Cat lovers won’t hesitate to confirm that the feline species is pretty perfect. Like it or not, however, cats are biological beings and susceptible to the constraints of a physical body. They can succumb to many of the same diseases and conditions as other species.
While medical problems in cats are not totally avoidable, there are certainly things that us cat lovers can do to help them live out their nine lives well. Understanding the common conditions diagnosed in cats and what to do to avoid or manage them can help our feline friends have long, happy lives.
Common Medical Problems in Cats
There are whole veterinary textbooks committed to the various issues that can afflict the feline species. At Fairview Veterinary Hospital, we see certain medical problems in cats more than others.
Chronic kidney disease — Many cats are affected by kidney disease, especially as they age. While there are several underlying causes for this, many times this important organ suffers wear and tear, leading to increased thirst, urination, weight loss, and other complications.
Dental disease — Many pets experience plaque and tartar buildup and periodontal disease. Cats are also prone to developing FORLs (feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions), which can result in painful cavity-like holes in the tooth near the gumline.
Diabetes mellitus — High blood sugar can occur due to inadequate production of or lack of response to insulin in the body. Untreated this can cause severe dehydration, weight loss, neuropathy, and ketoacidosis.
Hyperthyroidism — Many cats, especially middle aged to older cats, develop too high thyroid hormone due to an overactive thyroid gland. This amplifies the metabolism, causing a ravenous appetite with weight loss.
Lower urinary tract disease — We often see cats with bladder inflammation (cystitis), urinary crystals, and sometimes a blockage of the urinary tract. Feline lower urinary tract disease can be a serious problem and sometimes has a link to stress in the cat’s environment.
Of course, there are a lot of other kitty conditions that we see and diagnose. Many disease processes can appear similarly, so it’s important to call us if you suspect your cat is having problems so that we can figure out what’s going on.
What’s a Cat Fanatic to Do?
It can be overwhelming to know that so many serious conditions can affect your purrfect friend, and that they aren’t all preventable. Fortunately, there is much that you can do to keep your cat healthy and happy.
Good wellness care is the foundation of beating many medical problems in cats. Our veterinarians recommend that you:
- Spay or neuter your pet
- Keep up to date on recommended vaccinations
- Practice good parasite prevention
- Come see us at least annually for a routine wellness examination
- Allow us to perform screening tests such as blood work so that we can detect problems earlier
- Feed a quality, nutritious diet
- Maintain your cat at a healthy body weight
- Utilize good home dental care and plan for dental exams and cleaning regularly for your pet
- Monitor your pets eating, drinking, bathroom, grooming, and play habits closely for changes
Letting us know right away if you have concerns is key in keeping kitty healthy. Someday maybe we will find a way to keep cats from being affected by various medical issues, but until then we are happy to work in partnership with you to keep them as healthy as possible.