Please find below a guest post on Common Cat Health Problems written by Eric Jackson, Veterinary Consultant at Helpucover.co.uk.
It sounds obvious, but cats are definitely not small dogs! Not only can cats exercise themselves if you live away from road traffic but they need quite different food. They can be fed little and often but always be aware of body condition so that your cat does not join the band of canine weight watchers!
The most common feline problems seen by vets involve a multiplicity of skin conditions. There are many different preparations for flea treatment and prevention but we still see many cats with fleas and flea allergy dermatitis. Fleas are often the “hidden enemy” as they can be difficult to see without careful inspection. Fleas on the body move quickly and leave calling cards in the form of black specks of flea dirt. They spend time off the cat laying large numbers of eggs in carpets which hatch out in warm heated house, often in large numbers when the house is shut up for holidays. This is when owners can get severe flea bites on their legs and why carpets as well as cats should be treated.
The flea is also a host to a stage in the lifecycle of tapeworms, which often surprises owners. The tapeworm segments appear as grains of rice attached under the cat’s tail. Treatment is relatively simple by injection or tablet. Prevention is better than cure!
Whilst dogs will eat most things, often the smellier the better, cats are more particular about what they eat. They can be easily tempted by meaty tasting string and rubber bands. The vomiting reflex is well developed in cats so that noxious substances are often rejected with damage to the carpet but little damage to pussy. Grooming can result in hairballs collecting in the stomach; these are also easily vomited up. Persistent vomiting, especially if kitty is off food or depressed definitely means a trip to the vets.
Cats seem to have a great liking for antifreeze and readily lick up any traces that might get spilled accidently on the garage floor. Unfortunately this does not make them vomit and the antifreeze is very toxic to cats. Be very careful about storing antifreeze and treat any ingestion as a very urgent trip to your vet.
Urinary tract problems are frequently seen in cats and can present a confusing picture to owners. Cats sitting on a litter tray and straining, sometimes crying out when they strain are often thought to be constipated. In fact Kitty may have a blocked bladder and need urgent veterinary attention. The problem may also be accompanied by frequent licking under the tail and spots of blood in the urine. Blockage can occur for a number of reasons including infection and the accumulation of sediment in the lower tract. Following treatment your vet can discuss approaches to prevent further episodes.
Cats can be very demonstrative and expressive. Remember that you can tell a lot form looking into pussy’s eyes. Whilst there quickly check on ears and mouth as well. Any watery discharge or pawing at the eyes or ears can be a signal that all is not well and you should visit the vet. Dental health is as important to pets as it is to you. Pay particular attention to gums which should be pink and not inflamed, and teeth which should not have tartar accumulating on them. As pussy gets older expect preventive descaling and polishing to be needed for most pets. Pawing at the mouth can indicate pain associated with erosion of the enamel at base of the tooth. One poor cat which had a very severe form of gingivitis had most of her teeth removed but then lived a much more comfortable life for another 14 years.
Written by Eric Jackson, Veterinary Consultant, Helpucover.co.uk – Protect yourself and your Cat with affordable cat Insurance from helpucover.
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