Professional Cat Care 101 – What To Expect At A Pet Wellness Exam
A wellness exam is a comprehensive health check-up for your cat performed by your veterinarian. Few things are more concerning than a sick cat that needs your attention – especially if you’re not sure what to do to help. A wellness exam for your cat serves at least two purposes: problem prevention and/or diagnosis.
Rather than waiting until a problem arises in full, periodic pet wellness check-ups can help to ensure you catch an issue before it turns into a full-blown health challenge. If something concerning is found during the exam, the problem can be diagnosed and treated accordingly. This is both useful for problem prevention as well as a way to get to know your cat’s health better.
Consultation For Your Cat – Getting Your Perspective
The first part of a pet wellness exam is the conversation between you and the veterinarian. Husbandry and nutrition are the two elements that fuel most health issues in cats. Getting an understanding of where your cat came from and what the current lifestyle looks like helps to inform your vet about markers to look for. Getting ahead of well-known challenges can mean a better quality of life for both you and your cat for years to come.
Here are a few common points of conversation to expect from your initial consultation:
- Where did you purchase your cat?
- What age is your cat?
- How long have you owned the animal?
- Do you have any other cats at home?
- Do your cats share living quarters/cages?
- What is the health condition of your other pets?
- What kind of food do you feed your cat? What is the brand? How often do you feed and how much? Do they eat all of it? Do they have favorite foods?
- What kind of living arrangements are in place for your cat (i.e., cages (including size, shape, location, bedding, furniture)?
- How often does your cat leave the cage and for how long?
- Does your cat go outside often? If so, how often and for how long on average?
- Cage hygiene – What cleaning products are used, what is the frequency of cleaning?
- Environmental conditions – What is the average room temperature, what is the lighting used, relative humidity, etc.
- What do the droppings look like? (Amount, color, frequency, consistency)
- Toys at home.
- Behavioral history – chewing things around the house, temperament, sleeping, activity level, socialization, etc.
- Any current medical issues?
- Any exposure to environmental toxins such as cleaning products, beauty care products, industrial toxins, heavy metals, pollutants, sewage, etc.?
- Are any medications currently used? If so, what brand, how much, and for what reason?
- Are any nutritional supplements used? If so, what brand, how much, and for what reason?
- Have they had any vaccinations, parasite prevention, pest prevention? If so, what kind, when, how often?
- Any reproductive activity?
- Access to wild animals? If so, which ones?
The Pet Wellness Exam
Once the initial consultation is complete, our veterinarian will proceed to the pet exam. Just as a note, don’t be too surprised if the vet spends more time in the consultation than they do examining your cat.
Much of what they are looking for can only be found through a deeper understanding of your cat's lifestyle – something they only gain clear insight on through direct conversation with you. Also, there is no correct order by which this check-up is performed as long as all points are observed.
The Visual Exam
The first part of the exam is a visual observation of the general properties of your cat. This includes observing the coat, paws, gait, general energy level, responsiveness, personality, and overall movement.
The Physical Exam
Next is the physical exam. This includes looking at the eyes, ears, oral cavity, nose, rectum, paws, and nails. Your cat's temperature will be checked (rectally) and palpation of lymph nodes and abdomen will occur. Finally, the vet will listen to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope a perform a rectal parasite check.
The Blood Test
The last thing is a blood test. This is to look at the blood chemistry and blood count (red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets).
Scheduling a Pet Wellness Exam
One of the best things you can do for your cat, at least once per year, is attend a full pet wellness exam. You can help to ensure your cat is in top shape for many years to come. If any issues are found, you can then immediately begin to take corrective action based on the professional advice of our veterinarian.
Call the Little Cat Clinic today at 619-547-0900 to schedule a pet wellness exam.