Hello I am Emily Wilks a licensed veterinarian from Ringwood Animal Hospital in New Jersey. Today I am going to talk about some common feline diseases and how they can be prevented. The first disease I am going to talk about is diabetes which is very common in cats, especially older neutered male cats.
Cats are more prone to developing type 2 diabetes which is when the body no longer responds to insulin which is the hormone that regulates blood sugar. This leads to high blood sugar or hyperglycemia. Obesity is a major contributing factor in cats developing diabetes, so weight control is very important for prevention.
To avoid weight gain, make sure that your cat is eating the appropriate amount of food, pet vitamins, and health support for his or her weight and not getting too many treats. If your cat is overweight, discuss weight loss diets with your veterinarian. Two other common cat diseases are Female Leukemia Virus or FeLV and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus called FIV. These diseases are very similar and are always tested for at a cat's first veterinary visit or when his or her kitten visits. Feline Leukemia Virus causes a weakened immune system making cats more susceptible to secondary infections, anemia cancer, and can eventually lead to death.
The virus is found in bodily fluids and is spread cat to cat by grooming, fighting, sharing litter boxes, water, or food bowls and is also spread from mothers to kittens. Feline Immunodeficiency virus is like the cat version of HIV in people and similarly to Feline Leukemia Virus causes a weakened immune system which makes an infected cat susceptible to secondary infections, cancer, and other diseases. Unlike FeLV, though cats with FIV can have a normal lifespan as long as secondary diseases are prevented. FIV is found in saliva and transmitted mostly by bite wounds making outdoor unneutered male cats more at risk since they tend to fight more.
There is a screening test for FeLV and FIV that should be done on kittens adopted or rehomed cats or any cat with an unknown FeLV, FIV status. After testing negative for these diseases the most important thing to do to prevent infection is to keep your cat away from potentially infected cats. Keeping your cat indoors and ensuring that any new cat added to the household tests negative for these diseases before allowing them to come in contact with your cat is highly recommended to prevent infection. If your cat goes outside, have him or her vaccinated for feline leukemia virus. Unfortunately there is no effective vaccine against FIV. For more information about these diseases and prevention methods speak with your veterinarian.