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The Eight Most Common Ailments in Cats

Cats have common afflictions which affect their health adversely. Most do not cause death but some do. The good news is that most of the illnesses are curable through preventive medicine. This is why it is imperative to have that annual physical and to visit your veterinarian whenever you cats behavior changes suddenly or drastically.

The top eight afflictions are:

1. Hairballs

Cause: Dirt and hair gather on the cat's tongue and gets swallowed. The hair and dirt stay stuck in the cat's digestive tract building into a ball of mucus.

Treatment: Usually a cat can cough up a hairball but at times a hairball can travel to the intestines where it causes serious even life threatening problem. Keeping your cat groomed, serving hairball formula cat food and treats, and regular visits to your vet are the best prevention.

2. Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

Cause: Infections and substandard food.

Treatment: Medicine given by your veterinarian and cat food designed to prevent UTI from starting in the first place.

Symptoms: Watch for fowl smelling litter boxes or urinating outside the litter box and infrequent urinating. Male cats that have not been neutered get UTI more often than female cats do.

3. Feline Leukemia Virus (FLV).

Cause: Virus

Treatment: A vaccine given before the cat is exposed to the disease. Cats that are exposed are highly infectious and have only a short time to live.

4. Feline Immune Deficiency Virus (FIV).

Cause: Feline HIV (AIDS) Virus

Treatment: Unknown cure but no cat has died yet. Feline Immune Deficiency Virus can not be caught by humans.

5. Feline Infectious Peritonitis.

Cause: Virus in the family of the Corona Virus

Treatment: No known Cure. This disease is highly dangerous but is not spread as easily as other illnesses are. There is a test for FIP but the test results are not trustworthy. Even though there is a vaccination for this virus a number of veterinarians and scientists believe the final conclusions to be uncertain.

6. Common Cat Worms. The most common types of worms are: roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms. Heartworms are not usually found in cats but can be a source of problems.

Cause: Environment and fleas.

Treatment: Medicine provided by your veterinarian that is relatively inexpensive. If left untreated worms can kill.

Symptoms or Signs: Tiny white specks similar to rice will appear in the stool of your cat. An infestation of fleas may precede worms, weight loss or being unable to gain weight can also indicate the presence of worms.

7. Fleas and ticks.

Cause: Exposure to untreated areas outdoors.

Treatment: Flea dips and baths, and medication given by your vet. Ticks should be removed by a veterinarian and the cat should be treated with medication to treat Lyme disease.

Symptoms of Lyme disease: slowed movements, inactivity, behaving as though they are hurting all the time.

8. Feline Obesity.

Cause: Too much food and too little exercise.

Treatment: Cats need to be under the care of a veterinarian when starting a diet. Their liver can be damaged if not supervised. Obesity is serious and leads to diabetes which affects the organs of the cat's body and can be fatal. Prevention, a healthy diet and exercise are the best treatments. Cats do live with diabetes but many require insulin and dietary supplements for the rest of their lives.

The best way to keep your cat healthy and happy is to practice good preventative careand make sure you visit your veterinarian at least one time a year.

Debra Guevara, Owner []

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