Relatively few signs signal the presence of many diseases, and very different diseases cause the same signs and can sometimes be differentiated from one another only by specialized diagnostic aids, such as × rays, blood tests, and urinalysis.
You know your cat best. If “something just doesn’t seem right,” sit down with your cat, take his or her temperature, and perform a physical examination. Often you will turn up specific signs that you can read about and deal with at home. If you don’t, don’t assume that you are wrong and that your cat is okay, so rely on your intuition and get your cat examined by a veterinarian.
Three common general signs of illness in cats are, changing in behavior, change in appetite, and fever. Two other general signs you may see are shivering and dehydration.
CHANGE IN BEHAVIOR:
Don’t make any change in behavior lightly. Although most cats become less active and quieter when they are sick or injured, any behavioral change can indicate a medical problem. Many cats lessen or stop self-grooming behaviors when they are ill, so unkempt fur may signal a behavior change, also Cats can have “emotional” problems as well, but they are much less common than illness-associated behavior changes.
CHANGE OF APPETITE OR WATER INTAKE:
More often Cats may lose their appetites completely when they are sick (anorexia),however, you will notice a change in appetite. The sick cat may eat more or less and One day’s change, though, is not usually important. Watch your cat’s food intake carefully and Once a cat is grown, food intake should be fairly constant from day to day.
Changes that persist longer than five days with no other signs of illness should be discussed with your veterinarian but Changes accompanied by other signs should not be allowed to continue longer than twenty-four hours before you or your veterinarian investigates the problem.
All body tissues are bathed in fluids consisting primarily of water, ions, proteins, and some other chemical substances such as nutrients and waste products. Normal tissue fluids are extremely important in maintaining normal cellular functions.
Any changes in the body’s water composition are always accompanied by changes in other constituents of tissue fluids and small changes can have important consequences!
The most common tissue fluid alteration seen in sick animals is depletion of body water or dehydration. One common cause of dehydration during illness is not taking in enough water to meet the body’s fixed daily requirements.
Water is continually lost in the urine, feces, respiratory gases, and evaporation from some body surfaces. Dehydration also occurs in conditions that cause excessive water and/or electrolyte (ion) loss, such as vomiting and diarrhea. Fever also increases the body’s water needs.
Although dehydration begins as soon as water output exceeds intake, the signs of dehydration are usually undetectable until a water deficit of about 4% of total body weight has occurred. If your cat has visible signs of dehydration, he or she may have been sick longer than you realize and may need professional veterinary care.
The normal resting cat maintains his or her rectal temperature within the range of 101.0°F to 102.5°F (38.3° to 39.2°C). An elevated body temperature (fever) usually indicates disease, but keep in mind that factors such as exercise, excitement, and high environmental temperature can elevate a cat’s temperature as well.
Many kinds of bacteria produce toxins (called exogenous pyrogens) that cause the body to release chemical substances called endogenous pyrogens, which produce fever. Other agents such as viruses, fungi, antibody-antigen complexes, and tumors produce fever in a similar manner.
It is important to remember that fever is a sign of disease, not a disease in itself. Drugs may be used to lower an extremely high fever but aspirin, the most common drug used for this purpose, must be used with great caution in cats. The important thing is to find the cause of the fever and treat it. In fact, there are indications that the presence of fever may even be beneficial in some diseases.
Except in kittens less than four weeks of age, lowered body temperature (less than 100°F [37.8°C]), is usually indicative of overwhelming disease, and the affected animal needs immediate care.
Shivering may or may not be a sign of illness. Many cats shiver when frightened, excited, or otherwise emotionally upset and it also can shiver when they are cold. Unless they are accustomed to being outside in cool weather without protection, cats, like people, get cold and shiver in an attempt to increase body heat.
Shivering may also be a sign of pain. It is often seen with the kind of pain that is difficult to localize, such as abdominal or spinal pain.
If your cat is shivering, try to eliminate emotional causes and take his or her temperature before concluding that this sign is due to pain.
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