If you are a cat owner, it's essential that you are aware of the various illnesses that can affect your feline friend. While some are more common than others, all of them have the potential to cause serious health problems. Below are five of the most common feline illnesses you should be aware of.
#1 Upper Respiratory Infections
The most common form of upper respiratory infection in cats is called rhinotracheitis, which is triggered by the herpes virus, FHV-1. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and fever. In severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia. Fortunately, there is a vaccine available that can help protect your cat from this virus.
#2 Lower Respiratory Infections
The most common causes of lower respiratory infections in cats are bacteria and viruses, with the most common being Bordetella bronchiseptica and caliciviruses. Both of these are highly contagious and can be spread through close contact with other infected animals. Symptoms include fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing. If left untreated, lower respiratory infections can lead to death.
#3 Gastrointestinal Illnesses
There are a number of different gastrointestinal illnesses that can affect cats, the most common being enteritis and gastroenteritis. Viral infections, bacterial infections, or parasites can cause these illnesses. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Dehydration is also a risk.
#4 Kidney Disease
Kidney disease is a very common illness in older cats. It happens when the kidneys can no longer filter toxins from the blood efficiently. Symptoms include increased thirst and urination, weight loss, lethargy, and vomiting. Sometimes, it can also lead to anaemia. There isn't a cure for this disease, but treatment options are available that can help improve your cat's quality of life.
#5 Heart Disease
Heart disease is another common illness in older cats. It occurs when the heart muscle weakens and cannot pump blood as efficiently as it once could. This causes fluid to collect in the lungs (pulmonary oedema) and/or abdomen (ascites). Symptoms include shortness of breath, rapid breathing, coughing, lethargy, and poor appetite. Treatment options are available, but heart disease is often fatal.
These are just five of the many illnesses that can affect cats, but they are some of the most common. If you suspect your cat is feeling unwell, it's important to take them to see a veterinarian as soon as possible so your pet can receive any treatments that are necessary.
For more information, visit a local vet.