Thursday, June 4, 2015

Top Cat Health Problems

Most breeds of cat are gradually being bred to be free from the genetic problems that were once found as a result of breeding program but this doesn't stop a cat from contracting some of the most common health problems. The first step in any possible illness is to seek a vet's attention but knowing the basics of these illnesses means you may be able to spot a problem earlier and solve it before it becomes too serious.

Cat Kidney Disease
The most common type of cancer seen in cats is called lymphosarcoma and is a cancer of the lymph system that is connected with feline leukemia virus. It can be in the intestines or in the chest. Another common type is squamous cell carcinoma, which is particularly prevalent in white cats.

Symptoms of cancer can vary but include lumps, swellings, repeated skin infections, weight loss, lethargy, diarrhea and vomiting as well as difficulties in breathing or going to the toilet. Depending on the type of condition, the treatment can vary from chemotherapy to surgery if it is operable and radiation or immunotherapy treatment.

Lower Urinary Tract Disease
Feline lower urinary tract disease, of FLUTD, is actually a number of condition that can affect both the cat's bladder and urethra. Symptoms can range from straining when going to the toilet to completely avoiding the cat litter tray. Licking of the genitals excessively, blood in the urine or any other similar symptoms may be a sign of a problem and can be of varying seriousness, with a urethral blockage potentially being fatal.

When it comes to treating the condition, establishing exactly what the problem is will be the vet's first step. After this, the treatment can involve pain medication or antibiotics perhaps sometimes minor surgery if there is a blockage. The cat may also need dietary changes to deal with the problem or to stop it reoccurring.

The most common type of infection suffered by cats are those of the respiratory tract and some can even be prevented by vaccination. Symptoms of these types of infection range from a runny nose or watering eyes to cough, fever and even mouth sores. Many of these infections are viral in nature so the cat will naturally fight them off but it is always worth checking with the vet, as some of the rarer ones can be fatal if untreated.

Another common infectious condition is called feline panleukopenia. This is a viral infection caused by the feline parvovirus and symptoms include fever, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, dehydration and loss of appetite. There is no medication but watching fluid intake and overall health usually allows the cat to recover on its own, however in kittens under eight weeks it is often fatal.

Kidney Disease
Kidney disease in cats reduces their ability to process waste and can lead to a dangerous build-up of toxins in the bloodstream. It can come from a variety of reasons including kidney stones, infection in the kidney, high blood pressure and even exposure to toxins. It is also common in cats as they get older. Symptoms can include a decreased appetite, loss of weight, vomiting and diarrhea but others don't have any symptoms at all.

While fleas aren't strictly speaking a health problem, their presence can cause health problems. At the very least, cats will scratch and can overgroom, resulting in bald patches. Fleas and their eggs and excrement can also be spotted on the cat's fur. Using flea control products for cats is the best way to deal with the problem but if they show any signs of a negative reaction to the product, get in touch with your vet. Also never use a dog flea control as it has different ingredients and can cause an allergic reaction in cats.

Never use information as a substitute for seeing a vet and getting a professional opinion but by having some knowledge of what illnesses can strike your cat, you may react quicker than someone without the knowledge and possibly even save the cat's life.

For more information about cat health issues and which breeds are the most susceptible to certain illness, see my articles at
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