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top 5 cats heath issues you might miss

You might experience sleepless nights and anxiety if your fur baby loses its appetite, vomit and bleed in its stool or drool throughout the day. Sweet Kitty’s aggressive behavior, isolation, and crying in pain can break your spirit.

There is no denying that you want to give your Kitty a healthy, flourishing, and seemingly endless life as your faithful companion.

No doubt, thorough knowledge is a sure way to get to know about the ailments to avoid unwanted medical circumstances to your lovely cat.

So, be aware of the diseases and symptoms, never to miss them, and to follow the unique principle that prevention is always better than the cure.

One of the largest pet insurers in the USA, Nationwide revealed the ten most common medical conditions that result in veterinary visits.

Let’s have a look at these top ten diseases among the kitties:

  1. Bladder/Urinary Tract Disease
  2. Dental Disease
  3. Chronic Kidney Disease
  4. Vomiting or Upset Stomach
  5. Diarrhea Intestinal Upset
  6. Excessive Thyroid Hormone
  7. Upper Respiratory Infection
  8. Skin Allergies
  9. Diabetes

10. Valvular heart disease or Murmur

First, we now explore the top five medical conditions in detail to avoid any mishap with our kitties.

1. Bladder/Urinary Tract Disease (UTD)

What Urinary Tract Disease is all about and the causes?

In this medical condition, the Urethra (lower urinary tract) is blocked due to many medical causes like inflammation, infection, and that causes difficulty in passing urine from the bladder to out of the body. This blockage may result in severe conditions like:

  • Stone formation in the bladder
  • Inflammation of Urethra and bladder
  • Complete blockage of urinary tract

Other causes for developing UTD are environmental and emotional stress, multiple cat household culture, indoor litter, a sudden change in routine, and dry diet. 

Symptoms to recognize Urinary Tract Disease are as follows

  • Strain to urinate (Stranguria) due to blockage to the Urethra
  • Increased frequency to urinate due to inflammation and infection in the bladder and Urethra that causes an irritable bladder.
  • Difficulty with painful urination (dysuria). Your cat may cry out during urination due to pain
  • Urinating in small quantity
  • Dehydration
  • Bloody urine (Hematuria) due to infection and inflammation
  • Lack of appetite
  • Stress due to environment or isolation
  • Hard abdomen
  • Irritability and aggression
  • Urinating outside the litter box because your cat may need to urinate urgently due to pain, inflammation, and infection
  • Over licking around their perineum result sometimes in a loss of hairs around the perineum area

Severe symptoms that show progression in the disease are vomiting and lethargic and depressed behavior in your cat.

Diagnosis of Urinary Tract Diseases

Early diagnosis of UTD is essential because the treatment is dependent on the specific cause of the disease.

Your Vet can ask for a physical examination of the cat and analysis of the urine to diagnose for any stone formation, infection, inflammation, and bleeding in your cats.

Other tests that can be conducted for the study are:

  • X-rays
  • Blood tests
  • Urine test
  • Ultrasound  abdominal area
  • Blood tests
  • Glucose tests
  • Urinalysis or urine culture
  • pH test to understand the presence of any infection in the body
  • Bilirubin test to analyze the blood in its parts.

Treatment of Urinary Tract Diseases

  • Immediate pain relief medication with diet change
  • Surgery to remove stones from the bladder or lower urinary tract
  • Antibiotics can be given to treat bacterial cystitis
  • Urinary  acidifiers
  • Removal of blockage in lower tract area or the Urethra especially in male cats
  • Fluid therapy by  giving intravenous fluids to remove dehydration

Reference: VSA hospitals

Preventing Urinary Tract Disease in a cat

  • Prevention is better than cure and can be achieved through the following measures for your fur baby:
  • Medical and dietary changes as per the recommendation of your VAT
  • Giving more time to your cat  can reduce the stress
  • Provide the windows and toys to make them engage, and have a serene environment
  • Clean and litter boxes and more number of litter boxes in case of multiple cats in the home is important
  • Increase their fluids by giving them clean water frequently

2. Dental Disease

Dental disease is generally associated with plaque formation and tartar due to the presence of bacteria around the teeth of your cat.

Pain, swollen gums, loose teeth, bad breath, bleeding, difficulty in eating, and discomfort are the results.

