Common Cat Health Problems: Part Two
Published on March 7, 2019 by Krissy Jackson
There are a lot of reasons your cat may not feel well. In the second part of our blog series on cat health problems, we discuss additional problems and conditions that affect young and senior cats.
Cat Health Problem #6 – Kidney Disease
Kidney disease or renal failure can cause the body to make more red blood cells. This stimulates the bone marrow, helps to control blood pressure, and removes waste matter from the blood. There isn’t a cure for kidney failure. Renal failure can be managed if it’s caught early enough by your veterinarian.
Acute kidney failure may begin over a period of a few weeks. The urethra becomes blocked and restricts blood flow into the kidneys. A few of the ways cats may develop kidney disease are:
- Eating poisonous plants
- Becoming quickly dehydrated
- Trauma or shock which results in a lot of blood loss, infections, and heart failure
Depending on the severity of the condition, treatment may include IV fluids, hospitalization, appetite stimulants, iron, and injections.
Cat Health Problem #7 – Lymphoma
Lymphoma is one of the most common types of cancer that cats may develop. The cancer affects the lymph nodes, which contain white blood cells. These cells usually defend their immune system. When the tumor grows, it destroys healthy cells. The disease can affect the spleen, sinuses, eyes, liver, digestive tract, skin, and liver.
Cat Health Problem #8 – Overactive Thyroid
An overactive thyroid results from the thyroid becoming enlarged and produces too much of the thyroid hormone, thyrotoxicosis. The problem could be cancerous, but the odds are minimal. Of all reported cases, 2-5% of cases are cancerous. Radioactive therapy, surgery, or medication may be prescribed.
Cat Health Problem #9 – Sniffles and Sneezes
Sniffles and sneezes in cats may be the result of a cold or upper respiratory infection. A cat can develop a virus when their immune system is weakened. Sometimes sneezes and sniffles are the result of seasonal allergies. However, cats can develop symptoms like this from food allergies, and a change in diet may be in order.
Health Problems in Senior Cats
Heart disease, failing kidneys, cognitive disorders, and vision or hearing loss are among the problems that develop as cats get older. By working closely with your veterinarian and vet tech, you can give your cat a better quality of life. Another issue that veterinarians see more often in cats is arthritis. Studies indicate that almost all cats that are over ten years old have at least some signs of the disease.
The good news for pet owners is that although there aren’t a lot of medications that can alleviate the pain in joints, there are several excellent supplements on the market that can help with the pain and stiffness. Chondroitin and glucosamine help treat arthritis and are contained in these supplements.
Cognitive Dysfunction in Cats
Cognitive dysfunction is a degenerative condition sometimes known as CDS. The disease affects animals the same way it does people. Behavior modification, changes in your cat’s environment, and certain medications may all help to make them more comfortable.
Hypertension in Cats
Hypertension or high blood pressure and heart disease are usually associated with humans, but animals can develop these serious medical conditions. As cats age, the heart doesn’t work as well as it did when they were younger. Among the signs of heart disease in felines are:
- Collapsing or fainting
- Problems using their hind legs
- Breathing difficulties
- Being restless at night
- Swelling in the abdomen
Depending on the severity of the condition, your veterinarian may prescribe a special diet or medication to keep the condition under control.
What Causes Hypertension?
High blood pressure is a common malady for felines seven years of age and older. Among the cause of hypertension are hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, and diabetes. Symptoms that could be associated with hypertension are:
- Enlarged heart or heart murmurs
- Walking in circles
- Eye problems
As a result, your veterinarian may prescribe a special diet and a plan for weight loss. Several excellent medications can control high blood pressure in felines. The veterinarian will prescribe the drug that will be best for your pet.
How Vet Techs Can Educate Owners About Preventive Care
A knowledgeable veterinary technician should be familiar with the guidelines set forth by the AAHA regarding drugs and procedures so they can provide the best care possible for pets.
Similarly, veterinary technicians can make the cat owner feel at ease and be able to handle an animal that’s frightened. Veterinary technicians should know all aspects of pet care and be able to clearly explain everything to the owner.
Special Care for Kittens
If you’ve adopted a kitten, the veterinary technician can explain how you can keep your pet healthy. Some of the issues a veterinary technician should cover with an owner:
- The importance of vaccines
- Keeping a pet’s teeth and gums clean to prevent dental issues
- Regular grooming to prevent hairballs
- Importance of exercise
Special Care for Senior Pets
When a pet gets older, they can develop an array of feline diseases. The veterinary technician explains that it’s essential for felines to be seen every six months, which is easier to treat if caught early.
Nutrition That Will Help Prevent Cat Problems
Proper nutrition for cats begins with top-quality food. Because of this, the best diet for cats depends on their age, activity level, and allergies. Cat food should contain fatty acids to keep their immune system healthy and antioxidants to fight free radicals.
Guidelines from the Association of American Feed Control Officials indicate that if food for cats contains beef and turkey, it must be at least 95 percent of those ingredients. All foods should contain animal fat and protein. An excellent way to choose the best food is to feed life-stage foods designed for kittens, mature cats, or senior cats to make sure they’re getting the nutrients they need.
Want to Learn More?
Did learning about the most common cat health problems interest you? Ready to start a program to become a veterinary technician? With an associate degree in veterinary technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.
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