Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 2, 2023 by Crystal Uys
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.
About the author
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.