positive, the cat is put on a dewormer. Some parasites are zoonotic, meaning they can infest humans as well. A veterinarian will simply need a small fresh stool amount not older than 12 hours old in order to effectively determine the presence of parasites.

As seen, there are many good reasons for having your cat undergo routine veterinarian visits. Just as your car needs regular inspections and tune ups, your cat deserves to have the best care so to lead a long and healthy life.


Typical Vaccination Schedules for Felines

Each veterinary clinic follows different vaccination protocols depending on what diseases are common in the area your cat lives. Below is a typical vaccination schedule fro cats, however, please note that your veterinarian may abide to a quite different one.

Core vaccines are vaccinations recommended for ALL cats.Generally the core vaccines consist of: Rabies, Distemper (Panleukopenia), Calicivirus, and Rhinotracheitis.

Abbreviations

FVRCCP Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Chlamydiosis, Panleukopenia

FIP Feline Infectious Peritonitis

FIV Feline Aids

FELV Feline Leukemia

Kitten Vaccination Schedule

(Most kitten vaccinations are given 3-4 weeks apart).

6-8 weeks 1st FVRCP, 1st FIP for outdoor kittens, 1st FIV for outdoor kittens Fecal test, Drontal deworming

9-11 weeks 2nd FVRCP, 2nd FIP, 2ND FIV, 1st FELV for outdoor kittens

12 -14 weeks 3rd FVRCP, 3RD FIV, 2nd FELV , RABIES,

Disclaimer; the above vaccination schedule is just a sample. For the most accurate one, please refer to your veterinarian.

Adult Cat Vaccination Schedule

  • FVRCP given annually both indoor outdoor cats
  • RABIES mandated by law and given every 3 years once cat is 1 year old depending on State regulations
  • FELV given annually for outdoor cats
  • FIV given annually for outdoor cats
  • FIP given annually for outdoor cats


Recommended Tests and Blood Work for Adult/Senior Cats

Twice a year physicals may help point out conditions before they arrive to a point of causing major organ damage. Below are some tests recommended for cats in their golden years.

  • Fecal Test (a small amount not older than 12 hours old)
  • Complete Blood Count (better known as CBC ,ask your vet if your cat should fast from the night prior)
  • Thyroid panel
  • Urinalysis (collect by replacing litter with lentil beans or styrofoam)

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