Welcome back to the Acoma Animal Clinic Blog. We are continuing our Feline February month with 5 more of the most common feline diseases. If your cat is experiencing any symptoms that you don’t know the cause of, contact your vet immediately. Without further ado, on to five more of the most common illnesses in cats.
5 Frequent Feline Diseases and How to Care for Them
Upper Respiratory Infections
The upper respiratory tract, throat, nose, and sinuses are prone to infections caused by a number of bacteria and viruses. Roughly 80% of all upper respiratory issues (that are contagious) are spread by just two viruses: the feline calicivirus and herpesvirus.
Upper Respiratory Infections Symptoms
- Runny Nose
- Nasal Discharge
- Rubbing or squinting eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Breathing through their mouth
Treatment for Upper Respiratory Infections
Of course, your vet will know the best treatment for your cat’s individual case. Medications, of course, can be a huge help for your pet as well as rest, fluids, proper nutrition, and isolation to keep it from spreading. If left untreated, Upper Respiratory Infections have the potential to develop into pneumonia and other conditions.
Worms cover a wide range of intestinal parasites with a number of different symptoms. With worms there are sometimes no outward signs of the illness. Some kinds of parasitic worms are harmful to humans as well. The most frequent kinds of worms are: roundworms, lungworms, hookworms, tapeworms.
- Trouble breathing
- Weight Loss
- Bloody stool
Treatment for Worms
Treating worms is not something to be done at home, you need to know the specific type of parasite your cat has. Don’t attempt to use dog medication for cats. There are dewormers and over the counter dewormers but both of these can be harmful and not effective to eradicate all types of worms.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
FIV infected cats may not show symptoms for years following their initial infection. This is why it is important to keep your vet visits regular, especially if it appears your cat has come into contact with another cat whose health history you don’t know. Even without symptoms, your cat’s immune system will be compromised. This means they are now weakened and more susceptible to infections. Transmission is most commonly between cats through bites. Mother cats can transmit it to their kitten. Outdoor cats (most frequently male who engage in many fights) are the most susceptible.
- Weight Loss
- Poor appetite
- Dental disease
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Wounds that won’t heal
- Frequent urination
- Behavior change
Treatments For FIV
There is not currently any antiviral treatment for FIV. The best that can be done is to prolong the asymptomatic period before symptoms begin or, if they already have, to ease the other effects of the virus. You will be prescribed medications: anti-inflammatory drugs, immune-enhancing drugs, parasite control. Electrolyte and fluid replacements. Keep your FIV-Infected cat indoor, watch for behavior changes, feed your cat nutritional food: no raw foods for instance. Raw foods can play host to bacteria and parasites that will be very dangerous to immunocompromised cats.
Feline Leukemia Virus (FelV)
Another virus that attacks the cats immune system, feline leukemia virus is one of the most common causes of death in cats. Much like FIV, the symptoms do not necessarily manifest immediately and so it should be tested for in any new or ill cats.
- Pale or Inflamed gums
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Respiratory disorders
Treatments for FelV
There is no cure for FelV, the most owners can do is care for them the best we are able. Less than 20% of cats who are infected with FelV live more than three years of the infection being active. Make sure your cat has a quiet place indoors to rest. Keeping them away from other cats is important to prevent the promotion of the disease.
High-Rise Syndrome is a name for the very specific danger of cats falling out of windows. Cats have great instincts, and will almost never deliberately jump from higher places that may be harmful to them. Cats do not land safely on their feet as much as they splay their feet out and can cause pelvis or head injuries. Shorter buildings can be even worse for cats to fall from as they have less time to adapt their body positioning to fall as safely as they can.
There are no symptoms or treatments for this one however, just preventative measures. Install sturdy screens in the windows, make sure any adjustable ones are tight in the frames. Childproof window guards are not safe for animals!
That’s the end of this February Feline Disease Month! We will see you again next month with more pet care information!