You may feel that if your cat is eating well and behaving normally, he doesn’t need to go to the vet. After all, vets are for treating him when he’s sick, aren’t they? That’s not true; your veterinarian can also play an important role in reducing the risk of your cat becoming ill in the first place.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR EARLY DIAGNOSIS
There are several medical conditions in cats that aren’t obvious to the untrained eye, but if they are diagnosed and treated early, the outcome is usually better.
One good example is hyperthyroidism. If your 14 year old cat is constantly meowing for food and starting to use your indoor plants as a litter tray, you may see these behaviours as nothing more than a nuisance. Once you mention them to your vet, however, they will recognise that behavioural changes and an increased appetite (often accompanied by weight loss) can be early signs of an overactive thyroid gland, and will recommend blood tests to confirm it.
Similarly, a quick blood test will detect high blood sugar in your cat well before he is showing any signs of diabetes, and you can take steps to slow the progression of the disease.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN A CURE
When your cat visits your veterinarian for a check-up, they will help you plan his necessary treatments for the year ahead. This will help you stay on top of parasites such as fleas and ticks.
Yearly check-ups are also a good opportunity to check your cat’s body condition score. If he is starting to gain a little weight, then you can change his diet before obesity can play havoc with his health.
In the past, the only way to control fleas on cats was to rinse them in chemical insecticides. Nowadays there are many better options, such as Advantage and Frontline Plus. These are safer for cats and for their owners who often risk their health when they dunk their cat in water! When you take your cat to your vet for his yearly examination, you’ll be able to learn about any new products that will keep your cat healthier and make your life easier.
LET’S GET ACQUAINTED
Cats can be aloof and often feel nervous about meeting new people and visiting strange places. The vet clinic is certainly a strange place to them and it is full of new people. If your furry family member has met his doctor a few times and has got to know them a little bit, he’ll be less stressed if he has to stay in hospital for a day or two.
The veterinary staff will understand that your cat may be anxious about visiting them. If you let them know in advance, they can spend a little more time with your cat, stroking him and giving him treats. He may not learn to love his visits to the clinic, but he will find them less stressful.
Apart from the yearly check-ups, it’s a good idea to pop in with your nervous cat a little more frequently if you can. That way, he can get a cuddle and a treat, without having any less than pleasant procedures such as having his temperature taken! He’ll slowly start to see the clinic in a more positive light.
REGULAR CHECKS WILL KEEP YOUR CAT WELL
If your veterinarian sees your cat regularly over the years, they’ll get to know him very well and they’ll learn what is normal for him. This way, they’ll quickly notice when something isn’t normal. The result is early diagnosis of an illness, early treatment and a quicker recovery. This, combined with your vet’s advice in how to prevent disease in your cat, is the best way to ensure he has a long and healthy life.