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Bone marrow produces red blood cells and releases them into the blood. These red blood cells transport oxygen throughout your pet’s body, which allows the entire body to function properly. After around 8 weeks, the body removes the old blood cells from the bloodstream and creates new ones.

Anemia is a reduced number of red blood cells in your pet’s blood. An anemic cat will either remove too many cells or not produce enough new ones.

Anemia is not a disease on its own, but a result of another disease.


Kidney damage that prevents bone marrow from producing more red blood cells

Blood does not clot properly

Excessive parasites in or on the body (whipworms, hookworms, ticks or fleas)

Any injury that causes excessive bleeding

Tumors of the intestinal tract (urinary bladder, kidneys or spleen)


The most obvious symptom is pale pink or white gums. If you notice pale gums, you must have a blood test done as soon as possible. Other signs include:

Lack of energy and depression

Loss of appetite and weight loss

Increased breathing rate (your pet is trying to get more oxygen)


Your veterinarian will begin with:

Reviewing the medical history

Physical exam

Then the veterinarian will perform different blood tests:

PCV (Packed Cell Volume): checks the ratio of red blood cells to the rest of the blood. In a healthy pet, 25% to 45% percent of the blood will be red blood cells. If less than 25% is red blood cells, the animal is anemic

CBC (Complete blood count): measures the total amount of red and white blood cells in the body

Blood smear: your veterinarian will use a microscope to study a sample of your pet’s blood, checking the amount, size, and shape of red blood cells. Veterinarians will also check for parasites that might cause destruction of red blood cells

Other tests:

Bone marrow biopsy: Checks if the bone marrow is functioning and creating enough red blood cells

Fecal parasite exam: Shows if there are parasites in the intestinal tract that might be causing blood loss


Treatment will consist of either medications or surgery, depending on the cause of anemia.

If the anemia is life-threatening, your pet will need an immediate blood transfusion, which will temporarily stabilize your pet. This allows your veterinarian to determine the cause of the anemia, and begin the appropriate treatment.


There are a variety of causes for anemia, and most of them are preventable. The best thing to do is to ensure your pet is up to date on all preventives, especially for fleas, ticks and internal parasites.


The prognosis depends on the medical problem that is causing the anemia. If you catch the anemia early and your pet is in overall good health, there is a good prognosis for recovery. Sometimes, a more severe disease, such as cancer, causes anemia, and it could be life-threatening.


Arthritis is a condition where one or more joints become swollen or inflamed. It can affect the hips, elbows, knees, and neck.

There are two types of arthritis:

Primary – Rheumatoid Arthritis: this is a progressive and uncommon disease where the immune system attacks healthy joints

Secondary – Osteoarthritis: the cartilage around a joint gets damaged, so new bone forms around the joint. This has no cartilage protecting it, and causes stiffness and pain.


While arthritis normally affects older cats, and worsens with age, cats of any age can have it.


Old age


Auto-immune diseases (the immune system attacks its own body)


Old age


Disease: hip dysplasia, ligament rupture, joint infection



Painful joints

Swollen joints

Joint stiffness

Lameness, taking longer to get to its feet, unable to jump or climb

Loss of appetite



In order to properly diagnose your cat with arthritis, your veterinarian will begin with the following:

Review of medical history

Physical exam: flexing the joints and listening for abnormal joint sounds, as well as looking for swelling or heat in your cat’s limbs

Your veterinarian may also perform the following tests:

CBC blood test(complete blood count): measures the total amount of red and white blood cells in the body

X-rays of the affected areas: to determine the type of arthritis

Joint Tap: draining and studying joint fluid


The course of treatment depends mainly on what is causing the disease.

Infection: antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications

Obesity: diet change

If treatments are not helping the pain:

Surgery: fragments of cartilage or bone in the joint can be removed to decrease swelling, and in extremely painful cases, the affected joint may be removed

Dietary supplements: stimulates new cartilage growth in the joints and can alleviate some discomfort

Veterinarian-developed exercise routine: too much exercise for an arthritic cat can cause severe pain; however, too little exercise will make your cat’s joints even stiffer

Medications: long-term steroids and anti-inflammatory use may alleviate the symptoms


There is no known prevention.


