Many cat illnesses and their symptoms may be worrying or even be fatal if left untreated for too long. Our Charlotte vets offer insight on signs and symptoms to be aware of.
What are some common cat illnesses?
As a cat parent, here are illnesses you need to be aware of. Be prepared to visit your veterinarian if necessary, especially since cats tend to instinctively isolate when sick. Here are 3 common cat illnesses and their symptoms.
Upper Respiratory Infections
Your cat's upper respiratory tract—their throat, nose, and sinuses—can become infected with viruses and bacteria. Upper respiratory infections can be passed around in multi-cat households and shelters, and cats may contract feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus through something as basic as sharing a food or water bowl.
They can transmit this virus to other cats the same way, or by sneezing or coughing. It can also be passed during grooming.
- Gagging, drooling
- Runny nose or clear/colored nasal discharge
- Decreased or lost appetite
If a cat produces insufficient insulin to balance blood sugar levels, they develop diabetes mellitus. Left untreated, it may lead to several serious symptoms, such as:
- Increased urination
- Increased appetite (as the body cannot use the energy in food) or loss of appetite
- Motor function problems
If diabetes is untreated or poorly controlled, the disease can greatly shorten a cat's lifespan and lead to numerous health problems such as nerve disorders. It may also result in severe emergency situations. Treatment can include insulin injections and will be focused on managing this condition.
In both humans and animals, uncontrolled growth of cells can cause cancer which can affect a wide range of organs and cells in the body. The disease first starts to develop within a cell, before it attaches to tissue below the skin and potentially spreading to other areas.
A common contributor to cancer in cats is Feline Leukemia Virus, which cats can be diagnosed against. Other causes include environmental toxins. If caught early during a physical exam, your vet may be able to treat cancer.
- Lumps or bumps that change in size or shape
- Sores that do not heal
- Odor from the mouth
- Unexplained bleeding or discharge
- Marked increase or decrease in appetite
- Chronic weight loss
- Difficulty urinating or defecating
Whether an effective treatment plan can be developed depends on factors such as how early it is detected, the type of cancer and its extent, and the specific location within the body. A number of treatments such as radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy may be attempted.
What should I do if my cat is ill?
If your cat is sick and exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, it's critical to bring them to the vet as soon as possible. At Quail Hollow Veterinary Hospital, we have an in-house laboratory, onsite pharmacy, and emergency clinic to provide your pet the care they need (help for after-hours emergencies is also available).