Four Paws Animal Hospital & Wellness Center

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My cat seems healthy—why take him to the vet?

Cats are masters at hiding physical problems. This served them well in the wild, but it means we have to be extra diligent to see the subtle early warning signs such as:

Changes in appetite or drinking Vomiting more than once a month
Vocalizing Hiding
Weight changes Trouble eating
Changes in bathroom habits including:
  • Frequency
  • Diarrhea
  • Stops using litter box
Lethargy

Your veterinarian is specially trained to detect early physical changes in your cat and to recognize early warning signs in your cat’s history.

It also gives the veterinarian an opportunity to discuss any behavioral problems you are having. With undesirable behaviors such as scratching, aggression, or not using the litter box it is crucial to address them as soon as they arise. Long standing problems are much harder to fix.

Preventive care can ward off many diseases, make your life easier, and even saves you money!


Benefits of a Veterinary Visit

Veterinarians are trained to assess your cat’s health with a thorough physical exam. They evaluate multiple body systems including:

Eyes Ears Teeth
Heart & vessels Digestive Nervous system
Skin Musculoskeletal Immune system
Lungs    

Some of the more common abnormalities found include:

Dental disease Heart disease Lumps and bumps
Skin problems Ear infections Weight management issues

In most cases, owners are not aware of the abnormalities found by the doctor after a physical exam.


Problems are easier to address if detected early

  • Many initial stage abnormalities are easily treated with simple steps such as diet change, a flavored medication, or a supplement.
  • Initiating therapy in early stages saves you money. For example:
    • Dental procedure that only requires cleaning of tartar is approximately $300.
    • Dental procedure that requires cleaning plus extraction of teeth from advanced periodontal disease averages around $800.
    • Or even better—a good dental homecare regimen can negate the need for a dental procedure altogether!
  • Early detection also extends the lifespan of your cat.
  • They experience better quality of life when they are not suffering silently.

Routine Care Needed

  • Physical exam every 6 months
  • Fecal exam or de-worming at least once a year.
    • This keeps your cat healthy.
    • This keeps your family safe. Intestinal parasites such as roundworms can easily be transmitted from a cat to a person.
  • Monthly application of effective flea and tick control year round.
    • Not only are these parasites annoying, they carry potentially fatal diseases.
  • Monthly application of heartworm prevention year round.
    • There is no treatment for heartworms in cats.
  • Regular dental home care.
    • Periodontal disease is painful and spreads infection throughout their body.
  • Wellness blood work to establish baseline values and enable early detection of disease.
  • Appropriate vaccines for your cat’s lifestyle.
    • Our vaccines for cats are “non-adjuvanted” for increased safety for your pet. Numerous veterinary groups and Internal Medicine Veterinarians agree these are less likely to cause a variety of adverse side effects, some of which can be very serious. To learn more, we recommend this article from Veterinary Partner.

Indoor Only Cats

It’s a myth that indoor only cats don’t need the same routine veterinary care. For example:

  • Studies have shown that 25% of cats diagnosed with roundworms or heartworms were indoor only cats.
  • People track fleas home to their pets from infested areas that they have visited.
  • Dental disease strikes all cats regardless of lifestyle. In fact, over 80% of cats over 3 years old have dental disease.

What does Four Paws do to put my cat at ease during his visit?

  • Separate waiting area for cats.
  • Stress-relieving pheromones in the exam room.
  • Positive rewards such as treats during vaccine administration means many cats are not aware that the shot was given at all!
  • Use of towels for restraint rather than scruffing whenever possible.
  • Performing as much of exam as possible in a more comfortable location such as the bottom of their carrier.
  • Allowing your cat time to adjust to their surroundings.
  • Blood collection techniques that minimize stress.
  • “Hiding spots” provided for all hospitalized patients make cats feel more secure.
  • Separate room for boarding cats away from sights, smells, and sounds of dogs.

What can I do to make the visit less stressful?

  • Use of pheromones such as Feliway 30 minutes prior to the trip will help calm your cat. We have single use wipes to apply inside your carrier prior to your visit.
  • Leave your cat’s carrier out all the time, and make it a comfortable place to take naps or eat treats.
  • Always use some kind of enclosed container such as a carrier when transporting in the car. Many cats prefer to have the carrier be covered with a towel.
  • Take short car trips with your cat on other occasions so they become used to the car ride itself.
  • View the video “Cats & Carriers”, which shows the best way to transport your cat to the veterinarian.


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