What Do Those Words Mean: Diseases and Conditions of Cats

Diseases and Conditions of Cats
Diseases and Conditions of Cats

Understanding Medical Terminology on Diseases and Conditions of Cats

Veterinary science has entered an exciting time. New breakthroughs in veterinary health care allow veterinarians to identify and treat diseases before they become serious, or help owners manage them so their cats can live longer and better.

Below is a list of the top 100 conditions and diseases of cats.

  • Abscess is a pocket of infected fluid or pus. This is common in cats from a bite wound.
  • Anal sac disease is a disease of the anal gland (the scent gland by the rectum). Symptoms include “scooting”, excessive licking at the anal gland area and discharge.
  • Anemia (hemolytic) is the destruction of red blood cells. Symptoms include lethargy, weakness and collapse.
  • Anemia (nonregenerative) is the failure of the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. Symptoms include lethargy, weakness and weight loss.
  • Anterior uveitis is inflammation of the front part of the eye. Symptoms include pain (squinting) and a red eye.
  • Aortic stenosis is the abnormal narrowing of the aortic heart valve or the region just below the valve. Symptoms include heart murmur, fainting and difficulty breathing.
  • Arthritis (degenerative/osteoarthritis) is the deterioration of joint cartilage. Symptoms include lameness and pain.
  • Arthritis (immune mediated) is the inflammation of joint tissue caused by overstimulation of the body’s immune system. Symptoms include lameness, pain and fever.
  • Asthma (feline) is the condition of abnormal spontaneous constriction of the airway. Symptoms include difficulty breathing and coughing.
  • Atrial fibrillation/flutter is an abnormal heart rhythm originating in the upper chambers of the heart (the atria). Symptoms include exercise intolerance and difficulty breathing.
  • Aural hematoma is a blood clot or bleeding collecting between the layers of ear cartilage. Symptoms include thickening of the ear, shaking the head and scratching at the ear.
  • Bite wound is a wound caused by the bite from another animal. Bites wounds are common in cats and often occur from other cats.
  • Bladder tumor is a tumor/cancer of the bladder. Symptoms in cats include blood in the urine and difficulty urinating.
  • Bleeding disorder is a disorder causing abnormal clotting of blood and leading to bleeding. Symptoms include bleeding and easy bruising.
  • Bronchitis (chronic) is the chronic inflammation of the bronchial tree (airways). Symptoms include coughing and gagging.
  • Cardiomyopathy (hypertrophic – feline) is an inappropriate thickening of the ventricular heart muscle causing abnormal heart function. Symptoms include exercise intolerance and difficulty breathing.
  • Cataract(s) is an opaque change in the lens of the eye. Symptoms include white appearance in the eye and vision loss.
  • Colitis is the inflammation of the large bowel. Symptoms include diarrhea with mucous/blood and straining.
  • Congestive heart failure is the failure of the heart to fill and pump blood normally. Symptoms include exercise intolerance and difficulty breathing.
  • Corneal ulceration is ulceration or erosion of the cornea (the outer, clear layer of the eye). Symptoms include red and painful eyes.
  • Coxofemoral (hip) luxation is the dislocation of the hip joint. Symptoms include lameness and pain.
  • Cutaneous neoplasms are skin tumors or skin cancer. Symptoms include swelling and inflammation of the skin.
  • Cystitis is inflammation of the bladder. Symptoms include frequent, small urinations often in inappropriate locations.
  • Dental disease is disease of the teeth, supporting structures or gums. Symptoms include foul breath, gingivitis (red gums) and loss of appetite.
  • Dermatitis (acute moist) is also called a “hot spot” – a red, irritating, weeping skin lesion. Symptoms include inflamed skin that is painful to the touch.
  • Dermatitis (allergic) is inflammation of the skin caused by allergies. Symptoms include itching (pruritus) and red skin.
  • Dermatitis (mycotic) is inflammation of the skin caused by a fungal infection. Symptoms include hair loss (alopecia), dry or red skin and itching.
  • Diabetes mellitus is a disease related to inadequate insulin, causing high blood sugar. Symptoms include excessive urination, excessive thirst and lethargy.
  • Diaphragmatic hernia is an abnormal opening in the diaphragm (the respiratory muscle between the chest and abdomen). Symptoms include difficulty breathing and exercise intolerance.
  • Elbow dysplasia is the abnormal formation and degeneration of the elbow joint. Symptoms include forelimb lameness and elbow pain.
  • Epilepsy is a recurrent seizure disorder or “fits.” Symptoms include convulsions/seizures and abnormal behavior.
  • Ethylene glycol toxicosis is antifreeze poisoning. Symptoms include staggering, lethargy and depression.
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is feline “AIDS” virus, a viral infection that impairs the immune system in cats. Symptoms vary with infections, but often include fever and depression.
  • Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is an infectious virus that can cause a variety of severe diseases in cats. Symptoms include weight loss, fluid accumulation, loss of appetite and fever.
  • Feline leukemia virus infection (FeLV) is a virus that can cause leukemia, cancer and suppression of the immune system in cats. Symptoms vary on infection but often include fever and depression.
  • Feline lower urinary tract disease is a disease associated with crystal accumulation in urinary tract of cats. Symptoms include frequent small urinations in appropriate locations. Some cat may be unable to urinate if a urinary obstruction occurs.
  • Feline upper respiratory infection complex is a group of contagious diseases that cause sneezing, coughing, oral ulcers or eye infections in cats.
  • Fracture is a broken bone. Symptoms include lameness and pain.
  • Gastrointestinal neoplasia is a stomach or bowel tumor or cancer. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss.
  • Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. Symptoms include red gums, mouth odor and decreased appetite.
  • Glaucoma is an abnormal increase in intra-ocular (eye) pressure that can lead to blindness. Symptoms include a red, painful or swollen eye.

