As a pet parent, you hope that your kitty will never have to go to the vet. Unfortunately, most pets pay at least the occasional veterinary visit. See the top conditions most likely to land cats and their pet parents in the waiting room.
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)
FLUTD is not merely one problem, but a collection of conditions that can affect the bladder and urethra of a cat. Urinary tract problems are common in both canine and feline species, and symptoms include bloody or cloudy urine, lethargy, constant licking of urinary opening, strong odor to the urine, loss of bladder control, and frequent urination and visits to the litter box. The potential causes of FLUTD are multiple and can range from dehydration and stress to bladder stones and cancer.
Gastritis refers to inflammation of the stomach lining. The most common signs associated with gastritis are vomiting and decreased appetite. Your kitty’s stomach lining can be irritated by factors such as eating inappropriate foods, adverse reaction to drugs or toxins, and bacterial and viral infections.
Renal failure is the onset of kidney damage that results in the retention of waste products, which would usually be filtered by the kidneys and excreted in the urine.
Symptoms include depression, fever, loss of appetite, and vomiting. Renal failure is a deadly disease, however, if diagnosed at an early stage it can be managed and your kitty can go on to live long, happy years past their diagnosis.
Diarrhea is characterized by a rapid movement of abnormally loose or liquid stools. There are many causes of diarrhea and it can be as simple as a change in diet or the symptom of a more serious illness like cancer or liver disease. Frequent loose or watery stools are the most common symptom of diarrhea, but other signs to look out for include loss of appetite, dehydration, lethargy, fever, vomiting, and weight loss. If the diarrhea persists for more than a few days, your cat should be checked by a vet.
If you cat has started a habit of scratching or rubbing himself, a skin allergy may be to blame. This can be caused by a number of factors, from exposure to plants or insect and flea bites, to ingredients in their food. Common signs of skin allergies are hair loss and skin lesions. Skin conditions are a complex problem in cats; however your veterinarian may recommend tests to identify the exact cause of your kitty’s skin allergy.
Feline diabetes is a disease in which a cat’s body cells are unable to receive glucose from the blood properly. The most common signs of diabetes are weight loss, a change in appetite, and increased thirst and urination. Find out how your veterinarian diagnoses your kitty with diabetes and how it can be treated.
Cats can get blocked up sometimes, too. A cat is usually constipated when they pass dry, hard stools or make unsuccessful trips to the litter box. Cats become constipated for a variety of reasons such as dehydration, lack of exercise, or by swallowing too much hair when they groom. Be aware that constipation can also be a symptom of a serious problem, so make sure to talk to your veterinarian if you think your kitty is constipated.
Cats are luckier than their canine counterparts when it comes to ear infections, as the occurrence is far less in felines. However, when your kitty gets an ear infection it should be addressed right away. The main causes of ear infections in cats are ear mites, wax buildup in the ear canal, allergies, and abscesses from a bite or scratch wound. If your furry friend has an ear infection, you might notice symptoms such as discomfort when the ears are massaged, and yellow or brown discharge in the ear.
Upper respiratory virus
Yes, it’s true. Your furry companion can get colds, too. The upper respiratory virus is an infection caused by viral or bacterial agents, and can often affect a cat’s nose, eyes, sinuses, throat and mouth. This virus is highly contagious and can be transmitted from cat to cat through sneezing, coughing or while grooming and sharing food and water bowls. Symptoms of upper respiratory virus infections differ depending on the cause and location of the infection, but common signs to look out for are sneezing, a runny nose, coughing, sniffling, fever, loss of appetite, and clear or colored nasal discharge.
Hyperthyroidism is a disease resulting from excessive thyroid hormone and is most commonly seen in cats over eight years old. The most common signs of hyperthyroidism are weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, unkempt fur, rapid breathing, hyperactivity and an increased appetite. If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can lead to heart problems, blindness, and even death. Learn more about the treatment options for hyperthyroidism.
Pet parents who are aware of the most common reasons for vet visits in cats can be better prepared to help their kitties get the care they need in the event of an injury or illness. It is your responsibility to keep your little fluff ball happy and healthy.