Top 10 Cat Health Problems
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
November 8, 2010
Filed Under Pets
Contributed by Cindi Pearce, Catalogs.com Info Guru
If you have a furry feline friend in residence the odds are that at some time or another, he is going to get sick.
Here are the top 10 cat health problems that you need to be on the outlook for so you can nip them in the bud before they get the better of your cat.
10. Do not let your cat get too fat. Obesity in cats is a killer just like it is in human. It exacerbates existing problems such as diabetes, joint pain and liver conditions. When a cat is a healthy weight you can feel his ribs and backbones without pressing very hard and you should also be able to see his waist.
9. Eating Foreign Objects
When a cat eats something he should not have, such as a certain kind of food or a plant, he may vomit and have diarrhea. If your cat exhibits these symptoms, and they go within a day it is probably nothing to worry about. However, if it continues and the cat is having black or bloody stools this can mean he is bleeding in his intestines or stomach, and he needs to be seen by the vet.
8. Bad Teeth
Dental problems can wreak havoc on the health of your cat. If your cat has really bad breath he may have gum disease (gingivitis) or suffer from digestive problems. If the gums are swollen, red or discolored or if there are ulcers on the tongue or gum, this is the mark of dental disease. Cats that are always pawing at their mouths, drooling excessively or losing teeth are probably suffering from dental disease. Use cat toothpaste and regularly brush her teeth. Give her something to chew on which removes tartar and exercises the gums.
7. Kidney Disease
Older cats frequently suffer from kidney disease, the signs of which include lethargy, weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting and decreased appetite. When cats get older they cannot excrete waste into the urine, as well as they once could, which causes toxins to build up in their bloodstream. Kidney problems can be the result of cancer, exposure to toxins, high blood pressure, kidneys stones or infection. In extreme cases, dialysis is required or a kidney transplant.
When fleas are on the attack they feed on the blood of the cat. Indications that fleas are present include bald patches because your cat has licked this area excessively, hair loss and scratching. Of course, you may be able to see the fleas or the flea excrement or eggs in the fur. Be careful when dousing your cat with flea control products because cats are very sensitive to insecticides. Using the wrong kind can kill the cat, so purchase a flea control system that is specifically formulated for cats.
Give your cat preventive heartworm medicine so heartworm disease is avoided. Cats are usually able to fight off this condition on their own steam, but sometimes they do not succeed. Signs that your cat has heart worms include respiratory issues, coughing and vomiting although some cats do not show any signs at all. Surgery can be done to remove the heart worms but this is a very dangerous procedure, and your cat may not survive.
If your cat suddenly loses weight, has difficulty breathing and going to the bathroom and is exhibiting sores and skin infections, as well as swelling and lumps, this can indicate that he has lymphosarcoma, which is lymph system cancer that is associated with feline leukemia virus. This is a common form of cancer in cats. It may occur in the chest or in the intestines. White cats often suffer from squamous cell carcinoma. Cats can undergo radiation and chemotherapy or surgery.
Feline parvovirus often kills kittens that are less than two months old. It is imperative that you have your kittens inoculated against feline panleukopenia, because it is very common, and it is an extremely contagious viral illness. Unfortunately, there is no medicine that can kill this virus so treatment includes providing lots of fluids to the kitten or cat and keeping a close eye on him. Hopefully, he will be able to fight off the infection. Symptoms of feline panelukopenia are loss of appetite, dehydration, blood diarrhea and lethargy.
2. Respiratory Problems
Cats are frequently afflicted with respiratory problems. If your cat has been vaccinated this helps prevent this sort of medical problem. When a cat is suffering from an upper respiratory issue she will sneeze, have a runny nose, cough, her eyes will tear up, and she will have a fever and sores in her mouth. Most respiratory infections are viral, so there is not much you can do about it; however, get her checked out anyway because this type of illness can prove fatal.
Cats are all too often stricken with FLUTD otherwise known as feline lower urinary tract disease. This condition afflicts the cat’s urethra and bladder. Your cat may strain when she is trying to urinate and may not produce any pee. She may also avoid using the litter box. If there is blood in the urine and she is licking her genital area excessively this can be a sign that she has a blockage of the urethra, which can kill her. Take her to see the vet immediately, where it can be determined what is causing this condition. She could have cancer or a urinary tract blockage, bladder stones or an infection of some sort. If it is a blockage, the objective is to push or remove the blockage back into the bladder. Antibiotics are given and water intake should be increased. A change in her diet, as well as the use of digestive and elimination supplements, may be required.