Author Archives: admin

Feline Lung Cancer

Like most cancers, feline lung cancer is a very serious condition. It can be categorized as two types, primary and secondary. Primary occurs when the cancer originates in one of the lungs, while the disease spreads to the area from other parts of the body with secondary cancer.

Feline Lung Cancer

Cause

There is no conclusive cause of lung cancer in cats. However, veterinary professionals think that exposure to smoke is one of the primary reasons that the disease develops. It’s thought that cats living in a smoking household have an increased risk.



Signs

With the lungs being affected, cat lung cancer leads to signs of respiratory problems. It’s common for felines to have a dry cough, although sometimes they will cough up blood. Shortness of breath and lethargy can occur due to a lack of oxygen available to the body,

This type of cancer commonly leads to behavior changes. The pain can cause your cat to become more aggressive than usual. He may also stop urinating and defecating in his litter box. Depression is another common symptom caused by feline lung cancer, although many types of diseases and conditions can cause it.

Cancer can easily spread to other parts of the body. This will lead to other signs like bloody lesions or lumps on the skin, bad breath, and vomiting.

Diagnosis

The vet will need to exam your cat as well as his medical history. Lung cancer in cats can be diagnosed based on chest x-rays, or radiographs. The vet may also elect to have an MRI or CT scan done. These tests will help determine not only how badly the disease has affected the lungs, but also if it has already spread to other areas of the body.

Treatment

Your regular vet won’t be able to provide treatment for feline lung cancer. Instead, you will need to take your cat to an oncologist. There are various treatment methods. The specific one appropriate for your cat will be determined based on his age and state of his overall health.

If the disease has yet to spread, then surgery may be a good option. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are the only options if it has already started to affect other areas of the body. Generally, these treatments simply prolong the life of your cat. Once diagnosed with feline lung cancer, cats typically have one year or so to live.

Feline Bladder Stones

Feline bladder stones can develop due to the accumulation of various minerals. Most cats develop either struvite or calcium oxalate stones. A few have issues with urate stones, which are made from uric acid.

Feline Bladder Stones

No matter what they’re made from, they can cause a variety of issues for cats. Their presence in the bladder can lead to inflammation of the walls as the stones rub up against them. In more serious cases, they will block the urethra. Your cat won’t be able to pass urine if this happens, which is a life-threatening emergency.



Causes

Various types of minerals are found in the urine. Usually, they’re dissolved with no problems. They will turn into crystals if they accumulate too much however. The accumulation of these crystals is what causes bladder stones in cats to develop.

Diet plays a role. The type of food that your cat eats as well as how much water he consumes may lead to issues. Also, there are various medical conditions that can cause the minerals to accumulate too much in the urine. Urinary tract infections, for example, can cause cats to develop these stones in the bladder.

Signs

Sometimes, feline bladder stones don’t cause signs of any problems. Many cats though will have difficulty urinating. Others will do so much more frequently than usual or go outside of their litter box. It is also common for there to be blood present in the urine. Males, due to their more narrow urinary tract, have an increased risk of having an obstruction of the urinary tract.

Diagnosis

It’s possible for the vet to palpate your cat’s bladder and detect the stones. However, a much more definitive diagnosis can be made with the help of an x-ray or ultrasound of the abdomen. These tests will tell not only if there are any stones, but also tell how many and how big they are. Since bacterial infections are quite common with this condition, a test on the urine may be conducted to check for one.

It’s not enough to detect the presence of cat bladder stones. The vet will need to know exactly what mineral they’re made of in order to come up with an appropriate treatment plan. If the stones are small enough, your cat may be able to pass them out during urination. In many cases, the stones will need to be removed surgically to see what they’re made from.

Treatment

Surgical removal of feline bladder stones isn’t usually the first option. If they’re made of struvite, then a diet change may be enough to dissolve them. The vet will give this a try over several weeks. In the meantime, he will conduct periodic abdominal x-rays and exams to monitor your cat’s condition. If the stones don’t dissolve after an appropriate period of time, then surgery to remove the struvite stones will be necessary.

Calcium oxalate stones won’t respond to a diet change. If they’re small enough, the vet may try to flush them out using a special procedure. Larger stones will need to be surgically removed however.

Prevention

Some cats have issues with stones developing on a recurring basis. There are special diets on the market that aim to prevent the development of struvite stones. Vets sometimes prescribe medications that help control the pH of your cat’s urine. Cats that have these issues will need vet visits more often. Periodic exams and x-rays can help detect feline bladder stones early before they’ve caused more serious problems.

