If this is your feline friend’s first annual exam, you are almost certainly wondering what to expect. Knowing what will happen can help you feel calm and prepared, and in turn this will make you better able to manage your cat on this day. Exactly what will happen tends to vary slightly between animal hospitals and veterinarians. Nevertheless, here is a rough guide to what you can expect at your cat’s annual exam.
The consultation element of the annual exam is crucially important as this is when your vet in South Nashville TN has the opportunity to speak to you about how your cat is day to day. You might be asked questions about her diet, including what she eats and how often she has her meals. Your vet might want information about any sort of exercise she has, how often she has bowel movements and what her general behavior is like and whether it has changed recently.
Another key aspect of the consultation is to talk to you about the importance of preventative care including vaccinates and parasite control. If booster shots or parasite preventatives are required, these might also be undertaken during this routine appointment.
This consultation is also the ideal time for you to ask any questions that you might have, such as about any changes or concerns that you might have noticed or have about your pet.
Some of the vital checks that you can expect your vet to perform during your cat’s annual exam include:
- Her heart rate
- How well she is breathing
- Her weight
- Her temperature
- Her pulse
Blood and other tests
It can be very difficult to know what is going on with your pet, particularly as she will try and hide any symptoms from you. Fortunately, it is possible to undertake a number of different tests that will be able to help identify if there are any underlying problems that could threaten the health of your kitty. These include:
- A full blood count. This looks at the number of red and white cells present in her blood sample and can indicate various problems including anemia, infection and more.
- A blood chemistry profile. This looks at the balance of chemicals in your cat’s blood and can provide information about things like blood sugar levels, thyroid effectiveness, kidney and liver function and more. If there is a problem with an organ in your cat’s body, or one of her body systems, this test may be able to tell your vet.
- Urinalysis. This looks at a sample of your kitty’s urine to determine if there is an issue with her renal system, such as kidney disease or diabetes.
- Fecal testing. Your vet can test your cat’s feces for the presence of internal parasites such as hookworms or tapeworms.
This is a nose to tail, hands-on assessment of the condition of your feline’s body. Your vet will likely start with the head, checking your cat’s eyes to make sure that they are free from discharge and look healthy. Her ears will also be examined to ensure that there is no debris or discharge that could indicate infection or an infestation of mites. Many vets will then carry out a dental assessment, checking your cat’s teeth for oral health problems including tartar, growths, broken teeth and periodontal disease.
Moving on to the rest of your cat’s body, your vet will feel and palpate areas to check for any abnormal growths and to ensure the organs feel the correct size. The lymph nodes will also be checked for abnormal sizing. Her skin and coat will be assessed to ensure that they are free from parasites and in good condition and her joints manipulated to determine if there is any arthritis or other mobility problem at play.
Ready to schedule your cats first annual exam? Please call our veterinarians in Nashville, TN at 615-645-2100 to make her appointment.