Cat Care

Cat Illnesses

Cat Care > Cat Illnesses

Cat illnesses
The A-Z of cat illnesses and injuries are given below. It also includes the veterinary procedures to cure these Cat illnesses.
There are many important issues such as cat health which are related to the catís safety and well being. Hence, it is necessary to know and understand these health issues related to the cats such as cat illness and cat care. It is very beneficial for the pet owners to be informed about the cat illness which would help in early diagnosis and treatment of the illness. It is also necessary to consult a vet for the cat diet to be provided during illness.

  1. Abdominal Pain
    Pain in the abdomen can arise from a number of different causes, varying from mild to severe, and treatment is governed by this. The pain may be a symptom of an illness, digestive upset, blockage in the intestine, such as a fur ball, or the cat may have swallowed a foreign body. The cat may show obvious signs of discomfort or pain, e.g. resenting being handled or crying out if an attempt is made to lift it up. It may be apathetic and uninterested in what is happening, lie down or sleep more than is usual, refuse food and fail to carry out normal activities such as grooming. A well-wrapped, warm hot water bottle may provide some relief and comfort, but the cat should be taken immediately to the veterinary surgery for examination and diagnosis. X-rays may need to be taken and, possibly, surgery to correct the problem. The cat should therefore not be given food or drink in case a general anaesthetic is needed.

  2. Abscess
    Cats are particularly susceptible to the formation of abscesses, especially as a result of bites or scratches received in fights. An abscess is a collection of pus at a localized site anywhere in the body. It usually appears as a painful, hot swelling beneath the skin, which enlarges, comes to a head and bursts when ripe. The release of pus, and usually some blood, from the abscess brings relief from pain. In addition to having a painful lump, the cat may seem off-color, refusing food and running a temperature. The animal should be seen by a veterinary surgeon who will usually prescribe a course of antibiotics to kill off the bacteria causing the infection. It may be necessary for the cat to have the abscess lanced and surgically drained under a general anaesthetic so do not give anything to eat or drink. In some cases, the veterinary surgeon may advise bathing the swelling with hot water containing salts such as Epsom Salts or antiseptic solution and applying hot dressings (fomentations) until it bursts. Further bathing several times a day is then needed, and the wound must be kept open until all the pus has drained out. It may be necessary to pack the wound with sterile gauze to prevent it from closing too soon or else a fresh abscess may develop near the site.

  3. Allergic Reactions
    Cats may occasionally suffer from allergic skin reactions as a result of flea bites, the wearing of flea collars or in response to an insect bite or sting or an injection. The affected site may become swollen, itchy and painful or the face may swell. Veterinary advice and attention is needed, and applying a cold compress may be helpful to reduce the swelling. An allergic reaction can sometimes be a prelude to the serious but rare condition of anaphylactic shock.

  4. Anemia
    A decrease in the ability of the blood to carry oxygen because of a reduction in the number of red blood cells or in the amount of hemoglobin that they contain. Hemoglobin is the iron-containing pigment in red blood cells that binds to oxygen. Anemia is a symptom of some underlying disorder or illness, and three main types are recognized in cats. The first type is the result of actual loss of blood or haemorrhage from ruptured blood vessels (haemorrhagic anemia). This is obvious in the case of an external wound, but bleeding producing anemia can occur internally following injury. A great infestation with external or internal blood-sucking parasites can be responsible, as can ingestion of certain poisons. An example of such a poison is warfarin, which is sometimes used to kill rats and causes haemorrhage and prevention of blood clotting.

    A second type of anemia results from some form of damage or deficiency in the bone marrow, which is responsible for the production of red blood cells (hypoplastic anemia). In cats, the most usual cause is ingestion of certain drugs, i.e. accidental poisoning, e.g. by insecticides. A cat's liver is ill equipped to neutralize toxic substances, and damage to the bone marrow may be the result. A much rarer cause of hypoplastic anaemia is a bone marrow tumor or a dietary deficiency. Aspirin is especially harmful to cats, causing internal haemorrhages (a condition known as haemorrhagic anaemia) and long-lasting bone marrow effects (hypoplastic anaemia) and liver damage. Thirdly, haemolytic anemia occurs if for some reason the red blood cells that are being produced normally are destroyed and removed from the circulation. Toxic substances released by bacteria and ingestion of some chemical poisons can be responsible and also the illnesses feline infectious anemia and feline leukemia.

    Symptoms of anemia include extreme pallor of the lips, gums and tongue (and also the inner eyelids). In many cats, however, these mucous membranes normally appear pale so this can be difficult to interpret. Further signs include tiredness, lack of energy, rapid breathing and (in extreme cases i raised heartbeat rate even without exertion. A cat showing any signs of anemia should be seen by a veterinary surgeon so that the underlying cause can be established and treated.

