Today, our Madison vets offer insight on the signs and symptoms of three of the most common cat illnesses and what to do if your cat is sick.
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—their throat, nose, and sinuses—can become infected with viruses and bacteria. 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 bowl.
They can transmit this virus to other cats the same way, or by sneezing or coughing. It can also be passed during grooming if the tools are not properly cleaned.
- Gagging, drooling
- Runny nose or clear/colored nasal discharge
- Decreased or lost appetite
If a cat doesn't produce sufficient insulin to balance blood sugar or glucose levels, they develop diabetes mellitus. Left untreated, it may lead to several serious symptoms, such as:
- 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 starts to develop within a cell, before it attaches to tissue below the skin and potentially spreads to other areas.
A common contributor to cancer is Feline Leukemia Virus, which cats can be vaccinated for. If caught early during a physical exam, your vet may be able to treat cancer with a number of different treatment methods, including chemotherapy or surgery.
- 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
What should I do if my cat is ill?
If your cat is sick and exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, it's critical to bring them to the vet as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis. At Best Friends Animal Hospital, we have an in-house laboratory to assist our veterinarians in diagnosing and creating a treatment plan for your feline friend.