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Cat Illnesses

Cats are wonderful companions but can also become ill. In this blog post, our veterinarians in Redmond will cover contagious cat illnesses, critical conditions requiring immediate attention, and how certain diseases can affect humans. Understanding these illnesses is crucial for protecting both cats and their owners.

Your Cat's Health

Cats are known for being impassive animals and are very skilled at concealing signs of pain or symptoms of illness. They often hide when they don't feel well, making it difficult to tell if they are sick. Therefore, it's crucial for pet parents to closely monitor their cat's health and be prepared for when their beloved feline does show signs of being unwell.

The Most Contagious Cat Illnesses

Contagious cat illnesses can spread quickly among feline populations, particularly in multi-cat households or shelters. Here are some of the most common contagious cat illnesses:

  • Feline Upper Respiratory Infections (URI) - This is caused by viruses such as the feline herpesvirus (FHV) and feline calicivirus (FCV). Symptoms include sneezing, nasal discharge, and eye discharge. These highly contagious infections can spread through direct contact or contaminated surfaces.
  • Feline Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper) - This is a severe viral disease caused by the feline parvovirus. It is extremely contagious and can be fatal, particularly in kittens. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and severe dehydration. Vaccination is crucial for prevention.
  • Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) - is a retrovirus that impairs a cat’s immune system, making them more susceptible to other infections. It spreads through saliva, blood, and other bodily fluids. While not all infected cats show symptoms immediately, the virus can lead to serious health issues over time.

The Most Serious Cat Illnesses

Some cat illnesses pose a greater threat to a cat’s health and require prompt veterinary attention, since their symptoms are classified as a veterinary emergency. These serious cat illnesses include:

  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) - is a fatal disease caused by a mutated form of the feline coronavirus. It primarily affects young cats and those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms vary but can include fever, weight loss, and fluid accumulation in the abdomen or chest.
  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) - is common in older cats and can lead to a gradual decline in kidney function. Symptoms include increased thirst and urination, weight loss, and poor coat condition. Early detection and management are vital to improving the quality of life for affected cats.
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) -  is the most common heart disease in cats, characterized by the thickening of the heart muscle. This condition can lead to heart failure or sudden death. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, lethargy, and fainting. Regular veterinary check-ups can help manage this condition.

How Cat Illnesses Can Affect Humans

Some cat illnesses, known as zoonotic diseases, can be transmitted from cats to humans. Understanding these cat illnesses and diseases is essential for maintaining the health of both cats and their owners.

  • Cat Scratch Disease (CSD) -  is caused by the bacterium Bartonella henselae, and can be transmitted through scratches or bites from an infected cat.  In humans, it can cause fever, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue.
  • Toxoplasmosis -  is caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Cats can shed the parasite in their feces, which can infect humans through accidental ingestion. Pregnant women and individuals with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk.
  • Ringworm -  Despite its name, ringworm is a fungal infection, not a worm. It causes circular, itchy patches on the skin and can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected cat or contaminated surfaces.

What to Do if Your Cat is Ill

If your cat is ill and exhibiting any of the symptoms above, it’s imperative to bring it to a vet as soon as possible. Our vets have in-house laboratories, on-site pharmacies, and emergency clinics to provide your pet with the necessary care. Contact our emergency veterinary care.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your cat is showing symptoms of being unwell, contact one of our Redmond today to book an appointment.

New Patients Welcome

Cinder Rock Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Redmond companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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