Why Should every Cat Get an Annual Exam? Part two
Obesity is best prevented by meal feeding a measured quantity of food. Your vet can calculate how many kcals your cat should be eating to achieve or maintain an optimum body weight. You can then either find the number of kcals per can or kcals per cup of dry food (usually on the can or bag) and determine how much canned and/ or dry your cat should have, usually divided into two meals. Your cat’s doctor can help with the math if needed.
Some cats can be free fed if they don’t overeat, but many cats will eat more than they should if food is always available. Obesity can lead to arthritis, back problems, diabetes, heart conditions and increases the risk for certain cancers. Talking about your cat’s nutritional status is a very important part of a yearly exam, and a big reason why regular preventative exams contribute to a cat’s longevity and quality of life as he or she ages.
Assessing your cat for unexplained weight or muscle loss is also important. Cats don’t suddenly look in the mirror and decide to go on a diet. If a cat is losing weight and/ or muscle, there is always a reason. Utilizing a thorough diet history, physical exam and appropriate diagnostic tests, your vet can usually find out why. Hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland) or a kidney infection are two common (and treatable!) reasons why a cat might be losing weight. Diabetes is another. Many times, weight loss is slow, and clients aren’t aware of weight loss until their cat comes in for their checkup. A really terrific early warning system for either weight gain or loss is the purchase of a baby scale. Weighing your cat or cats every week or two will pick up trends in weight gain or loss, long before your eyes or fingers can!
Assessing your cat for any possible sources of pain or discomfort is also key to a long, happy life. Your vet should look for lameness, sore or stiff joints, swellings or lumps, and especially dental pain, which can start as early as three years of age. A careful exam of your cat’s mouth and teeth may reveal enamel loss or fractured teeth, which can be very painful. Often your cat won’t give you much in the way of clues regarding pain. There is no reason for a cat to have untreated pain, when there is so much we vets can do to help!
So to sum up, if you want your cat to have the best chance at a long, happy life, feed the best quality food you can afford, following your vet’s recommendations for maintaining a healthy body weight, and see your cat’s doctor regularly for preventative examinations. Hope to see you soon!
If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, please call 661-259-5288 or go to our website, www.catdoctor.com for a virtual tour and the ability to request an appointment online. We are located at 26055 Bouquet Canyon Road between Magic Mountain Parkway and Cinema Drive.
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