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Veterinary Visits: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


Actually, veterinary visits are a good thing. Though they may be a little scary for some of us cats, hopefully our veterinary visits don’t actually have to turn bad or ugly.

Obviously, visiting the veterinarian is not the way most of us cats would choose to spend an afternoon, or a morning, or whatever. But, the fact is, those visits are necessary to keep us healthy. Without regular checkups, our two-legged caretakers can’t always tell whether there’s some nasty disease brewing in our bodies that could affect how we feel.

Why Should We Visit the Veterinarian?

We cats are pretty talented at keeping our aches and pains secret. We don’t always like to make a big deal of our discomfort. When we aren’t feeling well, it can often be difficult for our humans to tell.

That’s why a veterinary visit is so important for us. Veterinarians are carefully trained to look for things that might make us not feel well, even subtle hard to spot things. Our own humans might not know to look for these things or might not be able to spot them. After all, veterinarians have special instruments that they can use to look in our eyes and ears. They’ve also got that silly-looking thing they stick in their ears to listen to our hearts. Most of our humans don’t have those.

What Should We Expect When We See the Veterinarian?

If we’re really lucky, our human has located a cat-friendly veterinary practice that knows how to make our visit less scary. They’ll make sure we don’t have to look at any strange dogs while we’re waiting to be seen by the veterinarian and keep our time in the waiting room of the animal clinic as short as possible. They’ll handle us gently and patiently to avoid scaring us.

There are also some things that your human can do to make your visit less scary. The video below has some great suggestions about how to choose a carrier and how to get us used to it. There’s really no reason to fear being put in the carrier but some of you are understandably skeptical just the same. The video will help. Ask your human to watch it.

During the exam itself, your veterinarian will check your teeth and mouth. Bad teeth and gums can be painful for us. Your veterinarian will also check your eyes and your ears with a special tool that lights up to make it easier for the vet to see. That silly-looking thing that the veterinarians put in their ears will be used to listen to your heart and lungs. (That thing is called a stethoscope – my veterinarian told me so.) Expect that your veterinarian will feel your belly, look at your hind end, and generally poke and prod you pretty much all over.

Another thing your veterinarian might want to do is look at your blood and maybe even your pee and poo. Don’t worry; taking your blood is quick and there’s only a little pinch. Depending on what your veterinarian finds on your exam, you may need other stuff, like x-rays for instance. (The veterinarians call those radiographs instead of x-rays. Huh…such long funny names for things!)

All of these things makes it easier for your veterinarian to spot problems that can spell disaster for us. In exchange for regular veterinary visits, we get a longer healthier life free of pain and illnesses that can be prevented or easily treated. Even more serious chronic diseases can often be more easily managed if the disease is detected early.

So, don’t fret about that veterinary visit. And make sure your people know you need regular checkups too.

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