My Dear Son:
And so the bill of health called “normal” is not signed until the doctor's checklist is complete:
The veterinarian is trained to feel the organs in the abdomen and sense if the animal has any painful areas. Just like us, your pet has a stomach, liver, pancreas, intestines, and kidneys, to name a few.
Any animal that experiences excessive itching or hair loss—well, just like we are, health can truly be skin deep. The skin reveals how internally healthy we are in general.
It's a mouthful, but the musculoskeletal system is a huge part of health. It determines whether or not we can move without pain, and, as your dad was trained, the placement of the bones means everything in terms of blood, lymph, and organ health. So the veterinarian obviously considers the animal's gait and usage of limbs. Particularly in Sukie's case, since she had quite a near miss and a tall tumble.
Lymph nodes and mucous membranes are the final consideration. Just as with humans, flow, hydration, and color are all strong indicators of health or disease.
I smiled to watch you really read the 101 Essential Tips to Cat Care, because it showed me, after all, that you truly care about educating yourself in the latest research on caring for cats. It saddens me that, with so much information now available to us, humans still remain grossly undereducated about caring for their most loyal companions.