March 2011 Issue

The Veterinary Examination

Here’s why it’s so important for your pet to receive regular checkups — and what you can expect to happen.

As far as you can tell, your nine-year-old cat, Maxine, has never had a sick day in her life. If she has, she’s certainly never shown any signs of it. Nevertheless, you’ve dutifully made a point of taking her to her veterinarian for a routine physical exam twice a year, just to make sure she’s up-to-date on her vaccinations and is not harboring any obscure and subtle systemic anomaly that could eventually prove troublesome. You’re doing the right thing, says William Miller, VMD, medical director at Cornell University’s Companion Animal Hospital, and all cat owners would do well to follow suit. "It’s a very good idea to have every cat undergo a twice-yearly exam," he says. "This is especially true for geriatric cats — those that are age 10 and older — and for animals that spend time outdoors and are exposed to a host of feline diseases." A thorough checkup should also be obligatory, he advises, for any new cat that is brought into a household and for kittens when they reach one year of age.

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