Dental disease can also lead to more serious medical conditions like heart, kidney, and liver disease with plague and tartar passing down to these organs and accumulating there, causing obstructions in the organs.

Most common dental diseases among the cats are:

  • Periodontal disease- this is an irreversible condition where the tissues that attach gums with the teeth are damaged by the bacteria and inflammation produced by the cat’s immune system.
  • Tooth resorption-is a condition where tooth structure gets broken, resulting in tooth loss. Causes of tooth resorption are still unknown.
  • Gingivitis-is the medical condition where gums become tall and painful and inflamed due to the accumulation of bacteria or plaque around the teeth.

Gingivitis can lead to more fatal diseases if not treated. These deadly diseases are feline leukemia virus, immunodeficiency virus, calicivirus, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes.

  • The exposure of environmental carcinogens causes oral tumors through their diets, flea collar, and exposure to tobacco products.

Causes of Dental Disease

Oral hygiene and tooth crowding are the leading causes behind the accumulation of plaque and tartar around the teeth.

Plaque formation damages the lining between the gum and teeth. Hence, it increases the exposure of bacteria that destroys the structure of teeth and damages the tissues and the gums.

Symptoms for Dental Disease

  • Unwillingness to eat food
  • Bleeding of gums
  • Drooling
  • Turn their heads  to one side while chewing their food
  • Mobility and tooth loss
  • Development of bad breath (halitosis)
  • Exposure of route surfaces of the tooth
  • Irritability in behavior

Diagnosis

  • X-rays of mouth, jaw, and head
  • Examination of teeth and gums for the presence of any lesion, plaque or tartar

Treatment of Dental Diseases

  • Scaling  of the plaque from the teeth which requires anesthesia or in extreme cases extraction of teeth
  • Management of the pain by giving antibiotics and  immunosuppressive drugs

Prevention of Dental Disease

  • Do the regular toothbrushes of your cat to remove plaque formation by using toothpaste specially designed for cats. Human toothpaste can be toxic to them.
  • Conduct careful monitoring for healthy gums and teeth regularly.

3. Chronic Kidney Disease

Kidneys perform significant functions in your cat’s body to keep them healthy and live a quality life.

Some of these functions are:

  • Managing blood pressure
  • Development of hormones
  • Removal of waste from the blood
  • Formation of red blood cells by boosting the work of bone marrow

The failure of a kidney is widespread in older cats. Proper care and early diagnosis can give healthy Kidneys to your cats to live a prolonged life.

Once the symptoms are ignored, the Kidney Disease can become chronic and untreatable.

There are two types of kidney diseases:

  • Acute Renal Failure- cats of all ages can suffer from this type of Kidney Disease within a matter of some days or weeks.

It is a reversible disease if diagnosed and treated early.

  • Chronic Kidney Disease- is diagnosed mostly among older cats or middle-aged cats, with a development window from some months to years. Its causes are not very clear and difficult to treat even if diagnosed.

Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease

  • Poisonous substances are the primary cause of the failure of Kidneys. Your cat can come in contact with these poisons through cleaning liquids, pesticides, human medicines like Ibuprofen, toxic plants, and likewise.
  • Shock due to significant loss of fluid in the body by overheating, dehydration, vomiting, overactivity, and quick blood loss.
  • Blockages in the urinary tract, especially in the bladder and Urethra, block the urine to pass through the body and results in the infiltration of blood from toxic substances.
  • Breakage of tissues in the bladder or Pelvis can create trauma.
  • Low blood pressure or heart failure causes the decreased flow of blood to the Kidneys.
  • Thyroid, cancer, dental disease, and high blood pressure can also cause damage to the kidneys.

Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease

  • Frequent thirst by the cats to replace water loss
  • The frequency of urination increased in cats due to the inability of kidneys to hold urine.
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Bloody and cloudy urine
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Brownish colored tongue
  • Bad breath with an ammonia-like odor
  • Coarse fur
  • Constipation
  • Weakness, lethargy, depression

Diagnosing Chronic Kidney Disease

Your Vet can ask you for the blood and urine test of your cat. Other tests that can be done to diagnose the exact cause for Kidney Disease are X-rays, ultrasound, and biopsy.

