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NEW BUSINESS HOURS:

Mon-Fri: 8:00am-6:00pm
Sat: 8:30am-5:00pm
Sun: Closed

Common Viral Diseases in Cats

Feline Leukemia Virus (Felv)

Cause: Feline leukemia is a serious viral disease in cats that cannot be transmitted to humans. This disease is prevalent in the wild and in barn cat populations, although it is seen in household cats.

Transmission: Feline leukemia is spread by direct contact with infected cats though urine, feces, blood, and saliva. Licking, biting, and sneezing are also common ways of transmitting this virus. Healthy cats should not share their food and water dishes and litter boxes with leukemia positive cats. Kittens can also be born with this disease if their mother had feline leukemia.

Symptoms: Some symptoms associated with this virus are anemia, fever unresponsive to antibiotics, chronic respiratory diseases, eye diseases, weight loss, abortions, enlargement of the lymph nodes, ulcers of the mouth, and skin problems.

Diagnosis: A simple blood test can be done to screen your cat or kitten for this disease. The test detects the viral particles in your cat’s blood. All kittens and adult cats with unknown vaccination history should be tested at the time of adoption or purchase. Cats should be retested in three to six months to prevent any false negatives. A cat can carry and spread this disease even if he/she is not showing any symptoms.

Treatment: There is no cure for feline leukemia; only supportive care.
Vaccinations: Cats should be tested for feline leukemia before vaccinating for leukemia. A series of two vaccinations should be given three weeks apart the first time your cat is vaccinated, followed by yearly vaccinations. Vaccinations are effective at preventing this disease; however, the best way to protect your cat is by avoiding exposure to cats of unknown vaccine history and by keeping your cat indoors.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

Cause: FIV is a serious viral disease in cats. There is no evidence that would link FIV to any human disease (HIV). This disease is also fairly prevalent in the wild and in barn cat populations.

Transmission: The major route of infection is though bites; however, the virus is also present in blood, serum, plasma, cerebrospinal fluid, and saliva. Kittens can also be born with this disease if their mother had FIV.

Symptoms: FIV positive cats go through three symptom stages.
Initially – low grade fever, low white blood cell count, enlargement of the lymph nodes
Period of normalcy – during this stage your cat will act normal for six moths to about three years before going to the third and final stage.
Final stage – chronic infections of the mouth, upper respiratory disease, skin infections, gastrointestinal upset, neurological signs, anemia and weight loss.

Diagnosis: A simple blood test can be done to screen your cat or kitten for this disease. The test detects the viral particles in your cat’s blood. All kittens and adult cats with an unknown vaccination history should be tested at the time of adoption or purchase. Cats should be retested in three to six months to prevent any false negatives. A cat can carry this disease even if he/she is not showing any signs of it.

Treatment: There is no cure for FIV; only supportive care.

Vaccinations: There is no vaccination at this time for FIV. The best way to keep your cat from contacting this disease is to avoid exposure to outside cats.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

Cause: FIP is a serious viral disease in cats. This disease is fairly common in the wild and in barn cat populations.

Transmission: FIP is spread most commonly by feces; however, it can also be transmitted by oral and nasal secretions and sometimes urine. Kittens can also be born with this disease if their mother had it.

Symptoms: Some symptoms associated with this disease are fluid in the abdomen, weight loss, fever, loss of appetite, enlargement of the abdomen, fluid in the chest, and neurological signs.

Diagnosis: Diagnosis is often difficult with FIP. Repeated FIP titers can be run to check for antibodies in the cat’s bloodstream. Clinical symptoms including straw – colored fluid from the abdomen, along with analysis of the fluid are another way to diagnose FIP.

Treatment: There is no treatment for this disease; only supportive care.

Vaccinations: The vaccinations for FIP are not very effective, and are, in fact controversial; however, a series of two intranasal vaccines can be given three weeks apart the first time your cat is vaccinated, followed by yearly vaccinations. The best protection for your cat is to avoid exposure to other cats and their feces. Horseshoe Lake Animal Hospital does not recommend this vaccine for companion cats at this time.

Contact Us

Horseshoe Lake Animal Hospital

Location

5230 Horseshoe Lake Rd. Collinsville, IL 62234

New Business Hours

Mon-Fri: 8:00am-6:00pm Sat: 8:30am-5:00pm Sun: Closed