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6 Common Cat Illnesses That You Should Know About

Did you know that cats make up more than 35% of the pets in the United States? Out of all the pet cats, more than one-third of the cats are strays, adopted, and cared for by American households. Even after this, there are approximately 70 million cats still living as strays in the United States. Since cats are social creatures, they are prone to catching diseases, viruses, and illnesses from other cats and external factors. If you are a cat lover and have adopted one (or more), you must know the symptoms and signs of the 6 most common illnesses found in cats. 

1. Feline Diabetes

Diabetes in cats has been steadily increasing over the years. The immense love that cats get from their owners often makes them consume a lot of carbs and become obese. The problem of diabetes arises due to the lack of insulin or resistance to it. If your cat shows signs of increased thirst, vomiting, or weight loss, it may be possible that your cat is suffering from diabetes. 

In addition to this, if your cat avoids walking on its toes and uses its rear hocks instead, you may want to visit a vet. With a quick blood and urine test, the vet can confirm whether or not your cat is suffering from diabetes. If your cat tests positive, you may need to administer two injections of insulin daily and monitor its weight. In addition, the vet may advise a high protein and low carb diet. Diabetic cats need routine monitoring as there is in increased risk for developing additional complications, such as blindness or vision loss.

2. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

Classified as a lentivirus, FIV is a slow-developing virus in felines that affects their immune system and can often be fatal. This disease is transmitted when an infected animal bites another. The virus enters the bloodstream and may cause diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and skin disease. Dry coats and weight loss are also symptoms of FIV. Although vets test and vaccinate most cats for FIV when they’re kittens, you should have your cat checked if it shows any symptoms. If it tests positive for FIV, it is imperative to keep it indoors and away from other cats.

3. Feline Leukemia Virus (FLV)

FLV is a type of cancer found in the white blood cells of a cat. If your cat is suffering from leukemia, it may show signs of bladder infection, skin disease, diarrhea, and infertility. This virus is found in the urine and saliva of cats. If your cat comes in contact with an infected feline, the virus may spread when the cats fight or eat from the same bowl. Since there’s no cure for this disease, an infected cat may not survive for long.  It is best to get your cat vaccinated and frequently visit the vet.

4. Heartworm in Cats

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This disease is one of the most common cat illnesses found in the United States. It may infect your cat’s lung and heart, causing seizures, vomiting, coughing, and weight loss. Mosquitos are the prime carriers of this disease. Regardless of whether you own very expensive cat breeds or have adopted some strays, they must be protected from this disease.

Heartworm disease may cause the cat to collapse suddenly or even die. It is quite difficult to detect heartworms in cats and is also incurable. To prevent your cat from heartworms, you must get it tested by a vet and maintain preventive measures like shots and pills.

5. Rabies and Its Impact on Cats

Feline rabies is the most common viral infection found in felines. Rabies causes aggression, drooling, fever, and muscle spasms. Mostly spread by the saliva or bite from an infected animal, rabies can infect your cat’s brain, nerves, and spinal cord. This disease can prove to be fatal. In addition, rabies can spread from animals to humans. The risk for rabies is one important reason why you must get your cat vaccinated.

6. Cats and Hyperthyroidism

If your cat’s body produces thyroid hormone in excess, it may suffer from an increased metabolic rate that may cause diarrhea, vomiting, thirst, and dehydration. Known as hyperthyroidism, this disease can damage your cat’s heart, lungs, liver, and kidney. More often than not, this disease can prove to be fatal. Increased heart rate and blood pressure along with enlarged glands are signs that your cat is suffering from hyperthyroidism. That said,  radioactive-iodine treatment, surgery, and medication can help your cat recover. 

The most common illnesses found in cats include diabetes, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukemia virus (FLV), heartworms, rabies, and hyperthyroidism. To prevent your cat from contracting fatal illnesses, you must keep it away from stray and feral cats. In addition to this, you must watch out for symptoms and signs of disease. To keep your cat healthy, regularly get your cat checked by a vet and get it vaccinated.


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