Tales from the Office Kitty: Annual Exams
Well, it’s that time of year again. I was all snuggled up in my bed when the humans so cruelly picked me up and brought me into the dreaded exam room for my least favorite thing: my annual exam. Us cats specialize in protesting this exam (for some reason there are dogs that seem to ENJOY it!), but the doctor reminded me that it is extremely important, even on the years I am not due for any vaccines or don’t seem to be having any issues. Whether cats or dogs, a yearly exam is a crucial part of pet care that often gets skipped, especially for my feisty, objecting feline friends.
So what’s so great about annual exams? Believe it or not, when the doctor squeezed my belly, he was feeling many of my internal organs, including my intestines, bladder, and kidneys. He felt for abnormalities, possibly obstructions, bladder stones, and more. He also ran his hands over my entire body (ok, that part isn’t so bad, I do enjoy being petted) to feel for any lumps or bumps that may not have been noticed before. (I’ve also observed that the techs seem to specialize in finding ticks around animals’ heads and necks. If I had a nickel for every time one of the girls pulled a tick off a dog or cat during their annual, I’d be a rich kitty!) The doctor also checked my skin and fur for parasites such as fleas or mange, as well as skin infections such as ringworm (he’s really good at surprising owners with that find!).
Next he looked into my ears, checking for mites or infection, my eyes, checking for any infection, injuries, or disease, and my mouth (I thought this may be a good time to try and bite him, but it turns out he has pretty quick reflexes!) for dental disease. He checked my paw pads and nails, determining that I needed a nail trim (how rude! I liked them long!). He listened to my heart and lungs for any abnormalities, and then I was deemed a healthy cat! Here’s to another year of sleeping in the waiting room and avoiding the exam room!
When your pet comes in for an annual exam, not only does the doctor give them a thorough evaluation, he can also discuss with the owners other preventative care (such as heartworm, flea, and tick medications), recommendations for insurance, microchipping, training, and more. If your pet is getting advanced in their years, he can suggest things like joint supplements, and senior blood work to check on their liver and kidney function, and more. The doctor is strong believer in catching things early when they can be treated more effectively. Noticing a kidney is slightly larger than the other, for an example, can be a sign of kidney disease. When caught early, it’s something that can be treated and your pet can have many, many more years. The doctor’s goal is to keep your pet happy and healthy for as many years as possible. This starts with wellness exams. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Having my annual exam is not my favorite thing, but I am glad that I had it. I know the girls are happy their kitty got a clean bill of health, and I have to admit I’m glad to know that too. And it really wasn’t THAT bad, especially since I got plenty of treats and kisses for the rest of the day.
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