Animals

The 5 most common diseases of cats

Millions of people in the world have one or more Cats as a pet. Since some years they have become almost a trend, not only for its aesthetics but for its enigmatic personality and care facilities compared to dogs.

Although they involve fewer problems than dogs, because they are much more independent, they involve a great responsibility. It's not just about feed them and give it a home, but also take them to the vet at least twice a year, to prevent any possible illness.

Not all owners know it, but cats may suffer from leukemia, AIDS and infectious peritonitis, the three most common diseases. Fausto Reyes Delgado, medical director of the UNAM-Banfield Veterinary Hospital, explained to the university more details about these conditions.

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Although it is a popular saying, cats do not really have seven lives so it is important to know how to recognize the symptoms of the five very common diseases in felines. We tell you how to treat them, prevent them and when it is convenient to go to the veterinarian.

Cats for their welfare need a healthy diet, sleep in a quiet space with no shrill noises, enjoy moments and game elements to stay active (they like to scratch, hunt, climb), that we spend time with them, a clean sandpit where to do their needs. Also note that they are territorial and very attached to their routines.

Taking good care of them also implies go to the vet to make them their health checkups, vaccinate them, deworm them and, of course, to treat them when they are sick. Y there is no public health system For pets, you will have to pay everything out of your pocket. Therefore, before welcoming a cat or any other animal at home, it is advisable to be well informed and be aware that a pet can not be a simple whim.

The fleas, once they choose a host, they stay to live in it and feed on their blood. Eggs, larvae or pupae spread throughout the animal's environment as soon as it is scratched. Long ago heat and humidity, the infestation is faster. Generally, cats catch them when they leave home.

  • symptom: They are produced by the saliva of fleas when biting the host for food. They cause itching, which leads animals to scratch a lot, lick and even bite. The most sensitive may develop dermatitis: irritated and inflamed skin, small bumps, especially on the neck and back. The cat can lose hair.
  • When to go to the vet: When you appreciate that intense scratching. If you carefully examine the cat's hair, separating it strand by strand, you may see some.
  • Treatment: With special flea products for cats.
  • Prevention: Clean the entire area where the cat moves, to eliminate larvae, eggs and pupae. It may be necessary to resort to insecticides, although they are not the most effective against larvae.

It has many points in common with AIDS in humansalthough the cause a vcat specific irus and so it is not transmitted to people. Another difference is that the main route of transmission is not through sex, but through cat bites already infected. Therefore, stray cats are more likely to have this virus. Transmission from the mother to the puppy during childbirth or breastfeeding is very rare.

  • symptom: It may be years until he shows his face. But since it begins to manifest itself, life expectancy for the cat is usually 5 years. At first, it causes a lot of swollen glands and some fever. As it progresses, it weakens both the defenses of the animal that it chains an infection behind another in different parts of the body: skin, eyes, in the urinary and respiratory system. A typical symptom is progressive weight loss. Others that may also occur are seizures, behavioral changes and neurological problems. It can lead to cancer and blood diseases.
  • When to go to the vet: If the cat seems sick, if it has been bitten or has had a high risk of infection. A blood test 60 days after possible infection will tell us if our cat has been infected or not.
  • Treatment: There is currently no cure. A cat infected with this virus, with proper management, can live a normal life for years. Antivirals may be helpful in cats suffering from seizures or oral infections, but so far they have not been shown to increase survival.
  • Prevention: If you have a cat that is infected at home, it is best to isolate it and not let other cats use their belongings. For healthy cats, it is not advisable to let them wander around the neighborhood if there are other congeners without veterinary control, which may be the focus of infection. Currently, there is no effective vaccine that protects cats from infection with this virus.

They can occur for different causes: fungal infections, virus, bacteria or parasites, by stress due to alterations in its territory and routines, due to the training of stones or crystals in the urinary tract, by a obstruction in the urethra (more typical in males), Cancer, bladder neurological control failures, birth malformations. Often, the most affected felines are those of middle age, overweight, sedentary life, fed only on the basis of dry food of low quality and with a litter box inside the house.

  • symptom: They often lick the genital area, urinate more frequently, out of their box or with difficulties or pain (they throw sharp meows), in the urine there is sometimes blood. In severe cases, they cannot urinate at all.
  • When to go to the vet: As soon as I notice those symptoms. But urgently if there are symptoms of obstruction: he does not get to urinate although he tries often, he is lethargic and without appetite.
  • Treatment: Offer you more chances to drink water and more often, along with a specific diet for these problems and pain relieving drugs. The rest depends: if there is infection, antibiotics, if there are stones, from a change of diet to surgery, if there is obstruction, a tube is inserted through the urethra and a sterile fluid is injected to unlock it.
  • Prevention: Take care of your environment and the hygiene of your sandbox, offer more opportunities to drink water, follow the dietary advice of the veterinarian.