There is no cure for arthritis, but your veterinarian can give you treatment options so you cat can live a comfortable life. You should pay attention to your cat’s movements, as catching arthritis early leaves more options for your cat to live comfortably.


Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the lungs and lower airways.

The airways become thick and mucus production increases, which constricts the airways. This makes it difficult for the cat to breathe.


Asthma sometimes develops spontaneously, for no known reason. Other times, it is an allergic reaction from inhaled irritants (cigarette smoke, dust, perfume etc).




Exercise intolerance

Difficulty breathing

Shallow, rapid breathing

Open-mouth breathing

Asthma can turn into a respiratory crisis. Sudden breathing difficulty due to narrowing of the airway can be life-threatening. If you notice any of the above signs, call your veterinarian immediately.


Your veterinarian will perform the following tests:

Physical exam: wheezes may be heard

Chest X-rays: to check for a constricted airway

Tracheal wash: sterile fluid is flushed in and out of the airways, and then the cells and debris are examined under a microscope


Most veterinarians will recommend the following treatments for cats with asthma:

Remove irritants: do not allow contact with cigarette smoke or perfume, and purchase dust free cat litter

Corticosteroids: oral or injected medication to decrease inflammation, which is the cause of the constricted airways

Inhaled steroids: inhaled steroids may be prescribed to prevent continued inflammation without the side effects of oral or injected steroids


Keep your cat away from cigarette smoke, incense, scented candles and perfume

Use dust-free cat litter (recycled newspaper or wheat litter)

Open windows in rooms when using strong cleaners, and remove the cat from the room until the smell goes away

Remove the cat from any home undergoing construction or painting


Cats with asthma usually need lifelong medical treatment. Your veterinarian will probably to reduce doses gradually.

As asthma is a chronic condition, complete control may not be possible, but with the proper treatment, your cat can enjoy a good quality of life.



Bile is produced by the liver, stored in the gall bladder, and goes through the bile ducts into the intestines to digest fats.

Cholangitis is inflammation of the bile duct. Cholangiohepatitis is inflammation of the bile ducts, gall bladder and liver. These two conditions usually occur simultaneously and are referred to as CCHS.

When any of these organs become inflamed, bile production decreases and/or the bile cannot go through the ducts.

Left untreated, CCHS will cause liver failure.


CCHS can be classified as suppurative or nonsuppurative.

Suppurative CCHS is caused by a bacterial infection.

Nonsuppurative CCHS causes:

Immune-mediated disease: the body attacks the gall bladder and bile ducts

Tumors block the bile ducts


Suppurative signs are sudden and severe:

Painful abdomen




Lack of appetite


Nonsuppurative signs are chronic and general:



Lack of appetite, weight loss


Your veterinarian will first test for other diseases that cause similar signs to CCHS. Some tests may include:

Thyroid testing for hyperthyroidism

Pancreatic testing for pancreatitis

If your veterinarian suspects CCHS, some tests may include:

Blood tests

Urine tests

X-rays: to look for tumors

Ultrasound: to look at the gallbladder and liver

Fine needle aspiration (using a think needle to take a cell sample) of the gall bladder

Biopsy to check the bile

Exploratory surgery


Most veterinarians will recommend the following treatments for cats with CCHS:

IV fluids: to stabilize the cat

Feeding tube


Surgery: to remove gallstones or clear the bile duct if it is blocked

The rest of treatment depends on the underlying cause.


If the cause is suppurative, then the best preventative is to avoid bacterial infection.


Suppurative: there is a good prognosis with prompt treatment, usually needed long-term.

Nonsuppurative: the prognosis depends on the severity. If the case is advanced, the prognosis is not so good.


Normally, there is a little bit of clear liquid in the pleural cavity (space between the lungs and chest wall). This makes sure that the lungs do not stick to the wall.

