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Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Calicivirus outbreak halted

Thursday, March 22, 2018


The virulent feline calicivirus outbreak has been halted. It was a very nasty strain of calicivirus, which our vets rapidly identified. It caused facial swelling, high fever, mouth ulcers and pain.
We are very happy that unlike other outbreaks in Queensland, Sydney and the United States we didn't lose any patients.
Dr Georgia was in touch with the experts at Sydney University for advice and we halted the spread of the virus and treated affected patients successfully. We also advised other ACT and southern NSW veterinarians and catteries on eradication and treatment.
We suspect that one of 3 possible cats introduced it into the ACT but won't know for certain until the virologists have analysed the viruses we have sent them.
Virologists at the University of Sydney are working on a vaccine for this calicivirus strain. We certainly hope we never see it again in our lifetime!

Calicivirus outbreak

Thursday, February 15, 2018


A virulent and atypical form of calicivirus has infected some cats in Canberra. Only 2 other outbreaks have ever occurred in Australia - in Sydney and in Ipswich, Queensland. Vaccination against the usual strains of calicivirus does not seem to protect cats
Affected cats go off their food, seem lame or sore, and hide. Most get over it with pain medication and TLC. Some go onto develop swollen noses, faces and paws, and need intensive care. If you suspect your cat is ill please phone us before coming down and then when you arrive.
To protect your cat from becoming infected wash your hands for at least 30 seconds when you get home from anywhere and before touching your cat.
We have instituted very strict disinfection procedures at Canberra Cat Vet. Do not be offended if we ask you to be a lot more careful with carriers, and in touching anything at the hospital! We have your cats' health as our top priority.

Sneezes and runny eyes

Thursday, July 20, 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                  Many cats are suffering from cat flu this winter. Mali's runny eye and sneezing are typical of the type we are seeing. He has been picky with his food and inclined to go off on his own instead of playing these last few days too.
The swab revealed that he has herpesvirus, a common cause of cat flu and widespread in the cat population. Mali was vaccinated against herpesvirus so he should only have a mild dose of flu of short duration.
Vaccination against herpesvirus and calicivirus doesn't necessarily prevent cats from getting some signs but the disease is much less severe and prolonged than if they'd had no vaccination.
Severe cat flu in unvaccinated cats can lead to runny nose, chronic sinusitis, mouth ulcers, coughing, pneumonia and even death in young or elderly cats.
Confirmed herpesvirus infections respond to a special antiviral which your vet may prescribe.
Mycoplasma, chlamydia and other bacteria may complicate the viral disease. Antibiotics help control these infections.
Nursing is the most important therapy for cats with flu. To keep their appetite up feed strong smelling foods. If the nose is blocked half an hour in a steamy bathroom helps loosen the secretions up. Wipe mucky eyes and nose with a moist cotton wool or makeup pad.
Purr therapy is crucial to recovery! Lots of gentle petting and coddling will help your sad cat through this difficult patch.

Runny noses

Friday, January 09, 2015

Macey doesn't like sneezing one little bit!

 

Snuffles, sneezing, noisy breathing, snoring and nasal discharge are signs of nasal and sinus disease.

In young cats the flu viruses – feline herpesvirus and calicivirus – are the most common cause. These viruses damage the nasal mucosa and then bacteria infect the nasal passages causing a pussy discharge and a loss of appetite.  In some cats this leads to chronic or lifetime infection of the fine bones within the nose and sinuses.  

Young to middle age cats sometimes acquire fungal infections like cryptococcosis and aspergillosis if they spend a lot of time outdoors.

Inflammatory polyps at the back of the nose in the nasal part of the throat cause snuffles and snoring in some cats.  

Physical damage from foreign objects in the nose like grass seeds, cat bites or car accidents, or associated with severe dental disease will cause snuffles and nasal discharge in any age cat.  

More seriously, some cats develop tumours in the nasal passages or extending from other areas into the nose.   

 What tests can be done to find the cause of the disease?  We first do non-invasive tests, such as a blood test for cryptococcosis, a blood count, biochemistry or tests for feline Leukaemia virus and FIV. Then we consider a general anaesthetic to X-ray the nose and examine the nose, throat and mouth.  We take samples and look for bacteria, fungi, evidence of inflammation or cancer cells. If the teeth and gums are diseased a dental treatment often resolves the problem.

We can control but not cure chronic bacterial rhinitis because the chronically damaged bones cannot be repaired.   Antibiotics reduce secondary bacterial infection and steam inhalation in a steamy bathroom or from a vaporiser helps clear the passages.  The most essential aspect of treatment is good nursing care: keeping the cat’s face clean and clear of discharge, and stimulating the appetite with warm, strong smelling foods.  

Other diseases require specific treatments. We remove polyps surgically, treat fungal diseases with antifungal drugs and control some cancers with chemotherapy.      

Snotty nose cats

Saturday, May 31, 2014

                                                                                                                                                                  Snotty-nosed and snuffly cats are difficult to live with.Their owners put up with sneezes and snot all over the house, as well as snuffles and grumbles all day and half the night.

The causes of sinusitis and rhinosinusitis are also difficult for vets to diagnose accurately and even more difficult to treat effectively.

Inflammation and infection spread rapidly from cats’ throats to adjacent structures, such as the middle ear, frontal sinuses, nose and tympanic bullae. These cavities are difficult to reach with medical or surgical treatments.

Feline mucus is also thicker than human mucus and medication has a hard time penetrating the mucus to get to the offending microbes.

Feline Herpesvirus is the most common initiating cause of chronic rhinitis and rhinosinusitis. It causes chronic airway inflammation and swelling, destroys the normal lining of the nasal cavity and upsets the normal mucus layers. The nasal cavity cannot remove foreign particles or the abnormal mucus and the sinuses become blocked. Bacteria leap in and set up infections making the situation even worse.

Drugs to reduce the mucus and the swelling in the sinuses help a bit. We treat the bacterial infection with antibiotics but are still left with Herpesvirus and all the damage it does. Herpesvirus sinusitis soon flares up into full blown bacterial sinusitis again. Some cats respond well to antiviral drugs but others keep getting intermittent sinusitis.

Nastier causes of similar signs are Cryptococcosis, a fungal disease, and cancer, commonly lymphoma, adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. These are difficult to distinguish on X-ray but CT or MRI are very helpful, if they are available. A biopsy clears up any doubts. A blood test is available for Cryptococcosis.

Bad teeth and infected tooth roots sometimes make cats snuffly. A dental inspection and X-ray under general anaesthetic allow targeted and successful treatment.

Occasionally a cat breathes in a grass seed or other foreign body. Usually nasal discharge is from one side only and there is some bleeding.

 


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Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

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