Cats don’t really have nine lives — so be sure to take steps to prevent these common cat health conditions now.
Your cat is an amazing creature who is very good at taking care of himself, but he depends on you to keep him healthy. This includes yearly trips to the vet for vaccinations and exams, dental cleanings and knowing what may be early warning signs to common cat health conditions.
The most prevalent infections in cats are respiratory in nature. Some can be prevented with vaccinations. Symptoms of upper respiratory infections in cats normally include runny nose, sneezing, cough, teary eyes, fever, or sores in the mouth. As for medical treatment, the majority of upper respiratory infections are viral, so there isn’t a lot you can do, but it’s still very important to get your pet to the veterinarian for an examination since a few upper respiratory infections can be fatal.
Another common infectious disease is feline panleukopenia, a highly contagious viral illness caused by the feline parvovirus. Symptoms may consist of fever, loss of appetite, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, and dehydration. There is no prescription medication that can destroy the virus, so treatment usually consists of lots of fluids and watching over the cat’s general health until he can fight off the infection on his own. Kittens under eight weeks of age have little chance of survival, so vaccination is crucial to preventing feline panleukopenia.
Symptoms of dental disease in cats often include difficulty eating, a change in chewing habits and bad breath. Bad breath could suggest gingivitis (gum disease) or possibly a digestive issue. Other signs of dental problems in your cat are discolored, red, or swollen gums, loose teeth, ulcers on the gums or tongue, loose teeth, a constant pawing at the mouth area and substantial drooling.
If you suspect that your cat has dental problems, take her to a veterinary dentist. For good oral hygiene, brush your cat’s teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste specially-made for felines, and give her a chew toy to exercise her gums and remove tartar before it becomes hard.
An alarming number of cats are developing diabetes mellitus, which is the inability to produce enough insulin to stabilize blood sugar, or glucose, levels. Left untreated, it can lead to weight loss, dehydration, vomiting, severe depression, problems with motor function, loss of appetite, coma, and even death.
Ear infections are an inflammatory reaction of the ear canal that are a frequent, problem condition for overall cat health , and can be caused by a foreign body in the ear canal, yeast, bacterial infection or parasites such as ear mites or fleas.
Signs of an ear infection include:
- Reddened or thick and scaly skin around the ear
- Irregular discharge or odor from the ear
- Shaking of the pet’s head
- Pawing at the ears
- Reluctance to being petted or touched on or about the head
Pet owners who believe their cat has an ear infection should schedule an appointment for a thorough physical examination with their veterinarian right away. Your veterinarian will determine the cause of your cat’s ear infection and prescribe the proper course of treatment for your kitty.
Fleas are parasites that feed on your cat’s blood. Some signs that a cat has fleas include scratching, hair loss, and bald patches where the cat licked excessively. You may also be able to see fleas, flea eggs, or flea excretions in your cat’s fur. Treatment involves applying a product designed to kill fleas and defend against egg development. Be sure to use only flea-control products developed for cats, never those for dogs– cats are extremely sensitive to insecticides and using the inappropriate product on a cat might have fatal consequences.
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases (FLUTD)
Some estimates say as many as 3 % of cats seen by vets have feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), which is, in fact, a group of feline diseases with multiple causes.
Female and male cats can get FLUTD, and it frequently occurs in cats that are obese or unfit or who eat dry food. Stress, a multi-cat household, and sudden changes can all raise a cat’s risk of FLUTD, and treatment depends on the type of FLUTD your cat has. FLUTD symptoms include:.
- Straining to urinate.
- Bloody urine.
- Urinating in unusual places.
- Crying when urinating.
- Licking around the urinary area (often because of pain).
- Lack of appetite.
It’s always an emergency if your cat can’t urinate. Call your vet right away if you suspect your cat has a urinary tract complication.
Vomiting is a very common issue with cats with a multitude of causes. They vary from eating something poisonous or inedible (like string), to urinary tract disease, infection, hairballs or diabetes.
Symptoms are usually apparent, and consist of drooling and abdominal heaving. Vomiting can rapidly leave your cat dehydrated, so if kitty continues vomiting or acts ill, call your vet right away. It may help to collect a sampling of your cat’s vomit and take it with you to the vet.
One of the most typical feline health problems inside your cat, tapeworms live in kitty’s small intestine and sometimes grow as long as 2 feet.
Symptoms of a tapeworm infection can be slight but may include vomiting and weight loss. The simplest way to tell if your cat has tapeworms is to look at its feces and around its anus. If you observe small white worms or what look like grains of rice or sesame seeds, your cat likely has tapeworms.
Treatment options include injection, oral, or topical medication. But because cats almost always get tapeworms as a result of swallowing a flea, be sure to handle any flea problems your cat has before tackling tapeworms.
Obesity is a common cat health problem today, and it raises your cat’s risk for a number of ailments such as joint pain, diabetes, and liver complications.
You should be able to feel the backbone and ribs without pressing too hard in cats that are at a healthy body weight. From above, you should be able to see a noticeable waist between his lower ribs and hips. And when looking at your cat from the side, you should be able to see a tuck in the tummy between the lower ribs and his hips.