It’s true: our feline pals can get colds, too! And getting sick with upper respiratory infection in cats is also not uncommon. As holds true with human beings, the perpetrators to blame for these nasty colds are bacteria or infections, sometimes both.
Upper Respiratory Infection in Cats
The bacteria and infections that the majority of commonly cause upper breathing infections (URIs) in felines are:
- Feline herpesvirus type-1 (FHV-1); also called feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR)
- Feline calicivirus (FVC)
- Bordetella bronchiseptica (B. bronchiseptica)
- Chlamydophila felis (C. felis)
- Less typically, Mycoplasma spp. (bacteria) or a feline retrovirus, such as FIV or FeLV, are contributing factors in an upper breathing infection.
Bacteria and infections are extremely contagious and are present in the saliva and discharge produced by the eyes and nose. Healthy cats can get infected when they enter direct contact with a sick cat. Cats with retroviruses are especially susceptible to the contagions, both through direct contact or indirect contact with contaminated objects.
Unfortunately, a few of the previously mentioned illness are still present in relatively recovered felines (carriers) and are unconsciously passed on to other cats. Moms can also serve as providers, handing down infections to their litters.
Cats that have contracted FVR are thought about “chronic carriers,” indicating they will bring the virus for life and can become sick again in times of high stress (relocations, new housemates, babies, and so on). About half of the cats infected with FVC will remain infected as providers, often for a few months after symptoms cease, and, in rare cases, for life.
Symptoms of cat upper breathing infections
Sniffling, sneezing, clear to pus-like discharge from the eyes and/or nose, coughing and lethargy prevail symptoms of an upper respiratory infection in cats. On examination, your veterinarian may likewise check for oral ulcers, sometimes brought on by FVR and FCV. Usually, a fever, poor hunger, and sleepiness accompany the more particular symptoms of a URI.
Period of feline upper breathing infections
Generally an infection will last for 7 — 21 days. There is an incubation duration, the time period from point of infection to when clinical signs become apparent, of 2 — 10 days. It is believed that the incubation period is the time of greatest contagion.
Medical diagnosis of feline upper breathing infections.
The clinical symptoms and signs are normally sufficient to make a diagnosis of feline upper breathing infection. Diagnostic tests, however, are required to figure out the cause of the infection. So your veterinarian might suggest the following tests:
- A total blood count (CBC) to dismiss blood-related conditions
- Chemistry checks to assess kidney, liver, and pancreatic function, in addition to sugar levels
- Electrolyte tests to ensure your cat isn’t dehydrated or struggling with an electrolyte imbalance
- Urine tests to evaluate for urinary tract infection and other disease, and to examine the capability of the kidneys to concentrate urine
- Tests for feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
Chronic upper respiratory infections require extra tests, such as radiographs to evaluate the lungs and sinuses, cultures of cells, and tiny assessment of discharge.
Treatment of feline upper breathing infections
Your veterinarian will determine the best treatment course for your feline, which might consist of specific prescriptions and possible hospitalization, depending upon the intensity of medical signs.
For milder infections, your veterinarian might suggest that you attempt the following:
- Increase humidity within your home — this can be finished with a humidifier or by taking your cat into a steamy bathroom a number of times a day for short periods of time (15 — 20 minutes).
- Offer yummy, tasty cat food — canned food normally smells much better to felines and motivates consuming.
- Clear the eyes and nose of discharge — clean the eyes and nose with a moistened washcloth to get rid of discharge that accumulates throughout the day.
See also: coughing cats treatment.
Prevention of feline upper breathing infections
Parents of children will tell you how tough it is to keep their kids free from colds; it can sometimes be the exact same with our feline kids. But, as holds true with children, vaccination can protect your feline from the most typical causes of and upper respiratory infection: FVR and FVC.
Disinfection is another extremely efficient method of decreasing environmental exposure. In high- to minimal-risk scenarios, it is advisable to frequently sanitize shared products such as litter boxes, food bowls, and bed linen.
Avoiding direct contact in between cats is eventually the best way to avoid infection. If you are bringing home a brand-new cat that has come from a breeder or shelter, it is necessary to have her go to the vet prior to introducing her to any felines you currently have. Remember that your new cat may not yet be showing symptoms, so minimal direct exposure and diligence in cleaning and sterilizing is essential in the first 1 — 2 weeks after adoption.
How Humans are Affected by a Feline Upper Respiratory Infection
Human beings are at low risk for contracting the illness accountable for causing upper breathing infections in cats. The majority of these transmittable representatives are species-specific — impacting only the one species — and are not “zoonotic” (spread between types). B. bronchiseptica and conjunctivitis related to C. felis can be a prospective risk to people with decreased resistance. To prevent the chance of infection, clean your hands regularly and be watchful for signs of respiratory health problem.
Also read: My Cat Can’t Breathe.