THESE SYMPTOMS MAY MEAN YOUR CAT IS SICK:
As a cat lover, you have a close and wonderful relationship with your pet. Cats can be warm, lovable and funny. They can greatly enrich the quality of life of its owner. However, cats, like all livings things can become sick sometimes. If the owner is not alerted to the problem, a simple problem can become a catastrophe. Here are some common signs to look for to determine if your cat is sick.
Cats are experts at hiding their illnesses. So, in many cases their symptoms may not be seen. Consequently, you as her owner must be vigilant and must know your cat’s routine. In this report we will discuss some common illnesses and their symptoms.
The most common sign that you cat is sick is that he/she hides in closed dark places. Sick cats often lie quietly in a hunched position. They might neglect grooming. Your cat may be purring. But, that can be misleading. Especially since cats purr when they’re happy, and when they’re sick or in pain.
If your cat has breathing difficulties he may refuse to lie on his side. And, he may keep his head raised. Cats with neurological problems may be confused. They may have seizures. Or, they may press their heads into furniture or walls. This is not the head butting that cats do on your leg affectionately. But, rather prolonged pressing on a surface.
Most cats who don’t feel well usually don’t want to eat. Some illnesses, however, can cause increased appetite. So, don’t ignore your suddenly ravenous cat. Make sure that you see your cat every day. Keep tabs on whether she is eating, and drinking water. Check that he is pooping regularly.
Your cat can get diarrhea because of nervousness, a change in diet or water, or food sensitivities. Diarrhea could also be caused by intestinal parasites, infections, poisoning, or many illnesses. Call the veterinarian if your cat has watery diarrhea, diarrhea with blood, or diarrhea accompanied by vomiting.
It is not unusual for cats to become constipated. They may strain to defecate. A constipated cat may cry or meow in the litter-box. They may pass only small, hard feces, or pass small amounts of watery feces.
Don’t panic if she misses one day of poop. However, if three days go by without your cat defecating you should consider seeing the vet. Examine your cat’s litter-box to make sure she is defecating as she should.
WHY DOES MY CAT EATS GRASS?
Scientists can’t agree on why cats eat grass. Also, cats are carnivores not herbivores, so, they do not have the enzymes needed to digest grass.
In the wild, cats do it after eating prey. And, some believe it’s to make them vomit up the indigestible parts of their prey. They believe that the digestive muscles in the cats begin to spasm causing them to regurgitate any indigestible materials which could include the grass, furballs, parasites, and anything else that would block proper digestion.
Other scientists suggest that the cat is anxious and chews on things like electrical cords, strings, or grass to relieve stress. Although, both anxious cats as well as calm laissez-faire cats eat grass.
Still another school of thought proposes that cats eat grass for the nutrients it contains. They hold that cats may graze on grass to boost its vitamin levels. Grass contains a nutrient called folic acid which helps provide more oxygen through the blood stream.
Some cats just love to eat grass. Whether you have an indoor or outdoor cat your cat has probably nibbled on grass on more than one occasion. Many cats love grass and it is not generally harmful to them. So, why deny them the pleasure.
The best grass for cats to eat is oat grass. Other grasses like wheat, rye, and barley, are also commonly used. They are completely safe for cats to eat. Cat’s grass is quick and easy to grow and has loads of essential vitamins to help keep your cat feeling healthy.
SYMPTOMS, TREATMENT, AND PREVENTION OF THESE DISEASES:
As a cat parent, you should be aware of the common diseases that can affect your little bundle of fur. You should be familar with the symptoms, and preventive measures you can take to keep your cat safe. These diseases can range from kitty’s cold to some potential fatal disorders.
In order to prevent the most common cat diseases, get your cat vaccinated, and provide healthy foods and ample exercise. Most of the common diseases that they can contract are treatable. It is important to be able to recognise them through the common symptoms so you can get help from your vet if necessary.
SICK CAT: OBESITY:
Obesity in cats can cause a variety of disorders such as diabetes, heart disease, and bone and joint problems. The most common cause of obesity in cats is over feeding, feeding the wrong type of foods, and lack of exercise.
