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Cat group promotes routine vet care

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A national feline medical group unveiled a three-part video series July 2 to underscore the need for cats to receive routine veterinary care.

According to the videos, launched by the New Jersey-based American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), annual checkups can uncover ailments that would otherwise go undetected, including arthritis, dental disease, enlarged thyroid glands, heart disease, and lumps. For instance, cats with arthritis do not limp or do anything else that people might consider obvious. And heart disease usually is asymptomatic, meaning the cats show no symptoms at home.

“Cats are very much masters at hiding any pain, so it’s important that we do evaluate every organ system in every cat,” Chicago veterinarian Colleen Currigan tells pet journalist Steve Dale in the second video.

The videos, which total about 10 minutes, also show how to calm a cat during vet visits, such as by covering the cat’s carrier with a towel. In the waiting room, cat parents are encouraged to elevate the carrier on a chair and turn the carrier toward them.

A Bayer HealthCare study found that 83 percent of cats are taken to a veterinarian in the first year of ownership but over half of them do not return. Cats are territorial and often dislike being removed from their homes, so many feline owners conclude that vet visits are too stressful.

The video series, “Educational Videos for Cat Owners,” joins an eight-part series, “Educational Videos for Veterinary Teams,” that the AAFP released in May to help make vet visits less traumatic for feline patients.