If you own a cuddly cat, then you should be aware about the common diseases that these animals can be affected by, their symptoms and preventive measures. The diseases may range from kitty cold to some potential fatal disorders. Some of the common diseases found in cats are rabies, allergic dermatitis, dental disease, diabetes mellitus, food allergy, kidney disease, urinary tract disease, liver disease, feline panleukopenia, Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP).
Rabies is a viral infection transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. This infection directly affects the central nervous system. An infected cat may develop fever spikes and erratic behavior. Some of the major symptoms of cat rabies are excessive drooling, snapping at imaginary objects, dilated pupils, abnormal changes in its appetite, exaggerated response to any stimulus, and aggressive, violent behavior. In the last stage, the cat may develop paralysis and respiratory failure, which results in death.
Upper Respiratory Infection
This type of infection may prove fatal in cats. Some of the symptoms of upper respiratory infections in cats are runny nose and eyes, fever, reddened eyes, sneezing, and decreased appetite.
It is also known as feline distemper. In this disease, the cat's white blood cell count drops drastically. This condition can affect its immunity. As a result, the cat becomes more susceptible to several infections. Its symptoms are loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting. It is a highly contagious viral disease, which is transmitted through human contact, contact with infected cats, paws, hair, and food bowls.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
FIV is transmitted through bites of an infected cat. Some general symptoms are oral infections, persistent diarrhea, appetite loss, respiratory problems, and chronic and non-responding infections.
Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)
In most cases, FIP is fatal to cats. This virus exists in two forms, such as wet (involves abdominal fluid) and dry form (not involving abdominal fluid). Both forms may give rise to symptoms like lethargy, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
This is a type of bacteria which affects cats. It infects their eyes, leading to conjunctivitis. General symptoms of feline Chlamydia are cough, sneezing, anorexia, running nose, pneumonia, breathing problems, fever, and watery eyes.
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV): This affects a cat's immune system, and can give rise to numerous forms of cancer and other related diseases. It may transmit during a cat fight. Other possible causes for transmission of this disease are sharing of food, water bowls, and coming in contact with the urine, feces, and saliva of an infected cat, and from a mother to its kittens in the womb.
Cats are infected by various types of parasites. External parasites such as fleas and ear mites are found on the skin or fur and in the ears. These parasites can cause severe itching. Some common intestinal parasites found in cats are hookworms, ringworm, and tapeworms. Coccidia, living in the lining cells of cat's intestine, can cause diarrhea, dehydration, and even death if left untreated.
Lower Urinary Tract Disease (LUTD): LUTD is a group of diseases associated with the urinary system of the cat. It can cause pain, bleeding, and increased frequency of urinating. Some of the common symptoms of LUTD are frequent urination, blood in urine, and inability to urinate. Other associated symptoms are decreased appetite, dehydration, vomiting, depression, and even death.
Many cats suffer from diabetes, which is an endocrine disorder. This disorder is more common in obese cats. Symptoms are voracious appetite, significant increase in water intake, and weight loss in spite of increased food intake.
Skin disorders in cats are divided in four categories, such as immune related, infectious skin diseases, hereditary and developmental skin diseases, and cutaneous manifestations of internal diseases. Some of the most common ones are alopecia, cheyletiellosis, and acne. Alopecia is caused by general illness, endocrine disturbances, and local infections. This disease leads to hair loss, bald patches, and reddened or inflamed skin. Cheyletiellosis is due to skin mites. It is a highly contagious disease, causing constant itching. It can lead to scaling and flaking of the skin.
You can protect your cat from all these diseases. Most infections such as rabies, FIV, URI, and FIP can be prevented by vaccination. To prevent skin infections and parasites, you should keep your cat's skin clean. Avoid sharing of your cat's food bowl with other cats. If you notice the symptoms of any type of infection, immediately consult the veterinarian. These infections can be treated with prescribed antibiotics. In most infections, cats suffer from the loss of appetite. However, you should make your cat eat and drink in sufficient quantity, so that the treatment would work more effectively.