Chylothorax is a rare condition when there is too much liquid in the cavity. This can be fatal, as the lungs cannot expand fully.

There are two possible scenarios:

Pleural effusion: fluid invades the cavity, restricts lung expansion, and makes it difficult to breathe

Milky white fluid containing fat replaces the clear fluid in the cavity: more dangerous because the liquid is thicker and breathing is even more difficult

Both scenarios are emergencies, leading to respiratory failure and death.


More than half of chylothorax cases are idiopathic (the cause is unknown).

Some possible causes include:



Heart disease, blood clots, high blood pressure

Trauma to the chest: falls, car accidents


Typical signs include:

Difficulty breathing (your cat may look like it’s holding its breath)

Coughing (not natural in cats)

Other possible signs include:

Depression, lack of energy

Loss of appetite

Blue skin because of the lack of oxygen

If your cat has any trouble breathing, go to the veterinarian immediately.


In order to diagnose your cat with chylothorax, your veterinarian may perform the following:

Physical examination: specifically listening to the chest with a stethoscope

Chest x-ray

Chest tap: fluid is removed and studied

Additional tests to determine the underlying cause may include:

Ultrasound of the heart

Abdominal x-rays

Blood tests

Testing the fluid for bacteria


Most veterinarians will recommend the following treatments for cats with chylothorax:

Stabilizing breathing: fluid is drained

Treating the underlying disorder

Feeding a low fat diet

Rutin: a supplement that stimulates the cells which carry away the fat that’s in the liquid


In many cats, the underlying cause of chylothorax is never determined, and therefore, cannot be prevented.

Chylothorax can occur as a symptom of heart failure caused by heartworm disease. Discuss heartworm prevention with your veterinarian.


There is a good prognosis with treatment to stabilize breathing and for any underlying conditions.

Since the excess liquid irritates the heart and lungs, scar tissue may form. It will press on the lungs, causing breathing difficulty and long-term damage. Therefore, you must go to the veterinarian as soon as you notice signs.


Coccidiosis is an infection of the intestinal tract caused by a one-celled organism called coccidia. Infection is usually mild, but can be damaging or life-threatening to newborn animals or any animal with a weak immune system.


Immature coccidian, called oocysts, are passed in the stool of an infected dog. They survive for a long time and mature on the ground. If an animal swallows the matured oocysts, they mature even further in the animal’s intestine.

Causes of infection include:

Eating contaminated ground

Eating an infected mouse

Babies nursing from an infected mother

Animals less than 6 months have no immunity to coccidia, and can get the disease from other infected puppies

In kennels, animal shelters, and breeding facilities, infected animals should be isolated.


Most pets that are infected with coccidia do not display signs.

However, puppies and weak dogs usually display the following signs:

Severe, watery, bloody diarrhea

Vomiting and dehydration

Weight loss

Abdominal pain

Quick treatment is crucial for newborn animals to prevent life-threatening dehydration. If you see dehydration or diarrhea for more than a few days, call your veterinarian.


Your veterinarian will do the following:

Review medical history

Perform a physical exam

Study a stool sample


Coccidiosis is very easy to treat with antibiotics.

Albon is a common medication and comes in tablets and liquid. These antibiotics disrupt the coccidian life cycle, which allows your pet’s immune system to clear the infection.

Recovery depends on the number of coccidia infecting your pet and strength of your pet’s immune system.

Your pet may need other drugs to treat diarrhea and dehydration. In severe cases, hospitalization may be required for rehydration.


Keep a clean environment, and dispose of feces properly to prevent coccidiosis from spreading.


In most cases, coccidiosis is mild disease with a good prognosis.


Colitis is inflammation of the colon (large intestine). It can be either acute (lasting only a few days) or chronic (lasting for weeks).


The reason for the inflammation is often idiopathic (unknown).Some possible causes include:


The immune system attacking its own body

Bacterial or fungal infection

Parasites: for example, whipworms

Food allergies


Eating contaminated food

Constant exposure to wetness


The main symptom of colitis is frequent diarrhea with mucus or blood. This is because colitis causes the body not to be able to absorb water properly. The body cannot either store feces in the colon.

