Health screening of cats: some timely justificationby A. Sparkes

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery


Small Animals


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Health screening of cats: some timely justification

We live in an age where, quite rightly, veterinarians look for evidence to support the use of clinical guidelines, protocols and therapeutic interventions.

While good quality evidence is still lacking for much of what we do (a sentiment echoed by my fellow editorialists on pages 6–7), a key aim of the Journal of Feline

Medicine and Surgery is to provide practitioners with a peer-reviewed knowledge base of high quality information that truly impacts on the practice of evidence-based medicine.

The American Association of Feline

Practitioners (AAFP) and the American

Animal Hospital Association produced a set of Feline Life Stage Guidelines in 2010,1 which were also endorsed by the

International Society of Feline Medicine.

Those guidelines sought to outline what routine assessments should be made for a good preventive health care programme in cats undergoing wellness examinations in different life stages. While those guidelines represent a hugely valuable resource, and were consensus guidelines from a panel of experts who thoroughly reviewed the available literature, it was noted that critical epidemiological data to support recommendations on the frequency of examinations and the components of each examination were often lacking.

With this in mind, I am thrilled to see the publication in this month’s issue of JFMS of the paper by Dominique Paepe and colleagues at the University of Ghent in Belgium.2 Their study, entitled ‘Routine health screening: findings in apparently healthy middle-aged and old cats’, specifically seeks to fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge by evaluating the prevalence of certain abnormal findings on physical and laboratory examinations during general health screening of healthy (as reported by their owners) cats aged 6 years and over.

This is an important study, not just because of the prevalence and nature of the abnormalities that were uncovered in this population of cats, but because it provides critical data and rationale to justify health screening of older cats, and data that can be used and shared with clients when explaining why preventive health care checks are so important.

The significance and value of a study of this nature should not be underestimated.

It may not be using the latest molecular biology techniques and may not address issues about disease pathogenesis or management, but this is an excellent clinical study and I am delighted we have had the opportunity to publish it in JFMS. It appears at a very opportune time for all the Cat

Friendly Clinics and Cat Friendly Practices that are gaining accreditation under the respective ISFM and AAFP schemes and are hungry for high quality information that will help them to do their very best by their feline patients.

It deserves to be read and used by all in clinical practice.

Andy Sparkes BVetMed PhD DipECVIM


Veterinary Director, ISFM,

Taeselbury, High Street, Tisbury,

Wiltshire SP3 6LD, UK

References 1 Vogt AH, Rodan I, Brown M, Brown S,

Buffington CAT, Forman MJL, et al.

AAFP–AAHA: Feline life stage guidelines.

J Feline Med Surg 2010; 12: 43–54. 2 Paepe D, Verjans G, Duchateau L, Piron K,

Ghys L and Daminet S. Routine health screening: findings in apparently healthy middle-aged and old cats. J Feline Med Surg 2013; 15: 8–19.


Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery (2013) 15, 5

This important study provides critical data and rationale to justify health screening of older cats; data that can be used and shared with clients.

One-fifth of the apparently healthy cats, aged 6 and above, in the study by Paepe et al had a palpable thyroid. Courtesy of Dominique Paepe

DOI: 10.1177/1098612X12470339 © ISFM and AAFP 2013 at KAI NAN UNIV on April 1, 2015jfm.sagepub.comDownloaded from