Numerous cat illnesses and their symptoms can worry pet owners or even be fatal if left untreated. Our Stockton vets offer tips and advice about the signs and symptoms of common cat illnesses to be aware of.
What Are Some Common Cat Illnesses?
Here are some ailments to be aware of if you're a cat parent. Since cats like to sequester themselves when they are sick, you may not realize they are ill right away. Here are 3 common cat illnesses and their symptoms.
1. Upper Respiratory Infections
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.
They can transmit this virus to other cats by sneezing, coughing or sharing feeding bowls. They can also pass it to each other while grooming.
- Runny nose or clear/colored nasal discharge
- Gagging, drooling
- 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 appetite (as the body cannot use the energy in food) or loss of appetite
- Increased urination
- Motor function problems
If diabetes is poorly controlled, the disease can shorten a cat's lifespan and lead to numerous health problems, like nerve disorders. It may also result in severe emergency situations. Treatment will be focused on managing this condition and can include insulin injections.
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 spreading to other areas.
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.
- Sores that do not heal
- Lumps or bumps that change in size or shape
- An odor from the mouth
- Marked increase or decrease in appetite
- Unexplained bleeding or discharge
- Difficulty urinating or defecating
- Chronic weight loss
A number of treatments such as radiation, surgery and chemotherapy may be attempted based on factors like:
- Whether the tumor is caught and diagnosed early enough
- The type of cancer
- The extent of the cancer
- The cancer's location within the body
What should I do if my cat is ill?
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.