Many cat owners have the common misconception that as long as their indoor cat is eating and drinking that he or she is healthy. Cats, however, are masters of hiding their pain until they are on death’s doorstep. For this reason, it is still very important to have your cat examined regularly by Rising Sun Animal Care. We recommend a minimum of an annual exam on cats under 7 years of age and twice yearly exams on senior cats over the age of 7. Exams can reveal many underlying disease processes that if diagnosed and treated early, can add years of quality life with your cat.
For example, cats often hide even severe dental disease without a decrease in weight or appetite. Cats are notorious for having painful tooth abnormalities called odontoclastic resorptive lesions. These lesions resemble cavities that are usually seen along the gum line and result in pulp exposure, abscessed, and fractured teeth. Cats can also develop periodontal disease, which can lead to tooth and bone loss, as well as sepsis, liver, kidney and heart valve infections. After these problem teeth are extracted, patients are often reported to be more affectionate and active, proving that the teeth were a source of pain.
Cats can also cover up systemic diseases, such as chronic kidney failure, hyperthyroidism or diabetes, for quite some time until they are on the verge of dying. This is a survival instinct from their feral cat days where the sick cats are picked off first by predators. With routine blood work in our adult and senior patients, we can detect these diseases early and start treatment before the life limiting side effects set in. Often this can slow the progression of the disease. This can give you many additional quality years of life with your cat. Masses, both benign and cancerous, can be found earlier on examination, allowing for better outcomes and less expensive procedures.
Besides getting semiannual or annual examinations for your cat and recommended blood work, we advise that all cats be kept current on Distemper combo and Rabies vaccines. The Herpes virus, which is a virus vaccinated against in the Distemper combo, lies latent in the body’s nervous system, waiting for stress, a suppressed immune system, or decreased antibody levels to return and cause contagious runny eyes and sneezing. The Rabies vaccine is required by law to reduce the chance of this fatal viral infection in animals and the people they could come in contact with. Without a current Rabies vaccination, if your cat bites someone, it could be euthanized and tested for Rabies, which requires a brain sample. This is easily prevented by keeping them current on their Rabies vaccine. If your cat is outdoors at all, we also recommend twice yearly fecal checks for parasites and keeping the vaccination for Feline Leukemia Virus up to date.
So if you have a cat at home we haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet or hasn’t been to see us in a while, please take advantage of our July special and schedule an appointment to get your cat in for an exam. Help us keep your furry friend healthy and happy for many years to come.