Common Cat Illnesses
As a cat parent, here are several illnesses you need to be aware of. It's important to be prepared to visit your veterinarian if necessary, especially since cats tend to instinctively isolate when sick meaning that illnesses tend to be fairly advanced by the time pet parents spot the symptoms.
Below are 3 common cat illnesses and their symptoms.
Upper Respiratory Infections (Cat Colds)
Your cat's upper respiratory tract—their throat, nose and sinuses—can become infected with viruses and bacteria. Often passed around in multi-cat households and shelters, cats may contract feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus through something as basic as sharing a food or water bowl.
As with viruses spread among humans, cats can quickly transmit these viruses to other cats by sneezing or coughing. Upper respiratory infections can also be passed between cats during grooming.
- Gagging, drooling
- Runny nose or clear/colored nasal discharge
- Decreased or lost appetite
If a cat doesn't produce sufficient insulin to balance blood sugar or glucose levels, they develop diabetes mellitus. Left untreated, it may lead to several serious symptoms, such as:
- Increased urination
- Increased appetite (as the body cannot use the energy in food) or loss of appetite
- Motor function problems
If diabetes is poorly controlled, the disease can shorten a cat's lifespan and lead to numerous health problems such as nerve disorders. It may also result in severe emergency situations. Treatment can include insulin injections and will be focused on managing this condition.
Uncontrolled growth of cells can cause cancer, which can affect a wide range of organs and cells in a cat's body. The disease first starts to develop within a cell, before it attaches to tissue below the skin and potentially spreads to other areas in the body.
A common contributor to cancer is Feline Leukemia Virus, which cats can be diagnosed against. Other causes include environmental toxins. If caught early during a physical exam, your vet may be able to treat cancer.
- Lumps or bumps that change in size or shape
- Sores that do not heal
- Odor from the mouth
- Unexplained bleeding or discharge
- Marked increase or decrease in appetite
- Chronic weight loss
- Difficulty urinating or defecating
Depending on whether the tumor is caught and diagnosed early enough, the type of cancer and its extent, specific location within the body, etc., whether an effective treatment plan can be developed, and other factors, a number of treatments such as radiation, surgery and chemotherapy may be attempted.
When To Call The Vet
If your cat is sick and exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, it's critical to bring them to the vet as soon as possible. At Jackson Animal Clinic we have an in-house diagnostics lab, onsite pharmacy, and emergency care to provide your pet the care they need (help for after-hours emergencies is also available).