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5 common feline illnesses that need attention.

July 19, 2020 3 min read

5 common feline illnesses that need attention.

As cat parents, we'd like to think we would notice when something’s not quite right about our four-legged friends. There are, however, some diseases that may go unnoticed or dismissed, leading to more serious health issues for our cats.

It’s important when sharing a home with a cat companion to keep an eye out for changes in his appetite, his bathroom habits, and his temperament, all of which can signal an underlying health problem that needs addressing.

Here are five common cat illnesses that can slip by undetected but are easily treatable:

 

1. Thyroid disease

Is your cat losing weight even though he seems to be eating like a bear? A cat with a voracious appetite, an unquenchable thirst, and an energy level that rivals the Energizer Bunny could be suffering from hyperthyroidism. This disease causes an increase in a cat’s thyroid hormones, resulting in an elevated heart rate, which can affect his vital organs.

To confirm a diagnosis, the vet will conduct blood tests and a physical exam. If kitty does have the disease, she could be treated with medications, surgery, radioactive-iodine therapy, and/or a special diet.

 

2. Urinary tract infection

Like humans, cats can also develop a urinary tract infection (UTI) that causes lethargy, vomiting, the inability to urinate, and other symptoms. Called Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), this illness may be caused by bladder stones, bladder crystals, a blockage, or worse, cancer.

Cats suffering with a FLUTD will frequent the litter box to urinate but without success. If your cat appears to be squatting for a prolonged period of time but passes no urine or cries out when trying to eliminate, a trip to the vet is warranted. The vet will complete a physical exam, urinalysis, and other tests to confirm. Treatment includes dietary changes and antibiotics.

 

3. Tapeworms

If your cat is vomiting frequently, experiencing diarrhea or constipation, and losing weight despite having a normal appetite, she could have a worm infestation. If left untreated, tapeworms can cause anemia from loss of blood or a blockage.

You can look for evidence of worms by inspecting your cat’s feces or checking the area around the anus while your cat is resting. The worms look like grains of white rice. The good news is that a worm infestation is treatable. Your vet will likely prescribe a course of deworming therapy and recommend you wash or replace your cat’s bedding to eliminate the presence of residual eggs that can lead to reinfestation.

Tapeworms are caused when your cat swallows a flea carrying worm larvae. To prevent a recurrence, talk to your vet about flea control methods and treatments.

 

4. Upper respiratory infection

Sniffling, sneezing, and a disinterest in food are red flags signalling that your cat might have something similar to the human common cold. Either viral or bacterial, a feline upper respiratory infection mimics the symptoms of the common cold. Additional symptoms might include coughing, lethargy, and eye and nose discharge.

URIs typically resolve in a week to 21 days. More severe cases, however, need your vet’s attention. Antibiotics are the usual prescription for a URI. You can also help alleviate symptoms by using a humidifier in your home, clearing discharge from your cat’s eyes and nose, and offering wet food to stimulate your cat’s appetite.

Multi-cat households require a few more precautionary measures because URIs are highly contagious. The infected cat should be kept away from his feline buddies. Disinfect water and food bowls, bedding, and litter boxes as well.

 

5. Diabetes

Your cat’s excessive thirst, frequent urination, odd smelling breath, and inappropriate marking could be tell-tale signs he’s diabetic. Being male, older, or overweight all make diabetes a bit more likely.

It is one feline disorder that often goes undetected until your cat is pretty ill. Your vet will do a series of tests, including blood work and a urinalysis. Treatments may include oral medications, dietary changes, and insulin injections in more severe cases. If left untreated, your cat will go on to develop other illnesses that they could not survive.

 

Routine vet visits are critical in helping to detect illnesses that frequently impact cats. In between visits, it’s also important to keep a close eye on your kitty’s eating and drinking habits, his weight, and his litter box activity. If you suspect the slightest issue, make a trip to the vet. Waiting it out may lead to a sicker kitty, but the vet can solve many issues that frequently affect our feline friends. 🖤🐈

 



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