Deadly Diseases in Cats and Cogs

These diseases normally don't have any specific symptoms, which is why it's difficult to detect in a pet. In some cases, these diseases are extremely contagious.
Deadly Diseases in Cats and Cogs

Last update: 29 September, 2018

Deadly diseases in cats and dogs are a concern for all pet owners. Therefore, it’s important to know the most lethal disease that can affect your pet in order recognize their symptoms and take your pet to a vet immediately.

Deadly diseases in cats and dogs

3 deadly diseases in cats

Feline leukemia

Feline leukemia is considered a pandemic because of the dramatic increase of diagnosed cases worldwide. It’s a severe viral disease caused by an oncovirus known as FeLV (Feline Leukemia virus). It can affect cats of all ages, but it’s more common in young cats. 

Cat being hugged

FeLV spreads mainly by direct contact with blood or bodily fluids of infected animals. It can also be in saliva, urine, and feces of cats, which is why stray cats or ones that live in feline groups are especially vulnerable to this pathology.

The main symptoms of feline leukemia are:

  • Alteration of respiratory rhythm
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Severe anemia
  • Yellow ulcers in the mouth and mucous membranes

Feline AIDS (Feline immunodeficiency)

Feline AIDS is a viral disease transmitted by a lentivirus called FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus). It’s spread through direct contact with the blood of infected animals.

Cat with green eyes lying down

The main symptoms of feline AIDS are:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Gingivitis
  • Loss of appetite and weight

This disease is more common among unsterilized cats. It’s usually transmitted through sexual intercourse or in street fights. Therefore, this disease can be a gateway to several other diseases that can seriously threaten your cat’s life.

Renal insufficiency

Kidney failure is among the most frequent causes of death among domestic cats. It’s a severe chronic disease that causes irreversible loss of renal function.

A sick cat

This disease is very difficult to diagnose because the decay of renal activity has unspecific symptoms. It’s estimated that differential clinical signs may appear when the kidneys’ tissues are more than 80% damaged.

The main symptoms of kidney failure are:

  • Increased water consumption and urination
  • Loss of bathroom habits
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Vomiting and ulcers in mucous membranes

3 deadly diseases in dogs


Parvovirus is an acute and severe viral disease that’s infectious. It occurs frequently in puppies and younger dogs but can affect animals of all ages. The main form of transmission is by having direct contact with the feces of contaminated animals. This virus usually sticks to the mucous membranes of the digestive tract. Likewise, these viruses constantly reproduce.

Sick Pug

Therefore, the main symptoms of parvovirus are similar to those of gastrointestinal problems, like:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea, usually accompanied by blood and mucus
  • Dehydration and malnutrition
  • Abdominal pain
  • Depression and lethargic state
  • Fever

Canine distemper

Distemper is one of the leading causes of death among dogs. It’s an acute and highly contagious viral disease that’s mainly transmitted through the inhalation of the pathogen. Also, puppies between six and twelve months of age are the most affected.

Sick puppy

Canine distemper virus reproduces very rapidly in the body, so it spreads to several tissues and organs. Likewise, it affects the brain, cutaneous and conjunctive cells, as well as the mucous membrane of the digestive and respiratory tracts.

The main symptoms of canine distemper are:

  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Malnutrition and dehydration
  • Dry cough
  • Yellowish and sticky discharge from the eyes and nose
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Encephalitis

Stomach torsion

Stomach torsion is a leading cause of infectious death in dogs and is considered to be a veterinary emergency. This disease causes gases and liquids to build up in the stomach, which can rotate on its own longitudinal axis. It can affect dogs of all breeds and ages but is more common among larger dogs.

Sick dog lying down

The phenomenon of rotation “blocks” the stomach, which prevents proper blood circulation and oxygenation of this organ. Unfortunately, when this happens, there is no way to save the animal’s life.

The first symptoms of stomach torsion are abdominal swelling, nausea, and vomiting, excessive salivation and restlessness. In more advanced cases, the animal’s gums and mucous membrane become pale, and the dog has an accelerated respiratory and cardiac rhythm.

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