Regular veterinary exams are important at any age, but they become even more important as your cat ages. Typically, veterinarians recommend annual exams for healthy pets up to age 6 or 7. There is some controversy in the profession regarding the frequency of exams in younger cats, but most experts agree that even healthy senior cats should be examined at 6-month intervals. This is important because:
- Many disease conditions begin to develop in cats in middle age.
- Health changes in cats can occur very quickly, and cats age faster than humans.
- Cats are masters at masking disesase and by the time symptoms appear, they can present as acutely ill.
- Cat parents may not always recognize the existence or importance of sublte changes, especially in multi-cat households.
- Early detection of disease results in easier management and better quality of life.
A typical senior wellness visit will include the following:
- Obtaining information from the cat’s person regarding any behavior changes, changes in activity or litter box habits, changes in eating or drinking, current diet and supplements, and more.
- A thorough physical exam that includes checking weight, skin and haircoat quality, oral cavity, ears, eyes, thyroid gland palpitation, listening to the heart, abdominal palpitation, checking of joints and muscle tone.
- Bloodwork to check a complete bloodcount, chemistry screen and thyroid profile. For more information about why bloodwork is so important, read “Bloodwoork For Your Pet: What It Means and Why Your Pet Needs It.”
- Urinalysis to assess kidney function and bladder health.