Health Problems In Cats
Being a new cat owner, it would be common to notice that you may find it surprising to hear that your cat is prone to many health problems and these diseases some are easily preventable while others are hereditary.
Hairballs are one of the most common health problems in cats. Considering the fact that cats constantly groom themselves, they usually swallow loose hair that the tongue picks in the process. These hairballs can occasionally pass into a cat’s intestines and cause a blockage. This can be a life-threatening problem for the cat. However, there are a few signs to consider whether your cat’s hairball is dangerous or not. If your cat is constipated, off his feed, or is lethargic with a dull coat, then he could have a serious blockage. At this point, visiting a vet to exam it is recommended.
To prevent hairballs, groom your cat frequently so as to remove loose hair from the body. Furthermore, feed your cat food that helps control hairballs regularly.
Worms many times are a problem to cats. Some of the worms that infect cats include roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms. Heartworms could also be developed by cats but this happens very occasionally. If your cat seems unable to gain weight, it’s infested with fleas, or has white specks that look like grains of rice in its stools, take it to the veterinarian for worm testing as soon as you notice.
Though worms can be cured with few doses of medication, they can be very crucial and can lead to the dead of a cat.
Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections are another very common health problem in cats. This infection is particularly common in unneutered male cats, it should be noted that female cats can also develop this problem. If your cat suddenly stops using the litter box, a urinary tract infection is suspect. If your cat’s urine smells strong, again a urinary tract infection may be the cause. These infections need to be treated by a veterinarian
Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)
FIP is caused by a mutation of the corona virus. According to many experts, cats living in multi-cat environments tend to test positive for enteric corona virus. Cats can live with that virus remaining quietly in the intestines with no sign of disease for their entire lifetime. In some cases, mostly a genetic pre-disposition, the virus mutates into FIP.
When a cat has contracted FIP, it displays symptoms of a mild upper respiratory infection: sneezing, watery eyes, and nasal discharge. In some cases, it may also have diarrhea, weight loss and lethargy. Most cats totally recover from this primary infection, although some may become virus carriers. A small percentage of exposed cats develop lethal FIP weeks or even years after the primary infection.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
Most often FIV or cat AIDS, is not usually fatal. FIV drastically reduce the ability of the cat’s immune system to fight infections. Cats with FIV may stay free of symptoms for years. It is only when the cat contracts other illnesses in the chronic stage of FIV infection that FIV is first suspected. This long list of illnesses includes oral-cavity infections, upper-respiratory infections, weight loss, ear infections, kidney disease, and many others. Although there is, as yet, no vaccine, all cats should be tested for the virus. This virus is transmitted via saliva, most especially when a cat is bitten in a cat fight.
Feline Leukemia Virus
Not until recently, FLV was the most common fatal disease in cats. But with a vaccine now available, the number of cases is dwindling. Even though the name leukemia means cancer of the white blood cells, it is only 1 of the many diseases linked with this virus, such as other types of cancer, anemia, arthritis and respiratory infections. FLV can be prevented if the cat is immunized before being exposed to the virus. Although the disease is not always immediately fatal, cats with FLV rarely have a long life expectancy. It is advised never to bring other cats into your household when you have a cat infected with FLV. This is very dangerous.
If you find a tick on your cat’s body and it has been lethargic and acts as if it is in pain, ask your vet to test for Lyme disease especially if your cat is an outdoor cat. It is reported that this disease is transmitted to people and animals by deer ticks.
When it comes to this disease, some cats may show symptoms while others may not. Always be observant to your cat’s behavior because that is the only way to detect Lyme disease in cats. But if there is no tick, some other symptoms of Lyme disease in cats are:
(b) reluctance to jump or climb stairs,
(c) limping, or reluctance to put weight on a paw,
(d) loss of appetite.
The core to dealing with Feline Lyme Disease is prevention, early diagnosis and treatment. Endeavor to reduce the tick population around your home with simple landscape changes and spraying frequently.
Good Health Care
Making sure your cat is available for a regular check-up with the vet and keeping all vaccinations on schedule will help assure your cat a long and healthy life. Furthermore, prevention is the first line of defense for most feline illnesses.
Cat owners should always keep their cats indoors to protect them from cars, from cat fights which may expose them to deadly viruses, from ticks, and other hazards.
Although outdoor cats may enjoy greater freedom, a watchful eye and more attention should be paid to their health status.