 

  • Hairballs are an accumulation of swallowed hair in the stomach/esophagus. Symptoms include gagging, regurgitation of hair, food and liquid.
  • Head trauma is an injury to the head that can cause abnormal intra-cranial pressure and neurologic problems. Symptoms include observed injury, lethargy or depression.
  • Heartworm disease (feline) is an infection of the arteries of the lungs by the heartworm parasite. The parasite can injure the lungs and the heart. Symptoms include vomiting, coughing and difficulty breathing.
  • Hemangiosarcoma is a cancer of blood vessels, often affecting the spleen, liver, heart and lungs. Symptoms include weakness or collapse and difficulty breathing.
  • Hepatic diseases refer to various liver diseases. Symptoms include anorexia, weight loss, vomiting and lethargy in cats.
  • Hepatic encephalopathy refers to liver disease associated with mental or behavioral changes. Symptoms include disorientation and seizures.
  • Hip dysplasia is a malformation and/or degeneration of the hip joint. Symptoms include lameness and pain.
  • Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s Disease) is a condition caused by excessive amounts of naturally occurring cortisone. Symptoms include excessive drinking and a pendulous abdomen.
  • Hypercalcemia is high levels of calcium within the blood. Symptoms include excessive urination and lethargy.
  • Hypertension is high blood pressure. Symptoms include exercise intolerance and difficulty breathing.
  • Hyperthyroidism is an overactive thyroid gland or too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms include weight loss and excessive eating. This is a common condition in older cats.
  • Hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s disease) is a condition caused by inadequate amounts of cortisone and other adrenal gland hormones. Symptoms include lethargy and anorexia.
  • Hypothyroidism is abnormally low thyroid function. Symptoms include lethargy and weight gain. This is a common condition in dogs but uncommon in cats.
  • Infectious tracheobronchitis is kennel cough (inflammation of the trachea and bronchus causing coughing). Symptoms include coughing and gagging.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease is an inflammatory disease of the intestines. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Intervertebral disc disease (cervical) is an abnormality of the neck. Symptoms include neck pain and reluctance to exercise.
  • Intervertebral disc disease (thoracolumbar) is a disc abnormality of the mid back. Symptoms include back pain and hind limb weakness.
  • Laryngeal paresis /paralysis is inadequate movement of the voice box. Symptoms include difficulty breathing and noisy respiration.
  • Lick granuloma/acral dermatitis is inflammation of the skin caused by licking. Symptoms include itching, licking and red skin.
  • Liver disease (feline hepatic lipidosis) is fatty liver disease. Symptoms include anorexia, jaundice and weight loss.
  • Liver disease (hepatic neoplasia) is cancer of the liver. Symptoms include anorexia and weight loss.
  • Lumbosacral disease is disease of the spine over the lower back. Symptoms include pian and hind limb lameness.
  • Lymphosarcoma (feline) is a malignant (cancerous) change of lymphocytes (a type of cell found in lymph glands or tissue). Symptoms vary but may include anorexia and lethargy.
  • Mast cell tumor is a cancer arising from cells commonly found in the skin, intestine and spleen. Symptoms include skin mass (can look like any mass) and red skin.
  • Neoplasia of the oral cavity (general) is cancer of the mouth. Symptoms include bad breath and hypersalivation.
  • Osteosarcoma is malignant cancer of the bone. Symptoms include lameness and swollen bones.
  • Otitis externa is inflammation/infection of the outer ear canal. Symptoms include shaking head, discharge, odor and scratching.