Feline Congestive Heart Failure

The heart is obviously responsible for pumping blood throughout the body. With feline congestive heart failure, the vital organ won’t be able to pump blood efficiently anymore. This is obviously a major problem.

Congestive heart failure

To make matters worse, this disease isn’t curable. Cats that are diagnosed with it will likely need to take prescription medications on a daily basis for life. They’ll also be at risk of dropping dead suddenly at any time.



Causes

There are many reasons why congestive heart failure in cats occurs. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a heart disease that can easily lead to the condition. Hyperthyroidism is another common condition. Defects present at birth as well as hypertension are two of the other many reasons why this heart condition can develop in your cat.

Signs

If your cat’s heart starts to fail, he will start having trouble breathing and be more tired than usual. He won’t play or exercise as much as he used to because of his weakened state. Fainting is also a common symptom caused by cat congestive heart failure. The mucous membranes will also have a pale color.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of this condition begins with the vet reviewing your cat’s medical history and also conducting a physical examination. If this disease truly is the problem, the vet may hear sounds of congestion when he listens to the chest with a stethoscope. This is due to the fact that this disease causes fluid to accumulate in the lungs.

A number of tests are useful in diagnosing feline congestive heart failure. To see if fluid has built up in the lungs, a chest x-ray can be performed. The x-ray will also let the vet see if there are any physical problems with the heart, such as it being enlarged or misshapen. It’s also usually necessary for your cat to have an echocardiogram performed. Tests on the blood and urine are also routinely conducted.

Treatment

As you have learned already, various things can cause cat heart failure. The reason that the condition develops will need to be addressed. Surgery may be necessary, especially in the case of defects that were present at birth. If the disease leaves your cat unable to breathe properly on his own, he will likely need to be hospitalized and given oxygen.

Buildup of fluid can especially cause breathing difficulty. Medications can be prescribed to help reduce this buildup. Other medications can be used to help the heart pump blood more efficiently also.

This serious disease requires owners to change their cat’s lifestyle. Cats that are normally quite active will need to be restricted somewhat. Cats with this condition need to get plenty of rest. They also shouldn’t be running and jumping around excessively. Feline congestive heart failure also requires periodic vet visits for x-rays and ultrasounds to monitor the disease.

Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Feline inflammatory bowel disease develops when the intestinal tract is home to too many inflammatory cells. They’re sent there by the immune system to fight off an invader, although one doesn’t really exist. Although the condition makes life very uncomfortable for your cat, it can cause even more serious problems. The intestine will eventually start to lose its ability to absorb nutrients thanks to prolonged inflammation.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

It is quite common for this disease to be mistaken with irritable bowel syndrome. The nerves are responsible for causing problems with irritable bowel syndrome, while inflammatory cells are responsible for the signs caused by inflammatory bowel disease in cats.



Cause

Unfortunately, no one understands the reason why this disease occurs. However, there are various factors that are suspected to increase the risk of its development. Two of the main factors include nutrition and genetics. Also, immune system issues have also been suspected to play a role.

Signs

The signs caused by cat inflammatory bowel disease start out slowly and get progressively worse. Vomiting and diarrhea occur initially. However, they don’t appear frequently, so owners don’t usually suspect that something else may be wrong.

As mentioned, inflammation will reduce the intestines ability to absorb nutrients from food. This will result in your cat slowly losing weight. He will also lose his appetite. Stools will be much looser than normal. Also, instead of being solid, they’ll typically be full of mucous.

There are many other conditions that cause signs similar to those caused by feline inflammatory bowel disease. One of the most common is hyperthyroidism. Pancreatitis, leukemia virus, and kidney failure are two other diseases that may be to blame for symptoms. Two other problems that will have to be ruled out include infections by parasite or bacteria.

Diagnosis

A stool sample will be helpful in determining problem. The presence of parasites may be detected. If not, mucousy or bloody stool may point to inflammatory bowel disease in cats.

It’s important that owners give the vet a rough timeframe of when the symptoms started. The vet will need to do a complete review of the medical history as well as a physical examination of your cat. If this disease is to blame, palpation of the intestines may help determine that they’re too firm and thick.

If cat inflammatory bowel disease is suspected, then the vet will likely perform a biopsy. If there are too many inflammatory cells in the intestines, then the biopsy will show their presence. If the cells are detected, then the vet will need to know what type they are which the biopsy will also show.

Treatment

It’s important to understand that there is no cure for this disease. The symptoms it causes can only be managed. To ensure that a bacterial infection isn’t responsible, antibiotics may be given. Loose stool and diarrhea can be limited with specific medications also.

Vets often recommend a change in diet in order to help with inflammatory bowel disease in cats. One or more of the ingredients in your cat’s food may be the underlying cause of the disease. Therefore, vets may start treatment by trying a diet that’s highly-digestible or hypoallergenic.

