Feline Infectious Diseases

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Feline Rabies is an acute viral infection that can affect all mammals and is primarily caused by the bite of an infected animal with rabies virus in its saliva. Once the rabies virus enters the body, it travels to the brain. An infected animal can show signs of rabies in a matter of days, weeks or months and it’s always fatal once clinical signs appear. Your cat could be at risk of exposure from rabid raccoons, bats, skunks, foxes, and coyotes. Indoor cats can even come in contact with bats – an important reservoir for this devastating virus.

Feline Leukemia occurs worldwide and is a very serious infection in cats. The infection is primarily spread through the saliva or urine of an infected cat following direct contact – mutual grooming, shared food bowls, and litter boxes, and less commonly bite wounds. Kittens are especially vulnerable and can contract the infection before or after birth from an infected mother. Persistently infected cats can appear healthy for extended periods of time before showing signs of illness. The virus attacks the cat’s immune system, leading to immune suppression, increased risk of certain cancers, and bone marrow suppression.

Feline Distemper (FVRCP): Infectious upper respiratory infections are very common in cats. Two of the most common causes are viruses — feline viral rhinotracheitis and feline calicivirus. A rather large percentage of cats can become carriers of feline herpesvirus and/or feline calicivirus after they clinically recover from infection. These cats may appear clinically normal, but the virus can become reactivated (and the cat can develop clinical signs again) after some type of stressful event. The feline panleukopenia virus is found worldwide and is very contagious for cats and some other animals. Panleukopenia is spread when a cat or kitten comes in contact with the virus from an infected animal’s feces or other secretions or through contact with items (including bedding, food dishes, and a person’s clothing) contaminated by an infected animal. The virus is very resistant and can survive in the environment for long periods of time.

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