Home / Tips

Common Cat Diseases That Can Affect Your Furry Friend

As a responsible cat owner in Naples, it is important to have an idea of what cat diseases may affect your pet. Cats can be affected by many common diseases—infectious and non-infectious. Although there are certain cat diseases that cannot be prevented, most common diseases in cats can be prevented by vaccination, proper nutrition, regular grooming and health check-ups.

Common Cat Diseases
Feline Panleukopenia

What is feline panleukopenia?
Feline panleukopenia is a highly contagious and deadly disease in cats. It is also known as infectious enteritis, feline distemper, feline ataxia and cat plague. The disease is caused by a virus (parvovirus).

How can my cat get the infection?
Susceptible cats may get the disease from other cats through direct or indirect contact. Direct contact with the infected cat’s urine, blood, fecal material, nasal secretions, vomitus and parasites that feed on the infected animal’s blood can cause transfer of the disease.

Indirect contact happens when a susceptible cat comes in contact with the beddings, food dishes, cages, even the clothing and shoes of the handlers of infected cat. Moreover, pet shops, catteries, human shelters and other areas where infected cats frequent can be sources of infection for other susceptible cats.

How can I know my cat has the disease?
The symptoms of this disease usually appear within 2 to 10 days after a cat’s exposure to the virus.

The signs and symptoms of the disease include:

– Fever

– Depression

– Loss of appetite

– Abdominal pain

– Vomiting and dehydration

– Extreme thirst

– Anemia

– Bloody diarrhea

What is the treatment for cats with feline panleukopenia?
Cats suspected to suffer from the disease should undergo intensive fluid therapy to address dehydration. Sick cats should also be given antibiotics to control secondary bacterial infection. Secondary bacterial infection occurs as a result of an initial infection, which is in this case, is feline panleukopenia infection. The initial infection provides the favorable environment for bacteria to multiply uncontrollably resulting to a more severe infection.

How can feline panleukopenia be prevented?
The disease, generally speaking, can be prevented by proper vaccination of kittens. Vaccination usually starts when kittens reach 12 weeks old. A booster shot is given in 2-4 weeks (3-4 weeks is ideal). Then, a year-after vaccination is given and same shot is given every after 3 years. However, this vaccination program can be adjusted depending on the prevailing circumstance in Naples. Your vet in Naples will be able to tell you the most suitable vaccination program for your cat.

Upper respiratory infections (Feline Respiratory Disease complex)

What is feline respiratory disease complex?
Feline respiratory disease complex includes those illnesses that show symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection (e.g. rhinosinusitis, runny eyes and nose, salivation, and oral ulcers).

Upper respiratory tract infections are caused by many pathogens, namely feline viral rhinotracheitis (herpesvirus), feline calicivirus (FCV), Chlamydia felis, or combination of these infections.

Feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR) virus and feline calicivirus (FCV) are the most common cause of upper respiratory infections in cats.

How can my cat get the infection?
Susceptible cats can get the disease through the air or through direct or indirect contact with an infected animal.

How will I know my cat has the disease?
Signs and symptoms that your cat has upper respiratory tract infection include:

– Fever

– Intense sneezing

– Runny eyes and nose (discharges later becomes thick and mucus-like)

– Severe cough

– Swelling of the eyelids

– Excessive salivation

– Ulcers in the mouth (results to difficulty in eating and drinking)

– Depression

– Lethargy

– Loss of appetite

What will happen if the disease is left untreated?
If left untreated, the disease may be complicated by secondary bacterial infections leading to abortions and generalized infections (in the case of FVR).

Is there a treatment for the disease?
There is no specific treatment for the disease and the treatment is largely symptomatic and supportive.

The treatment includes intravenous fluid therapy to keep the cat hydrated, antibiotics to fight secondary bacterial infection, medications to keep the eyes and the nose clear and unclogged (e.g. decongestants, antihistamines), and supportive treatment that will make the cat comfortable and well rested.

The owner can also help the cat by frequently removing the discharges from the nose and the eyes. Lysine may help reduce the severity of FVR infections by interfering with the replication of the virus.

How can upper respiratory infections be prevented?
Vaccines are available against Chlamydia felis, FVR and FCV.

Aside from vaccination, other measures to protect your cat from getting respiratory infections include avoiding exposure to sick cats, avoiding stress and overcrowding.

For more information on cat health and cat diseases consult your Naples Veterinarians.

Keywords/Tag: Naples, common cat diseases, feline panleukopenia virus, upper respiratory tract infections in cats, feline viral rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus infection, rabies in cats

Feline panleukopenia

Vaccinations for cats