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What are the most common cat health problems and how to prevent them?

Updated on October 29, 2007

I know I am not alone when I say as I cat owner I do love my felines dearly and I want to ensure they are happy and healthy. However sometimes even with multiple lashings of attention and care cats can fall ill. Unfortunately some conditions cannot be prevent, but certain conditions can be treated and nipped in the bud so your cat can still have the best quality of life. Listed down below are the most common health problems cats are prone to but the good news is if caught early you can prevent and treat the problem with proper treatment.

Overactive thyroid - what it means is that your cat's thyroid gland has gotten enlarged and it produces excessive amounts of hormones. It is most commonly caused by a tumor on one or both thyroid glands, but this tumor is only malignant in 2-5% of the cases. Some of the symptoms include: lethargy and weakness, diarrhea, frequent vomiting, irritability and nervousness, increased appetite or thirst and unexplained weight loss. It is not expected that a cat will present all of the above symptoms however if there are 2 or more present you should visit a vet immediately. Once the vet has examined your cat (there is a specific thyroid test that can be conducted) there are a number of treatments available, which include surgery, radioiodine treatment and anti-thyroid medication. It would be best if you would talk to the vet about the best possible treatment and the options available to make an informed decision about what is best for you cat.

FLUTD - Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease - FLUDT is a inflammation of lower urinary tract in cats that has the potential to be very painful and fatal if left untreated. The causes for the inflammation are many and varied from low water intake to diet, bacteria, viruses and urine retention. Symptoms include frequent or difficult urination, urination in inappropriate places, blood in urine, appetite loss or frequent licking of the genitals. Some of the treatments include antibiotics, catheterization or in some cases surgery. But also pet owners are encouraged to ensure their cats drink plenty of water and change the cat's diet.

Diabetes - cat diabetes can happen to any cat regardless of age, however most prone to it are older, obese male cats. There is Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes is a result of insufficient insulin production, while Type 2 Diabetes in cats is causes because cat's body cannot handle the insulin in an effective way. Secondary diabetes can be a side-effect of other diseases or drugs that hinder the natural process in which the body handles insulin. Your vet should be able to determine which type of diabetes the cat has through urine sugar levels and blood sugar levels. Symptoms include weakness and loss of appetite, weight loss, dehydration, increased thirst and urination and vomiting. The treatments usually combine a number of things such as monitoring insulin and glucose levels, change in diet and weight control, oral medication, insulin injections and/or nutrient supplements. Again, consult your vet about the treatments, options and possible side-effects before deciding on a treatment.

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