While cats are largely low maintenance pets and can usually take care of themselves well, there are cases typical health that not even the most resilient cats can avoid. As good pet owners, it goes a long way to be able to spot the signs of common health problems in cats and know how to handle them.
Vomiting can be a minor problem with an easy cause, such as eating too fast or eating something inedible like string, but it can also be a sign of a more serious condition if it persists. The symptoms are fairly obvious, including drooling and heaving. Vomiting can also be associated with gastrointestinal or systemic disorders.
If your cat experiences, in addition to vomiting, diarrhea and sudden weight loss and seems more lethargic, this could be a sign of a more serious condition. Avoid food and water until vomiting subsides for an hour or two, and then slowly reintroduce water and a bland diet, which helps to make sure your cat stays hydrated. Take the cat to the vet right away as soon as you can.
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)
Not a common problem (only three percent of cats), FLUTD is a variety of diseases with different causes that can affect a cat’s urinary system. This can be caused by stones accumulating in the bladder or urethra, a bladder infection, a tumor, or stress. Diseases like hyperthyroidism and diabetes can cause lower urinary tract problems in cats. FLUTD is often diagnosed in animals around four years old, and male cats are typically more prone to it. Difficulty urinating, loss of bladder control, prolonged squatting in the litter box, strong odor in urine, and a hard abdomen may be symptoms of urinary trouble.
One of the most common health problems for cats is tapeworms, which can live in a cat’s small intestine and grow as long as two feet. Symptoms may be subtle or blatant, including vomiting and weight loss. Tapeworms often resemble small grains of rice or sesame seeds once they’ve passed through your cat’s system. Treatment can include topical medication, oral medication, or injections. Cats often get tapeworms from swallowing fleas. If you cat experiences trouble with either, treat the fleas first to prevent tapeworms from occurring again.
Fleas are one of the more common external health problems in cats and other pets, but fortunately they are easy to treat. If you suspect your cat might have fleas, try to look for tiny black dots, constant scratching, frequent licking, red or irritated skin, hair loss, and skin infections.
If the problem persists, your cat is at risk for developing anemia, so treat your cat’s flea problem as soon as possible to prevent future infestations. Talk to your vet about flea control and what is best for your cat. Treatments may include oral medication, powders, foam, and topical medication. For bleeding caused by extensive scratching, an antibiotic ointment and Manuka honey can go a long way.
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