Common cat diseases

Common cat diseasesCat illnesses are not easy to treat as I have discovered in the past six years rescuing newborn kittens and very sick cats on the streets.  

There are new developments in the field of research to provide proper care and to even cure fatal illnesses in dogs, but it seems that this is not so for cats.

Common cat diseases

Recently, for example, it was reported that ongoing research in another country may have come up with information on how to prevent cancer in dogs. But there was no mention about cats.

To prevent illnesses among cats, there are two important but SIMPLE ways according to The Humane Society of the United States (THSUS)  in “Preventing Common Cat Diseases” posted on the RFDTV website:

1. Keep your cat indoors.

2. Have your cat vaccinated based on your veterinarian's advice.

Common feline illnesses

1. Upper respiratory infections (URIs). 

URIs are very similar to the common cold in humans.

The symptoms are almost the same: sneezing, runny nose and eyes, reddened eyes, fever, and decreased appetite.

“But URIs can be much more serious than common colds—they can be fatal if left untreated. These airborne viruses are highly contagious; they can be transmitted to cats through human handling and through contact with other cats and with inanimate objects such as litter boxes, food bowls, and grooming tools,“ THSUS said.

It is also important to separate a new cat from your other cats for at least three weeks until you are certain the new cat has no URI symptoms. 

“Prevention is the best approach to URIs—have your cat vaccinated. But if your cat does come down with cold-like symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away. The veterinarian will probably prescribe antibiotics to prevent secondary infections and give you precise care instructions. Follow them carefully and make sure your cat eats and drinks sufficiently, “ THSUS said.

2. Rabies. 

All cats, including indoor cats, should be vaccinated against rabies.  This is given yearly.

THSUS said rabies “is now seen more commonly in cats than in any other domestic animal. Rabies is a viral illness that is transmitted through bite wounds from infected animals and attacks the nervous system. If your cat bites anyone, you may need to show proof of rabies vaccination.”

“Rabies is a fatal illness. Prevent rabies through vaccination and by keeping your cat inside, “ THSUS added.  

3. Feline panleukopenia. 

This is also known as feline distemper.  It is a highly contagious viral disease that can be transmitted by humans to cats through the clothes, hair and hands,  by cats to cats  through paws, food bowls, and even cat carriers.

Symptoms are vomiting, loss of appetite, and diarrhea.

Have your cat vaccinated against this virus. 

4. Feline leukemia virus (FeLV). 

FeLV is also a fatal infectious virus.

It attacks the immune system and can cause several forms of cancer and other associated diseases.

Transmission is through saliva, urine, and feces of infected cats.

“There is no link between feline leukemia and human forms of leukemia,” THSUS stressed.  

“There are blood tests to determine if your cat may be carrying the virus. Your cat should be tested before being vaccinated. Since there is no cure, it is important to keep your cat indoors (and away from contact with stray cats) and vaccinated,” THSUS said.

5. Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

FIV is the equivalent of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

“But it is not the same virus and cannot be passed to humans, THSUS stressed.

It added: “This fatal virus attacks the immune system, causing a variety of symptoms. General signs can include chronic, nonresponding infections; respiratory problems; appetite loss; persistent diarrhea; and severe oral infections. FIV is passed from cat to cat primarily through bites. There is currently no vaccination or cure for FIV.” 

To keep your cat safe from FIV, keep your cat inside the house.

6. Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). 

FIP is also a fatal viral infection.

“This virus can take two forms, commonly referred to as wet (which involves fluid in the abdomen) and dry (which does not). Both forms of FIP may cause fever, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite, “ THSUS said.  

A blood test is done to find out if your cat has been exposed to this family of viruses, but THSUS said this is an antibody test which does not provide a definitive diagnosis.

Common cat diseases

“There is no effective treatment for FIP, but there is hope for prevention in the form of recently developed vaccines. The best prevention is to keep your cat indoors, up-to-date on vaccines, and away from strange animals, “ THSUS said.

Topics: Cat illness , The Humane Society of the United States , “Preventing Common Cat Diseases”
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