TREATMENT FOR OBESITY:
This is an easy fix if you have only 1 cat. Simply adjust the amount of food your cat has access to. If you have more than 1 cat you will need to feed them separately to limit the amount of food he consumes. You will also need to make sure that the overweight cat does not steal the other cat’s food (you could feed them in different rooms with the doors closed).
If the type of food is the problem, you could ask your vet to make recommendation as to the type of food you should get. Some cheaper brands contain excessive fats and sodium. This may taste great, but will cause them to put on extra weight. Never feed your cat human food.
Playing with your cat, and providing ample toys, and scratching posts, will give your cat the exercise they need. Keep in mind that cats will slow down as they get older so, you need to adjust their food quantity accordingly.
There are some breeds of cats, like Persian cats, that tend to become obese. Also, hormonal disorders or anxiety can sometimes cause your cat to become overweight. In this case your cat will need medical attention.
SICK CAT: DENTAL DISEASES:
Research suggests that more than 50% of all cats will have some dental issues in their lifetime and 50% of these will have to have teeth removed. This makes dental diseases the number one disease affecting cats.
The primary cause of these diseases is the buildup of plaque on the teeth along the gum line. And, if left unchecked, leads to tartar. Consequently it is important to clean your cats teeth regularly.
There are 3 dental diseases that occur at varying levels of infection in cats. These are gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth resorption. And they can be so painful that it causes the cat to stop eating.
This is a condition in which the gums around the teeth become red, swollen, and painful. Bacteria becomes trapped in the plaque on the teeth at the base of the gum (gingiva) causing infection and inflamation.
Uncontrolled gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, in which the tissues that attach the tooth to the gums and bone are damaged. This may lead to loose teeth and tooth loss. Periodontitis can even affect the cat’s immune system.
In tooth resorption, the tooth structure breaks down from the inside of the tooth, and then progressing to other parts of the tooth. Tooth resorption is the most common cause of tooth loss in cats. Yet, no one knows why it occurs.
SYMPTOMS OF DENTAL DISEASE:
Dental diseases in cats can be seen as swelling, redness, discomfort, and sometimes bleeding at the gum line (the gingival margin). Depending upon the severity of infection, cats may refuse to eat, may turn their heads at an angle while eating, may drool, or develop bad breath (halitosis).
TREATMENT Of DENTAL DISEASE:
Gingivitis can be prevented by cleaning your cats teeth regularly. It is important to use only tooth gel or toothpaste designed specifically for cats, as human products can be toxic to cats. Most cats can be taught to accept teeth cleaning.
Fortunately, for cats, gingivitis is reversible. Treatments depend upon how severe the infection is, and include cleaning the cat’s teeth regularly, giving him antibiotics, and scaling of inflammation-inducing plaque from the teeth (which usually requires anesthesia). Your cat may also need immunosuppressive drugs. In extreme cases, some teeth may need to be removed.
Treatment for feline periodontitis include scaling of teeth to remove plaque and mineral buildup. Scaling is painful and require anesthesia. In extreme cases of periodontitis, one or more teeth may need to be removed. Unfortunately, periodontitis is not reversible.
In most cases of tooth resorption, a cat will show signs of pain, discomfort, and may have visual lesions which extend into the crown of the tooth. The best treatment is to remove the entire tooth. In severe cases, it may be difficult to extract the entire tooth. Consequently, the veterinarian may simply remove the crown of the tooth (the visible part of the tooth). Regular follow up and treatments are necessary to control progression of this disease.
SICK CAT: PANCREATITIS:
While the jury is still out as to the cause of pancreatitis, this ailment has been associated with cat poisoning, parasitic infections, and even physical trauma like a car accident. Cats with pancreatitis often suffer from inflammatory bowel disease and Fatty Liver Disease as well.
SYMPTOMS OF PANCREATITIS:
Increased thirst and urination (similar to diabetes),
Poor appetite or not eating at all,
TREATMENT OF PANCREATITIS:
Many forms of feline pancreatitis are mild and non-life threatening. Learning to spot the signs of the problem and acting quickly is the best way to avoid it worsening.
