In this post, our Flat Rock vets explain why routine checkups are critical for your cat, and what you can learn about your cat’s health from the different tests performed.
What can I learn from my cat's routine checkup?
Routine checkups with your cat’s vet are just as important to them as your annual visits to the doctor are for you, but why? What can a routine checkup reveal, and why are blood and urine screening important?
At Western Carolina Regional Animal Hospital & Veterinary Emergency Hospital, we take a prevention-first approach to treatment.
During each routine examination, we perform a thorough nose-to-tail physical checkup on their physical health, including internal checks on heart rate, rhythm, and blood pressure, and conduct any tests they may need such as routine blood and urine testing.
Basic Blood Screen
A basic blood screen will probably include a complete blood count (CBC) and blood chemistry profile. Thyroid hormone levels, feline AIDS and feline leukemia testing may also be recommended. Here’s a breakdown of what each can reveal:
Complete Blood Count
This test takes inventory of your cat’s red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. There are several types of wide blood cells, and each reacts in a specific fashion to any threat the immune system may encounter.
With a CBC, the vet will find not only the total number of white blood cells, but also how many of each individual type of white blood cell are present in the sample of your cat’s blood.
Red blood cells (RBCs) carry oxygen to various tissues throughout the body. A CBC counts the number of RBCs along with measuring how well they carry oxygen based on levels of hemoglobin (the protein which transports oxygen) in the blood.
Platelets help with blood clotting. Without enough of these, improper clotting can occur and your cat may bleed abnormally. A CBC will take inventory of how many platelets are in your cat’s blood.
Blood Chemistry Profile
A blood chemistry profile measures the many compounds in your cat’s blood stream. This test can reveal how well your cat’s kidneys are functioning, any abnormalities in the renal systems, and whether your furry friend is experiencing any obstructions or dehydration.
Liver function is vitally important to a cat’s health. The profile will also reveal elevated values of chemicals that could indicate liver disease abnormalities in other organs. Abnormal electrolyte levels will also be revealed. These can be related to seizures, gastrointestinal disease, and many other conditions and illnesses.
Levels of blood proteins are also critical to health as some play a part in how the immune system functions, while others help with clotting. A blood chemistry profile will tell your vet about globulin levels, albumin levels and total protein levels.
Thyroid Hormone Measurements
Thyroid hormones can be measured to determine whether your feline friend may have hyperthyroidism, a common disease that commonly affects senior and middle-aged cats and can lead to elevated levels of the thyroid hormone in the bloodstream.
Feline Aids and Feline Leukemia Testing
Your cat may also be tested for the feline AIDS and feline leukemia if he has not been tested previously, if your cat is at high risk for exposure or is ill, or if exposure to another cat with one of these viruses has occurred. Though they are both caused by retroviruses, they are different from one another.
Based on the results of these basic blood tests, more specialized testing may be recommended.
Next is the urine test, which will require you to bring a sample of your pet’s urine to your cat’s regular checkup appointment. This test can detect potentially life-threatening conditions and diseases such as diabetes, liver disease, cushing’s syndrome, urinary tract infections, kidney disease, incontinence, and bladder stones.
Thanks to early detection that may happen at your cat’s annual examination, your pet may be able to live a longer, happier and healthier life if your vet can identify and treat many conditions before they develop into larger issues. Your vet can also provide advice on general health and nutrition, as well as take steps to prevent illness and disease.
Is it time for your cat’s annual routine exam? Our vets offer wellness exams that include a complete physical exam, routine vaccinations, and blood and urine screening. Contact our office for an appointment.
Looking for a vet in Flat Rock?We're always accepting new patients, so contact our veterinary hospital today to book your pet's first appointment.
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