They are respiratory infections caused by virus or bacteria. Although in 80-90% of cases those responsible are two viruses: feline calcivirus (FCV) and herpesvirus (FVR). Infected cats spread it to other congeners because of their sneezing or nasal or ocular secretions.

  • symptom: Sneezing, distemper and tearing appear between 2 and 10 days after infection that, in some cases, affects the eyes (conjunctivitis) and mouth (ulcers). It usually lasts 7 to 10 days if it is not complicated, but sometimes it lasts more than 20 days, depending on the cause. When it is due to viruses, it tends to become chronic or recur in times of stress or weakness. If left untreated, it can lead to pneumonia, chronic respiratory problems or even blindness.
  • When to go to the vet: If you notice that any of these symptoms appear. Additional tests may be necessary to see if the lungs or sinuses are affected or to do a culture to analyze the cause of the infection.
  • Treatment: Help remove nasal and ocular secretions, with water-based nasal washes with salt. Make sure the cat eats and drinks enough. If there is any bacterial infection, give antibiotics.
  • Prevention: Avoid contact with sick cats. There are vaccines, for example for FCV, but they do not prevent the disease, they only attenuate the symptoms or shorten their duration.

The feline coronavirus (CoVF) He is responsible for this disease. East virus it is transmitted by infected cat feces and survive 7 weeks in a dry environment. It affects more cats less than 1 year, those who suffer stress and those who carry the feline leukemia virus.

  • symptom: They do not always appear. Many infected cats stay healthy or suffer mild intestinal inflammation. But it can also be aggravated and lead to infectious peritonitis: in some cases it manifests in a moist form, with a large amount of fluid that accumulates inside the thoracic cavity or peritoneum, in others the dry form appears, which causes lesions in different organs and parts of the body (kidneys, colon, lymph nodes, eyes, nervous system). Sometimes, it is given together and is accompanied by fever resistant to antibiotic treatment, drowsiness, weight loss and appetite.
  • When to go to the vet: If you suspect that your cat suffers from this disease, go to the veterinarian urgently.
  • Treatment: When it leads to infectious peritonitis, there is not much to do, although corticosteroids are sometimes chosen to reduce the inflammatory processes caused by the virus. The average survival time is usually 9 days after diagnosis.
  • Prevention: There is a vaccine for intranasal administration, but it is only useful in puppies that have never been exposed to the virus. In previously infected cats, it is not effective. As the transmission is produced by feces, you have to be very strict with hygiene, clean the sandbox frequently and not have it near food. In homes where a cat has died from this infection, wait at least 2 months before inserting another cat.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (PIF)

Caused by a coronavirus, two forms have been described: wet and dry. In both forms they have the same first symptoms: fever, loss of appetite Y apathy. In the wet form it will be seen that the cat loses weight, has a hard time breathing and has anemia, and in the dry form the animal will have several affected organs, so the symptoms will be varied: paralysis, disorientation, loss of vision.

Feline Viral Panleukopenia

This disease is caused by parvovirus, and is very infectious. It is characterized by a decrease in white blood cells, which weakens the immune system, and by the destruction of the intestinal mucosa. Thus, the symptoms are: diarrhea, loss of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain. The vaccine is the only effective method to prevent panleukopenia.

Feline leukemia

It is a very serious disease that is also transmitted through a virus, specifically by a retrovirus. It affects the immune system, so it can cause tumors, anemia, decreased defenses and infections all types.

Feline calicivirus

This is a disease that, although not fatal, can prevent the animal from leading a normal life. The most frequent symptoms are: appearance of ulcers on the tongue, palate and nostrils, general discomfort, sneeze, conjunctivitis. It can be easily prevented by vaccination.

Feline chlamydia

Chlamydia is a disease of the respiratory tract. The symptoms are: conjunctivitis that does not heal easily, rhinitis, Y mild lung lesions. It can also affect the cat's genital organs. It is transmitted by direct contact and, although the vaccine can help, you really can never be sure that you have completely passed it.

Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis

Transmitted by a virus, it is transmitted by direct contact. It affects the respiratory tract, causing sneeze, fever, incompetence, cough, excessive salivation and, in severe cases, difficulty breathing. However, you should know that you can prevent it by giving the corresponding vaccine after 2 months of age.

Whenever our furry is not well, it is best to take it to the specialist. So surely he will soon recover 🙂.