Cats Common illnesses in domestic cats

Published on March 2nd, 2017 | by Debbie Martin


The Five Most Common Illnesses in Domestic Cats

Have you noticed that your feline friend has been acting a little strange lately? Cats are beautiful animals and they make great companions, but like everyone sometimes they can fall ill. When your cat is not feeling well, it is important that you notice this and take them for the appropriate veterinary care that they require. They can’t tell you what is wrong with them, so you will need to keep a close eye on their health.

So what are the most common illnesses in domestic cats that you should watch out for in order to protect their health?

1.      Respiratory Tract Illness

Your cat might suffer from respiratory tract issues in their lifetime, so be aware of this risk. The respiratory tract includes the nose, nasal passages and windpipe as well as the airways and the lungs. One of the common issues is cat flu, which can affect your cat’s upper respiratory tract and cause nasal discharge and sneezing. It is usually caused by a viral infection and it can be prevented by a vaccination.

Another issue is feline asthma, which affects the lower respiratory tract. This occurs when an allergen or an irritant affects the lower airways. This causes the lungs to become inflamed, making it much harder for your cat to breathe. This condition might not be curable, but it can be managed in the long term with medications, injections, tablets and inhalers. If your cat is ever having difficulty breathing it is very important to take him to the vet immediately.

2.      Hyperthyroidism

This condition refers to a number of hormonal disorders which can affect your cat. It happens when the thyroid glands of the neck start to produce too much hormone. This could be caused by a tumour (benign and non-cancerous) on the thyroid gland. It could also be caused by a cancerous tumour, which is called a thyroid adenocarcinoma.

There are many ways that this condition can be treated and the cat can continue to have a normal life with diet changes, radioactive iodine therapy and long term medication. An experienced vet will be able to custom-tailor a plan for the long term treatment of your cat.

3.      Heart Disease

When your cat’s heart starts to deteriorate and isn’t working how it should be, this results in heart diseases. There are two different categories of heart disease -The first congenital, which means that the cat is born with it. The second is acquired, which means that the cat develops the disease later in life.

If your cat has congenital heart disease, this can mean that they have defects in the blood vessels, valves or the walls of the heart. This can happen in all different breeds of cats and the most common problem is called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – which can eventually lead to heart failure. It is not possible to cure this condition, but it can be treated over the long term with medication. If your cat has heart disease, you should talk with your vet to find out what the best long term treatment plans are for them.

4.      Gastrointestinal Issues

Another common problem in cats is gastrointestinal disorders. This problem can affect all cats, no matter what breed. The gastrointestinal tract consists of a long and winding tube that begins at the mouth and ends at the anus, with the stomach and intestines in between.

There are a lot of things that can potentially go wrong with the feline gastrointestinal tract, including infections such as feline enteritis. Another danger is when your cat eats something they shouldn’t, such as a household substance that is poisonous. Swallowing a piece of string can also be dangerous to your cat because it can create an obstruction or can even weave its way around the bowels and then cut through them like cheese wire.

If your cat is experiencing diarrhea and vomiting or they are refusing to eat that is a sign that they are in gastrointestinal distress. Make sure that you take them to the vet and have them treated as soon as possible – if you can intervene and solve the problem quickly there is a good chance of a full recovery.

5.      Cystitis and Kidney Disease

Did you know that feline lower urinary tract disease, which is also known as cystitis, is the most common urinary problem in cats? This disease refers to anything that affects the cat’s bladder and urethra. Problems with the urinary tract can be caused by infections, bladder stones and being dehydrated or not urinating enough. If your cat has been diagnosed with cystitis, it is important to make sure that they have access to a lot of water and perhaps put them a special diet as well.

Cats can also experience a lot of problems with their kidneys. The kidney is responsible for filtering waste products from the blood into the urine, but sometimes problems such as infections, tumours, blockages and toxins (like household chemicals or antifreeze) can cause the kidneys to shut down. Over time kidney function will also deteriorate as a result of age.

If your cat suffers from kidney disease, their treatment will depend on the cause of the disease and the extent of the damage. However, the treatment will usually begin with flushing the kidneys out by using intravenous fluids, as well as medication and special diets. Kidney disease is not curable, but with an appropriate care plan it is possible for your cat to enjoy a normal life.

These are just five of the most common illnesses that occur in domestic cats. If your cat is exhibiting the symptoms of any of these medical issues, it is important to take them to the vet as soon as possible. The sooner you spot the problem, the easier it will be for your pet to make a full recovery. If the condition is incurable, your vet will be able to develop a program of treatment that will allow your cat to live a long and happy life so you don’t have to worry.

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About the Author

Debbie has worked for Beeston Animal Health for a number of years and although generally involved with the marketing these days she has a great deal of knowledge on many things to do with small animals.

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