Dr. Joyce Ashamalla
Dr. Joyce Ashamalla is the managing partner at Hinsdale Animal Hospital with Kremer Veterinary Service, as well as a partner at CARE Animal Emergency Hospital. She received her BS in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois- Champaign Urbana, where she also completed her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2007. She is AO certified, USDA-APHIS accredited, and is a member of the CVMA, ISVMA, AVMA.
Like all animals, cats can have health issues and develop diseases. Depending upon age, diet and lifestyle, cats may be prone to a variety of illnesses. In this blog, we will focus on several of the top diseases veterinarians see with their feline patients, the symptoms of these diseases, and the treatments available.
Hyperthyroidism In Cats
This illness is caused by an overproduction of the thyroid hormones, due to a growth or adenoma on the thyroid gland in a cat’s neck. This problem is normally seen in middle aged to older felines and the most common symptoms of hyperthyroidism are weight loss, increased appetite and thirst. The illness can also bring on vomiting, diarrhea and hyperactivity. Cat’s coats with this condition may also appear matted, greasy or unkempt.
There are quite a few ways to treat hyperthyroidism in your cat. Medicine in the form of pills can be very effective, unless your kitty doesn’t take kindly to them. If pills don’t work, there is also a gel that can be put on the inside of the animal’s ear pinnae. In addition, a radioactive iodine treatment can be performed on a one-time basis, but would have to be administrated in the vet’s office. Lastly, prescription foods that are specially formulated for thyroid issues are also an option. Regardless of the treatment method that you choose for your cat, the vet will perform regular blood work to ensure that the cat’s thyroid levels are where they need to be.
Kidney Disease In Cats
Renal failure, or kidney disease, is a medical condition whereby the kidneys are no longer able to filter metabolic waste out of the blood system. Frequent urination, increased water consumption and weight loss may be signs of kidney disease.
There are different levels of kidney disease and your vet will be able to guide you on the best type of treatment. All cats diagnosed with kidney disease must adhere to a prescription diet that is low in protein and low in phosphorus to reduce the chemical imbalance in the blood. Another strategy for fighting kidney disease is to inject fluids under the skin (subcutaneous). Cats with kidney disease will drink lots of water but their kidneys are unable to absorb it, causing dehydration. By keeping a steady source of fluids in the body can be a big help in assisting the kidney’s normal activity. Lastly, supplements can be given to boost renal function, but this will be based on the progression level of the disease.
Gastric & Intestinal Problems in Cats
Illnesses of the GI (gastrointestinal) system can include gastritis, pancreatitis, enteritis and colitis, all with or without liver disease present. Symptoms can range from changes in appetite or thirst, to drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation.
The scope of treatment for these conditions can run the gamut, all depending upon the severity of the illness and the co-existence of other diseases. Most of the time, treatment for these problems will start with such things as enteric antibiotics, antiemetics, antinausea medication or probiotics. Also, finding the appropriate protein/carb mix for your cat’s diet will be very important. And, making sure your kitty has the proper amount of fluids every day will go a long way managing the disease. Lastly, B12 shots have been known to be helpful to cats with these conditions.
Out pet cats are important to us and provide a lot of love and fun in our lives. As responsible cat owners, we want to do all we can to ensure our kitties have long and happy lives. Be on the lookout for the symptoms of these more common health issues and if you spot anything of concern, be sure to get your cat to the vet right away. Early detection will play a large part in managing these health concerns and your vet will advise you on the best treatment plan for kitty.
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