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How often do you take a cat to the vet?

No matter your cat's age, routine veterinary care is vital to their health and well-being. It can also prevent many skin conditions or give your primary veterinarian an opportunity to detect them early. In this post, our veterinary dermatologist in Orange Park discusses the importance of routine exams, how often you should take your cat to the vet for checkups, and how we can help support your cat's health.

So how often should you take a cat to the vet?

You'll need to visit your primary vet regularly to keep your cat happy and healthy throughout their life, from kittenhood through their senior years.

How often your cat should see the vet will depend on several factors, including their age, health, and lifestyle. Healthy adult cats should typically see their primary vet on an annual basis. However, kittens, senior cats, and kitties with underlying health conditions should see their vet more frequently for an examination. 

Routine wellness exams are essentially a veterinary physical checkup for your cat. When you bring your cat to the vet, you give them the opportunity to monitor your feline friend's general physical health and well-being, and catch the earliest signs of health issues – including potential ear, skin or dermatological conditions

Your vet can also recommend preventive care products, such as parasite medications, that are most suitable for your cat's specific needs. This is key, as many feline skin diseases are caused by parasites such as worms and fleas. These conditions can lead to symptoms like ear inflammation, itching, scabs, and skin ulcers that can cause pain or discomfort for your cat and lead to secondary infections or health complications. 

When should you bring your kitten to the vet?

If you've recently brought home a new kitten, you should prepare to bring them in for a veterinary checkup each month until they reach a year old. 

Kittens can sometimes develop skin and coat conditions due to underlying issues such as allergies, parasites, or fungal or bacterial infections that can affect their overall health. Early detection and treatment are critical to protecting your growing kitty's long-term health and well-being. 

Throughout their first year, kittens also need multiple rounds of vaccinations to help protect them from common infectious diseases. Your kitty will need the Feline Leukemia vaccine and the FVRCP vaccine, which helps protect your feline friend from three highly contagious and life-threatening feline diseases, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1), Feline Calicivirus (FCV), and Feline Panleukopenia (FPL). 

Your kitten will receive these vaccinations over the first 16 weeks of their life. This will help provide them with a solid foundation for lifelong protection against various diseases. 

Speak with your primary vet to determine the correct wellness exam schedule for your new kitten. They will likely recommend having your kitten spayed or neutered when they are between five and six months old to prevent a host of diseases and undesirable behaviors as well as unwanted litters of kittens. 

When to Take Your Adult Cat to the Vet 

If your adult cat is healthy, your vet will likely recommend bringing them in once every year for a full examination. Your vet will examine your cat's entire body from head to tail, including their ears, skin and coat, to check for early signs of diseases or other issues. These issues may include parasites, or problems with their skin and coat, such as dryness, oiliness, or dandruff. 

Your veterinarian will also administer any required vaccines or booster shots, and have a conversation with you about your cat's diet and nutritional requirements. They will also recommend appropriate parasite prevention products. 

If your vet happens to spot any concerns, including potential ear diseases or skin conditions, they will share their findings and offer recommendations on next steps. This may include further assessment or treatment, if necessary. In cases where your vet has diagnosed your cat with a skin condition that they are unable to treat, your veterinarian can refer you to our veterinary dermatologist in Orange Park for specialty treatment and care. 

How often should you bring your senior cat to the vet?

Once your cat is a senior, around 11 years of age, they will have some new needs when it comes to their care.

To do this, your vet will likely suggest that you bring your cat in every six months. Twice-yearly wellness check-ups for your geriatric cat will include all of the checks and advice listed above, but with a few additional diagnostic tests to obtain further insight into your furry friend's overall health.

Some diagnostic tests we recommend for our senior patients include blood tests and urinalysis to check for early signs of problems such as disorders of the liver, kidneys, or pancreas, which can sometimes cause dermatitis (skin inflammation). Although rare, liver disease and diabetes can cause the death of skin tissue in older cats. 

Skin changes that may occur with these diseases include redness, crusting, swelling, oozing, and hair loss on the face, genitals, and lower legs, in addition to thickened skin and ulcers on the footpads. Itching and skin infections may also occur in cats with diabetes. Signs of skin diseases may appear before the onset of symptoms of a specific internal disease. 

Geriatric care for cats also includes a more proactive approach to keeping your feline companion comfortable as age-related issues and dermatological problems related to internal diseases become more common. If you have a senior cat, ask your vet how often you should bring your pet in for a routine exam.

Veterinary Dermatology at Animal Friends Dermatology

Ear infections or conditions affecting the skin or coat sometimes appear as a symptom of an underlying disease in cats and dogs. Early, effective detection and treatment of these diseases is key to your pet's long-term health. Depending on the specific issue, a multi-pronged approach and a referral to our veterinary dermatologist in Orange Park may be required. 

We welcome referrals from primary vets and work closely with them to diagnose, manage and treat a variety of ear, skin, and coat conditions in cats and dogs of all ages. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you suspect your cat or dog may have a dermatological condition related to underlying disease? Contact us today or ask for a referral from your vet. We can perform a dermatological exam, diagnose potential skin conditions, and provide treatment. 

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Animal Friends Dermatology is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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