Acute feline pancreatitis on the other hand, always require hospitalization. Your cat will be given intravenous IV fluids for dehydration and to detoxify the pancreas, antibiotics to reduce suppurative (infectious) pancreatitis. She will need pain medicine, as well as anti-nausea medicine to help combat nausea and to help her regain her appetite.
FEEDING YOUR CAT WHILE SHE RECOVERS:
At home, if your cat is unable to eat on her own she may need a feeding tube. One common type of feeding tube fits into a soft collar and lets your cat move and play normally. Your vet will teach you how to give food, water, and medications through the tube. Don’t worry, these are easy to use, gentle on your cat, and extremely important in providing the nutrients your cat needs.
Your vet may also suggest feeding your cat appetizing and easily digestible foods as soon as possible. If the cat vomits often, the vet may suggest an alternative methods of feeding. Your vet could also recommend a food that helps with associated ailments like inflammatory bowel disease, and fatty liver disease.
SICK CAT: COMMON CAT PARASITES:
Cat parasites harm your kitty in various ways. Parasites can decrease your cat’s blood volume causing anemia.
Fleas on cats can not only lead to anemia from blood loss, but also cause anemia from the transmission of another parasite from the flea to your cat. This organism can cause feline infectious anemia.
In addition to the more common tapeworms, and feline roundworms, there are other internal worms such as stomach worms, hookworms, and whipworms.
SYMPTOMS OF INTESTINAL PARASITES IN FELINES:
The symptoms of intestinal parasites in cats include:
Vomiting, sometimes vomiting worms or worm segments,
Worms or worm segments (tapeworms) in the feces,
Segments of tapeworms in the anal area (look like white rice),
Dehydration due to frequent vomiting and diarrhea,
Lack of appetite (however if the cat is affected by tapeworms, his appetite will not decrease),
PREVENTION OF INTESTINAL PARASITES:
Fortunately it is easy to prevent these intestinal parasites:
1. Make sure your cat is not exposed to the feces of other cats and dogs.
2. Don’t allow your cat to hunt rodents. Cats can also get tapeworm from rodents.
3. Deworm all new kittens and stray cats and have their feces analyzed microscopically.
4. Prevent fleas that can transmit feline tape worm.
5. Prevent your cat from ingesting the vomit of other cats, rodents, and larger insects such as roaches and crickets.
6. Don’t feed raw meat to your cat. This will also help avoid infection with feline Toxoplasmosis.
7. Clean litter boxes daily.
TREATMENT OF CAT INTESTINAL PARASITES:
While your cat will be the healthiest if you prevent infestation of intestinal parasites, cat worming medicine will eradicate most of them, should your cat contract them. Cat tapeworm medication is very different from cat deworming medicine. Consequently, you should have a fecal examinations to determine the exact feline intestinal parasite your cat may have before administering any medicine.
EXTERNAL CAT PARASITES:
External cat parasites include fleas, ticks, Ear Mites, and lice.
All cat owners should treat their pet for fleas and ticks. If left untreated, these pesky parasites can infest not only your cat but your house and yard as well. Cats can acquire fleas from other animals, including wildlife in the backyard or another cat or dog in the household.
Fleas live in the cat’s fur where it is warm and moist. They stick to the cat’s skin, especially around the back of the neck and the top of the tail and head, and they suck the cat’s blood. These bites cause itching and cats respond by licking and scratching.
Ticks carry diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tick Paralysis, Babesiosis, and Cytauzoonosis, a usually fatal red blood cell disease. Hence, it is important to monitor outdoor cats for ticks.
Feline ear mites cause itchy ears that can lead to problems such as ear hematomas from self-trauma, cat ear infections, inflammation, polyps, and even hearing loss. Feline ear mites are transmitted from cat to cat. If your cat is scratching at his ears constantly, or there is dark brown/black debris in your kitty’s ears, it is likely that he has ear mites.
TREATMENT OF EXTERNAL CAT PARASITES:
Use a flea comb and check your cat regularly for fleas or flea dirt. Also, apply a flea preventative such as Frontline Plus for Cats or Advantage for Cats once monthly.
