Cat flu is one of the most common health problems in felines. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most serious cat diseases. This feline upper respiratory infection is extremely contagious and typically occurs where there is a large cat population. While it is most common in kittens, older cats, and cats with weak immune systems, any cat can contract the disease.
Cat Flu Symptoms and Causes
In some cases, this type of diseases can be fatal. However, many cats can survive and make a full recovery. It is caused by various feline viruses and bacteria, which can lead to secondary infections and pneumonia. The virus, known as calicivirus, is one such cat virus that can cause a mild case of cat flu.
Cat flu symptoms caused by the calicivirus include runny nose and/or eyes, joint pain, fever, lethargy, gum inflammation, sores on paws, and ulcers on the mouth, tongue and/or lips. It is the more dangerous virus, known as feline herpes virus, that can cause a form of cat flu that can be fatal.
Cat flu symptoms caused by the feline herpes virus include cat sneezing, dehydration, fever, lethargy, loss of appetite and corneal ulcers. In most cases, your cat will have conjuctivitis as well. This appears as an inflammation of the eye, with or without a pus-like discharge.
How Does Feline Flu Spread?
Viruses live in body fluids such as saliva, and they can spread quickly from one cat to another. They can also be spread by both direct or indirect contact such as through touching or a cat sneezing. Furthermore, viruses can contaminate such items as pet food bowls, litter trays and bedding.
Even cats that have survived feline flu continue to carry the virus. With that said, a cat that is not actively affected by the disease can spread it to other cats. Additionally, cats that are up to date on all of their vaccinations can still contract cat flu.
Diagnosing and Treating Feline Flu
When diagnosing this form of feline upper respiratory infection, your veterinarian will examine a culture taken from your cat’s mouth. This will help to determine the type of virus that is making your pet ill. If your cat is found to be suffering from feline flu, your vet will recommend treatments.
Typically, your vet will prescribe antibiotics. This is because antibiotics can help discourage any secondary infections from developing in your pet. In severe cases, your cat may need to be hospitalized so that it can be placed on IV fluids.
What You Can Do
Whenever your pet is ill, no matter what cat diseases it may be suffering from, it is essential to keep it warm. You also need to encourage your pet to drink water and eat. If there is any discharge from its eyes or nose, you can gently wipe it away with a clean tissue.
If your cat has been diagnosed with feline flu, you should always wash your hands after touching it. Finally, you need to keep your pet away from other cats to prevent spreading the virus. Whenever your cherished pet becomes ill, you should seek the advice of your veterinarian to rule out any serious problems.