Although cats are commonly considered fiercely independent and generally low-maintenance, they still require regular veterinary care to remain healthy, like their canine counterparts. Cats are regarded as low-maintenance because their ability to hide pain or illness is highly honed, but they can suffer silently without routine veterinary attention. Your cat may be quietly hiding painful feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions, or osteoarthritis in elbows or hips, and you will not detect that they are uncomfortable. Only a professional veterinary exam can do that.
As a devoted cat owner, you naturally want your feline friend to remain happy and healthy for a long time, and the best way to do that is by scheduling annual or biannual veterinary visits. During your cat’s wellness visit, we may discover early signs of one of the three most common diseases we see in cats. Read on to learn how we use regular veterinary exams to detect these diseases.
#1: Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD)
FLUTD is most frequently seen in middle-aged, overweight cats who get little exercise, use an indoor litter box, have restricted access to outdoor environments, and drink less water; however, any cat can be affected. One of the most common FLUTD causes is feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC). While FIC’s exact cause is unknown, stress appears to trigger a bladder inflammation associated with the disease. Possible stress sources in your cat’s life include changes in the environment, food schedule, or number of household pets. Environmental enrichment, such as encouraging natural predatory behavior with climbing towers and toys that can be chased and caught, can reduce stress and decrease the severity and frequency of FIC episodes. Changes in food can also result in FIC recurrence in some cats, so your cat’s diet and feeding schedule should remain consistent.
To help ward off this common feline condition, we will discuss your cat’s lifestyle, environment, feeding schedule, drinking habits, and litter box usage. Many cats display stress-induced inappropriate elimination, and our team can guide you on catering to your cat’s unique needs to express their natural behavior.
#2: Dental disease
Since roughly 70% of cats age 3 or older display dental disease signs, your feline friend likely has tartar accumulation, gingivitis, or stinky breath. Some cats also develop painful stomatitis or feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions, yet fail to show discomfort. Most pet owners seldom peer inside their cats’ mouths, so these unpleasant oral conditions can persist until your cat receives a veterinary visit. By putting off annual exams, your cat may be silently suffering from inflamed gums, oral infections, or enamel lesions. At each wellness visit, we will examine your cat’s mouth for reddened gums, tartar accumulation, damaged teeth, or periodontal infection. Generally, most cats require a dental cleaning at least once during their lifetime. However, those with stomatitis or resorptive lesions may require dental cleanings and extractions as frequently as every six months. During your cat’s wellness visit and oral exam, we’ll design a plan to maintain your pet’s dental health.
#3: Chronic renal failure (CRF)
Older cats commonly develop chronic renal failure, a condition in which their kidneys begin to shut down and fail to remove waste products from the bloodstream. These toxins build up, since the kidneys cannot do their job, and affected cats will vomit, lose their appetite, drink and urinate excessively, and suffer from muscle and weight loss. Unfortunately, cats do not show CRF signs until roughly two-thirds of the kidneys are dysfunctional, after kidney damage has been occurring for months or years. Regular wellness visits that assess parameters, such as kidney values, electrolyte levels, and blood pressure, can help us detect kidney failure earlier, when fluid therapy, diet management, and electrolyte supplementation can help slow the disease process, and grant you more time with your cherished companion.
Regular veterinary care is as important for cats as dogs. Through regular veterinary visits, comprehensive physical exams, and baseline diagnostic testing, we can help keep your feline friend in excellent health for many years to come. As your cat ages, we will tailor our wellness care to meet their needs, striving to detect common diseases at the earliest stages, to allow for easier treatment and a better prognosis. See if your kitty receives a clean bill of health by scheduling a wellness appointment with our team.