Treating Chronic Kidney Disease

  • Treatment of chronic kidney disease can be done by giving a regulated diet, medications having antibiotics and immunosuppressant drugs, and injecting intravenous (IV) fluid to the body of the cat.
  • Surgery can be done to remove the blockages In an emergency to enable the flow of blood properly from the urine tract and bladder.

Preventing Chronic Kidney Disease

  • You can give your loving cat a healthy and meaningful life by caring and managing its diet and environment carefully with proper checkups by the Vet.
  • Give your cat clean and fresh water, low protein, and phosphorus diet with lots of Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D. Strict medication and a peaceful environment are the necessities.

4. Vomiting/ Upset Stomach

As a cat owner, you might have seen your cat throwing up many times. Vomiting might be a common condition for you, but it is not a normal situation.

There might be a situation where vomiting is the reason for Major medical concerns.

You should always look for the signs of vomiting closely to understand if the vomiting is due to the routine upset of the stomach, overeating, and food sensitivity.

These symptoms are not very problematic issues and can be treated with diet change or proper hygiene care.

But if the vomiting is sudden, acute, and frequent, then it is an alarm for severe disease and a reason for you to take your cat to the Vet immediately.

Causes and signs of vomiting

Causes for the vomiting can be minor or life-threatening. Let’s explore them one by one to understand when to rush to your Vet and when the situation can be treated at home with diet and environment change.

Minor causes

  • Stomach upset
  • Worms
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Travel sickness

Major causes

  • Diabetes
  • Blockages in the bladder or lower intestinal tract
  • IBD(Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Injection of poison
  • Allergies
  • Side effects of medicines
  • Heatstroke
  • Adrenal gland disease
  • Blockage in the  esophagus

Symptoms to understand the Upset Stomach/vomiting

  • Weakness
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Blood with stool or vomit.
  • Bright color blood indicates the problem. If the color of the blood is brown, then the problem lies in the intestine of the cat.
  • Excessive mucus in the vomiting indicates the problem of inflamed intestine wild the undigested food is due to the food poisoning or merely the overeating.
  • Swollen or enlarged tonsils reflect the problem in the esophagus.
  • Pain, anxiety, and distress.

Diagnosis of vomiting

  • Your Vet can perform a physical examination of the cat after inquiring about the diet, medication, and other physical conditions of your cat.
  • Information about your cat would be beneficial for your Vet to diagnose the reasons behind the vomiting and conduct a test appropriately.

The following tests can be ordered by your Vet to know the exact reason behind the upset stomach of your cat.

  • Blood test
  • Urine test
  • Fecal tests
  • X-rays
  • Ultrasound
  • Biopsy
  • Endoscopy
  • Barium studies
  • Oral examination to diagnose the problem in the esophagus.

Treatment of vomiting

  • Your vet doctor can recommend antibiotics in case of ulcer for bacterial infection.
  • Other medications to stop vomiting are anti-emetic and cimetidine.
  • Surgery is the option in case of removing a tumor for some foreign body.

Corticosteroids are used to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Prevention of Upset stomach/Vomiting

  • Pay close attention to your cat to know the exact symptoms behind the vomiting
  • Do not change diet or medication without recommendations of your Vet. If the vomiting is sudden and frequent, go to your Vet immediately.
  • Provide fresh water and a tiny amount of food every some hour.
  • Notice any particular food or activity that might be causing vomiting to your cat. Eliminate such nutrition and exercise.
  • Check the fever, diarrhea, blood in stool or vomit, pungent odor, or undigested food with frequent vomiting. Take these symptoms seriously to consult your Vet suddenly.

5. Diarrhea/Intestinal upset

Diarrhea is a medical condition of passing out loose and watery stool due to the inflammation of the intestinal tract, or the bowel. A bacterial infection causes this inflammation.

Cats of any age can suffer from diarrhea for a variety of reasons. Mucus and blood in stool are the significant symptoms to diagnose diarrhea in your cats.

There are two types of diarrhea, chronic diarrhea, and acute diarrhea. Acute diarrhea lasts for some weeks only. Chronic diarrhea remains more extended than a few weeks.

In most cases, diarrhea can be treated on its own, but in other cases, diarrhea can be a symptom of more severe medical condition in your cat.

Hence, it is crucial for you as the cat companion to understand various symptoms and causes of diarrhea in your Kitty to let them have the timely treatment and quality life.

