Common Cat Illness That Should Be Taken Seriously

Cats commonly hide when they are feeling unwell, making it very difficult for even the most attentive of pet-parents to recognize when their feline friend is sick. Today our Memphis vets share some common cat illnesses and the symptoms to watch for.


What are common cat illnesses?

If a cat is a part of your family it is important be on alert for health issues and prepared to visit their veterinarian if required. Here are 4 common cat illnesses you should be aware of, and their symptoms.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

FIV is most often seen in male outdoor cats with a tendency to fight. This cat disease is often passed along through bites sustained during fights, although in rare cases it can be passed from a female cat to her kittens.

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a slow acting virus and symptoms may not show up until years after the initial infection occurred. Nonetheless, an infected cat’s immune system is severely weakened once the disease takes hold making the cat susceptible to potentially serious secondary infections.

With treatment, infected cats kept in an indoor, stress-free environment can live comfortable lives for a number of months or years before the disease reaches its chronic stages.

Symptoms of FIV in cats may not become apparent for months or years, and they may be intermittent. If your cat is displaying any of the following symptoms they may be suffering from Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and require veterinary care :

  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Anemia
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Poor grooming or disheveled coat
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal appearance
  • Inflammation of the eye
  • Inflammation of the gums and mouth 
  • Skin redness or hair loss
  • Wounds that don’t heal
  • Sneezing
  • Discharge from eyes or nose
  • Frequent urination
  • Straining to urinate
  • Urinating outside of litter box
  • Behavior change

Diabetes

Cats that doesn’t produce enough insulin to balance glucose levels or blood sugar will develop diabetes mellitus. If left untreated, diabetes in cats can shorten their lifespan and lead to nerve disorders, numerous health problems, and severe emergency situations requiring immediate veterinary care. Treatment for diabetes in cats is focused on management rather than cure and may include insulin injections. Without constant management, diabetes can lead to:

  • Increased urination
  • Dehydration
  • Coma
  • Death
  • Thirst
  • Increased appetite or loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Motor function problems

Cancer

There are a number of cancers frequently seen in cats. Cancer first begins to grow within a cell, before attaching to tissue underneath the skin and potentially spreading to other areas. If detected early during a physical exam, cancer in cats may be able to be treated. Symptoms of cancer in cats may include:

  • Marked increase or decrease in appetite
  • Lumps or bumps that change in size or shape
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating
  • Odor from the mouth
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Chronic weight loss
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Unexplained discharge

Early detection is essential for good outcomes, when it comes to treating cat cancers. Other factors which influence the success of treatment include the type of cancer, extent of its spread, and the location of the tumor. Recommended treatments for cats diagnosed with cancer include surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.

Cat Colds & Upper Respiratory Infections

Viruses and bacteria can cause infections in your cat’s upper respiratory tract, sinuses, nose, and throat.

Often spread in multi-cat households and shelters, cats can contract feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus through simply grooming, sharing a food or water bowl, coughing, or sneezing.  When a cat has contracted the virus it can then easily go on to transmit it to other cats within the household, or within the neighborhood. Common symptoms of upper respiratory illness in cats include:

  • Coughing or gagging
  • Congestion or drooling
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Decreased or lost appetite
  • Runny nose or nasal discharge

What should I do if my cat is sick?

If your cat is displaying any of the symptoms listed above, it's important to seek veterinary care. Many cat illnesses progress quickly and can become very serious in just a short period of time.

If you think that your cat may be sick, contact our Memphis vets today to book an appointment for your cat.

Common cat illnesses that you should take seriously, Memphis Vet

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