Educational Articles

Cats + Medical Conditions

  • Dental disease is one of the most common medical conditions seen by veterinarians. The most common problems are due to gingivitis (an inflammation of the gums caused by the accumulation of plaque), periodontal disease, and tooth resorption.

  • Diabetes mellitus is a disease of the pancreas. This small organ located near the stomach has two different types of cells that have very different functions. One group of cells produces the enzymes necessary for proper digestion.

  • Diabetes is a complex disease involving a hormone called insulin. When a cat does not make enough insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it does make, diabetes results. Diabetic remission occurs when a cat maintains a normal glucose level for more than four weeks without insulin injections or oral glucose regulating medications.

  • Diarrhea is unformed or loose bowel movements, usually with increased amount and frequency. It is a result of faster movement of fecal material through the intestine combined with decreased absorption of water, nutrients, and electrolytes. Diarrhea is not a disease, but rather is a sign of many different diseases. Causes of diarrhea may be determined through a combination of history, physical examination, and fecal testing. Diarrhea is often treated symptomatically with dewormers, probiotics, metronidazole or tylosin, and a special gastrointestinal diet. Chronic diarrhea, that has been present longer than two to three weeks, may prove more difficult to diagnose and treat effectively.

  • Diarrhea is a sign of disease, rather than a specific diagnosis. This handout provides some important questions that allows your veterinary health team to formulate an adequate history in a cat presenting with diarrhea.

  • Infections of the external ear canal or outer ear caused by bacteria and yeast are common in dogs but not as common in cats. The most common cause of feline otitis externa is ear mite infestation. Ear infections cause pain and discomfort and the ear canals are sensitive.

  • The ear mite is a surface mite that lives on cats, dogs, rabbits, and ferrets. It is usually found in the ear canal but it can also live on the skin surface. Ear mites are a common cause of ear disease and infection. Infestations are a very common problem in puppies and kittens, although pets of any age can be affected.

  • Eclampsia is essentially hypocalcemia in a cat who has recently given birth. It can quickly progress from weakness to tremors, seizures, or paralysis. Treatment involves immediate intravenous injections of calcium and other drugs. Recovery from eclampsia is usually rapid and complete if treated early. Fortunately, it is uncommon in cats.

  • Your cat has been scheduled for an endoscopic examination. The purpose of this procedure is to help your veterinarian make a diagnosis of the disease that has been causing your pet's clinical signs of vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal pain or loss of appetite.

  • Eosinophilic granuloma complex is a term used to describe three forms of skin lesions in cats including eosinophilic plaque, eosinophilic granuloma, and indolent ulcers. These lesions have a characteristic microscopic appearance due to the presence of eosinophils, which are a form of inflammatory white blood cell often associated with allergies. The most common site for these lesions is on the lips, hind legs, and stomachs. If an underlying cause is identified, specific treatment will be directed at removing this cause. Corticosteroids or cyclosporine drugs are often used to control the symptoms. Life-long intermittent treatment may be required as recurrence is common.