Health issues can affect cats at any time, but they can be the most damaging at the early stages of a cat’s life. Diseases and infections can hit kittens especially hard given their fragile nature, so it’s important to monitor their health closely during these formative months. While kittens are susceptible to a number of different health issues, there are a few common ones that all cat owners should watch out for.

1. Ear Mites

If you notice your kitten is constantly scratching its ears, that might be a sign it’s suffering from ear mites. Ear mites are a type of parasite that invade your pet’s ear canal and feed on the wax and oils in the ears. These tiny little buggers cause severe inflammation and itching of the ears.  They are also highly contagious and spread from pet to pet.

2.  Intestinal Worms

Unfortunately, intestinal worms are an all too common problem for kittens. There are actually a few different kinds of worms that can cause problems for kittens. From roundworms to hookworms to whipworms, intestinal worms of any variety are a pain in the stomach (literally) for kitties. Side effects include weight loss, diarrhea, and overall weakness and fatigue. To safeguard your kitten from intestinal worms, be sure to keep it away from the fecal matter of other felines as that is how the worms are spread.

3. Fleas

Fleas are tiny, but annoying little nuisances that cling to a pet’s fur and live off of their blood. But fleas in kittens are more than a pest; they can cause anemia and be potentially life-threatening. Other symptoms of fleas include itching, hair loss, and general discomfort. While there are several flea removal applications available, most cannot be used on young kittens due to the strong chemicals in the product. Talk to your veterinarian about the safest and best flea treatment options for young kittens.

4. Feline Herpes

Feline herpes is a highly contagious upper respiratory infection. Kittens that come from shelters are likely to have this disease since, chances are, they were exposed to it from another cat at the shelter. Some of the symptoms of feline herpes include sneezing, watery eyes, fever, fatigue and loss of appetite. Although there is no cure for this virus, the symptoms can be managed and the virus can go dormant for several years.

5. Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is a type of eye disease that causes inflammation of the pink, moist tissues of the eyes. It can cause discharge from the eyes, not to mention vision troubles. Other signs of conjunctivitis include red eyes, squinting, and a buildup of fluid. The three main causes of conjunctivitis are feline herpes, mycoplasma, and chlamydia. To effectively treat conjunctivitis, the underlying cause must be treated as well.

To keep your kitten safe from these five health issues and everything else, visit us at Hillside Animal Hospital. We’ll do everything in our power to protect your kitten and keep it healthy and disease free for years to come!