Don’t Forget Our Feline Friends: Cats Can Get Dog Diseases, Too

veterinary diagnostics companiesAlthough it’s been estimated that Americans own some 74-96 million cats, we tend to give dogs a bit more attention when it comes to diseases and veterinary diagnostics. Many of us are under the impression that cats simply don’t get sick as often. But the truth is that cats can suffer from many serious conditions and diseases, including feline versions of common dog ailments like heartworm. Cats can even become ill from humans who have influenza! In order to keep your kitty cat in the peak of health, it’s important to practice proper food safety, ensure she gets her proper immunizations, and have regular testing performed through a veterinary laboratory or through veterinary diagnostics companies. It’s also imperative for owners to have information on the less-recognized diseases that can cause harm to our feline friends:

  • Heartworm
    When a dog is definitively diagnosed with having the canine heartworm antigen, treatment can often lead to a full recovery. That’s why it’s so vital for dog owners to use a heartworm antigen test kit so that the condition can be confirmed or ruled out. However, cats who contract heartworm are not so fortunate. Although it’s rather rare, cats can be infected. But because most cats with the condition have very few or no adult worms present, the disease often goes undiagnosed. Even worse, the medicines used to treat the heartworm antigen in dogs can’t be used in cats. Therefore, preventative medicines are the only way to protect your cat. You can have your cat tested for heartworm through veterinary diagnostics companies or at your vet’s office; if your cat tests negative, you can proceed with preventative methods.
  • Tooth disease
    You tend to hear a lot about how important it is for canines to have strong, healthy teeth, but cats have a very high risk of dental disease. More than half of cats that are three years of age or older will experience tooth resorption — their teeth begin to dissolve. This is extremely painful and the causes are unknown; at present, there is no known way to prevent it. However, regular check-ups at the vet can help keep an eye on your cat’s tooth health. You can also help prevent gum disease by using a Q-tip to rub the outside of the teeth where they meet the gum line. This can help to remove plaque build-up. We recommend rubbing the Q-tip in tuna juice or something yummy first!
  • Arthritis
    Cats are very skilled at hiding their pain. In fact, doing so is in their very nature. While dog owners tend to notice if a dog is in pain or has developed a limp, a cat’s behavior might not be so obvious. And although arthritis is sometimes considered to be more common in dogs, it’s actually quite prevalent in cats, too. It can be painful and may cause them to have difficulty completing daily tasks like grooming, climbing, jumping, or using the litter box. To help ease the symptoms of arthritis in cats, your vet may recommend pain medication, joint supplements, or weight loss.

It’s up to us to keep our canine and feline friends safe and healthy for years to come. If you notice changes in behavior, mood, or mobility in your cat or dog, be sure to talk to your vet. And of course, if you need to test for heartworm or parvovirus, contact us today! As one of the best veterinary diagnostics companies, we can help you or your vet confirm or rule out dangerous conditions and determine whether treatment is needed.