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Cat Illnesses: Causes & Symptoms

Cats are independent creatures that tend to hide any discomfort they're feeling. Here, our Little Rock share common cat illnesses that feline owners should be aware of, as well as their causes, symptoms, and treatments.

Some of the Most Common Cat Illnesses

If you are a cat owner there are a number of illnesses you need to be aware of. It's important as a pet parent to be prepared to visit your veterinarian if necessary, especially since cats tend to instinctively isolate when they are sick. Here are 3 of the most common cat illnesses and their symptoms.  

Upper Respiratory Infections in Cats - Cat Colds

Your cat's upper respiratory tract, which includes their throat, nose and sinuses, can become infected with viruses and bacteria leading to potentially serious illnesses. 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 dish. 

Cats can quickly transmit this virus to other cats the same way, as well as by sneezing or coughing. It can also be passed along when grooming. 

Symptoms of upper respiratory infections in cats include:

  • Congestion 
  • Gagging, drooling
  • Runny nose or clear/colored nasal discharge
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Loss of appetite

Diabetes Affecting Cats

If a cat is unable to produce sufficient insulin to balance blood sugar or glucose levels, they develop diabetes mellitus. Untreated this condition may lead to some very serious symptoms, such as:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Dehydration
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Motor function problems
  • Coma
  • Death

If diabetes is poorly managed, the disease could shorten your cat's lifespan and lead to numerous health problems such as nerve disorders. Diabetes in cats can also result in severe emergency situations. Treatment can include insulin injections and will be focused on the long-term management of this condition. 

Cancer in Cats

The uncontrolled growth of cells can cause cancer, which can affect a wide range of organs and cells in your cat's body. The disease first begins to develop within a cell, before it attaches to tissue below the skin and potentially spreads to other areas of the cat's body. 

A common contributor to cancer in cats is Feline Leukemia Virus, which can be vaccinated against. Other causes include environmental toxins. If caught early during a routine exam, your vet may be able to treat cancer. 

Symptoms of cancer in cats include:

  • 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

Based on whether the tumor is caught and diagnosed early enough, the type of cancer, the extent of the disease, and the specific location of the tumor within the body, an effective treatment plan may be developed to treat your cat's cancer. Treatments such as radiation, surgery and chemotherapy are often used to treat cancer in cats. 

If you notice illness symptoms in your cat or a sudden change in their behavior, seek veterinary attention right away.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you have noticed signs of illness in your cat, contact our Little Rock veterinarians today.

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