Taking preventative steps to help fight common cat health issues and to watch carefully for issues if they do occur are very important when it comes to taking care of pets. Parents of these fur babies should know the cat symptoms of worms, for example. Getting educated about common cat health problems that can affect your cat and how to spot them is an important part of caring for your pet.
Cat Health Issues Every Pet Owner Should Know
1. Urinary Tract Disease
At the top of the list is feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), formally called feline urologic syndrome. This is actually an umbrella term for many conditions that affect the lower urinary tract of a cat, specifically the bladder and urethra. FLUTD is diagnosed in around 1 percent of the feline population.
Symptoms of FLUTD include the cat is not using the litter box. If the cat does go into the litter, it may struggle to urinate. Some cats will start going more but cry out when urinating. When they do go, they may urinate outside the litter box and there may be blood in the urine. The vet will look for key signs of FLUTD like inflammation of the bladder or urethra, stones in the bladder or an obstruction of the urethra.
For cats, this typically means an upper respiratory infection, similar to a cold in humans. The infectious agent is either viral or bacterial and may include one or more strains. Symptoms of this problem include sneezing, nasal congestion and discharge for the nose and eyes.
Feline panleukopenia is an infection that is sometimes called feline distemper or cat plague because it is highly infectious and common.Although common in feral packs, it is seen in domesticated cats, as well. Symptoms include fever, diarrhea with blood in it, loss of appetite, dehydration, and lethargy.
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The feline leukemia virus, or FeLV, is a retrovirus transmitted from the saliva or mucus of an infected cat. It is also linked to many forms of cancers in cats such as lymphoma or lymphosarcoma. Some typical symptoms of cancer include lumps, skin infections, sores on the skin, difficulty moving limbs, breathing or going to the bathroom.
One-third of all malignant cancers in cats are feline lymphoma, a condition also directly connected to feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Some cats get this cancer from secondhand smoke, as well.
Feline mammary gland tumors make up about 20 percent of cancers in female cats and around 80 percent of these tumors are malignant. Mammary cancer usually affects middle-aged to older cats. The first sign of it is a firm lump or discharge coming from the nipple.
4. Heartworm Disease
People often associated heartworm disease with dogs, but cats get it, too. It is a different disease in felines, though, because most worms don?t survive to adulthood inside a cat?s body. This is why is the condition often goes undiagnosed in them — they have few or even no adult worms. That doesn?t make heartworm disease any less problematic in cats, though. Even immature worms cause significant damage, especially to the respiratory tract.
Heartworms are transmitted to cats via mosquito bites. A mosquito bites an infected dog, fox or coyotes and transfers baby worms into the cat’s bloodstream. Symptoms of heartworms include coughing, periodic vomiting, poor appetite and weight loss. For some, the first sign of heartworm disease is sudden death.
You might not think of fleas as a disease but they feed on the cat?s blood, so there are medical consequences for serious infestations. Symptoms include scratching, balding areas in the fur and excessive licking. One of the biggest concerns with fleas is over the counter treatments. The wrong product makes the cat sick and even lead to death. When shopping, make sure anything you buy for flea protection is safe for cats.
Obesity is growing concern for the cat population in the U.S. As with humans, excess weight can lead to diabetes, joint disease, and liver problems. Ideally, you should see a clear waist on your cat and be able to feel the ribs without applying too much pressure.
Cats are easy to care for and fun for the whole family. Part of taking on that responsibility, though, is regular check-ups with the vet and being aware of illnesses that can shorten the lifespan of your beloved fur friend.
Catching the symptoms of these cat health issues is very important. Do you have other health issues that you want to be covered? Please let us know in the comments section below.
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