Frontline Plus for Cats is also effective in preventing ticks. However, you can remove ticks using tweezers. Grasp the head of the tick as close to the skin as you can and pull firmly to remove.
There are effective shampoos and treatments against lice for cats. PetArmor Plus Flea & Tick Squeeze-On Treatment for Cats also contains a treatment for lice. However, for the safety of your cat, don’t try anything without speaking with your vet.
Sentry HC Earmite Free Ear Miticide for Cats is an easy way to get rid of cat ear mites.
SICK CAT: URINARY TRACT INFECTION:
This affliction is more common in male cats but can occur in females as well. If your cat is having difficulty passing urine for more than 24 hours he may have a lower urinary tract infection. Lower urinary tract infection is so dangerous it may require trip to the emergency room. Cats may have mild discomfort, or a life threatening inability to pass urine. Your cat will make extra trips to the litter box. They may even have accidents outside the litterbox. More obvious signs are licking at the genital area, vomiting, or extreme lethargy. They may also lose weight or have a decreased appetite. Cats diagnosed with a UTI are treated with a broad-spectrum antibiotic. It is extremely important that you administer the antibiotic exactly as instructed by the veterinarian and for the complete duration of the treatment course. You may also have to change the type of food he eats. If your cat is suffering from a UTI, the best home treatment is apple cider vinegar. In fact, regular use of apple cider vinegar may prevent frequent occurrences of UTIs. You can also use it to treat feline cystitis, and get rid of fleas from cats, dogs, and even your house. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar helps neutralize the harmful bacteria that cause the infection. Additionally, several other nutrients in it help boost your cat’s immunity to fight off any kind of infection. To help treat the infection, you can mix raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar into your cat’s food. The amount depends on the weight of your cat. Cats weighing: 15 to 20 pounds should be given ½ teaspoon. 7 to 14 pounds should be given ¼ teaspoon. 4 to 6 pounds should be given ⅛ teaspoon. Less than 4 pounds should be given 5 drops. Extra Water: Drinking plenty of water is the most important preventive measure for urinary tract disorders like UTIs. Adequate water intake ensures urination, which helps flush harmful toxins as well as bacteria within the urinary tract out of the body. You can also give your cat canned food, which can contain as much as 75 percent water.
SYMPTOMS OF LOWER URINARY TRACT INFECTION:
TREATMENT OF A URINARY TRACT INFECTION:
HOME REMEDY FOR A UTI IN CATS:
Apple Cider Vinegar:
Cats may have mild discomfort, or a life threatening inability to pass urine. Your cat will make extra trips to the litter box. They may even have accidents outside the litterbox. More obvious signs are licking at the genital area, vomiting, or extreme lethargy. They may also lose weight or have a decreased appetite.
Cats diagnosed with a UTI are treated with a broad-spectrum antibiotic. It is extremely important that you administer the antibiotic exactly as instructed by the veterinarian and for the complete duration of the treatment course. You may also have to change the type of food he eats.
If your cat is suffering from a UTI, the best home treatment is apple cider vinegar. In fact, regular use of apple cider vinegar may prevent frequent occurrences of UTIs. You can also use it to treat feline cystitis, and get rid of fleas from cats, dogs, and even your house.
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar helps neutralize the harmful bacteria that cause the infection. Additionally, several other nutrients in it help boost your cat’s immunity to fight off any kind of infection.
To help treat the infection, you can mix raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar into your cat’s food. The amount depends on the weight of your cat. Cats weighing:
15 to 20 pounds should be given ½ teaspoon.
7 to 14 pounds should be given ¼ teaspoon.
4 to 6 pounds should be given ⅛ teaspoon.
Less than 4 pounds should be given 5 drops.
Extra Water: Drinking plenty of water is the most important preventive measure for urinary tract disorders like UTIs.
Adequate water intake ensures urination, which helps flush harmful toxins as well as bacteria within the urinary tract out of the body. You can also give your cat canned food, which can contain as much as 75 percent water.
