There are a number of common cat illnesses that are a serious cause for concern, and could even be fatal if left untreated. Our Powder Springs veterinary team shares some signs and symptoms to be aware of.
What are some common cat illnesses?
As a cat parent, here are illnesses you need to be aware of. Be prepared to visit your veterinarian if necessary, especially since cats tend to instinctively isolate when sick. Here are 3 common cat illnesses and their symptoms.
Upper Respiratory Infections
Your cat's upper respiratory tract—which includes their throat, nose and sinuses—can become infected with viruses and bacteria. Frequently spread 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.
These viruses are typically spread between cats by sneezing or coughing, but can also be passed during grooming.
- Gagging, drooling
- Runny nose or clear/colored nasal discharge
- Decreased or lost appetite
If your kitty doesn't produce sufficient insulin to balance blood sugar or glucose levels, they develop diabetes mellitus. Left untreated, this serious condition can become life-threatening and may lead to several symptoms, including:
- 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 begins 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.
- 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.
What should I do if my cat is ill?
If your feline friend is sick and exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, it's essential to bring them to the vet as soon as possible. At Powder Springs Animal Clinic, we have an in-house laboratory, onsite pharmacy, and emergency care during our regular business hours to provide your pet with the care they need.