Feline diseases and disorders can rival those found in humans and be even harder to spell or pronounce. Here are three not-so-common issues you and your cat may - or may not - have to deal with one day.
Big word. Little culprit. Also known as bobcat fever, Cytauxzoonosis is caused by the bite of a lone star tick that previously infected a bobcat. Once that tick jumps onto your cat, he can also become infected.
These ticks are found in most areas of the country. Keeping your cat inside lessens his chance of contracting Cytauxzoonosis, and tick prevention products can help keep ticks from attaching to your cat in the first place. However, treatment is expensive and rough on your cat, so be sure he is protected and spends little to no time outdoors.
Keep your eye out for this one if you have a cat with hard-to-control diabetes. Hypersomatotropism is caused by a benign tumor on the pituitary gland in the brain that secrets excess growth hormone. Clinical signs may include increased paw size, broad facial features, or a large tongue. Fortunately, new treatments for this disorder can put your feline's diabetes into the "well-managed" category and minimize symptoms caused by the excess growth hormone.
Like Cytauxsoonosis, this is a bacterial infection caused by a tick that previously infected an animal, in this case, a rabbit. Cats are at higher risk for Tularemia (also known as rabbit fever) than many other domestic animals due to their predatory behavior. Symptoms are rapid and flu-like, including fever and aches. If treated promptly with antibiotics, an infected cat can recover quickly, but the prognosis is grim with delayed or no treatment.
Another downside to Tularemia is that it can be infectious to people. But, again, confining cats indoors and using appropriate tick prevention can help keep this disease from showing up in your feline.
In two of the three diseases discussed here, ticks are the culprit. Reports from scientists have shown that the number of ticks has expanded in the past few years, and the diseases they carry have become more numerous. Tick-borne illnesses in the U.S. have doubled in the past two decades mainly because of a warmer climate (much more hospitable to ticks) and increased public awareness about ticks.