Deadly Cat Diseases
Most of the time, pet owners don’t exactly see their pet as just ‘pets’. The bond that the owners have built with their pets makes the owners see them more as their own family than a mere pet. With this said, it is extremely heart breaking to see our pets suffer in pain or even pass on. Apart from old age, there are various diseases that can cause those two effects.
Unfortunately, cats are known to be more fragile. When a disease is contracted, their chances of survival is generally low. Treatment for pets in general can also be quite expensive. And in some cases, it can’t be afforded. So getting a pet insurance is absolutely recommended to lower the costs needed when the time comes. (LINK)
As owners, we have to learn to spot the signs and symptoms of the diseases. The earlier we do so, the higher the chances of survival. If you are unsure of the diseases, don’t worry! Here are 8 diseases and their symptoms.
1. Kidney Disease
One of the leading causes of death in most cats is kidney disease. Usually, this disease targets cats seven years older. Younger cats can be infected too but the chances are low. Apart from old age, cats can contract this disease through ingesting poisonous substances. Antifreeze, pesticides and human medications are examples of substances that can cause this disease. So keep them away from your cats!
The way how heart attacks are fatal to humans, kidney disease acts the same to cats. Recognizing the signs early might give your cat a fighting chance.
Increased urination and thirst, nausea or vomiting, weight loss, bad breath, drooling, dry coat, constipation
If your cat is experiencing any of these symptoms, bring it to the nearest vet for a check up! They would run a series of blood and urination tests on your cat. If there is damage to the kidney due to a urinary tract blockage, surgery will be performed immediately. Otherwise, there is no immediate cure for kidney disease. Thankfully, there are other methods to prolong your cat’s life and hopefully cure the sickness altogether overtime. Your cat will be given hydration therapy, medication as well as a change of diet. Your cat’s diet will be changed to kidney-friendly meals. The best - and probably the only way to combat kidney disease is to catch the signs early. The longer it is left there undetected, the lower the chances are for your cat to survive.
2. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
The Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, also known as FIV in short, is transferred through bite wounds. The danger of this terminal disease lies in its slow spread rate. Cats who contracted this disease would seem normal for years while internally, the virus is slowly eating away your cat’s immune system. Since the immune system is attacked, your cat would also catch other common diseases.
Weight loss, dry coat, skin disease, diarrhea
The disease is terminal. This means that there is no cure available for this disease. There are preventive measures that you can take! Since the disease is transmitted through bite wounds, keep your cat indoor. Keep your cat up to date with the vaccines. If you notice symptoms, take your cat to the vet immediately. If unfortunately your cat does have it, keep your pet cat away from other animals to stop the transmission of diseases. A change of diet is also recommended to prolong your cat’s life. However, it is generally agreed that FIV significantly shortens your cat’s life span and will have a major impact on its life.
Feline Leukemia spreads through saliva or urine. This means that the disease is transmitted through bites, food sharing, litter boxes or from cats grooming each other. Kittens are more vulnerable to the disease than adults are. The virus can also be passed down to the kittens through the mother. In terms of symptoms, some cats would show immediate signs of contraction. Others could remain asymptomatic for a while before the symptoms arise.
Diarrhea, skin disease, bladder infection, infertility
Unfortunately, this disease is also terminal and has no cure. It is also known that a contracted cat have an average life span of less than a year, even with chemotherapy treatments. The only effective treatment for this disease is to take preventive measures. Limit your cat’s exposure to other animals and avoid sharing the same good containers or litter boxes. Vaccinations and regular trips to the vet for check ups could help as well.
4. Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)
This disease is transmitted through faeces and has two different forms; wet and dry. If it’s wet, your cat would experience abdominal distension and respiratory problems caused by a built up in its chest. If it’s dry, the disease creates inflammatory lesions throughout the body. Your cat’s kidneys, livers, nervous system and other vital organs and systems will be affected due to this. With this said, the disease is terminal and often fatal.
Weight loss, lethargy, fever
The disease has no cure to it. Preventive measures will also be difficult due to limited research. There are no available screen tests to catch the disease. The only vaccination available is heavily doubted for its success. There are some who do not even suggest taking the vaccination due to its low rate of success. The only treatment you can do, as unfortunate as it is, is palliative care. You can only try your best to give your cat the best life possible before euthanasia is chosen or the disease take its toll on your cat.
Rabies is transmitted through bites and saliva. Once the disease is contracted, it attacks your cat’s nerves, spinal cord and brain. This means that the disease is incredibly fatal. The danger of this disease lies in the fact that it is transmittable to humans as well. Unlike popular belief, cats are much likely to become rabid as compared to dogs. Due to their curious nature, cats would tend to wander off which significantly increases the chances of contracting the disease.
Fever, weight loss, hyperactivity, aggression, muscle spasms, drooling
This disease is terminal and fatal. There will usually be a 10 day incubation once rabies is suspected to ensure that your pet cat do not pass the disease to other animals or worse, to humans. Since there is no cure, preventive measures are extremely important. Make sure your pet cat is well vaccinated. Keep your pet cat away from rabid wildlife and avoid making any interactions with stray animals.
Though it is not immediately fatal, it will be if left untreated, Heartworms are transmitted through mosquito bites. As the name suggests, the disease infects your pet’s lungs and heart. If left untreated, the amount of worms will built up, eventually causing a blockage. The disease is transmittable to dogs. But unlike dogs, it is much harder to detect the presence of the disease in cats. In fact, the first sign sometimes can even be death.
Coughing, vomiting, weight loss, seizures
There is cure for the disease so preventive measures have to be taken. The best way to combat the disease is to give your cat preventatives. Topicals, pills or shots designed to prevent heartworms can be found on the market. Unlike dogs, there are no drug available now to treat the disease for cats. So buying your own preventatives is extremely important. The other method is to bring your cat for screening and testings regularly. You can also use your trip to the vet as an opportunity to ask what’s the preventative that is best for your cat.
This disease is caused by an overproduction of thyroid hormones. Genetics and diet are the usual causes of the disease. With this said, the disease is at the very least, non-transmittable. Once contracted, your cat’s metabolic rate would increase. This would create stress for your cat’s kidneys, heart, liver and other vital organs. If left untreated, the disease can become fatal to your cat.
Vomiting, diarrhea, increased urination and thirst, dry coat, appetite change, heart disease
If you notice any of the signs, get your cat to the vet as soon as possible. Usually, the vet conduct a physical exam. They will check your cat’s heart rate and blood pressure and would also look for enlarged glands on your cat’s body. There are three available treatments; surgery, medication and radioactive-iodine therapy. Out of the three, most prefer the radioactive-iodine therapy as it has the least side effect but also the highest success rate.
Unfortunately, this disease is common among cats due to their high carbs diet. There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is not as common as type 2. Type 1 occurs due to a lack of insulin while type 2 occurs when there is a resistance to insulin.
Increased urination and thirst, weight loss, vomiting
Although there are two different types of diabetes, treatment is the same. Your cat will be required to take insulin injections twice a day. Your cat’s weight and diet will be carefully watched watch too. Change your cat’s diet and get her to exercise more often. Bring your cat to the vet more regularly as well to check on its condition.