It is vital that you not feed your cat anything that’s not on the approved food list by your veterinarian. It can a few weeks to a few months for the symptoms to go away based on a food trial. Steroids and medications to suppress the immune system from sending the inflammatory cells can also be helpful in dealing with feline inflammatory bowel disease.

Feline Heartworm Disease

Fortunately for cat owners, feline heartworm disease isn’t as prevalent a problem for them to deal with as dog owners. The feline heart is smaller than its canine counterpart. That’s why these invasive worms prefer canine hosts since they’ll have much more room.

Feline Heartworm Disease

However, cats can still become infected, just not as often. The disease is quite serious as it can easily prove to be fatal to cats. They don’t handle an infection of the worms very well. If the worms die soon after they reach their internal destination, the resulting reaction may be too much for the feline to handle. The parasite’s continued presence presents problems of its own too.

Causes

Mosquitoes harbor heartworm larvae. Whenever they bite a cat, it will become infected with the larvae. Once in the bloodstream, they will try to make their way to the blood vessels in the lungs or the heart.

Signs

Although these parasites cause a condition known as feline heartworm disease, the main problems occur in the lungs. They will block proper function, leaving cats unable to breathe properly. In its initial stages, this condition mimics the signs produced by congestive heart failure. The death of one or multiple worms isn’t particularly a good thing, as cats can just drop dead because of their demise.

Some of the most common symptoms of heartworm disease in cats include wheezing, gasping, and coughing. Appetite loss develops too. It is also quite common for felines to have episodes of vomiting as the disease progresses.

Diagnosis

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to diagnose feline heartworm disease. It takes numerous tests to confirm a suspicion such as x-rays, laboratory tests, and a heart sonogram.

Treatment

As difficult as diagnosis can be, treatment of this condition is even more difficult. Cats can’t be given medication to deal with the disease like dogs can. Surgery to remove the worms physically is also virtually impossible.

If it’s confirmed that your feline has heartworm disease, then the vet will have to monitor him closely until the worms die on their own. This can take a couple of years to happen. You will have to take your cat to the vet on a periodic basis to have chest x-rays done.

Cats with this disease will suffer a number of respiratory symptoms. Supportive care can be provided to help improve quality of life. Intravenous fluids and steroids can help tremendously. Cats that are really suffering respiratory problems may even need to be provided with supplemental oxygen.

Prevention

Despite the complicated life cycle of the larvae, it is necessary for a mosquito to bite your cat in order for him to develop this disease. Therefore, you can keep your cat from being bitten. That’s virtually impossible though, even if you keep your cat indoors.

Feline Conjunctivitis

It is quite common for cats to develop conjunctivitis. The conjunctiva is the membrane that lines the eyelids and encompasses a portion of the eyeball surface. The condition develops whenever it becomes inflamed.

Feline Conjunctivitis

It is important to get this inflammation treated as soon as possible. Failure to do so could open the door to more serious eye problems developing. Corneal ulcers can easily develop due to serious inflammation.

Causes

Conjunctivitis in cats can occur for a wide range of reasons. Fungal, bacterial, and viral infections are commonly the underlying reason that the problem occurs. The condition is also a side effect of diseases like immunodeficiency virus, herpes virus, and chlamydia. Also, the conjunctiva can become inflamed because of allergens like pollen.

Signs

Fortunately, owners have no trouble spotting signs of cat conjunctivitis. The affected eye will turn noticeably red. One or both may be affected. The red color is caused by the presence of blood vessels and the build up of fluid in the area.

Another common sign of inflammation is discharge from the eye. The particular color will vary anywhere from clear to greenish yellow. The eye will be very irritating, causing cats to paw in an effort to get relief. It’s also common for the eye to swell, especially if it’s continuously pawed at.

Diagnosis

To diagnose feline conjunctivitis is a relatively straightforward process. The vet will simply take a culture of the eye discharge. This will provide him with information as to the underlying cause, whether it be fungal, bacterial, etc.

Treatment

Cats that are suffering from conjunctivitis are usually provided relief in the form of eye ointment or drops. These will have to be applied multiple times throughout the day, the frequency of which will be determined by the specific medication. Allergic reactions can be treated with anti-inflammatory eye drops.

The eye’s red color should diminish within just a few days of your cat receiving the ointment or drops. However, it’s important that you continue applying them for the prescribed length of time even if the symptoms have disappeared. If you discontinue treatment early, the condition may not be fully treated.

As you have already learned, the herpes virus can also lead to signs of this condition. In these particular cases, the symptoms of feline conjunctivitis may disappear for a while, but will more than likely recur at some point.

