Take Your Cat To The Vet Day is 22 August 2009

Most cat owners do not take their beloved felines into their veterinarian’s office on an annual basis for a thorough health checkup. In fact, recently Feline Pine, a cat litter manufacturer, conducted an online poll that proved that a mere 47% of cat owners actually take their cats in for an annual checkup; whilst only 35% said that they only take their cat into the vet when their cat is sick.

Even though some veterinary health officials will claim that these figures are not bad, according to top feline specialist, Dr. Michele Gaspar, these figures are not good enough.

So, in an effort to spread the importance of cat owners taking in their cats on an annual basis for a health checkup, she has partnered up with the new national “Take Your Cat to the Vet Day” campaign which was launched by Feline Pine.

The campaign is actually an attempt to reach out to cat owners and lovers alike in an effort to educate them regarding the importance of receiving an annual checkup for their cats.

The University of Illinois, Chicago’s Center for Veterinary Medicine is also offering their full support to the campaign, which kicks off on 22 August 2009.

In order to be a part of this Take Your Cat to the Vet Day, cat owners need to register online at the Feline Pine website. Once registered, they will receive annual reminder cards to remind them to schedule their cat’s yearly vet appointment.

Dr. Gaspar explains the need for such a campaign:

“Over the past 10 – 15 years, the focus has shifted from vaccines leading the exam to the importance of the exam. This is a result of our knowing more about vaccine duration of immunity and vaccine immunology, so that the focus now is on the exam and a cat’s lifestyle with vaccines chosen appropriately.”

Annual exams are the only way in which a veterinarian, like Dr. Gaspar, can detect an illness in a cat before it is too late to eradicate the illness.

“Cats hide illnesses very well,” explained Dr. Gaspar. “Often by the time a client realizes something is wrong, the cat is very ill, and that often translates into expensive care. Although your cat may appear perfectly healthy, it’s still very important to bring them to the veterinarian for an annual exam so they stay that way. We want to remind people that a thorough exam is the key to maintaining good health. With a thorough exam, a veterinarian can pick up clues of illness that may warrant testing and prevent suffering.”

During a cat’s annual exam, Dr. Gaspar looks out for certain elements regarding the cats outside physical appearance as well as his internal health. Dr. Gaspar writes a regular column called Vet Chat which is published on the Feline Pine website.

There are many elements that Dr. Gaspar examines a cat for during its annual physical exam, most of which can lead to further diagnostic testing if an illness is found. A few of them include:

* A significant loss of weight since the last time that the cat was seen by the Vet. This weight loss can be caused by kidney disease, diabetes or even gastro intestinal disease.

* Swelling of a cat’s lymph nodes. These nodes are usually found under a cat’s jaw, under their arms, behind their hind legs and knees and just in front of their shoulders. Swelling of the lymph nodes can be as a result of inflammation in a particular area of the cat’s body where these nodes drain. The swelling could also be an indication of an infectious disease or tumor.

*The color of a cat’s gums. Any change in the color of a cat’s gums can be indicative of a variety of illness and disease. For example, a cat whose gums are purplish usually has heart trouble; a cat with pale gums is most often anemic, gums that are bright red often confirm a fever in a cat, whilst cats that have liver disease usually have yellowish gums.

* During a veterinary visit, the vet will push on the cat’s abdominal area in an attempt to determine the healthiness of the cat’s kidneys, liver, intestines, lymph nodes, bladder, and pancreas.

* Finally the veterinarian will gently run their hands over a cat’s coat to feel for any mats in the cat’s fur or for areas of dramatic hair loss. If a cat is suffering from bladder or intestinal tract issues, they will usually over groom themselves which can result in bald spots on their fur.

If you own a cat or two, you should seriously consider registering at the Feline Pine website in support of Take Your Cat to the Vet Day.

Photo Credit: theogeo

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