Veterinary Health for Cats: Most Common Weight Loss Causes

weight-lossPet owners can sense when something is wrong. Even slight changes in weight, temperament and behavior are usually very noticeable, so when you get a feeling that something might be wrong with your cat it is important to seek feline veterinary care as soon as possible. One of the indicators of a change in your cat’s health can be weight loss.

While most cats are pretty finicky when it comes to food choices, if your cat is refusing to eat the food that she used to devour with relish, you might become a little concerned. However, if your cat is still eating the same amount and type of food without trouble, yet you are seeing a noticeable weight loss, you may need to bring her to Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth for a check-up.

Because there are many different breeds and variations of breeds found in cats here in the United States, it is difficult for veterinarians to set a specific “normal weight” for pet owners to adhere to through proper diet and exercise. However, most pet owners who have had a cat for a couple of years can usually see quickly if their cat is gaining or losing weight. While most changes in weight can be fixed through diet change, there are some issues that could be a sign of troubling veterinary health for cats.

Proper Care and Cleaning

While some cats will eat just about anything that drops on the ground within their reach, others are a bit more picky. Take care to store your cat’s dry food in airtight containers where they won’t be exposed to bacteria, dust or pests. If you only feed dry food, you can clean the bowl out on a weekly basis, but if you are feeding wet food, you should clean the bowl every day.

Make sure to have fresh water available in a clean bowl to remove any dust, dirt, hair or other debris out of the bowl. Keep your cat’s litter a good distance away from the eating area to ensure that the smell of the “bathroom” doesn’t interfere with your cat’s appetite. After all, you wouldn’t want to eat next to the toilet and you would probably balk if someone fed you dinner on the same dirty plate you used the night before.

Reduce Stress During Mealtimes

Some cats can lose weight if they are stressed out during mealtimes. If they have to compete for food with other cats or if they are pestered by dogs or small children while eating, it can have a profound effect on their eating habits. While your cat may eat the food, she may get sick later due to stress, missing out on the important calories and nutrients she needs to maintain a healthy weight.

Stress in cats can also lead to anxiety and depression, which can also lead to fasting. Some pets will refused to eat when their owner isn’t home or will go the opposite way and refuse to eat if people are home. Finding out what triggers your kitty’s stress can help. If you are still having issues and there are no obvious triggers, speak with a veterinarian at your local Dartmouth emergency vet hospital and clinic. Medical issues, such as fatty liver disease, could be causing your cat to refuse food and further feline veterinary care may be warranted.

Allergies and Other Issues

As cats grow and change, they sometimes develop allergies and other conditions that can affect their weight. Gastrointestinal issues, food allergies, intolerances to certain types of foods or even parasites can cause dangerous problems that require the help of a professional who can provide an exam and treatment geared toward improving veterinary health for cats.

Roundworm is one of the more common parasites that affect cats. They can become infected at birth from their mother’s milk as kittens or by exposure to rodents who carry the parasite. Check your cat’s feces for spaghetti-like worms, which are the best way to identify the presence of the parasite. Your veterinarian at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth can de-worm your cat through prescribed medication. If parasites are not the cause, dietary adjustments can be made to accommodate allergies or other intolerances.

Weight Changes Due to Age

As your cat gets older, the approach to feline veterinary care will change. Weight changes are common, and while some cats will gain weight, others will lose it. Dental disease, loss of teeth and a reduced sense of smell contribute to loss of appetite or even ability to eat solid foods.

Elderly cats also are frequent sufferers of metabolism changes, constipation and other issues. Adding extra fiber to your cat’s diet can help. Speak with your veterinarian about senior veterinary health for cats and what you can do to keep your cat happy and healthy in her senior years.

More Serious Conditions

If none of the common issues listed above match the experience that you are having with your cat, you may need to bring her into your local Dartmouth emergency vet for a complete check-up and additional feline veterinary care. Weight loss can also be a symptom for diseases, such as cancer, kidney disease, liver disease and serious dental issues. If your cat is losing weight, contact Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth and set up an appointment right away.