  5. Anaesthesia and Anaesthetic
    Anaesthesia is a loss of sensation or feeling in the whole or part of the body, usually as a result of the administration of anaesthetic drugs so that surgery can be performed. A general anaesthetic produces a loss of sensation in the whole of the body and a 'local' in only one part. General anaesthetics also cause a loss of consciousness, and often combinations of drugs are used to achieve an optimum effect, i.e. to deaden pain and relax muscles, enabling surgical procedures to be carried out with no awareness on the part of the patient. Local anaesthetic blocks the transmission of nerve impulses in the area where they are applied so that little or no pain is felt.

    The great majority of surgical procedures carried out on cats are performed under general anaesthesia. This removes the fear and trauma that the cat might suffer if it remained conscious and ensures that the animal remains perfectly still. In some cases it may be necessary to administer a general anaesthetic even to examine and investigate a painful disorder, particularly if the cat is aggressive and/or very frightened. As with human patients, a cat should not be given anything to eat or drink for a number of hours before it receives a general anaesthetic to ensure that it has an empty stomach. This reduces the risk of vomiting and inhalation of material into the lungs, causing pneumonia.

    Modern drugs used to induce general anaesthesia are normally very safe, and the slight risks attached to then-use are greatly outweighed by the benefits of being able to operate to correct painful injuries and disorders in cats and other animals. Veterinary surgeons are highly skilled and trained in the correct use of these drugs. However, all general anaesthesia produces an element of risk and, as with people, it is usually impossible to identify in advance a cat that may react badly to a particular drug. It is known that elderly cats, young kittens and those suffering from an existing illness or weakness are likely to be at greater risk. In all cases, a general anaesthetic will not be given unless there is no alternative and it is considered to be in the animal's best interest. Hence a cat's owners are asked to sign a form consenting to both anaesthesia and surgery, and this gives an opportunity for the details of the procedure to be explained and for any questions to be answered.

    The use of local anaesthetic drugs in cats is generally restricted to the treatment of skin complaints such as the removal of small tumors, etc.

  6. Anaphylactic Shock
    This is an extreme allergic reaction that may uncommonly occur in a cat following an insect sting or bite, injection or ingestion of drugs or, extremely rarely, some type of food. The animal experiences collapse, breathing difficulties, the gums turn blue and there may be vomiting or diarrhea. The cat fails to respond and is evidently extremely ill. This is an emergency and the cat requires an injection of adrenaline, which must be administered quickly in order to save its life.

  7. Appetite Loss
    A loss or lowering of appetite probably occurs in all cats from time to time and the causes are variable. Some-rimes the cause may be obvious, for instance it may be apparent that the cat has a painful mouth and so is reluctant to eat. A cat that has eaten something that disagrees with it and has been sick may refuse its next meal. (If a cat has been sick, it is usually advisable to withhold food for a few hours-see vomiting.) A loss of appetite in cats is often a first sign of illness and may or may not be accompanied by other early symptoms such as lethargy, raised temperature and heartbeat rate, and dull eyes and coat, kidney disease and respiratory illnesses, which depress the ability to smell and taste food, often cause a disinclination to eat. Also, cats that are recovering from illness or injury may refuse food, and a convalescent animal may need considerable coaxing to persuade it to eat. As a general rule it is best to observe the cat closely and, if the problem persists, to take it to a veterinary surgeon for further investigation There may be a simple explanation, such as the presence of a fur ball in the stomach that is making the animal feel full.

    It should also be appreciated that cats are highly sensitive animals, and a loss of appetite can occur as a result of psychological or emotional trauma. Causes include being placed in a cat-arrival of a new pet or baby, disturbance in the house, such DIY activities and decorating, and changes in the normal routine. Highly strung pedigree cats, e.g. Siamese and Burmese, may be more susceptible. Usually these problems can be overcome by sympathetic handling and understanding of the cat's needs and are resolved in a short time.

    Some cats hate to be watched while eating, particularly by unfamiliar people, and this is likely to be a problem with wary, nervous strays. It is also quite normal for both toms and queens to be less interested in food when overcome by the urge to mate.

  8. Arthritis
    Inflammation of the joints, which may affect elderly cats. It is usually noticed as lameness on first rising after a period of rest or as a generalized stiffness and a loss of the graceful fluidity of movement that is so much a feature of cats. It is essential for the cat to be examined by a veterinary surgeon to rule out other possible reasons for the symptoms. There is no cure for arthritis, but various drugs are available that can relieve the symptoms, and warmth is particularly helpful.

  9. Ascites
    A collection of fluid in the abdomen, giving a potbellied appearance. It is usually caused by an illness, particularly feline infectious peritonitis or by a tumor.

  10. Asphyxia
    A state of suffocation during which breathing eventually stops and oxygen fails to reach the tissues and organs. Cases include drowning, strangulation, e.g. from a cat collar that becomes caught, an inhaled object blocking the windpipe and breathing in poisonous fumes. Asphyxia can also occur as a result of anaphylactic shock, when the throat and respiratory massages may swell and prevent air from reaching the lungs. Asphyxia is an emergency, requiring prompt intervention in order to save the cat's life in the form of artificial respiration.
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