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What items are needed for a cat’s physical examination?

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What items are needed for a cat’s physical examination?

Update Time:2023/12/1
What items are needed for a cat’s physical examination?

Physical examination of cats is very important. It can detect diseases in time and provide effective treatment so as to restore health as soon as possible. The full set of physical examination includes routine basic examination, urine and stool examination, blood routine, SAA, CRP, biochemistry, X-ray film, B-ultrasound, urine test, as well as Toxoplasma gondii test and blood gas are optional. Every cat needs regular physical examinations, and the annual physical examination should be selectively performed based on the cat’s age and physical condition to achieve better results.


1. Routine physical examination items

(1) Physical appearance examination
When they see a doctor playing with cats and dogs, looking at and touching them, a small number of parents may think they are trying to fool people, but in fact the doctor is conducting a physical examination.
This is a link that is often overlooked and usually includes () mental status, mucous membrane color, CRT, eye examination, ear examination, oral examination, nasal cavity examination, peripheral lymph nodes, skin coat, heart and lung auscultation, muscle and bone examination , anal examination, nervous system, body temperature.
Experienced doctors can usually detect hidden problems during physical examination, such as swollen lymph nodes, gingivitis, skin lesions, and whether there is a heart murmur, etc.

(2) Routine blood examination
Routine blood examination is a common part of routine physical examination (five-category blood routine is slightly more expensive than three-category blood routine). The items examined include white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets, which can determine whether the body has infection, dehydration, poor coagulation, etc.
In addition, blood smear (that is, blood cytology) can observe the specific shape of these blood cells, which can indicate diseases related to blood circulation. For example, splenic angiosarcoma may cause deformation and fragmentation of red blood cells.
It is also recommended as one of the physical examination items when pets are healthy, mainly to establish an animal database to compare changes in animal indicators.

(3) Biochemical examination
The recommended screening items in routine physical examinations can evaluate various biochemical components in the serum, thereby checking the functions of various organs and general nutrition, immunity, and endocrine conditions. Some diseases may have abnormalities in biochemical indicators, but they often need to be jointly determined with other examination items, such as abdominal ultrasound, cardiac ultrasound, etc.
For example, if blood sugar is very high, it may indicate the possibility of diabetes, or it may be caused by stress. If urea nitrogen is elevated, it may be due to kidney disease, dehydration, etc. Biochemical examinations are used to determine the function of various tissues and organs, muscle function, and inflammation, and are used together with other examinations to determine the health status of cats and dogs.
(4) Total thyroid examination
Hyperthyroidism is a disease that is often ignored but has a very high incidence rate, especially in elderly cats. Symptoms may include being excited like having chicken blood, a lot of hair loss, eating and drinking like crazy, peeing like crazy, and there may also be high blood pressure and heart problems. Hypothyroidism is a common clinical endocrine disease in elderly dogs. When thyroid hormone secretion is insufficient, it can manifest as obesity, skin diseases, depression and neurological problems.

(5) Imaging examination
Whole-abdominal ultrasound examination (strongly recommended): It can check whether the shape and size of abdominal organs such as the urinary system (bladder, kidneys), liver, gallbladder, spleen, and pancreas are normal. Determining whether there is abnormal proliferation, failure, stones, etc. is of great diagnostic value and significance for some hidden diseases.

X-ray film: It is the basis for all other imaging examinations. It can detect obvious lesions in the bones, abdominal cavity and chest cavity, and detect bone and joint diseases, tumors, stones and tissue abnormalities. It is especially recommended for dogs and cats with gait abnormalities or special breeds (cats with folded ears).

CT/MRI: CT/MRI is limited by the cost and requires sedation, anesthesia and other issues that are generally not included in routine physical examination items. However, when lesions are found in X-rays that require further diagnosis, or neurological abnormalities occur, further advanced imaging examinations such as CT/MRI are required.

(6) Stool examination
It is used to determine the vitality of intestinal flora, whether there is parasitic infection, whether there is abnormal bacterial colony proliferation, and how good digestion is.

Conventional anthelmintics are only effective against common parasites. Therefore, even if parents deworm cats and dogs on time or do not find traces of worms in their feces, there is no guarantee that cats and dogs are not infected with parasites. In addition, fecal examination is also recommended when cats and dogs experience digestive system abnormalities such as vomiting and diarrhea.


(7) Urine test
It includes urine specific gravity, urine test strips, and urine sediment. Because cats are highly susceptible to urinary tract diseases, it is recommended that cats be tested every year. Urine tests can help us detect kidney, urinary tract diseases, diabetes and other diseases early.

(8) Virus check
Feline Distemper Virus: A common infectious disease that can cause fever, depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and even myocarditis in cats. For kittens with incomplete immunity, this is a must-be screened item.

Feline AIDS/Feline Leukemia: Cats with a history of stray life are recommended to be tested for 
Feline AIDS and Feline Leukemia, which is a disease of the immune system.

(9) Others
BNP test: It is used for the initial screening of cat cardiomyopathy. It has certain significance when there is no condition to perform cardiac timeout;

SDMA test: an indicator that can reflect kidney function and can be used as an auxiliary method for early diagnosis of kidney failure. If conditions permit, it is recommended to add items to the physical examination and perform combined judgments, such as low specific gravity urine, poor renal blood flow during ultrasound, abnormalities in creatinine and urea nitrogen in biochemistry, etc.

UPC test: UPC Ratio refers to the ratio of protein to creatinine in urine, which can help detect early kidney disease, detect the progression of the disease, and evaluate the treatment effect of kidney disease. It is usually combined with other kidney disease tests.

Blood pressure examination: It is a non-invasive examination, an important clinical physiological indicator, and low cost. It is recommended for elderly dogs and cats. It can be combined with other indicators to determine whether there is target organ damage such as heart damage, brain damage, kidney damage, etc.


2. Suggestions on the frequency of physical examinations

Due to differences in age, living environment, needs, etc., the frequency of physical examinations required by different cats is not the same. Doctors recommend:
(1) Young cats must undergo a systematic physical examination before going home. Especially for families that already have cats at home, they must undergo a physical examination and confirm their health status before bringing a new cat home;

(2) Adult cats are in their youth, so if there is no serious problem, the interval between physical examinations can be appropriately lengthened, and a comprehensive physical examination can be performed once every 1-2 years, or some necessary physical examination items can be screened focusing on;

(3) For senior cats over 7 years old, their bodies are slowly degenerating. It is recommended to undergo physical examinations 1-2 times a year.


In addition, parents often ask what physical examinations are required before sterilization? We must know that the fundamental purpose of pre-sterilization examination is to reduce the risks of anesthesia and surgery, since most anesthetic drugs need to be metabolized by the liver, kidneys and other organs. Ideally, a detailed preanesthetic examination should include a medical history, comprehensive physical examination, and blood chemistry and hematology analyses, and in some cases other screening tests such as coagulation and urinalysis.