At The Pet’s Place Animal Hospital, cats are kind of our business. We know a lot about them and the things that affect their health and we thought that it was time to share with you. Knowing about common cat conditions can help feline fanatics everywhere recognize and understand diseases that affect our pets so that we can better help them.
While we can’t possibly talk about every problem that plagues our purring patients, there are a few that show up more regularly than others.
Our top five common cat conditions that we would like cat owners to know about include:
Feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORLs)—These painful lesions of the teeth happen when normal cells in the tooth called odontoclasts create holes in the tooth near the gumline similar to a cavity. The underlying cause for feline tooth resorption is unknown at this time, but they affect up to 60% of all cats. Our patients with this problem have pain, may drool or bleed from the mouth, or have difficulty eating, although many cats have no obvious outward symptoms. Treatment may include removing all or part of the affected teeth.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)—Cats are known for vomiting, but not all vomiting is normal. Many kitties who have vomiting episodes more than a time or two a month, suffer from diarrhea, or who have trouble maintaining a healthy body weight may suffer from inflammatory bowel disease. This is often managed with special diets and/or medications.
Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD)—A large number of cats suffer from FLUTD at times. This painful urinary condition results in symptoms that may include frequent urination, blood in the urine, straining to urinate, and urinating outside of the litter box. Underlying causes for this disease include things like bladder stones, urinary tract infection, cancer, or cystitis. Cystitis, or inflammation of the lining of the bladder, is the most common cause of FLUTD and can be exacerbated by stress. Both male and female cats can suffer from FLUTD, but because male cats have a smaller urethral opening, they are more likely to have their urinary tract blocked by inflammatory material and crystals. Urinary obstruction is a life-threatening pet emergency.
Endocrine disease—Our feline friends are very commonly affected by endocrine disorders including diabetes mellitus and hyperthyroidism. These issues can result in changes in eating or drinking habits, weight loss, and changes in personality.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD)—Chronic kidney disease in cats is a very common diagnosis, especially in middle-aged to older cats. Aging changes to the kidneys result in their decreased ability to function. Affected pets often have increased thirst and urination, may lose weight, and may have weight loss. Secondary problems such as anemia and high blood pressure can also occur.
As a cat owner, you know your pet best. When you notice changes in your cat’s normal routines and behaviors, don’t hesitate to call us. For the most part, pet owner’s instincts are right on.
It is also important to allow us to perform routine wellness care for your cat. Annual examinations help us to notice small things like changes in weight or habits. Screening blood and urine tests may help us to pick up on minor trends. Routine dental work helps us to find problems that your cat was hiding. Proactive pet care is a powerful tool
Familiarizing yourself with common cat conditions can help you to be alert to signs that something may not be quite right. Not every change is cause for alarm, but we would rather be safe than sorry, and letting us know about anything out of the ordinary can help us to stay ahead of any issues that might be underlying.