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Cats suffer from various diseases. You can protect your pet if you keep it indoors, do not let it walk alone outside, feed it properly and vaccinate it against several common cat diseases. Heredity and age have an impact on the spread of cat diseases.

Disease prevention

Vaccination. Vaccines protect against infectious diseases caused by viruses. Cats get the virus from other cats, animals or humans. Cats should be vaccinated once a year. Cats must be de-helminticised (given de-worming medication) before vaccination.

Dehelmintization. Adult cats should be given deworming medication 4 times a year. The first de-worming can be given to a kitten at 6 weeks of age.

Upper respiratory tract infection. this disease is a common human cold. This airborne virus is easily transmitted through contact with humans, other cats and objects (litter box, utensils, cat care tools).

Prevention is the best way to avoid the disease. It is advisable to vaccinate your pet. However, if you notice the symptoms listed above, contact your vet immediately, who will probably prescribe antibiotic treatment. Follow the instructions and feed your cat enough.

Acute gastroenteritis. This is a disorder of the digestive tract in cats that causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea. Other signs include dehydration, depression, apathy, blood in faeces or vomit. The vet may advise you to stop feeding the cat food to allow the symptoms to resolve on their own. If the symptoms persist and the cat is still suffering, it may be gastroenteritis.

Feline panleukaemia. Otherwise known as feline distemper, an easily spread viral disease. A cat can become infected through contact with humans, infected cats, clothing, fur, paws, food bowls etc. The disease is sudden onset with symptoms of vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of appetite. You can protect your cat from the disease by land have been vaccinated against the virus.

Feline rhinotracheitis. This is one of the most common, highly contagious viral diseases. It can be fatal or leave permanent damage to the upper respiratory tract. Coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge and fever can plague a cat for life. Constant tearing and discharge from the eyes make cats look pretty. Vaccines are effective enough to prevent this disease.

Leucosis (FeLV). This is a deadly infectious virus that damages the immune system and can cause several cancers or related diseases. The virus is spread through the saliva, urine or faeces of infected cats. The disease can be detected by a blood test. Prevention is the only way to protect your cat. Therefore, vaccinate your cat and keep it at home.

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). Feline infectious peritonitis (inflammation of the peritoneum) is caused by a virus. It is a fatal disease with two forms – wet (when fluids accumulate in the abdomen) and dry (when there is no accumulation). Both forms may cause fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, drowsiness and loss of appetite. There is no effective treatment for this virus. The best way to protect against the disease is to keep your cat at home and away from unfamiliar animals, and to keep up to date with the latest vaccines.

Rabies. Rabies is a common disease in cats and affects them 2-3 times more often than dogs. It is a viral disease that is contracted through wounds caused by bites from wild animals. It affects the nervous system and the cat’s behaviour, causing changes in movement and aggression. Preventive vaccinations and keeping your cat indoors will help to protect you. Rabies is incurable, so a sick animal must be put to sleep.

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). FIV is similar to human immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), but the disease caused by the virus is different. This deadly virus affects the immune system and causes many symptoms.

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