SICK CAT: DIABETES:
Diabetes in cats is a complex disease caused by either a lack of the hormone insulin, or an inadequate response to insulin. After a cat eats, her digestive system breaks food into various components, including glucose. The glucose is carried into her cells by insulin.
When a cat does not produce enough insulin, her blood sugar levels could rise. And, hyperglycemia can occur. If left untreated, it can become life-threatening. Diabetes can be classified as: Type I (lack of insulin production) or Type II (limited insulin production).
Cats with type II diabetes can progress to type I diabetes. In fact, by the time most cats are diagnosed with diabetes, they are identified as having the type I disorder.
To properly diagnose diabetes, your veterinarian will collect information about clinical signs. They should perform a physical examination, and check blood work, and urinalysis.
A proper diet and regular exercise can go a long way to avoid the development of feline diabetes. Obesity is known to contribute to insulin resistance.
IF YOU SUSPECT THAT YOUR CAT HAS DIABETES:
If you suspect that your cat is diabetic you should take him to the Vet immediately. If a diabetic cat is not treated, he can develop kidney disease, neurological disorders, or other metabolic diseases, and other life threatening disorders.
Every diabetic cat is an individual and will respond differently to therapy. Diabetes treatment is based on how severe the signs of disease are, and whether there are any other health issues that could complicate therapy.
Some cats who are seriously ill when first diagnosed may require intensive hospitalized care for several days to regulate their blood sugar levels. Cats with type I diabetes require insulin therapy for survival.
Cats who are more stable when first diagnosed may respond to oral medication or a high-fiber diet.
For most cats, insulin injections are necessary for adequate regulation of blood glucose. Once your pet’s individual insulin treatment is established, typically based on weight, you will be shown how to give him his insulin injections at home.
Your vet may also show you how to perform glucose tests at home. Other routine blood work may also be necessary.
Cats with type II diabetes may respond to other less invasive forms of therapy. Keep in mind that cats with diabetes can live long and happy lives if given the right treatment.
Cancer is a disease in which cells grow uncontrollably, destroying surrounding tissue. Sometimes. it may spread to other areas of the body. The disease can be localized (confined to one area, like a tumor) or generalized (spread throughout the body).
SYMPTOMS OF CANCER IN CATS:
Cancer is a “multifactorial” disease, which means it has no known single cause. However, we do know that both hereditary and environmental factors can cause cancer in cats.
Cancer of the ear, eyelid or nose is a skin cancer caused by exposure to the sun. White, or light colored, cats are more susceptible to this type of cancer.
Lymphosarcoma or lymphoma (LSA), is one of the most common type of cancer in cats. Some reports estimate that 30% of all reported cat cancers are due to LSA. Symptoms of cancer in cats can include lumps. You may also see swelling, persistent sores, skin infections, or abnormal discharge from any part of the body.
Other symptoms could be bad breath, listlessness, and lethargy, weight loss, diarrhea or vomiting.
DIAGNOSING CANCER IN CATS:
the first step is typically a needle biopsy, which removes a very small tissue sample for microscopic examination of cells. Alternately, surgery may be performed to remove all or part of the lump for diagnosis by a pathologist.
Radiographs, ultrasound, blood evaluation and other diagnostic tests may also be helpful in determining if cancer is present or if it has spread.
TREATMENT OF CANCERS IN CATS:
Keeping your cat indoors will protect her from certain skin cancers caused by repeated sun exposure and sunburn.
Breast cancer is a common cancer for cats, but it can be avoided by having your cat spayed before her first heat cycle.
Treatment options vary and depend on the type and stage of cancer.
Common treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy, or a combination of therapies. Success of treatment depends on the form and extent of the cancer and the aggressiveness of the therapy. Of course, early detection is best.
Some cancers can be cured, and almost all patients can receive at least some benefit from treatment. Remember, that if your cat’s cancer is not curable, there are still many things you can do to help him feel better. And, remember good nutrition and loving care can greatly enhance your cat’s quality of life.
Some cat owners opt for no treatment of the cancer. At the very least, palliative care, including pain relief, should be considered. Of course, it is very important to consider your cat’s quality of life when making these decisions.
