Upper Respiratory Infection in Cats
What exactly is meant by the term “feline upper respiratory infection”?
Upper Respiratory Infection in Cats . Infection of the upper respiratory tract in cats is a condition that is rather prevalent. It’s symptoms are comparable to those of the common cold, but it can be considerably more dangerous. It is not the lungs that are affected but rather the upper airway, which includes the nose, throat, and sinuses. This condition is brought on by a variety of viruses or bacteria.
Signs and Symptoms of an Upper Respiratory Infection in Cats
Some of the most frequent clinical indicators of upper respiratory disorders in cats include the following, however these symptoms might vary depending on the origin and location of the infection:
nose and ocular discharge ranging from clear to colourless
loss of appetite or a diminished appetite
Ulcers of the nose and mouth
Scrunching up the face or rubbing the eyes
The Root Causes of Feline Upper Respiratory Infections
The majority of upper respiratory infections in cats are brought on by viruses. bacterial infections come in a distant second. Approximately 80% to 90% of all infections are caused by viruses, whereas the majority of the remaining illnesses are due to bacteria. The following are the most often seen offenders at animal shelters and households with several cats:
Feline herpesvirus. This is a virus that is linked to the one that causes chickenpox and cold sores in humans, but cats cannot pass the infection on to their owners.
Feline calicivirus. This extremely infectious virus can cause a respiratory illness ranging from mild to severe, as well as oral disease.
Chlamydia. Eyes that are watering often are a common symptom of this bacterial illness.
Bordetella. This bacterial infection is typically brought on by high levels of stress as well as living settings that are too crowded. It is found more frequently in dogs.
Fungus. When cats come into contact with bird droppings or rotting plants, they run the risk of contracting a fungal illness.
Infected cats’ saliva, tears, and nasal secretions all contain virus particles that may be isolated. They can be readily passed from one cat to another by physical contact, such as grooming and petting, or when they sneeze and cough on one other. It is also possible for viruses to exist on shared surfaces between cats, such as food and water dishes or litter boxes. It is possible for people to pass them from one cat to another through the use of infected hands or clothing.
The vast majority of cats that get feline herpesvirus will be carriers of the virus for the remainder of their lives. Even if they don’t appear to have any symptoms, they can still be able to spread the disease. This may include a mother cat that has recently given birth to a fresh litter of kittens.
Factors That Increase the Danger of Feline Upper Respiratory Infections
Cats that are housed in overcrowded environments, such as shelters or breeding facilities, are more likely to suffer from upper respiratory illnesses. They are also more likely to occur in homes with many cats. Other potential dangers include the following:
Age. Infections are more prone to occur in younger animals and cats that are older.
Vaccination status. Becoming your cat vaccinated once a year might either prevent them from getting sick or make any illness they do acquire milder.
Physical health and fitness. Cats that are infected with feline immunodeficiency virus or feline leukaemia are at a greater risk of contracting an illness. There are a number of conditions and treatments that can put your cat at danger, including ones that depress the immune system.
Stress. It can make it more probable for a cat to catch a virus in the first place, and it can also cause the virus to return later in the cat’s life.
Breed. Because of the form of their faces, Persians and other dog breeds with flat faces have a greater propensity for developing upper respiratory infections.
Proceeding to go outside. Cats that live outside have a greater chance of coming into touch with other cats that are diseased or with fungi that might cause diseases.
Diagnostic Procedure for Upper Respiratory Infection in Cats
If you suspect that your cat has an upper respiratory infection, you should take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible. They can usually figure out what’s wrong with your cat just by looking at it and asking you questions about its symptoms. Additionally, they could suggest specific examinations, such as the following:
Blood testing. The results of these tests and any additional lab work might help rule out other potential explanations for your cat’s symptoms.
Swab the eye or the lips. Your veterinarian may choose to cultivate a culture in order to identify the specific virus or bacterium that is causing the ailment.
Electrolyte test. If your cat has this symptom, it may be dehydrated.
X-rays. If your cat has a history of recurring illnesses, an X-ray of its chest may be necessary to determine the cause of the problem. A fungal infection can also be diagnosed with the use of an X-ray.
Treatment for Upper Respiratory Infections in Cats
Your cat’s veterinary practitioner will advise you on the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet. This may involve the use of drugs, seclusion, prolonged relaxation, hydration through an intravenous line, and nutritional care. Because it is common for cats to acquire bacterial infections in addition to viral infections, your cat may require antibiotic treatment.
During the time when your cat is convalescing, there are things you can do at home to make it feel better:
Give it a place to relax that is both pleasant and secluded.
Get it to eat by encouraging it. Because a cat with an upper respiratory illness suffers from a diminished sense of smell, it is possible that you may need to entice your cat with a treat that is particularly pungent in scent, such as fish.
Remove any discharge that may be present from its eyes and nostrils using gentle pressure.
If your cat is having trouble breathing, your veterinarian may recommend that you place him or her in the bathroom while a hot shower is running.
Always follow the veterinarian’s instructions while taking any medication that they prescribe for you.
Some infections of the upper respiratory tract have the potential to develop into pneumonia or have other significant effects, such as permanent breathing difficulties or blindness, if they are not treated.
Prevention of Infections of the Upper Respiratory Tract in Cats
Keep your cat indoors to reduce the danger of it coming into contact with other animals that might be carrying an infection.
Isolate diseased cats in the correct manner to preserve the health of other animals that share their habitat.
Your veterinarian should be consulted on the vaccination schedule for your cat. Vaccines for upper respiratory diseases in cats may not be able to prevent infections entirely, but they can lessen the severity of any infections that do occur.
Exams at the veterinarian on a consistent basis, together with preventative care, can help detect and address issues at an earlier stage. A strong immune system is the most effective line of protection for a cat against upper respiratory infections.
When working with many cats, make sure to fully wash your hands.