Feline Roundworms

Feline roundworms are very common parasites. These worms, which make their way to the intestinal tract, can be anywhere between three and six inches long. Unlike most other parasites that affect the intestinal tract, they don’t attach themselves to the walls. They simply float around freely. An infestation leads to a disease known as ascariasis.

Feline Roundworms

Cause

Roundworms in cats become a problem when eggs that contain infective larvae are swallowed. These eggs are usually found in the stool of cats. They can also be harbored by rodents, so cats can become infected when they eat them. Most commonly however, mothers pass the infection to her kittens through placenta or the milk.

Signs

Cat roundworms don’t always cause noticeable signs, especially when they aren’t present in large numbers. If the infestation is sizable however, kittens can suffer from life-threatening problems. Adults typically don’t suffer from issues though.

If a kitten is infected with roundworms, you may notice that he appears to have a pot-belly. He won’t grow properly and can also start to lose weight. His hair coat will also appear dull. Vomiting and diarrhea are also common signs of an infestation, with roundworms sometimes being expelled through stool and vomit.

Diagnosis

The veterinarian can diagnose feline roundworms using a stool sample. The feces will be mixed with a solution that will force roundworm eggs to float. This can be examined under a microscope, allowing the vet to determine if these parasites are indeed the problem. It may sometimes be necessary to examine multiple stool samples since the eggs may not be present at all times, although they’re usually abundant.

Treatment

There are various medications used to treat an infestation of roundworms in cats. After the medication kills off the worms, they will be expelled from the body through the stool. It’s important to note that these medications are only effective in killing adult worms. Once larvae have had time to mature, usually two to three weeks, another round of medication will be necessary.

In the case of kittens, it is usually best that they be given periodic deworming medication during each visit to the vet. Owners should also take proper precautions with their adult cats, especially if they spend a lot of time outdoors. To prevent feline roundworms, adults can be given period deworming medications also.

Feline Pneumonia

If it isn’t treated, feline pneumonia can turn into a serious problem. It occurs when the lungs become inflamed due to a foreign substance or organism of some sort. When inflamed, the lungs won’t be able to perform properly which causes breathing difficulty. Fortunately, this condition doesn’t affect cats frequently.

Feline Pneumonia

Cause

Pneumonia in cats usually occurs whenever they’re suffering from another condition that affects the respiratory system. The weakened immune system leaves them susceptible. Invasion of organisms like fungi, viruses, or bacteria can also lead to this respiratory illness. Cats that inhale water, vomit, or another type of substance that can irritate that lungs are also at risk.

Signs

The most noticeable sign of cat pneumonia is breathing difficulty. You may notice respiratory sounds being louder than normal. If only a small portion of the lungs are inflamed, signs won’t be as bad. Symptoms will become more severe as a larger portion of the lungs become affected. Other signs include nasal discharge, coughing, and fever. It is also common for felines to lose their appetite somewhat.

Diagnosis

Like with most conditions, the vet will start out reviewing your pet’s medical history and performing a physical examination. He will pay special attention to the chest if feline pneumonia is suspected. Using a stethoscope, he’ll be able to hear if there are any breathing problems.

In order to get a definitive diagnosis though, an x-ray of the chest may need to be done. As mentioned, various organizations can cause pneumonia in cats. It’s necessary to identify the specific one that’s causing the condition if a foreign substance isn’t to blame.

Treatment

If an invading organism can be identified to be the cause of the illness, the appropriate medication will be prescribed. This is only effective if the organism is bacterial. In some cases, cats will need to undergo surgery to correct the problem.

Pneumonia in felines causes respiratory distress, the severity of which varies. If the distress is severe, your cat may need to receive oxygen therapy. Intravenous fluids can be helpful if dehydration is a concern.

Prognosis

Most cats are able to recover from this condition if they are otherwise healthy. Other conditions that cause pneumonia to develop on a secondary basis may lower the prognosis. Infectious peritonitis is a disease that can lead to cat pneumonia, and it is generally fatal, especially for young or old cats.

Feline Parvovirus

The feline parvovirus causes a devastating disease known as distemper or panleukopenia. Although the feline version shares the same name as the one that affects their canine counterparts, the two conditions aren’t the same. They aren’t caused by the same virus and can’t be passed between the two types of pets.

Feline Parvovirus

Feline Parvovirus

Parvo is a virus that can easily be kept at bay with proper vaccination. This is the main reason why the disease is no longer as widespread as it once was. However, it can still be problematic for cats that are unvaccinated in the wild. Those who are infected usually have less than a 50% chance for survival.