SICK CAT: FELINE IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS (FIV):
Cats infected with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) may not show symptoms until years after the initial infection occurred. Although the virus is slow-acting, a cat’s immune system is severely weakened once the disease takes hold. This makes the cat susceptible to various secondary infections.
FIV is mainly passed from cat to cat through deep bite wounds, the kind that usually occur outdoors during aggressive fights and territorial disputes. Consequently, it is in your cat’s best interest to keep him inside.
SYMPTOMS OF FIV:
Most cats do not show symptoms until several years after infection. Here are some common symptoms to look for:
pain while eating,
enlarged lymph nodes,
eye and nose discharge,
skin, bladder, or kidney infections,
TREATMENTS FOR FIV:
To be proactive, you may also want to speak to your veterinarian about the FIV vaccine and if it is appropriate for your cat.
FIV is usually diagnosed through blood tests. These tests are designed to identify antibodies and must be done by a vet.
Unfortunately, there is no specific antiviral treatment for FIV. Cats can carry the virus for a long time before symptoms appear. Therefore, treatment focuses mainly on extending the asymptomatic period or, if symptoms have set in, on easing the secondary effects of the virus. Your veterinarian may prescribe some of the following treatments:
Medication for secondary infections,
Healthy, palatable diet to encourage good nutrition,
Fluid and electrolyte replacement therapy,
If you walk your cat, keep him on a leash when outdoors.
If your cat is going to be spending any time in a cattery or in a home with other felines, make sure all cats have tested negative for FIV.
Any recently adopted cat should be tested for FIV prior to entering your home.
Keep your cat indoors. This will protect him from contact with disease-causing agents to which he may be susceptible. By bringing your cat indoors, you’re also protecting the uninfected cats in your community.
Watch for changes—even seemingly minor—in your cat’s health and behavior. Immediately report any health concerns to your vet.
Bring your cat to your vet at least twice per year for a wellness checkup, blood count and urine analysis.
Feed your cat nutritionally balanced food—no raw food diets, please, as bacteria and parasites in uncooked meat and eggs can be dangerous to immunocompromised pets.
Be sure your cat is spayed or neutered.
With supportive medical care and a stress-free, indoor environment infected cats can live very comfortable lives for many years before the disease reaches its chronic stages. Once symptoms do develop, however, they may continually progress and the cat may have intermittent bouts of sicknesss.
SICK CAT: FELINE LEUKEMIA VIRUS (FelV):
Feline leukemia virus is a highly transmittable RNA retrovirus that can severely inhibit a cat’s immune system. It is one of the most commonly diagnosed causes of disease and death in domestic cats.
Infected cats can experience loss of appetite, weight loss, and pale or inflamed gums. They may also have abcesses, fever, upper respiratory infections, diarrhea and vomiting, and seizures. ****This disease is highly contagious to other cats and is almost always fatal.****
There is a vaccine available for cats who are at risk of contracting FeLV. Like all vaccines, there are risks involved in vaccination, and the vaccine is not a 100% guarantee against infection. Your veterinarian can best evaluate whether this vaccine is right for your cat.
As with any infectious disease, the best prevention is eliminating sources of exposure. Routine FeLV testing and keeping your cat indoors and away from cats whose FeLV status is not known remain the best way to prevent your cat from becoming infected.
you should test any new cat, entering a household, for FeLV, because the virus doesn’t always manifest symptoms right away.
There are several types of tests available to diagnose FeLV.
Most veterinarians and shelter professionals use the ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test, which detects antigen to the FELV virus in the bloodstream.
Other tests like the IFA (indirect fluorescent antibody) test or PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test are recommended to confirm positive ELISA test results.
CARING FOR A CAT WITH FELV:
Feed your cat a nutritionally balanced diet, one that is free of raw meat, eggs, and unpasteurized dairy products, which can harbor bacteria and parasites and lead to infection.
Provide a quiet place for your cat to rest indoors and away from other cats who could promote disease.
Bring your cat to the vet at least every six months for a wellness checkup and blood tests.
During the early stages of infection, a cat may not show any clinical signs, but he can still pass the virus to other cats.