Other signs may include:

Straining during and after defecation



Sudden urgency for a bathroom

You may also notice vomiting and weight loss, but only rarely.


Your veterinarian will:

Review your cat’s medical history

Perform a physical exam (with focus on the rectal and abdominal areas)

Take a colon biopsy

Your veterinarian may do other tests to rule out other conditions, including:

Stool sample

Cytology (a study of the structure and function of your cat’s cells)

Blood tests

Urine tests

X-rays, ultrasound


Most cases of colitis cannot be cured. However, you can manage your pet’s colitis with a special diet and medicine that your veterinarian may prescribe.

Diet: You should feed with pet easily digested foods that are high in fiber. Many cats will have to remain on this diet for life.

Medication: The exact medication depends on the cause of the colitis:

Antibiotics: to control bacterial causes

Sulfa-containing drugs: to control chronic colitis

Immunosuppressive drugs: for colitis caused by immune deficiencies

Steroids or other anti-inflammatory medications


There is no way to know beforehand which cat might develop colitis. Once a pet is susceptible, you can prevent flare-ups with a bland and easily digested diet that is high in fiber.


In most cases, there is an excellent prognosis with a change in diet and some medication. You can manage your cat’s colitis to the point where it can live a happy, comfortable life for many years.


People have two eyelids. Your pet has a third protective eyelid at the inner corner of each of its eye. This eyelid sweeps across the eyeball to moisten it or to remove dirt, when needed.

Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the conjunctiva–the tissue that covers the eyeball and lines the eyelids and third eyelid. It can affect one eye or both.


The most common cause is bacterial or viral infections. Kittens can have an infection even before their eyes open.

Other causes include:

Eye diseases (for example, glaucoma)

Environmental and chemical irritants

Dry eyes


Trauma to the eye

Genetic disposition


Red eyes

Swollen eye area

Discharge from the eyes (cloudy tears, yellow or green mucus)

Discharge from the nose


Excessive blinking

Bulging third eyelid

Sneezing, coughing


Your veterinarian will first rule out other conditions like a foreign object in eye, blocked tear duct or glaucoma. Then, the veterinarian will likely do the following:

Eye exam: close examination of the eyes, lids, lashes, tear ducts, third eyelid

Schirmer tear test: paper strips inserted into the eye for a few minutes to measure tear production

Corneal stain: a fluorescent dye is put in the eye and then studied with an ultraviolet light to determine if the cornea (the outer covering of the eye) is damaged

Blood tests: determines the underlying cause of the conjunctivitis


To treat conjunctivitis, it is essential to first determine the cause. Treatment may include:

Topical medications: eye drops, ointments

Systemic medications: antibiotics (oral or injections) or anti-inflammatory drugs

Medication: to stimulate tear-production

Surgery: for pets with abnormal eyelids or eyelashes

Most cats respond quickly to medication. To avoid a relapse, it is important to give your pet the medications for as long as your veterinarian prescribes.


You can prevent relapses in a number of ways. Try to minimize stress, to keep your cat on a nutritious diet with plenty of fluids. Your veterinarian may suggest that you vaccinate your cat against conditions that can cause conjunctivitis.


There is generally a great prognosis for conjunctivitis.

Occasionally, the underlying cause is not curable, but you can usually keep conjunctivitis in check and your pet can live comfortably.

Dental Disease

Dental disease is a common disease found in more than two-thirds of cats over 3 years old.

Left untreated, bacteria builds up on the teeth. This advances to gingivitis–inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis develops into periodontal disease–inflammation of the bone and ligaments that support the teeth.

As the disease progresses, your cat will have tooth loss. The bacteria also can enter the bloodstream, and infect other organs.

Dental disease is treatable and can be prevented. You must provide your cat with good dental care (at home and by your veterinarian) for it to have good dental health.


Dental disease starts with a build-up of brown or tan plaque. It is crucial to provide your cat with good dental care.