 

  • Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, an organ associated with digestion. Symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pain and anorexia.
  • Pericardial effusion is the abnormal accumulation of fluid around the heart. Symptoms include weakness and difficulty breathing.
  • Peripheral neuropathies (general) are abnormal functions of the nerves leaving the spinal cord, typically affecting function of the face and limbs. Symptoms include muscle weakness and pain.
  • Pleural effusion is an abnormal accumulation of fluid around the lungs in the chest cavity. Symptoms in cats include difficulty breathing and exercise intolerance.
  • Pneumonia (bacterial) is an inflammation or infection of the lungs caused by bacteria. Symptoms include coughing, anorexia, fever and difficulty breathing.
  • Pulmonary fibrosis is the inflammation or degeneration leading to scaring (fibrosis) in the lungs. Symptoms include shortness of breath and exercise intolerance.
  • Renal failure (chronic) is kidney failure, or the chronic inability to transfer toxic products from the blood into the urine. Symptoms in cats include anorexia, weight loss and vomiting. This is a very common condition in older cats.
  • Renal failure (acute) is the sudden onset of kidney failure. Symptoms include anorexia, weight loss and vomiting.
  • Rodenticide toxicosis is poisoning from ingesting rodent (rat, mice, gopher, etc.) poison. Symptoms will vary depending on the type of poison and may include lethargy, bleeding, seizures and excessive thirst.
  • Ruptured anterior cruciate ligament is the tearing of the “ACL” – an important ligament in the knee joint. Symptoms include rear leg lameness and pain in the knee.
  • Separation anxiety syndrome is a behavioral disorder that occurs when an owner leaves the cat alone. Symptoms include panic/anxiety attacks and self-induced mutilation. This problem is more common in dogs han cats.
  • Thrombocytopenia is an abnormally low numbers of platelets in the bloodstream. Symptoms include bleeding, nose bleeds and skin hemorrhages (bruising).
  • Urolithiasis is calculi or stones in the bladder or elsewhere in the urinary tract. Symptoms include frequent and/or abnormal urination, straining and blood in the urine.
  • Vestibular disease is a disturbance of part of the brain or inner ear associated with balance. Symptoms in cats include head tilt and poor coordination.
  • Whelping/dystocia (general) is difficulty giving birth. Symptoms include straining and failing to birth kittens.