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Cats + Medical Conditions + English

  • Cyanosis is defined as a bluish discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes of the body caused by inadequate oxygen levels. Several different conditions involving the cardiovascular/circulatory system and/or the respiratory system that can lead to cyanosis, including congenital defects, degeneration of heart valves or heart muscle, blood clots in the lungs, pulmonary hypertension, pneumonia, asthma, lung flukes, smoke inhalation, or muscle damage to the diaphragm. Cyanosis is an emergency, and the root cause may be life threatening and may or may not be reversible. Once back home, homecare instructions must be followed carefully.

  • Cystitis is a general term referring to inflammation in the urinary bladder. The term cystitis does not imply a specific underlying cause. In cats, diseases of the lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra) are often grouped under the term feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). The initial diagnosis of FLUTD is based on the identification of signs of lower urinary tract inflammation.

  • Cysts are hollow spaces within tissues that contain either a liquid or a solidified material. Some breeds have a tendency to develop certain types of cysts. Accurate diagnosis relies upon microscopic examination of a piece of tissue. The most common treatment for cysts is surgical removal. It is important to prevent your pet from rubbing, scratching, or otherwise bothering the cysts or the surgical site.

  • Degenerative joint disease is arthritis caused by deterioration and degeneration of tissues lining joints. It is an under-recognized condition in cats. Treatment involves modification of the home environment, regular gentle exercise, anti-inflammatory drugs and other medications, omega fatty acids, chondroprotectants, and possibly other nutraceuticals. Maintaining your cat’s weight can help prevent degenerative joint disease.

  • Testing for diabetes includes confirming hyperglycemia and glucosuria while looking for other conditions by checking a CBC (anemia, infection), biochemistry profile (hepatic disease, pancreatitis) and a urinalysis (urinary tract infection). Monitoring includes regular glucose curves and additional exams and testing based on the pet owner’s monitoring of their cat’s clinical signs in the home setting. Urine glucose testing and fructosamine are sometimes used in diabetic monitoring and urine testing for infection may be recommended.

  • Diabetes insipidus is rare in cats and is characterized by excessive drinking and the production of enormous volumes of extremely dilute urine. Despite drinking large volumes of water, the cat can become dehydrated from urinating so much. Increased drinking and urination are common signs of several other health conditions, so it is essential that several diagnostic tests be performed to diagnose diabetes insipidus. While the condition is rarely curable, it is usually successfully controlled.

  • Diabetes is an inability of the body to regulate blood sugar caused by an abnormality of the pancreas and is the second most common endocrine disease in cats. It causes increased thirst, urination, appetite, and weight loss. Cats most commonly have type 2 diabetes caused by decreased insulin production or insulin resistance and it often is associated with obesity. Diabetes is diagnosed by measuring increased levels of glucose in the urine and blood. Diabetes treatment includes insulin injections and dietary manipulation. Changes in blood sugar must be monitored regularly. If cats receive too much insulin, they can become hypoglycemic resulting in weakness, coma or even death.

  • Cats with diabetes have the potential to go into remission where they may no longer need to receive insulin. Factors that can affect the likelihood of remission include the type of insulin given, your cat's diet, and how long your cat has been diabetic. It is important to recognize the signs of hypoglycemia, as they may be your first indication of remission.

  • The diaphragm is the muscular partition that separates the abdomen and the chest. Tearing or disruption of this thin muscle is called a diaphragmatic hernia or diaphragmatic rupture. The most common cause of diaphragmatic hernia is blunt force trauma. Clinical signs are dependent on the severity of herniation. There is often respiratory distress, an abnormal heart rhythm, muffled heart and lung sounds, and other signs of systemic shock. The abdomen may feel empty when palpated. Once the patient is stable, the hernia must be corrected surgically.

  • Diarrhea is a symptom of an underlying problem that may be minor or very serious. Some cases may resolve on their own or with minimal treatment, while other cases require in-depth diagnostic testing and more aggressive treatment to address the underlying condition. The possible causes, diagnostic tests, and treatment protocols for diarrhea in cats are numerous and they are explained in this handout.