Causes of diarrhea

  • Stress can be caused among the cats. The introduction of a new pet in the house or the isolated environment around them can cause stress in them.
  • Ingestion of poison while coming in contact with the chemicals,  insecticides, pesticides, cleaning substances, toxic plants or metals such as lead causes vomiting along with diarrhea
  • Ingestion of unwanted material can obstruct the intestinal tract of your cat and can damage the lining of the intestinal tract, thus causing diarrhea with vomiting.
  • Dietary reasons by the introduction of a new food or the sudden change in the diet of your cat. It causes vomiting, excessive wind, and abdominal pain
  • Bacterial causes by E.coli, Clostridium, Campylobacter, or salmonella.
  • Viral infections
  • fungal infections Including histoplasmosis
  • Parasites  like hookworms, giardia or roundworms
  • (IBD) Intestinal Bowel Disease due to the allergic reaction to food, bacteria or parasites
  • Liver and Kidney Disease
  • Hyperthyroid
  • Diabetes
  • The inflammation of the pancreas causes pancreatitis. Under this condition, enzymes are not produced by the pancreas to digest fat, and hence the cat passes a large volume of greasy stool. It causes pain, discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss among the cats.
  • Food allergy with itchy skin
  • In colitis, large intestine or colon is inflamed. It causes blood and mucus in the stool and painful stomach and vomiting to the cats.

Symptoms of Diarrhea

  • Loose or watery stool
  • Increased frequency of passing stool
  • Straining to defecate
  • Vomiting
  • Dull fur of the cat due to non-absorption of nutrients by the intestine of your cat
  • Blood or mucus in stools. Dark colored blood denotes the disease in the small intestine
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Increased thrust

Diagnosis of Diarrhea

Diarrhea can be diagnosed by conducting  the following tests:

  • Examination of stool
  • Physical examination of the cat
  • Fecal examination
  • Medication trials to assess the response of medication by the cat
  • Food trials to know the reaction of the cat towards certain foods
  • X-rays or ultrasound of the abdomen
  • Endoscopy performed under anesthesia
  • Blood tests
  • Urine test

Treatment of Diarrhea

  • Water and electrolytes can be given to your cat to keep the cat hydrated.
  • Probiotics are given to the cats to increase the intestinal bacterial population to its normal
  • Antibiotics can be given to kill certain bacteria
  • Parasite treatment by giving deworming medicines
  • Management of thyroid disease
  • Prescribed diet to help your cat with the digestion and diarrhea.
  • Fiber-rich diet and  intravenous (IV) fluids can be given

Prevention of Diarrhea

Fortunately, diarrhea is preventable and can be treated by on its own within some days.

you can stop the  occurrence of diarrhea by taking the following preventive steps:

  • Keep the diet of your cat consistent.
  • Always introduce a new food in your cat’s diet slowly to give the time of their guts to adjust with the fresh food.
  • Keep the cats stress free by giving them company and playing with them
  • Do not let them indulge in excessive exercise because this can put a lot of strain on their spine. This strainful spine results in the hindrance of the flow of energy to the intestine which can cause diarrhea in your cat
  • Vaccinate your cat correctly at regular intervals and keep them away from the stray and unvaccinated cats  so that they do not catch any virus
  • Keep your cat indoors or under your sight so that they do not ingest any unwanted material, garbage or poison in your absence
  • Properly  clean and disinfect the litter box, kennel, and utensils regularly
  • Talk to your Vet about the prevention of parasites and the measures available for its prevention
  • Keep your cat hydrated and give them a small amount of bland and fiber-rich diet gradually.
  • Do not give any medicine to your cat without consultation from your Vet
  • Proper knowledge about the diet, habits, environment, and health condition can help your Vet to diagnose and treat your cat successfully.

Take Away

Seeing your cat troubled and sick is a very stressful time for you as a cat parent or cat owner.

You feel helpless. You feel anxious, to cure your lovely Kitty as soon as possible, and to play with them as before.

Your Kitty is under your guidance and care, so it is imperative upon you to know about the various common and severe diseases of your cats.

You can become a dedicated parent with this knowledge by closely examining your cat for any symptom of the disease.

Only this way, you can assure the timely diagnosis and treatment of your cat before it threatens the life of your companion.


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