Cats are vulnerable to various health issues that can have a significant impact on their health and well-being. Regardless of whether you have an indoor or indoor-outdoor cat, you should be familiar with common diseases and medical issues that can affect your pet. Early detection is important so you can seek veterinary attention immediately.
There has been numerous evidence showing that indoor cats have a longer lifespan than their outdoor counterparts. Indoor cats have been known to live up to 17 years of age or more compared to the average lifespan of outdoor cats which is only 2-5 years.
Diseases that affect cats in Singapore can be categorized into infectious and non-infectious. The most common cat diseases in Singapore include the following:
This is a common problem among cats in Singapore. Vomiting is not actually a disease, rather it is an important symptom of a multitude of health issues that may include ingestion of something toxic or inedible, infection, hairballs, urinary tract disease, and diabetes, among others. Cats that are vomiting can quickly become dehydrated thus you should call your veterinarian right away.
Diarrhea can be triggered by infectious or non-infectious causes. It’s an important symptom of digestive upsets brought about by primary health issues or problems with pet food. Frequent and persistent diarrhea should be brought to the attention of your veterinarian ASAP since it can increase your pet’s risk to serious dehydration which can be deadly if not corrected immediately.
FLUTD is a general term that is used to include several feline diseases that affect the lower urinary tract of cats. The problem is more common in overweight or obese cats, those with underlying health issues, or cats on dry food or kibble. Other important predisposing factors of FLUTD in cats include exposure to stressful conditions, a multi-cat household, and sudden changes in the cat's immediate environment. The treatment depends to a large extent on the type of FLUTD the cat has.
Precaution: A cat that is unable to urinate should always be considered a medical emergency. Bring your pet to your vet immediately if you think he has a urinary tract issue.
There is a long list of infectious diseases in cats that is caused by viruses and bacteria. The 2 most common viral infections that affect their upper respiratory tract are feline calicivirus and feline herpesvirus. These viral infections are among the top contagious cat diseases thus it's important to keep your pet's vaccinations updated. Viruses can easily be transmitted through shared food or water bowls, sneezing, or grooming tools. Bacterial pathogens are common secondary invaders of viral infections. Two important predisposing factors of upper respiratory tract infections are stress and overcrowding. Cats with flat faces, like Persian cats, tend to be more susceptible to acquiring the infection.
There are several ways by which an indoor cat can get a viral infection. These include the following routes:
Many cats have some form of tooth and gum problems by the time they are about 3 years of age. Cats on a high-carbohydrate diet tend to accumulate more plaque that eventually hardens into tartar. Without regular dental visits to the vet, the build-up of plaque and tartar can pave the way for gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), tooth decay, and bad breath. Having a good home dental regimen, like regular tooth brushing, and dental checks with your vet. Professional cleaning can help prevent periodontal disease.
Dental problems should be nipped in the bud as early as possible because bacteria from any infection inside the mouth can spread to other major organs of the body via the bloodstream and cause heart problems, damage to the kidneys, liver issues, etc.
Cats that spend time outdoors are more prone to acquiring parasites than indoor-only cats. However, there is still a big possibility that indoor cats can get worms, too, which means regular deworming should be done regardless of whether your cat is confined indoors or allowed to go outside the house. The most common intestinal parasites of cats include roundworms and tapeworms. During heavy infestations, you may find worms in the cat’s poop.
The problem affects the bladder and urethra of cats. It is often associated with low-grade, chronic dehydration, bacterial infection, as well as consuming pet food with high ash and mineral content. This is a very common problem in cats due to their dislike of water.
In Singapore, the most common cause of death in cats is high-rise syndrome. Cats living in high-rise buildings can fall off and suffer severe injuries, fractures, and bleeding. Some falls leave cats paralyze because of spinal injuries while for some, the fall can result in death.
Pet owners should always keep in mind that sudden illness in cats or any change in the health and/or behavior of pet cats should be brought to the attention of your veterinarian sooner rather than later.
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