Preventive Care

Wellness Exams

At VCA Cat Hospital of Chicago, our staff is committed to providing comprehensive, personalized medical care for your cat so you can enjoy a long and happy life together. As medical professionals, we recognize preventive medicine is the best way to keep your pet healthy and limit the lifetime cost of care. It's our goal to work with you to develop the best health care plan for your beloved feline companion.

The basis of such a plan begins with regular wellness examinations that include thorough screenings for common diseases and ailments that could affect your cat's overall health.

Preventive Medicine is the Best Medicine
No one wants to see their cat sick. The best way to ensure your cat is well and lives a long life is to promote a healthy lifestyle while continuing to be proactive in his or her preventive care.

The veterinary team at VCA Cat Hospital of Chicago believes prevention is a positive contribution to your kitty's long-term health. Preventive care also minimizes the lifetime cost of veterinary expenses. We strongly encourage annual wellness examinations, recommended vaccinations, and can provide medication to prevent diseases.

Wellness examinations consist of:

  • Checking body weight
  • Determining body condition (i.e., chubby, skinny, or just right)
  • Checking ears, eyes, nose, mouth and teeth
  • Examining skin, coat, claws and nail beds
  • Palpating of the thyroid, peripheral lymph nodes, and abdomen
  • Assessing hydration, joints, and anal glands
  • Evaluating neurologic systems
  • Observing overall behavior

Good Communication Leads to Good Health
When you don't feel well, you visit the doctor and trust that they will listen and provide you with reliable information and medical advice. The same goes for your cat. The doctors and staff at Cat Hospital of Chicago take the time to listen to you and examine your cat thoroughly. Through health risk assessments, we will develop a clear picture of your pet's overall health status and can recommend the best health maintenance or treatment program. It is important we hear from you about how your cat is doing so we may continuously adjust and optimize your companion's health care plan.

Kitten Care
Knowing how to properly care for a new kitten will help reduce any stress or concerns that may come with adding a member to your family. VCA Cat Hospital of Chicago shares your joy at welcoming this new family member into your life and is ready to support you with exceptional cat care and guidance.

The first year of care for your new little ball of fur is the most important. Like human infants, kittens require special attention for them to grow and develop well.

Through our partnership, we will create a custom health plan so your new companion receives the vaccinations, behavioral, and nutritional recommendations required to get the best start in life. We'll also discuss ways to best care for your cat between visits to the veterinary hospital.

Your kitten's first year of care will include:

Physical Examinations: Your kitten's lifetime of wellness starts with their first comprehensive physical exam. Kittens should have three to four exams between the ages of 8–16 weeks. These visits are important because they provide our veterinarians with an opportunity to administer vaccines and assess your kitten's overall health.

Vaccinations: Due to their developing immune systems, kittens must receive a series of properly staged vaccines. Because every kitten is unique, we tailor our vaccination recommendations based on their lifestyle and according to the suggested medical guidelines.

Diagnostic Testing: All kittens should be tested for intestinal parasites and feline leukemia/FIV.

Additional Recommendations: Your veterinarian will also discuss and recommend other services, such as spaying, neutering and microchipping.

Senior Cat Care
With thousands of older cats waiting in shelters for their forever homes, we strongly encourage adopting a senior cat who may otherwise be overlooked by adopters for younger cats and kittens.

Older cats make wonderful companions, and thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, they are living longer than ever; however, they have unique medical needs. The veterinarians and medical team at VCA Cat Hospital of Chicago work with you to develop a health care plan that ensures your senior pet is safe and happy throughout his or her golden years.

Although cats may have nine lives, they age faster than people and are considered to be seniors around age 12. Preventive care is the key to keeping older pets healthy. Symptoms of disease or a chronic condition many not be readily apparent. In some cases, conditions that look like the usual signs of old age could be signs of a more serious problem, such as arthritis, periodontal disease, kidney failure or cancer. We recommend all senior pets undergo at least two physical examinations each year, though more frequent examinations may be recommended based on each patient's overall health. During an examination, we also perform tests that can detect the signs of heart disease, infection, diabetes and other health problems.

If your cat is experiencing any changes in behavior, we urge you to bring him or her in for a check-up. We can make sure you and your faithful companion enjoy many more years together. Remember, you are the most important ally in keeping your senior cat healthy!

Vaccinations at VCA Cat Hospital of Chicago
Identifying problems before they develop is an important part of offering your cat optimal care and a long, healthy life. Since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, the veterinarians and staff at VCA Cat Hospital of Chicago are strong advocates of preventive care.

Ensuring your cat receives recommended vaccines is an excellent way to protect them in the long road. Illnesses such as the feline leukemia virus, feline immunodeficiency, feline upper respiratory viruses, ringworm, heartworm, and rabies can debilitate your cat and shorten their life. While some vaccines prevent common infectious diseases, others protect against dangers present in a cat's daily lifestyle. VCA Cat Hospital of Chicago follows the vaccination protocols put forth by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), thus ensuring your cat receives the best possible veterinary care. We also use only non-adjuvanted vaccines in cats, considered best practice for feline patients.

Parasite Prevention and Control
Parasites can be real pests. Both external (fleas, ticks) and internal (heartworm, hookworm, roundworm) parasites can cause problems for your cat and your family. Prevention is the best approach to eliminating these pests. At VCA Cat Hospital of Chicago, we carry products to protect against fleas, ticks, heartworms, and other parasites like intestinal roundworms, tapeworms, and ear and skin mites.

Heartworm Disease
Heartworm disease is a serious, life-threatening disease transmitted by mosquitoes. Although it more commonly affects dogs, cats are still at risk. In the U.S., Heartworm disease is most common along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from the Gulf of Mexico to New Jersey and along the Mississippi River and its major tributaries. Chicago is a heartworm endemic area.

Clinical symptoms of heartworm disease develop slowly, and they can be either subtle or dramatic. Symptoms may include asthma-like attacks, coughing, lack of appetite, periodic vomiting, or weight loss. Difficulty walking, fluid accumulation in the abdomen, or fainting or seizures are rare symptoms. Too often, the first sign cat owners recognize is when their feline suddenly collapses.

Heartworm disease prevention is simple and effective. Cats can be protected by applying a drop of heartworm prevention liquid to the skin once a month, or by eating a palatable heartworm chew monthly. Since heartworm disease is difficult to diagnose and there is no effective treatment, prevention is key.

If you would like to have your pet tested for heartworm disease, or if you would like additional information on how best to protect your cat from this dangerous parasite, please call VCA Cat Hospital of Chicago today for an appointment.