Bad breath

Painful mouth

Red, inflamed gums

Not wanting to chew on toys

Dropping food from mouth

Loss of appetite and weight loss

Pawing at face

Rubbing face on ground

Colored nasal discharge


Exam of your cat’s teeth and gums

Dental x-rays

Blood tests


Your pet will need anesthesia for cleaning procedures. Your veterinarian will perform:

Blood tests: to ensure liver and kidneys are functioning well enough for anesthesia

Dental cleaning: ultrasonic scaling and polishing tools will remove plaque and tartar

Dental Surgery: removal of badly affected teeth

Medication: oral antibiotics

You won’t be able to remove the plaque and tartar yourself because:

You can only remove tartar above the gum line. There still may be tartar below the gum line, which will continue causing problems

It’s unsafe to clean the inner parts of the teeth while your cat is conscious.

Using dental instruments may scratch their teeth, which will cause further damage. Your veterinarian will polish the scratches to prevent this


Annual oral exams

Brush your cat’s teeth daily with toothpaste made for pets only! Human toothpaste contains ingredients that are poison for pets. Your veterinarian will instruct you how to brush your cat’s teeth. It is crucial to brush their teeth daily, as plaque and tartar can build up just six hours after a cleaning

Your veterinarian can prescribe a dental diet to remove plaque as your cat chews

You can add certain gels and liquids to your pet’s drinking water

Give your cat special chew toys which are designed to reduce tartar


If you take care to give your cat proper veterinary oral care and continue the care at home, they will have healthy teeth and gums, and avoid dental disease.


Diabetes is a pancreatic disorder. There are two types:

Type 1 diabetes: the body does not produce enough insulin

Type 2 diabetes:(more common) the body is unable to use the insulin correctly

Your cat needs insulin in order to absorb glucose and convert it into energy.

Untreated, your cat’s health will gradually decline and end in an early death.


Diabetes is common in cats that have the following combined factors:




10 years or older in age


Initial signs include:

Increased thirst and urination

Vomiting and dehydration

Increased appetite with weight loss

Poor coat/lack of grooming: may appear flaky, oily, and unkempt

Hind-limb weakness: walking with hocks touching the ground (nervous system damage)


Difficulty breathing

Advanced signs for untreated diabetes include:

Enlarged liver

Susceptibility to infection

Neurological problems


To diagnose your cat with diabetes, your veterinarian will review medical history and signs. The veterinarian will also perform blood and urine tests to check glucose levels.


Most veterinarians will agree that diabetes is not curable, but can be controlled by:

Change in diet:

High in protein and low in carbohydrates: controls blood sugar and promotes weight loss in obese cats. Obese cats have a hard time processing insulin, making their diabetes more difficult to control

Spread calorie intake out over a few meals rather than all at once

Insulin injections:

Insulin is used to keep the cat’s blood glucose levels under control. You will be able to learn to give injections, as the insulin needles are tiny. Giving an injection is usually easier than giving a pill.

The amount and frequency of insulin injections will be determined by your veterinarian

Follow-up visits: the dosage will be reevaluated with further blood testing

Be aware of behavioral changes that signal:

Not enough insulin: extra drinking, eating and urination

Too much insulin: lethargy, stumbling and shivering

Cats with diabetes must eat regularly to guard against insulin overdose, but be careful to control the amount of food your cat eats to prevent obesity.


While there is no way known to prevent type 1 diabetes, proper weight management can reduce the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.


The prognosis for a diabetic cat depends on your commitment to treat the disease, good communication between you and your veterinarian, and good control of the blood glucose with appropriate diet and dose of insulin.

With a strict diet, insulin and exercise, your cat can be happy and live a healthy life, even with diabetes.


Epilepsy is a chronic disorder of the brain that causes frequent seizures. A seizure occurs when abnormal nerve signals in the brain cause the muscles suddenly to convulse.

Types of seizures:

Petit Mal: mild seizure, a sudden brief loss of consciousness – staring into space.

