Educational Articles

Cats + Medical Conditions

  • Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are cells that are involved in the immune system. Lymphoma is connected with feline leukemia, a viral infection. Feline lymphoma most commonly affects the intestines. Therefore, clinical signs of lymphoma are often similar to other intestinal diseases. Diagnosing lymphoma requires finding cancerous cells on microscopic examination. Lymphoma cannot be prevented, but the likelihood of a cat developing lymphoma can be decreased by preventing feline leukemia virus infection.

  • Maropitant is a medication (technically a neurokinin receptor antagonist) that makes stimulation of the vomit center extremely difficult. In dogs 16 weeks and older, it is used to prevent vomiting due to motion sickness and to prevent acute vomiting which may be associated with many illnesses.

  • Mastitis is a term used to describe inflammation of a mammary gland. In most cases, mastitis is caused by a bacterial infection. Trauma to the mammary gland, or prolonged periods of milk accumulation without milk removal, can lead to inflammation within the mammary gland.

  • The gastrointestinal tract terminates in the large intestine with a tubular organ called the colon. The colon serves as a site for the absorption of water and storage of fecal material; it ends at the rectum. The walls of the colon contain muscles that are stimulated to contract by nerves from the spinal cord. When the colon contracts, fecal material is pushed out of the body.

  • Megaesophagus is not a single disease. Instead it is considered a combination disorder in which the esophagus (the tube that carries food and liquid between the mouth and stomach) dilates and loses motility (its ability to move food into the stomach). When esophageal motility is decreased or absent, food and liquid accumulate in the esophagus.

  • Feline miliary dermatitis is a general term used to describe a skin condition in cats that most commonly results from an allergic reaction. Cats will have a very itchy rash and may lick, bite, and scratch at the affected skin. The most commonly affected areas include the lower spine, around the base of the tail, face, ears, neck, flanks, and belly. Diagnosis is based primarily on medical history and clinical signs. If fleas are not suspected or if the condition does not respond to symptomatic flea treatment, skin scrapings, biopsies, allergy tests, a hypoallergenic food trial, or a referral to a veterinary dermatologist may be recommended. Treatment involves removing the offending irritant or allergen and reducing the cat's clinical signs.

  • Motion sickness in cats is a common problem. Unlike many dogs that can be trained to comfortably ride in cars, cats prove much more challenging to overcome their anxiety. Most motion sickness cases in cats are caused primarily by the stress and anxiety associated with travel. Cats that travel only once or twice a year (typically when visiting the veterinarian) aren't used to car rides and often associate the car ride with the stressful experience that follows. This reaction can result in motion sickness.

  • Muscle tears are direct or indirect traumatic injuries that cause damage to the architecture of the muscle tissue. The most common cause is an indirect injury, or strain, caused by overstretching during athletic activities, such as running or jumping. Clinical signs of muscle tears include pain on palpation of the injured area, lameness or limping, swelling of the muscle, and/or bruising. Muscle tears are treated immediately with rest, cold compresses, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. In the most severe cases, surgery is likely required.

  • Nasal polyps are benign fleshy growths that develop in the nasal passages of cats. Nasal polyps are most frequently observed in young cats. The signs of nasal polyps often mimic an upper respiratory infection, however, these signs may persist with little response to medical therapy. Nasal polyps can often be surgically removed with traction or avulsion.

  • Epistaxis is defined as acute hemorrhage from the nostril, nasal cavity, or nasopharynx. It is commonly referred to as a "nosebleed." Epistaxis in cats can be extremely unsettling for the pet owner. Most acute or sudden nosebleeds are caused by simple trauma or by upper respiratory tract infections.