Dr. Barnes examining a cat in the cage feline friendly way

Does My Cat Really Need the Vet?

Does My Cat Really Need the Vet?

Some people believe that veterinary visits are too stressful or unnecessary for their cat.  Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Cats are secretive and masters of hiding disease.  It takes a trained eye, a thorough history, and maybe some lab tests to know for sure.  Nature teaches cats that the sick and the weak fall, for this reason, they will hide sickness until they are no longer physically able to do so.

Frequently, when owners are concerned about their cats because they’re acting ill, they have a very advanced disease process.  These cats were often acting perfectly normal even up to the day before they started acting sick.  Routine examination and blood work can detect minor changes in organ function. Therefore, treatment can be started early and prolong the life of the patient.

An annual examination allows the veterinarian to have a good baseline for your pet.  This will help them detect abnormalities or changes over time.  A good annual exam will cover all body parts of your cat from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail.

Eyes and Nose
The vet will check for clarity, basic vision, and signs of infection or inflammation. They may also ask you about your cats’ behavior at home.
Oral Cavity
The vet will examine the oral cavity for gum inflammation, oral masses, signs of excess tartar on the teeth, and tooth abnormalities or breakage.
Ears
The vet will examine your cat’s ears for signs of infection, debris, inflammation, redness, drainage around the ear canal, and mites.
Heart and Lungs
Your vet will listen to your kitty’s heart and lungs with a stethoscope, listening for any heart murmurs or any other abnormal sounds, such as respiratory congestion.
Fur
Your vet will examine your cat’s skin and hair coat, these can be indicative of certain disease processes, allergies, or flea infestation.
Paws and Legs
The vet will examine the legs and feet.  They will palpate to make sure your cat has a full range of motion and is not painful.
Abdomen
Your vet will palpate your kitty’s abdomen.  This is to feel for any apparent masses or any pain in the digestive tract.
Rectum
The anus will be checked for visual evidence of worms, and the anal glands for potential signs of infection or impaction.

All of these things will give your vet an idea of your cats’ health.  Additionally, your vet may request lab work. This could include blood work, urinalysis, and potentially radiographs or an ultrasound.  Certain values in the blood or urine will change as organ function begins to decline.  These blood values may remain the only symptom for an extended period of time.  Early detection will make treatment much more possible and manageable.

Your vet will use all of these clues to determine the health of your pet.  Continued care and monitoring are the only way to detect changes.  This is the reason that an annual examination is the standard of practice.  As your cat gets older your vet may opt to do twice yearly examinations.  Waiting until your cat shows signs of illness may be too late.

Dr. Hood well pet exam of a yorkie

Well Pet Care

We believe preventative medicine is the key to provide lifelong health through annual exams, immunizations, spaying and neutering, dental cleanings, as well as geriatric profile. We will provide you with recommendations and information needed so you may make educated decisions for the best care.

Adult Care – Your adult pets need to be examined at least annually in order to prevent/detect any medical issues. Pets age faster than we do and as a result, health problems can progress much more rapidly. Regular wellness exams will confirm that your pet is healthy or help catch problems before they can become more serious. During the annual veterinary visit, we will do a complete health consultation and physical exam. In addition, your pet may need blood work, vaccinations, and an intestinal parasite screening.

Vaccinations – Our goal is to provide the safest immunization schedule possible. Therefore, each vaccination schedule is tailored especially for your pet, based on the specific lifestyle and potential exposure to diseases.

Dental Care – Routine teeth cleanings and polishing is an important and necessary part of preventative medicine. Studies show that approximately 80% of dogs and cats over three years of age are affected by some type of dental disease. Left untreated, pet dental problems will result in discomfort, pain, and possible loss of teeth. Infected gums and tartar buildup play host to a large number of bacteria, which can find their way to other parts of your pet’s body, which can lead to major health problems. Signs your pet has dental disease include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Missing or eroded teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Reluctant to play with toys or eat
  • Lethargy

A typical routine dental cleaning includes:

  • Complete blood work to ensure your pet can safely undergo anesthesia
  • Custom anesthesia plan (based on your pet’s age, risk factors, lab results, and level of dental disease)
  • Digital dental radiography & x-rays of the chest and abdomen (depending on your pet’s age)
  • Teeth cleaning & polishing utilizing our ultrasonic and air driven equipment
  • Fluoride treatment
  • Full oral examination
  • Fluids administered to prevent dehydration
  • Continuous monitoring by our veterinary team after the procedure to ensure a pain-free, low-stress, safe recovery
  • A home dental care plan, including before and after pictures

Senior Care – As part of our preventative medicine, we recommend doing an annual geriatric profile on your pet. This profile includes blood work to look at organ function, as well as white and red blood cells. We also look at a urine sample to ensure the kidneys are functioning properly. We do recommend taking radiographs to ensure the heart, lungs, kidney, spleen, liver, as well as other internal organs, appear normal.

Puppy/Kitten Care – If you have recently adopted a puppy or kitten, you should visit Aldie Vet for a complete physical exam as soon as possible. Our goal is to screen your pet for any health problems, fleas, ticks and intestinal parasites, as well as discuss the nutritional needs that your puppy or kitten will need as they are in a high growth stage. This will help to ensure that your new family member is healthy and that disease is not transmitted to other pets in your home. Puppies and kittens are especially vulnerable to parasitic infections that can threaten their health. Proper screening and preventative products can help protect them against intestinal worms, fleas, and heartworm disease. Puppies and kittens also have immature immune systems which make it difficult to fight off disease. Therefore, if you notice any of the following, please give us a call immediately:

  • Weight loss
  • Excessive drinking and/or urination
  • Loss of appetite or lethargy
  • Behavior changes
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Skin lumps, bumps or irritation
  • Bad breath, plaque on teeth or bleeding gums
  • Ear odors, redness, scratching or head shaking
  • Trouble urinating or defecating
Feline Friendly and Fear Free approach

Feline Friendly & Calm Canines

Fear, anxiety, and stress lead to undesired behavior conditions which make it more difficult to diagnose potential problems your pet may be experiencing. This is the reason our team is committed to providing a Whole Pet veterinary care approach. We don’t just treat your pet’s physical conditions, but ALL conditions, which include emotional.

Preparing for you and your pet’s visit starts well before you arrive. We take into account what we know to be the contributing factors that lead to some pets fear, anxiety and stress and create a plan that will persuade pets to enjoy their veterinary visit for years to come.