Common Cat Diseases and How to Treat Them
Cats are quite good at maintaining themselves. But even then, they can fall victim to certain common cat diseases that can compromise their health.
If you are a cat parent, it important for you to learn about these common cat diseases and their treatments. If you are aware of the symptoms and signs of common cat diseases, you can treat them in a timely manner. This will help your cat live a long, healthy, and happy life.
Here is a list of common cat diseases and their treatment.
Disease #1 - Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV)
Feline Leukemia , also known as FeLV, is a contagious retrovirus that can affect your cat. If you don’t treat it properly, it can become fatal. FeLV can weaken your cat’s immunity and make it more vulnerable to illnesses and infections.
Your cat can contract or spread the virus via body fluids, such as feces, urine, blood, and saliva. It can contract this virus by sharing a food bowl or bedding with another infected feline. Moreover, your cat can even get this disease if it gets scratched or bitten by another cat carrying the disease. Fortunately, the virus doesn’t survive for long outside the cat’s body.
Symptom – Fever, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, bad breath, runny eyes or nose, loss of appetite, weight loss, jaundice, anemia, swollen glands, and pale gums
Treatment – Prevention is the best cure for FelV so make sure that your cat is vaccinated against it. However, if your cat does contract the disease, take it to a vet who will prescribe some antibiotics and rehydration therapy. If your cat is not eating properly, ask your vet for some nutritional supplements. These should include antioxidants and vitamins containing Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
Disease #2 –Upper Respiratory Infections
Another common cat disease is an upper respiratory infection. Your cat’s age, vaccination status, and physical health can determine its vulnerability to upper respiratory infections. If your cat has lived in a shelter, then it is at an even higher risk of getting the disease.
Your cat can contract this disease while grooming or sharing food and water bowls with other infected cats. Once your cat catches the disease, it can become a carrier for life. In some cases, cats do not show any symptoms, but they are still capable of transmitting the disease.
Symptoms – Chest congestion, runny nose, sneezing, cough, colored nasal discharge, drooling, gagging, fever, decreased appetite, oral or nasal ulcers, rubbing, or squinting eyes, and depression.
Treatment – The best thing to do if your cat gets the disease is to take it to a vet who will prescribe the best treatment. This may include nutritional supplements, fluids, rest, medications, antibiotics, etc. Other than medical treatments, you can use a steam bathroom or humidifier for brief intervals to ease your cat’s congestion. You can even add lysine to your cat’s diet as it has antiviral properties. Lastly, encourage your cat to eat by offering it wet cat food.
Disease #3 – Tapeworms
Cat tapeworms are flat, long, white-colored worms. They have hook-shaped mouths that help them latch onto your cat’s small intestine. This helps them feed on food that passes through your cat’s digestive tract.
Tapeworms in cats can grow up to nearly eight inches. However, some tapeworms can even grow as much as twenty inches. Once the tapeworms are fully mature, they can start shedding their segments. These segments are referred to as proglottids. Proglottids can detach from the tapeworms’ main body and pass out from the cat’s body in its feces.
Your cat can get infected with tapeworms due to several reasons. The most common reason is flea larvae that get infested with tapeworms. For instance, your cat can digest a tapeworm-infected flea while grooming itself. The tiny tapeworm can then anchor inside your cat to become a fully-grown adult worm. Your cat can also get this disease if it eats small animals, such as mice and squirrels.
Symptoms –Vomiting, weight loss, and the appearance of proglottids, in your cat’s fecal matter.
Treatment – It is quite easy to treat tapeworms in cats. If your cat gets infected with tapeworms, take it to a vet and get a prescription for a de-wormer. De-wormers are generally administered orally but sometimes can be given via an injection as well. The de-wormer should not cause your cat to experience any reactions like diarrhea or vomiting.
You can also make sure that your cat doesn’t get infected with tapeworms. To do this, regularly have treatments to control fleas and try to keep your cat indoors as much as possible.
Disease #4 – Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease is one of the most life-threatening and common cat diseases. This disease mainly affects senior and full-grown cats. However, this does not mean that kittens cannot suffer from chronic kidney disease.
This disease can result if your cat has eaten something toxic. Therefore, you need to make sure that all potentially harmful foods stay well out of your cat’s reach.
Symptoms – Increased thirst, frequent urination, bad breath, brown tongue, constipation, vomiting, diarrhea, and dry coat of fur.
Treatment – Your vet will collect blood and urine tests to determine if your cat has chronic kidney disease. In some cases, X-rays, biopsy, and ultrasound may also be needed. If your vet detects kidney disease, they might have to conduct treatments, including surgery, or prescribe IV fluids and medication.
To treat kidney disease, you should provide your cat with a diet that is low in protein and phosphorous. Moreover, enrich your cat’s feed with Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D. Remember to gradually make this transition so it is easy for your cat to adapt to it. Essentially, the best treatment for kidney disease includes a well-managed diet, fresh water, and a stress-free environment.
Make sure to provide your pet cat with a good diet and keep a regular check on your feline’s behavior. This will help you detect any symptoms of common cat diseases and treat them in a timely manner.
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