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Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Virus update

Thursday, September 12, 2019
                                               The common strain of Calicivirus is active in the ACT this spring. Kittens with sore mouths, sneezes and runny noses suffer like humans with colds.
Unvaccinated kittens and cats fall victim to Calicivirus and take longer to get over it than vaccinated cats.
Vaccines stimulate the cat's natural immune system to produce defences to viruses.
The two viruses that cause 'cat flu' are calicivirus and herpesvirus. Most cats come into contact with them at some time in their lives.
Owners can bring calicivirus and parvovirus, which causes Feline Panleukopenia or Enteritis, home on their hands and shoes so even indoor cats are at risk of illness.
The vaccine for panleukopaenia is very effective and in adults immunity lasts for 3 years.
The vaccine for the 'cat flu' reduces the severity of flu symptoms and vaccinated cats recover more rapidly.

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.

Sniffles and snuffles

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Half of Canberra's human population is down with the flu this winter - and so are the cats. While the viruses that affect cats' respiratory systems are quite different to the ones that affect humans the signs are similar: runny eyes and noses, sneezing, snuffling and snorting. Some cats suffer from mouth ulcers, too, but coughs and chest infections are mercifully rare.

Cat flu is spread by aerosol or nose to nose contact so outdoor cats or cats who run in outdoor enclosures are the most likely to be infected. 

While the cat flu vaccination doesn't always prevent illness, it reduces the severity of the signs and shortens the duration of the illness. Annual vaccination is strongly recommended as immunity wanes within a year.

Some cats, especially kittens or insufficiently vaccinated adults, suffer secondary bacterial, mycoplasma or chlamydial infections. If your sneezing cat refuses dinner or has pus in the eyes or nose then antibiotics are indicated.

At home you can offer strong smelling foods, keep the air moist with a vaporiser or pop your cat in a steamy bathroom. Wiping secretions away from the nose and eyes with a moist cotton ball will make your cat feel more comfortable.

 

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.      


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