Cats are masters of disguise and hiding signs of illness. Because of this, regular health checks are important in order for your vet to pick up on any subtle changes in their health.
General cat health
You already take your cat to the vet when there is a specific problem, but this may often only focus on a certain area.
It’s important to remember to take your cat to the vet, not only when they are sick, but when they are healthy too. At Vetsmiths, we like to work on the premise that ‘prevention is better than cure’ and that’s why regular general check-ups are important to keep your cat healthy and help prevent certain diseases.
At the same time, these regular appointments give your cat the opportunity to create positive memories of being at the vets, like being stroked and fussed, instead of associating their visits with pain or sickness.
At Vetsmiths, we like to check your cat over at least once a year and this includes a full health check from those fabulous whiskers to the tip of the tail. We often recommend more frequent checks if your cat is older or has a specific medical condition. This enables us to keep a close eye on subtle changes.
Cats that are on frequent medication will need 3-6 monthly medicine checks in order to monitor their weight and ensure the dosage is correct.
Yearly vaccinations are important for your cat’s health.
These prevent diseases such as cat flu (feline herpes virus, calicivirus), feline enteritis (feline parvovirus) and feline leukemia virus. Your vet can explain these in more detail should you wish.
Fleas, ticks and worms
When it comes to parasites, prevention is always better than cure.
We recommend keeping up-to-date with prevention all year round. Flea eggs can live in our houses for months and with the help of central heating we can harbour these eggs in our environments all through the winter. Not nice!
There are a number of options to prevent these parasites from infecting your cat, and we specifically tailor the treatment to suit the patient, ensuring that it’s safe and easy to administer.
If you don’t want to breed from your cat, neutering is recommended to prevent unwanted litters of kittens.
We recommend neutering both males and females from six months of age. This can also protect females from developing breast cancer.
Many unwanted behaviours in cats can stem from stress or changes in their environment.
However, some can be caused by certain diseases, eg, unwanted urination due to cystitis. It’s important to mention any behavioural changes you may have noticed or be concerned about to your vet.
Dental disease is common in ageing cats and because cats are very good at hiding discomfort and pain, it’s often something that goes un-noticed.
Having these regular check-ups gives your vet the opportunity to pick up on any dental issues. The appropriate treatment and way forward can then be discussed. This is also a good time to talk about dental care at home and other ways to help keep your cat’s teeth clean throughout the rest of their life.
Weight and body condition
Unfortunately, cat obesity is a persistent issue in the UK.
This can be a tricky problem to solve without the correct guidance. Regular health checks will monitor your cat’s weight and body condition. This gives your vet the opportunity to share tips on the correct diet and exercise needed for your cat. If your cat is overweight, weight clinics can be arranged with our qualified nurses here at Vetsmiths.
It’s important to note, that not only is an increasing waistline concerning, but so is a shrinking one.
If you think your cat is losing weight since their last weigh-in, it’s vital to have this checked, as it can often be caused by underlying health issues.
Ageing cats are unfortunately a bit more susceptible to disease than their younger counterparts.
As they get older, more frequent checks are required in order to pick up on any changes; namely weight loss, stiffness or lack of appetite.
Often, blood and urine tests will be recommended once your cat is over a certain age in order to monitor any loss of kidney or liver function.
It’s important to mention any problems or changes, however subtle, with your vet. This may include changes to their food and water intake, activity levels and changes in behaviour.
Just like us cats can suffer from various diseases like diabetes, kidney diseases, osteoarthritis or loss of vision and hearing.
As we’ve mentioned cats are masters at hiding signs of disease – we can help advise you on what signs to look for as they age.
Thankfully, many health problems can be managed successfully with medication, changes to their diet and lifestyle. All of these we can discuss with you during a regular check-up.