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Aug 29, 2018
Cats are often more challenging to diagnose than dogs. They don’t always show symptoms of being sick and may hide away when feeling unwell. It is important for owners to take note of their cats’ behaviour at home; it can reveal to the veterinarian what the problem may be.
Below is a list of the more common cat diseases or problems that they may be susceptible to, with accompanying symptoms to look out for. These are listed in no particular order.
Some of the causes of kidney problems are high blood pressure, infections, genetics, trauma, toxins and urinary obstructions.
Common signs of kidney problems to be aware of are: weight loss, vomiting, reduced or complete loss of appetite (this may start with the cat becoming a fussy eater), dehydration, increased water intake (polydipsia), lethargy, bad breath and increased urination (polyuria). It is older cats that most commonly develop kidney disease, but it can occur in younger cats. Persians and some other exotic breeds are predisposed to developing kidney disease.
Coccidiosis is caused by the intestinal parasite, Coccidia. It causes watery diarrhoea and may damage the lining of the intestinal tract. The diarrhoea may have mucus and blood in it and may lead to dehydration. This is more of a problem with kittens kept in unhealthy environments.
Cats should be dewormed regularly to prevent intestinal upsets, namely diarrhoea, vomiting and weight-loss.
Most owners have food down all the time and when the food bowl is finished it gets refilled, this is called ad-lib feeding. The cats can eat whenever and as much as they want. The problem here is that some cats will just keep eating past their calorie requirements, causing them to become overweight. It is best to measure and divide the required amount of food the cat needs into three or four meals over the course of a day and to restrict treats between meal times.
Overweight cats are more susceptible to developing diabetes, arthritis, heart problems and having an increased risk of cancer.
Feline Calici virus and the Herpes virus are the most common causes of upper respiratory infections. Another cause is bacterial infections. Common symptoms are: sneezing, nasal discharge, weepy eyes and decreased appetite. It is contagious, so affected cats should be separated from healthy cats.
This is commonly known as feline AIDS. Humans are not susceptible to FIV. The virus causes immunosuppression in cats, causing the cat to be susceptible to other infections and diseases. There are no common symptoms and it may mask other diseases. Eventually, it leads to weight loss. It is transmitted from cat to cat, often through fighting (bite wounds and scratches). There is no known cure.
This virus also suppresses the immune system, making it similar to FIV. It is passed from cat to cat through saliva, blood and, less commonly, urine and faeces. Grooming and fighting are the common ways for the virus to spread. Some symptoms are: pale or yellowish gums, loss of weight, loss of appetite, lethargy and a poor coat. A vaccine is available. There is no cure for infected cats.
Common signs of diabetes in cats are; polydipsia, polyuria and increased appetite. It is more common in obese cats.
This may be something as simple as a hairball problem, or could be a sign of worms, poisoning or kidney problems. It may also be a bacterial or viral infection. It is important to note how often your cat vomits and if there are any other symptoms, for example: dehydration, not eating, diarrhoea or blood in the vomit. These symptoms may point to a serious problem that should be attended to by a veterinarian.
Some causes are intestinal parasites, sudden change in food, bacterial infections or inflammatory bowel disease. Treatment is needed if the diarrhoea persists for more than 24 hours, or if there are other signs accompanying the diarrhoea, such as: vomiting, dehydration, blood in the diarrhoea or loss of appetite.
Symptoms to look out for are: lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, weight loss and dehydration.
Stress, stones or crystals in the urinary tract and bacterial infections may cause urinary tract infections in cats.
Some symptoms are: frequent urination (often of small amounts), difficult urination, polydipsia, discoloured urine (bloody or cloudy), abdominal pain, decreased appetite and sometimes vomiting or lethargy.
The causes may include bacterial infections, fungi (ringworm), dietary intolerance, stress, external parasites (fleas, ticks or mites), endocrine disorders and trauma.
Symptoms are; excessive grooming, loss of hair, inflamed skin (red or pink), scratching, dry or oily skin, shaking of the head (common with ear infections) and scabs.
Symptoms include: red or inflamed gums (gingivitis), roots of teeth being exposed, loss of teeth, bad breath, difficulty chewing (the cat appears to swallow pellets whole), drooling or blood in the mouth.
This is caused by a coronavirus. Symptoms that develop usually affect the respiratory or intestinal tract. These may include: fever, weight loss, lethargy, laboured breathing or a distended abdomen.
The more common signs are: weight loss, increased appetite, polydipsia, polyuria, behavioural changes (may become hyperactive or appear to be aggressive), poor coat, and sometimes vomiting or diarrhoea.
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