Cause

Usually, young cats are infected with the virus. However, adults can also be infected if they haven’t been vaccinated. The cat parvovirus is very capable of surviving in the environment for long periods of time. In fact, it can survive for about a year. This is the reason why cats are usually infected by coming into contact with infected areas rather than infected cats.

Signs

Parvovirus in felines is especially bad since it destroys the white blood cells. This leaves your cat vulnerable to a wide range of other illnesses. Once signs appear, you’ll quickly see that it’s time for a trip to the veterinarian.

A high fever will develop. Lethargy and depression will likely occur too. Since the digestive system is especially targeted, cats will have bloody diarrhea and signs of malnutrition and dehydration. Severe cases of the condition can result in sudden death.

Diagnosis

Of course, the veterinarian will discuss your cat’s medical history and do a physical exam. The exam may show that the abdomen is swollen, and maybe painful to the touch. The lymph nodes may also be swollen and clearly show that there is some type of problem. To diagnose the disease, the vet will have blood tests done, which will show the low levels of white blood cells. Inflammation of the small intestines will also point to parvo.

Treatment

There is no cure for feline parvovirus. Only supportive care can be provided for the disease itself. However, other conditions may take the opportunity presented by your cat’s weakened immune system. Antibiotics may be prescribed to stave them off. Cats that are having seizures may need to be given medications to prevent them.

As you read earlier, this virus is capable of surviving in the environment for a long time. It is vital that you disinfect anything that your cat has come into contact with. This includes toys, sleeping/travel cage, and food and water bowls. You can use a solution of bleach and water to kill the virus. Don’t panic if you have dogs in the house since they won’t be affected by this particular virus.

Prognosis

Parvovirus in cats has a high mortality rate. Young kittens can easily succumb to the disease. If they’re able to survive for four to five days with supportive care, they have a much higher chance of surviving. However, the road to recovery will be a long one, often taking a few weeks.

Prevention

There is no reason to deal with this horrible disease as vaccination can easily prevent it. Have your kitten vaccinated when they’re two to three months of age, complete with the required followup shots. After these vaccination shots, there should be no reason to worry about feline parvovirus for the rest of his life.

Feline Liver Failure

Liver failure in felines is a very serious condition, commonly used interchangeably with liver disease. The condition can occur on either an acute or chronic basis. Acute cases develop suddenly, while chronic failure develops gradually over a period of time.

Being a vital organ, the liver is responsible for performing many functions. So, if it stops working correctly, your cat will experience many issues. The organ is responsible for tasks such as removing toxins from blood, secreting bile and enzymes for digestion, converting sugars, and manufacturing certain hormones.

Causes

Feline liver failure develops for various reasons, but fatty liver disease is one of the most common reasons why it occurs in cats. This disease results when the body resorts to using fat stores for fuel because the cat isn’t getting the right amount of nutrition. In order to use the fat stores, they must first be broken down by the liver. Unfortunately, the liver may not be able to handle the workload, resulting in decreased function and disease.

The ingestion of toxins is another reason why cats suffer from liver problems. Cancer cells may also spread to the organ and lead to liver disease in cats. Usually, cats don’t have problems with cancer developing in the liver initially. It typically spreads from elsewhere.

Signs

As you just learned, cat liver failure can be caused by various factors. The specific reason why the condition occurs will play a large role in the type of symptoms your cat experiences. Oftentimes, they will be nonspecific, and not indicate exactly what problem your cat is facing.

Some of the initial signs include loss of weight and appetite. Increased thirst and urination are also common. Jaundice, which occurs when the mucous membranes, skin, and eyes turn yellow, will also develop as the disease progresses. Some cats will also have issues with vomiting, depression, lethargy, and even seizures.

Diagnosis

In order to make an accurate diagnosis, the vet will run a battery of tests after the initial physical examination and medical history questionnaire. An analysis of the blood and urine will be quite helpful. A radiograph, ultrasound, and in some cases a biopsy of the liver will also be helpful in determining if your pet is indeed suffering from feline liver failure.

A biopsy, or sample of the liver tissue, will help determine exactly what your cat is dealing with. The x-ray and ultrasound will help the vet determine what physical shape the liver is in, including if it’s enlarged and misshapen.

Treatment

In the case of fatty liver disease, your cat will need to be provided with nutritional support, likely in the form of a feeding tube. If he is still willing to eat on his own though, stimulants may be provided to encourage him to do so.

Other forms of supportive care will be necessary. To prevent dehydration from setting in because of vomiting or lack of appetite, fluids may be provided intravenously or subcutaneously. Medications to limit vomiting may also be helpful.

1 2 3 7