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What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

What are some common cat illnesses & symptoms?

Many cat illnesses and their symptoms can be concerning, or even be fatal if left untreated for too long. Our vets in Novato share insights on signs and symptoms to beware of. 

What are some common cat illnesses?

There are some common cat illnesses you should beware of as a cat parent. Be prepared to see your veterinarian if required, especially since cats tend to instinctively isolate when sick. In this post, we review 3 common cat illnesses and their symptoms. 

Upper Respiratory Infections

Viruses and bacteria can infect your cat's upper respiratory tract (their nose, sinuses and throat). Frequently passed around in shelters or multi-cat households, herpesvirus and feline calicivirus are common culprits and cats can contract them through something as basic as sharing a water or food bowl. 

The viruses can be transmitted to other cats the same way, or via coughing or sneezing. They may also be passed while grooming. 

Symptoms include:

  • Gagging, drooling
  • Runny nose or clear/colored nasal discharge
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Decreased or lost appetite
  • Congestion 

Diabetes

If a cat doesn't produce sufficient insulin to balance blood sugar or glucose levels, they develop diabetes mellitus. Left untreated, it may lead to several serious symptoms, such as:

  • Thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Increased appetite (as the body cannot use the energy in food) or loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Motor function problems
  • Coma
  • Death

If diabetes is poorly controlled, the disease can shorten a cat's lifespan and lead to numerous health problems such as nerve disorders. It may also result in severe emergency situations. Treatment can include insulin injections and will be focused on managing this condition. 

Cancer

Uncontrolled growth of cells can cause cancer, which can affect a wide range of organs and cells in a cat's body. The disease first starts to develop within a cell, before it attaches to tissue below the skin and potentially spreading to other areas. 

A common contributor to cancer is Feline Leukemia Virus, which cats can be diagnosed against. Other causes include environmental toxins. If caught early during a physical exam, your vet may be able to treat cancer. 

Symptoms include:

  • Lumps or bumps that change in size or shape
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Odor from the mouth
  • Unexplained bleeding or discharge
  • Marked increase or decrease in appetite
  • Chronic weight loss
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating

Depending on whether the tumor is caught and diagnosed early enough, the type of cancer and its extent, specific location within the body, etc., whether an effective treatment plan can be developed, and other factors, a number of treatments such as radiation, surgery and chemotherapy may be attempted. 

What should I do if my cat is ill?

If your cat is sick and exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, it's critical to bring them to the vet as soon as possible. At Bel Marin Animal Hospital, we have an in-house laboratory, onsite pharmacy, and emergency clinic to provide your pet the care they need (help for after-hours emergencies is also available).

Do you think your cat may be sick? Our vets are experienced in diagnosing and treating many common illnesses and conditions. Book an appointment at Bel Marin Animal Hospital today.

New Patients Welcome

Bel Marin Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Novato companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

(415) 883-0578