It’s not advisable to introduce a new uninfected cat into the household, even one who has been properly vaccinated against FeLV.
Those living in close quarters with infected cats are most at risk for infection, and should be tested for the virus and, if negative, be housed separately.
FeLV is contagious to other cats, but not to humans or other species. Other cats in the house can acquire the virus from an infected cat. Though the virus doesn’t live long outside of the body, and is easily inactivated with common disinfectants, it can be passed through mutual grooming, shared food, and water, as well as common litter boxes.
Sadly there is no cure for FeLV, and it is estimated that less than 20% of clinically infected cats survive more than three years of active infection. In the case of those cats who develop cancer, chemotherapy can help prolong life, but treatment often focuses on providing the best quality of life.
SICK CAT: RABIES:
Rabies is a viral disease that primarially affects carnivores, but can also affect mammals, including people. The rabies virus is spread through the saliva of an infected animals through bites or scratches. It adversely affects the central nervous system.
In the United States, wildlife including; raccoons, skunk, fox, bats, stray dogs and cats are common carriers of the disease.
THIS DISEASE IS INCURABLE AND IS ALMOST ALWAYS FATAL.
SYMPTOMS OF RABIES IN CATS:
Within ten days of infection: The cat will go from shy to aggressive behavior. Most animals will die after day ten from the initial sign of infection. It is possible, however, to save your cat if you get him to the veterinarian before the disease reaches his nervous system.
Rabies attacks the brain, resulting in rather distinctive behavioral changes. Infected cats can go through 3 phases of symptoms as the disease metastasizes through the body.
Prodromal stage: In this stage the feline will change her temperament and become the complete opposite of her normal self. For example, an active, happy feline will suddenly become shy and nervous. The cat could lose interest in food, and become irritable or suddenly hyperactive. In the wild, a species that are normally nocturnal may be seen wandering the streets in the daytime.
A furious rabies or “mad-dog” stage: In the furious rabies stage, the feline becomes overly aggressive, baring her teeth and claws at the slightest provocation. Furious rabies is often called the “mad-dog” stage because the cat behaves as if she has gone mad. Continuous drooling, widened eyes, muscle spasms, and aggressive behavior, are the most prominent signs of stage 2 rabies.
A paralytic stage: This stage occurs within seven days after the initial stage of rabies. The paralysis will begin in the throat and jaw and then move to the remaining portions of the body, resulting in death within a matter of hours.
CAUSES OF RABIES IN CATS:
Rabies in cats is caused by a bite or scratch to an unvaccinated feline, or by another infected animal. Raccoons, bats, skunks, fox, and feral animals are common vectors of this disease.
DIAGNOSIS OF RABIES IN CATS:
Cat that may have been bitten by an infected animal must be quarantined for at least 10 days or until symptoms develop. You should be prepared to describe the behavior of the affected animal.
After the quarantine period, your vet will reevaluate the cat and decide if she has been infected.
The only true way of diagnosing rabies is by a direct examination of the cat’s brain. The feline will have to be euthanized to perform a post-mortem antibody test using immunofluorescent dyes.
TREATMENT OF RABIES IN CATS:
The World Health Association has deemed the rabies vaccine a core vaccination. A core vaccination is a vaccine that is required by law to be administered to pets. Vaccinating your cat against the rabies virus is the only way to prevent rabies from infected your cat.
If the virus has not reached the nervous system an anti-rabies vaccine can be administered. The anti-rabies vaccine is a group of antibodies that are injected into the body and encourage the immune system to produce antigens to fight the circulating virus. Keep in mind that the anti-rabies virus is not always effective.
BE A GOOD FRIEND:
Many illnesses that affect your cat may be preventable. Be sure to make annual visits to your veterinarian. Feed your cat a nutritionally balanced diet to maintain their weight. And, maintain an easily accessible and clean litter box for your feline darling.
Provide your cat with multiple sources of fresh water and other essentials. This will keep your cat healthy and will help curb any major behavioral or medical issues. Your cat can be a companion for many years to come. Just give him a little tender love and a vigilant eye for unusual behaviors.
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