Grand Mal, Tonic Clonic: most common type of seizure. The animal falls on its side with outstretched limbs and loses consciousness. Your cat will lose all muscle control. Limbs will jerk intensely and it will lose control of its bladder and bowels. These seizures last for 1-3 minutes.

Status Epilepticus: potentially fatal seizure. It lasts more than 5 minutes, or can be multiple seizures in a short time with no consciousness in between.

Cluster Seizures: another potentially fatal seizure. Multiple seizures in a short time span, with consciousness in between.


There is a condition called idiopathic epilepsy where there is no known cause, and can possibly be genetic.

Other causes may include:

Head injuries

Brain tumors, cancer

Birth defects


Lead poisoning

Metabolic disorder


Before a seizure: mood and behavioral changes

At the start of a seizure: trembling, drooling, wandering, restlessness, hiding and whining

During the seizure: loss of consciousness, teeth striking together, intense limb thrashing, drooling, whining and uncontrolled urination and defecation

After the seizure: disorientation and blindness

During a seizure, move your cat to an open space to avoid injury. Try to time the seizure and watch it closely. After the seizure, stay near your cat and comfort it as it regains consciousness. You can cool them with an ice pack either in the neck area or in the groin area. Then go to your veterinarian immediately and tell them exactly what happened. Seizures require emergency veterinary care because they can lead to life-threatening complications.


Many disorders cause seizures, so your veterinarian will perform a few tests to rule out other diseases before diagnosing your cat with epilepsy.

Cerebrospinal fluid analysis (fluid from the spine is withdrawn through a needle): tests for infections

Blood test: tests for lead poisoning, hypothyroidism and hypoglycemia

CT scan or MRI: checks for a brain tumor

X-rays: of the chest and abdomen

Sample analysis: of the feces and urine


Epilepsy is not curable and requires lifelong care.

Your veterinarian may prescribe anticonvulsant drugs. In most cases, these will not completely stop all seizures, but will lessen the frequency and severity. You will probably need to give your cat the medication for life. However, if they were on medication for over a year, and had no seizures during that time, your veterinarian may recommend slowly reducing the dose.

Probiotics (dietary supplements containing live bacteria) are helpful. They come in packets and can easily be added to your cat’s food.

Keep track of all seizures and follow up with your veterinarian every few months.


Since the main causes of epilepsy are either unknown or genetic, there is no known way to prevent this condition.


With medication, approximately 70% of epileptic pets live a normal life. About 30% do not respond to antiseizure drugs, but most can still live happy lives.

Feline Epiphora

Tear Staining

Epiphora is excessive tearing. Extra tearing from time to time is normal, but if it is constant, you should visit your veterinarian as soon as possible. All that moisture can cause pain, infection and staining (tears have no color, but they dry into a red, brown or black crust, which will stain your cat’s hair and face).

The staining itself is not a medical problem; it just does not look nice.

Eventually, it may cause vision loss. For some breeds, epiphora is not harmful.


1) Irritation to the eye: The eye’s normal response to irritation is to produce extra tears to flush it away. An overproduction of tears overwhelms the drainage system.

Examples of irritants (can be a foreign object or an irritation in the eye):

Hair: eyelashes growing at abnormal angles, or eyelashes growing on the inner surface of the eyelids

Particles in the air: dust, chemicals or smog

Cornea damage: inflammation or scratches of the cornea (the outer covering of the eye)

Glaucoma: raised pressure in the eye

Anterior uveitis: inflammation of the middle layer of the eye

Scarring: around the eye after surgery

2) Abnormal tear drainage: In a healthy eye, tears flow through the puncta (a tear duct located in the inner corner of the eye near the nose) that drains the tears into the pet’s nose and throat. Problems along this route can cause epiphora.

