Upper respiratory infection (URI).
This is a common problem in cats, somewhat like the common cold in humans. Symptoms are sneezing, coughing, ocular/nasal discharge, lethargy, fever, and loss of appetite. URI is seldom fatal and usually resolves within 1-2 weeks. Cat-to cat contact or airborne secretions cause it. Treatment consists of supportive care, including keeping the cat warm, minimizing stress and excitement, and offering good quality food, and plenty of fresh water. The secondary bacterial infections can make the problem worse and may require antibiotics and fluids, if necessary. Cats with URI will have stuffy noses and can’t smell their food. This can make them reluctant to eat. Offer them smelly, wet food (canned tuna, a/d, baby food) and warm it to touch. Sometimes a little garlic powder sprinkled on top will enhance the smell.
Gently clean discharge from eyes and nose with a moist soft cloth If very congested, put the cat in the bathroom a couple times a day for 10 minutes with a hot shower running (don’t put the cat in the shower) to help moisten and loosen secretions.
This disease causes vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, fever, and loss of appetite. It is caused by exposure to an infected cat or to the virus in the environment. Consult your peting agency and veterinarian.
Feline leukemia (FeLV)
This disease is caused by a retrovirus, it’s infectious, and it’s fatal. FeLV can suppress the immune response or can cause cancer in the bloodstream or any body tissue, such as kidneys or spinal cord. It can cause tumors, chronic diarrhea, and anemia that make the cat susceptible to other diseases. Transmission to other cats is made from close contact with infected saliva – fighting, grooming, bites, shared food, shared water bowls. The virus can also be spread through urine and feces. The virus is short-lived outside of the cat’s body and is easily killed by household disinfectants. Pregnant mothers can spread the virus to their kittens. There is no proven cure for FeLV: chemotherapy or radiation therapy can be used to help fight the cancers associated with FeLV; supportive care and antibiotics can be used in cats with secondary infections; and bone marrow transplants have been successfully performed. There is some promising work being done using drugs to stimulate the immune response.
Feline Immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
This disease is a retrovirus, which causes immuno-suppression and produces a disease similar to AIDS in humans after years of infection. It is transmitted through the bite of an infected cat. Consult your peting agency and veterinarian. Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP This disease is caused by a common coronavirus and is transmitted through saliva. FIP is thought to be a mutation of the Feline Enteric Corona Virus. Often the disease will go unnoticed, but it will eventually develop into a slowly progressive disease and be fatal.
Incubation is usually a few days to three weeks, but sometimes can be up to several months. Clinical signs include persistent fever, loss of appetite, and progressive weight loss. Some cats accumulate fluid in the abdomen, show neurological problems, and have diarrhea.
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