Does My Cat Really Need to go to the Vet?

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According to a study by the American Veterinary Medical Association, dogs visit the vet about 2.3 times a year, compared to cats’ 1.1 annual visits. And only 28% of cats see a vet once or more per year in contrast to 58% of dogs. That means, cats are only HALF as likely to see their veterinarian as dogs, even when they are sick!

Why the Discrepancy?

One main reason for the discrepancy is that many pet owners have a false perception that felines are more self-sufficient and don’t need medical care. Quite the contrary is true, however. Cats are extremely good at hiding early signs of illness. Often times, by the time your cat starts showing outward signs of illness, the disease has manifested and becomes much more difficult and expensive to treat.

Preventive Care for Cats

Preventive care for your cat results in significant savings over the life of your kitty. Annual or semi-annual check ups can detect illness in the very early stages, making it easier and often less expensive to treat. Common illnesses for cats are obesity and hyperthyroidism (over active thyroid). Obesity in a cat can lead to diabetes, arthritis, and respiratory issues. These issues are manageable when detected and treated in the early stages.

Veterinarians also recommend vaccinations to prevent potentially fatal illnesses. Your vet may recommend FVRCP, Feline Leukemia, and Rabies vaccines. In most areas a current Rabies vaccine is required by law for all cats and dogs.

Monthly flea preventatives are also an important part of your cat’s wellness. Even indoor cats are at risk because fleas can come in on the dog, your shoes, even pass through a screen door or open window!

Many cat owners say they don’t bring their cat to the vet because it’s too hard to get them in the carrier.

Here are a few tips to make the trip easier for you and your kitty, and get him/her the wellness care they deserve!

Get your Cat to Like the Carrier

Many cats run and hide as soon as they see the carrier come up from the basement. Start keeping the carrier accessible to your kitty at all times. Your cat will most likely start to investigate the carrier after a few days. Once he sees he can come and go as he pleases, the carrier won’t be so scary. You can even try a calming wipe (Feli-Way) on the carrier to help ease your kitty’s anxiety.

Practice Traveling with your Cat

Cats are not usually too fond of car rides but with some practice they can become more comfortable in the car. Once you’ve got kitty used to the carrier, try taking him for some short car trips. Start by just going around the block, and gradually build up the amount of time spent in the car.

Keep Calm at the Vet

Now that kitty is comfortable in his carrier and you’ve gotten to the vet, remain calm. By now your kitty feels safe in his carrier. Avoid taking him out of the carrier in the waiting room filled with barking dogs, curious children, and other unhappy kitties. Your cat will feel safest in his carrier and will be less stressed when it’s time for the veterinarian to perform his physical examination.

Remember, cat’s need to see the vet at least once a year. Call your veterinarian today and schedule a wellness exam.

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Even Pets Can Get Back to School Blues

ImageEven pets can get back to school blues as their routine changes. Allentown Animal Clinic has a few tips to ease your pets into the new school year as well.

While back to school time can bring lots of excitement to the house for the humans, it can bring some uneasiness to your pets. All summer long Fluffy and Fido had someone around to hang out with, now that he/she is alone it can lead to depression and anxiety.

1. Start to incorporate the new school day routine early. Try getting up earlier and taking your pet for a walk or having some morning playtime. Run some afternoon errands so your pet can get used to a quiet house in the middle of the day.

2. Try a new “special toy” that your pet gets only while the kids are at school. Let the kids give it to him/her in the morning as they leave for the bus and then take it away when they arrive home. This can help your pet look forward to his “special toy”, rather than build anxiety as everyone is getting ready to leave for the day.

3. Try adding some mental stimulation for your pet. Instead of feeding your pet’s full meal in it’s bowl each morning, you can try hiding some it around the house or in a Kong toy. Your pet will be so busy looking for their breakfast or a special treat, he won’t even realize you’re gone!

4. You may also consider sending your dog to camp. While the kids are away at school it may be fun for Fido to go to school, too! Look for doggie daycare centers in your area. Just be sure your pet is up to date on all vaccines before you send him off to “school.”

These are just a few fun ways to help your pet adjust to his new schedule! Share your ideas with us as well!

Why does my pet need bloodwork?

At least 5 times a day we have clients ask us “Does my pet really need that bloodwork?”. Our answer is always yes…not because we want to run a bunch of useless tests, but because we want to give your pet the best care possible and keep him/her healthy.

Did you know pets age 7-10x faster than humans do. One year in your cat or dog’s life is about the same as 7-10 years for you!

 

For senior pets we recommend routine bloodwork so we can monitor aging changes in your pet’s overall organ function. As your pets age body organs start losing normal function. Kidneys shrink, thyroid glands start under- or over-producing hormones, the liver starts to wear out. The routine bloodwork we recommend helps us to find those changes sooner than we normally would, allowing us to treat your pet more effectively.

 

One of our hardest obstacles is getting clients to run bloodwork on young pets. We always recommend bloodwork at the time of your pet’s spay/neuter. Pre-surgical blood tests on juvenile pets give us  baseline data to compare to when your pet gets older. 

 

 

These annual blood chemistry tests often get confused with annual heartworm testing by our clients. Yes, heartworm testing is also a blood test, but it’s a fairly inexpensive test compared to the recommended blood chemistry testing.

 

 

Both, heartworm testing and blood chemistry testing at annual physicals are recommended to keep your pet healthy.

 

 

 

A physical exam detects problems on your pet’s outside. Blood tests make sure they are similarly healthy on the inside.

 

 

 

 

What does all this blood chemistry mean?

The short answer: It means we can potentially add an additional year or two to your pet’s life by doing a simple blood test that can detect organ changes early enough for us to start treatment.

The long answer:

 If we send your pet’s blood to the lab, it may include:

 

1. Complete Blood Count (CBC), including hematocrit, hemoglobin, blood parasite screen, and white cell count.
2. Comprehensive Chemistry Profile, including tests of the liver, kidney, pancreas, blood protein levels, electrolytes, Calcium and blood sugar screening for diabetes.
3. T4 which checks thyroid changes in your pet.
4. Urinalysis which includes urine glucose, urine protein, blood, bacteria, and calculi.

 

So, at your pet’s next annual physical exam, please take your veterinarians recommendations seriously and plan to do annual heartworm testing as well as blood chemistry testing. The price is small compared to all the extra time it can add to your pet’s life.