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Top 10 Health Problems in Cats

Like any other animal, cats can suffer from various health problems, and it is our responsibility as their pet parents to try to tell when something is wrong so that we know we have to take our feline buddy to the vet. In this article, we’ll look at ten of the common health problems your cat might have to deal with at some point or the other – hopefully, she won’t have to deal with more than one of those we’ve listed below, and if possible, only the least severe one.

Sneezing
Sneezing can be caused by bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, but it can also be caused by dust and airborne particles, dental problems, nasal cancer, as well as cigarette smoke. The treatment depends on what’s causing the sneezing in the first place. Surgery might be necessary for the removal of polyps or nasal cancer, and foreign bodies such as blades of grass can be removed by the vet as your cat is under anesthesia.

Because sneezing can also be caused by feline herpesvirus or feline calicivirus, it is recommended to vaccinate your cat. In many cases, this symptom isn’t a sign that something’s terribly wrong with your cat, but if it does occur often, you have to know that it’s not normal… more

Vomiting
In cats, vomiting can occur because of a variety of causes ranging from a poor diet, an excess in treats, milk consumption, unnatural eating habits, hairballs, to more serious medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, enteritis, pancreatitis, gastritis, or colitis. Vomiting isn’t a disease in itself — it is merely a symptom, so the cause has to be determined and eliminated.

The right treatment depends on the diagnosis. Preventing vomiting can be done by ensuring that your cat eats healthy food regularly. You can lower the chance of hairballs being an issue by brushing your cat every day… more

Diarrhea
Diarrhea can also be caused by an array of factors from the type of food you feed your cat to whether you feed her milk or not. In case you didn’t know, most cats are lactose-intolerant, and while they aren’t so when it comes to their mother’s milk, they can’t properly digest cow milk because it is too rich in lactose.

Diarrhea can be caused by intestinal parasites, inflammatory bowel disease, bacterial infections, and even hyperthyroidism. Even some medications can trigger a diarrhea episode, and so can poisoning. If your cat has diarrhea for an unknown cause and it isn’t affecting the animal’s health state, you can prevent it by giving your cat probiotics (which help your pet to better digest the food). Make sure that your cat gets plenty of water (and switch to canned food for a while to combat dehydration) if he or she has diarrhea… more

Fleas
Fleas can cause anemia and not just that — they can infest your whole home, and they are vectors of tapeworms. Treat your cats for fleas before things get much, much worse. When choosing a flea treatment, you have to consider the animal’s age, his or her health state, your pet’s weight, and whether the form of the treatment is safe for your cat. Kittens that are younger than 2 or 3 months might not be able to be treated using topical treatments (spot-on solutions) unless they are entirely safe or made from natural ingredients.

Prevention is key when it comes to fleas, so even if you have an indoor-only cat, you really can’t know for sure whether you won’t bring one flea on your clothes from the outside. Make a habit out of using preventive (and safe) medication every 1 to 1.5 months… more

Tapeworms
In cats, tapeworms are usually transmitted by adult fleas. While grooming, your pet can easily swallow a flea, and once it is digested, the tapeworm is released and then hatches and anchors to the animal’s intestinal lining. Some tapeworms are transmitted to humans, so that’s why prevention is extremely important. Many cats won’t show any symptoms, but they could release proglottid segments which look like small rice grains.

Anthelmintic medication is readily available, but the truth is that you should seek the guidance of a veterinarian if you’ve never given your cat any type of deworming product before. The parasite dies inside the cat’s intestine and releases a series of toxins, so you have to choose the safest treatment option possible… more

Heartworms
Mosquitoes are vectors of Dirofilaria immitis, the parasite that causes devastating health effects both in dogs and in cats. It takes up to six months or more for the microfilaria to turn into adults, so it can be a challenge for you to tell whether your cat is infested. Some signs you might notice range from coughing to vomiting, but these are usually discernible once the disease has become too severe.

Heartworm disease has no treatment at this point, so your cat can’t be cured. Your pet can, however, live for many more years if the condition was diagnosed in due time and if her health state is on par. Heartworm infestations can, fortunately, be prevented with the help of medication… more

Feline lower urinary tract disease
FLUTD is one of the most common diseases that affect cats. It can be caused by anything from diabetes and hyperthyroidism to feline idiopathic cystitis, urolithiasis, and urinary infections. Often enough, it can become complicated, and urethral obstructions can be one of its manifestations, and since these can be life-threatening, they have to be treated as soon as possible.

The disease can be diagnosed through urinalysis, urine cultures, blood work, X-rays, or ultrasonography. Feline lower urinary tract disease can be prevented, at least to an extent, through the use of special diets for cats that have a history of struvite formation. Your cat has to get plenty of water, especially if he or she is older and a little overweight… more

Renal failure
Kidney failure can be acute or chronic and needless to say, the second is much, much harder to treat than the first. Acute renal failure happens suddenly and can be reversed whereas chronic issues are almost impossible to manage and they usually develop in older cats over the course of several months, and since these animals have a less strong immune system, the disease can be life-threatening.

Acute kidney failure can be treated through fluid therapy, management of electrolyte abnormalities, and anemia correction. At home, you will have to feed your cat a special diet that is capable of counteracting biochemical abnormalities. You’ll also have to give your cat Omega 3 fatty acids and other supplements that can sustain the kidney function… more

Eye problems
From conjunctivitis and eye infections to glaucoma and cataracts — cats can suffer from eye problems just like any of us. They can also have several severe diseases such as uveitis, retinal detachment, and corneal lacerations, and the last two of these are typically associated with trauma. Uveitis can be a consequence of infectious diseases like FIV and FeLV, so vaccinating your cat is definitely the right way of going about things.

Preventing eye problems can be done through a series of life changes from cleaning your cat regularly so that your cat’s eyes aren’t affected by dust to switching to a dust-free litter. Also, you have to learn how to make the difference between normal eye discharge and a pathological one, in terms of amount, density, and color, so you should ask your vet about this when you have the chance… more

Cancer
We saved cancer for the end because it can be one of the most devastating diseases in any species, and cats are no exception. Some of the most common cancers of cats are lymphoma (which is typically associated with FeLV — feline leukemia virus), mammary tumors, and squamous carcinoma.

The treatment depends on the specific type of cancer the cat is suffering from. Staging the neoplasm needs to be done before the initiation of any treatment and some of the options available right now are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

Because the exact causes of cancer are still unknown, you could try to prevent the disease by opting for high-quality food that’s as natural as possible, and that contains as little preservatives and artificial colors as it can. Also, avoid using harsh chemicals to clean your home, because your cat will accidentally (and naturally) breathe in those toxic substances and that could increase the risk, as well… more

Take your cat to the vet for an annual check-up for a general examination and a blood test. You wouldn’t believe just how much a small amount of blood can reveal when it comes to your pet’s health. Whether you want to prevent cancer or catch it before it becomes too severe or you want to be able to treat any medical condition before it becomes complicated, taking your cat in for a check-up now and then is always a good idea.

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