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Cat Diseases

Feline Panleukopenia (FVRCP):  This is also called feline distemper and is one of the most common viruses of cats.  It is a highly contagious disease.  The highest incidence occurs in kittens 3-5 months of age.  Symptoms include:  fever, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and death.  Your cat does not necessarily need to be in contact with other cats to get this disease.

Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVRCP):  This is a highly contagious upper respiratory disease of cats.  The most common method of transmission is through fomites such as hands, clothing, feeding dishes, and litter pans.  Symptoms include fever, depression, sneezing, coughing, ocular and nasal discharges, and in-appetence.  Kittens and immune cats are at higher risk of infection and death.

Feline Calicivirus (FVRCP):  This is also an upper respiratory and ulcerative disease of cats.  Symptoms and transmission are the same as for the Rhinotracheitis virus.  See above.

Feline Pneumonitis (FVRCP):  This is a Chlamydial infection causing upper respiratory infection in cats.  Symptoms and transmission are the same as for the Rhinotracheitis virus.  See above.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV):  This is a very common and highly contagious virus for cats.  It is similar to the human AIDS virus in that it causes suppression of the immune system.  This disease cannot be transmitted to people or to animals other than cats.  Transmission is primarily through exchange of secretions (saliva, blood, urine, feces), such as from grooming, mating, sneezing, and eating out of the same food bowls.  It can also be transferred from the mother cat to her kittens either during pregnancy or nursing.  There are no specific signs of FeLV disease.  Symptoms arise from the secondary diseases and may include:  chronic mouth and gum infections, chronic respiratory disease, intestinal infections (diarrhea), skin and ear infections, reproductive disorders (abortion, stillbirth, and fading kitten syndrome), frequent urinary tract infections, loss of appetite, weight loss, fever, lethargy, and other systematic infections.  This virus can also cause some tumors to occur.  Cats at a high risk are outdoor cats, intact male cats, cats in multi-households, and stray cats.  VACCINATION before exposure to the virus is the best means of protection (although no vaccine is 100% protective) other than absolute isolation from other cats.

Feline Rabies Virus:  This is a 100% fatal disease that affects the nervous system of ALL warm-blooded animals (that means PEOPLE too).  State law requires that all dogs and cats be vaccinated against rabies each year.  Transmission is usually from bite wounds.  Some wild animals, such as skunks, fox, raccoons, and bats; can serve as reservoirs of the virus.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV):  This virus, like the FeLV virus also causes immune suppression and is closer in similarity to the human AIDS virus.  Again, only cats can get this disease.  This virus is found in the blood and saliva.  Transmission is primarily from fighting (bite wounds and scratches).  Symptoms are similar to those listed for FeLV.  Intact make cats are in the highest risk category for becoming infected with this virus.  Also at risk are all outdoor cats, cats in multi-cat households, and stray cats.  Some female cats do get this disease.  There is NO vaccination to prevent this disease.  Once infected, cats remain infected and eventually die from secondary disease.  You can help prevent your pet from becoming infected by keeping it indoors and neutering male cats.  Test any new cat or kitten before bringing it into the household.


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