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Cats + Medical Conditions

  • Calcium deposits in the skin have a variety of causes. Calcinosis circumscripta is deposition of calcium at bony prominences or, in the footpads and mouth. It is usually a disease of large dog breeds and occurs before two years of age. Calcinosis cutis is induced by local skin damage in susceptible animals and takes two forms: dystrophic or metastatic. The appearance of the skin lesions may lead your veterinarian to suspect calcium deposits as the problem, particularly when the age, breed, and clinical history are considered. Blood tests can help indicate some underlying conditions, but confirmation by skin biopsy may be necessary. While small deposits may be resorbed without treatment over time, surgery is the best choice for larger deposits.

  • Cardiomyopathy is a term used to describe diseases of the heart muscle. In cats, three classes of cardiomyopathy have been described: hypertrophic, dilated, and intermediate or restrictive cardiomyopathy. In the early stages of disease, the cat may not show any signs of disease. This is referred to as compensated heart disease. Often cats will alter their activity levels to those that they can cope with, which makes it difficult to diagnose cardiomyopathy until it is quite advanced. Diagnosis of heart disease can be suspected based on clinical signs, chest X-rays, and electrocardiography (ECG). In cases where an underlying cause of the heart disease is found, then treatment of this condition may result in improvement or reversal of the heart disease. The long-term prognosis for a cat with cardiomyopathy is extremely variable, depending on the cause of this disease.

  • House soiling in cats, also called feline inappropriate elimination, is the most common behavioral complaint of cat owners. Problem behaviors can be urine and/or stool deposited outside of the litter box, or marking behaviors.

  • A cataract is an increase in the opacity of the lens of the eye. There are many potential causes of cataracts because any type of damage to the lens can lead to a cataract. The clinical signs of cataracts vary significantly, depending on the size of the cataract; many cataracts are asymptomatic at the time they are diagnosed during a veterinary exam. The ideal treatment for cataracts is surgery, but not all cats are candidates for surgical treatment. In these cases, anti-inflammatory medications may be used to prevent glaucoma and other secondary complications of cataracts.

  • Cerebellar hypoplasia is a developmental condition in which the cerebellum of the brain fails to develop properly. It most commonly occurs when a pregnant cat becomes infected with feline panleukopenia virus and passes the infection to her unborn kittens. Since the cerebellum is responsible for purposeful movement and coordination, the symptoms of this condition may not become apparent until the kitten starts to try to stand or walk on its own. There is no treatment; however, kittens with cerebellar hypoplasia are not infectious to other kittens or cats, are not in any pain, and will learn to adapt to their disability over time.

  • Chediak-Higashi syndrome is a rare genetic disease of smoke-blue Persian cats. This condition affects how the body's cells process waste, leading to changes within the cells and abnormal pigmentation of the skin and coat. Cats with Chediak-Higashi syndrome also tend to have eye abnormalities. The most significant effect of Chediak-Higashi syndrome in cats is increased bleeding, caused by abnormal platelet function, though some cats may also show signs of a weakened immune system. Most cats with Chediak-Higashi syndrome do not require treatment for this condition.

  • Feline chin acne is a poorly understood disorder of follicular keratinization. Keratinization refers to the overproduction of keratin, a protein found in the outer layer of skin. If this excess keratin is trapped in the hair follicle, comedones or 'blackheads' form. Feline chin acne is similar to the acne that humans get.

  • Chlamydial conjunctivitis in cats is an infection caused by a bacterial organism. The most common signs of chlamydia in cats involve the eyes or the upper respiratory tract (nose or throat), and only when infection is not treated does it spread to the lungs. In cats with conjunctivitis, the conjunctiva becomes swollen and red. Chlamydia is spread by close or direct contact with an infected cat, so all cats in the home can become infected. Chlamydia can be successfully treated with a course of oral and topical antibiotics.

  • Cholangitis is a term referring to inflammation of the bile duct. Cholangiohepatitis means inflammation of the bile ducts, gall bladder, and surrounding liver tissue. Cholangitis and cholangiohepatitis usually occur together as a complex or syndrome (CCHC or CCHS) and is much more common in cats than in dogs.

  • The kidneys have many functions. They principally act to remove waste products from the blood stream, regulate the levels of certain essential minerals such potassium and sodium, conserve water, and produce urine. The kidneys have a large amount of spare capacity to perform their various functions so at least two-thirds (67% to 70%) of the kidneys must be dysfunctional before any clinical signs are seen.