10 Common Cat Diseases
Cats are the preferred companions of many people. If you count yourself among feline fanciers, knowing the most common cat diseases is important. When you know about cat health problems, you are better able to protect your precious pet.
1. Conjunctivitis is a cat disease characterized by an inflammation of the eyelid membrane. Pink, crusty or swollen eyes are a giveaway of conjunctivitis. This cat disease is most commonly seen in kittens because their immune systems are weaker. Prevent conjunctivitis by limiting your cat’s contact with infected animals. Treatment is as easy as administering prescription medication.
2. Diabetes When it comes to cat health problems, diabetes is of real concern. Symptoms of the disease include increased appetite, increased thirst and weight loss. If your cat is overweight, it is at risk of developing diabetes. Diabetes often requires daily monitoring and insulin injections.
3. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) Similar to human HIV, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus lowers the immune response of cats. The disease can remain dormant for years. Symptomatic cats may display weight loss, enlarged lymph nodes or wounds that won’t heal. The best prevention is the avoidance of FIV-positive cats.
4. Distemper in cats is called Panleukopenia. This disease attacks the blood cells in bone marrow and the intestinal tract. Symptoms include high fever, depressions, vomiting, diarrhea and lack of coordination. Vaccination is the best prevention.
5. Kidney Failure Unfortunately, kidney failure is one of the most prominent cat health issues. Kidney failure can be either acute or chronic. Symptoms include vomiting, weight loss, lethargy, behavior change, increased urination and back pain. There is no way to prevent kidney failure but early and careful monitoring is important. Treatment may include prescription medications, prescription foods and fluid therapy.
6. Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) FeLV is a retrovirus that inhibits the immune systems of cats. Symptoms vary greatly. Some cats display no symptoms at all, and other cats experience seizures, respiratory problems and weight loss. The best way to prevent FeLV in your cat is to avoid exposure to infected cats and follow a proper vaccination protocol starting as a kitten.
7. Hyperthyroidism When your cat’s thyroid is overactive, it has hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of the disease include diarrhea, weight loss, vomiting, thirst, aggression and breathing problems. There is little that can be done to prevent this cat disease. Treatment may include prescription medication and diet changes.
8. Upper Respiratory Infection This disease is very similar to the human cold. A cat with an upper respiratory infection will sneeze, cough and refuse to eat. Cats most at risk are those kept in close quarters. The disease is not difficult to treat but can be quite stubborn. Prescription medications are often used to treat this disease.
9. Urinary Tract Infection There are a variety of urinary tract diseases that affect cats. Among these are urethral obstructions, urinary stones and feline idiopathic cystitis. Symptoms of urinary tract diseases include blood in the urine, difficulty urinating and improper urinating. Treatment depends on the type of urinary tract disease that is present. In some instances, prescription medication and dietary changes will suffice. In other instances, surgery may be required.
10. Obesity is one of the most prevalent cat diseases. Obese cats have difficulty breathing, trouble moving and are lethargic. By following a proper dietary regimen, you can prevent your cat from gaining excess weight. There is no treatment for obesity other than dietary restriction.