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What You Should Know About the Most Common Cat Diseases
Happiness begins with good health. This is as true for cats as it is for us. Being healthy means enjoying the basic processes of life – a good meal, a restful night’s sleep, play time and, yes, answering nature’s call.
Unfortunately, good health is highly valued because there are times when our pets may suffer from a sickness or injury. The worst part is not knowing when your cat is sick or hurt. Cats try to hide illness because of an innate desire to conceal any weakness as a survival mechanism.
Top 20 Diseases in Cats
3. Urinary Tract Infection
4. Upper Respiratory Infection
6. Weight Loss
8. Diabetes Mellitus
10. Anorexia/Decreased Appetite
13. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
15. Inapprpriate Urination
20. Gastroenteritis (Vomiting and Diarrhea)
Dr. Debra Primovic, Editor in Chief of Petplace.com, said many of the top 20 claims are expensive to treat, especially for the more serious conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, and pancreatitis. Primovic recommends that pet owners take advantage of pet insurance policies that can help you do the best for your pet in the case of an accident or illness. Pet insurance can be simple to use and really gives you, the pet owner, the ability to do the best thing for your pet.
Close examination of your pet can help protect your pet. It is important for pet owners to check regularly for irregularities in a pet’s appetite, water consumption, urination and defecation, attitude, energy level, litter box use, and monitor for any skin masses or tumors. Spotting changes in your cat early is critical to his or her long-term health. The longer a problem is allowed to persist, the more difficult it is to treat.
Stomach irritation is very common in cats, she says. “Pet owners can control many of these cases by feeding a quality diet to their pet and seeing their veterinarian early since stomach problems may indicate other internal conditions.”
Primovic says there’s a lot cat owners can do to identify urinary tract infections in their pets. “If you observe your cat urinating more frequently than normal or urinating outside of the litter box, promptly contact your veterinarian so that treatment can begin as soon as possible,” she says. For cats, feline urinary tract disease (FLUTD, once commonly referred to as FUS, or feline urologic syndrome) can be prevented with a special diet. “Be alert to the symptoms of frequent urination and house-soiling, and contact your veterinarian at the first signs,” she adds.
Frequent urination and increased water intake can also be a sign of diabetes. Again, a proper diet can help lower the incidence of diabetes, kidney disease, or hyperthyroidism.
Some conditions aren’t preventable, of course. “There’s not much a pet owner can do to prevent hyperthyroidism or arthritis,” said Primovic. “But in the case of arthritis, cat owners are in the best position to spot early symptoms of this painful disease. If you notice your cat reluctant to jump up on items like the bed like they used to or playing less, contact your veterinarian. While arthritis is incurable, there are medications available to relieve the pain.
“We want our pets with us as long as possible,” adds Primovic. “But we want them to be enjoying their lives with us too. That means keeping them healthy and happy with good diets, a lot of love and regular veterinary care.”
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