Shallow eye socket: tears overflow from the eye because there is not enough space in the eyelid for them. The tears do not enter the tear duct, but just spill down the sides of the nose

Eyelids turned inward: this blocks the opening to the tear duct (called the puncta)

Long hair: draws tears from the eye to the skin. Your veterinarian can trim this hair, and may recommend surgery to change the skin fold

Old infections or injuries: may scar the opening of the ducts closed. Sometimes a saline flush through the ducts can re-open them

The cat is born with closed puncta: your veterinarian can do surgery to open them

3) Overactive tear glands (least common)


Stains under the eyes and near the nose

Constant wetness around the eyes

Crust around the eyes

Swollen eyelids and face

Excessive blinking and squinting (due to pain)

Rubbing eyes and face

Red and or cloudy eyes

Change in pupil size, and then vision loss

If your cat is showing any of these signs, this is an emergency and you should visit your veterinary clinic right away. It is especially important if the signs occur suddenly.


Your veterinarian may perform some tests to rule out other diseases. A corneal stain, (a fluorescent dye placed in the eye), can test for ulcers. Your veterinarian may also test your cat’s eye pressure to see if it has glaucoma.

Your veterinarian will perform the following procedures to test for epiphora:

Complete eye exam: a magnified examination of the eyelids, tear duct openings, cornea etc.

Dacryocystorhinography: flushing of the entire tear duct system with a liquid that will show up on x-rays. This shows the tears draining from the corner of the eye all the way to the nose and can point to any blockages

Schirmer tear test: your veterinarian will put a strip of paper into the lower eyelid, which changes colors as tears fall on it. This checks if tear production is below average, average or excessive


Medication: to clean the stains

Antibiotics: if there is an infection

Surgery: to repair tear ducts or eye lashes, or to remove blockages


Most of the time, you will not be aware of your cat’s condition until you start to see signs of epiphora, so there is no way to prevent it.

To prevent a relapse, wash and dry around the eyes daily using lukewarm water and a soft cloth.


There is a good prognosis for cats that get quick medical attention and treatment. Delaying treatment may lead to blindness.

Fatty Liver Disease

Feline Hepatic Lipidosis

Fatty Liver Disease is one of the most common liver diseases in cats, mostly seen in older, obese cats.

If your cat stops eating for a few days, its body will need to break down fat very quickly to keep nutrient levels balanced. This overwhelms the liver, causing fat to build up there. Eventually, the liver stops working properly. As the disease progresses, it may result in fatal liver failure.


Anorexia is the main cause of fatty liver disease. If your cat was overweight before the anorexia, it has a greater chance of developing fatty liver disease.

There are other conditions that cause a loss of appetite, which can result in fatty liver disease:

Intestinal disease




Social problems (for example: a new cat or home)


Your cat will loseits appetite for a few days in a row. As the disease progresses, you may notice:


Weight loss

Vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration


Jaundice: yellowed eyes or skin

If you see any of these signs, go to the veterinarian immediately. The disease is fatal if not treated quickly and aggressively.


In order to properly diagnose your cat with fatty liver disease, your veterinarian may perform the following:

Blood tests


Liver biopsy (by surgery or needle): to check for excess fat

Other tests may be performed to determine why your cat stopped eating


Immediate treatment to stabilize your cat may include:

IV fluids

Antibiotics and vitamins

Blood transfusions

The main treatment is dietary therapy until your cat’s normal appetite returns (usually 6 to 7 weeks). The liver will then continue its regular functioning, and remove the excess fat on its own.

A feeding tube inserted surgically into the cat’s stomach

Feed it a high protein, high calorie diet with a syringe

Every so often, try to give your cat some food by mouth so you will know when its appetite returns

After your cat eats normally for 3 to 4 days, bring it back to your veterinarian to remove the tube


The actual cause of the disorder is unknown, but obesity and anorexia are known to be associated with the onset of the disease. Prevent obesity by not overfeeding your cat.

Also, try to avoid stressful situations that may cause a cat to suddenly stop eating. These include a new pet or family member in the home, or suddenly changing your cat’s diet.


There is a great chance for full recovery if you catch the disease in its early stages and give proper, aggressive treatment. If there is an underlying medical issue causing fatty liver disease, it is important to address that as well.