you have just received a cat at home? Congratulations, it is a companion that will bring you a lot of happiness for many years. But for no disease to affect the time it will spend with you, some precautions are necessary.
Your veterinarian will not fail to practice routine vaccinations to avoid familiar pathologies in cats.
In the meantime, it is always useful to learn about them, especially if your cat is not yet protected.
Here are the most common parasitic and viral diseases in our feline friends.
Internal parasites transmissible to the cat.
If infection with parasites (ticks, fleas, tapeworms …) is common in an animal that often walks alone outdoors like the cat, it is often not too serious. Nevertheless and in order to avoid any risk, it will be necessary to take care to watch from time to time the coat of your animal.
Certainly the best-known pest, the flea is a tiny insect that feeds on the blood of its host several times a day. Developing rapidly in the cat’s coat (which can facilitation contaminate his friend the dog), they multiply mainly hot and dry weather (spring, summer and winter in overheated clothes).
They cause crotchous lesions in the neck, the base of the rump and the abdomen. Allergic reactions are to be feared and can cause redness on the skin, violent itching and significant depilation and in some cases anemia. They can also transmit larvae of tapeworms when the animal ingests the parasite during its washing.
This parasite is in the form of round worms, long and thin. Roundworms live and feed in the small intestine of the cat. They are detectable from stool or vomiting and are often transmitted by the mother through the placenta or milk.
Symptoms include stunted growth in the kitten, weight loss, and bloated belly. The solution: deworm the mother and the little ones.
The tapeworm is a flat, short worm (about the size of a grain of rice) transmitted by fleas. They are detected in the stool or attached to the anus in the form of whitish rings. Again, it will deworm your pet and treat it against fleas.
Toxoplasma are tiny parasites that do not cause any risk of infection. The cat can however be a carrier and transmit toxoplasmosis to humans. The major risk is for pregnant women because the parasite can infect the fetus if the mother is contaminated.
However, not to worry about the cat of the house: the contamination occurs most often by poorly cooked meats than by the cat. In addition, the hygiene we enjoy today makes the infection much more rare than a few decades ago.
Viral diseases in cats
Like humans, cats can spread viruses among themselves but not to dogs or humans (with the exception of rabies). The diseases they cause are serious and most are life threatening.
Fortunately, they can be prevented by vaccination. The first reflex when acquiring your cat will therefore be to vaccinate against these diseases.
Typhus is a very serious disease that can affect the cat at any age. Most often it is fatal and healing, random, will be made possible only by early and intensive uniting.
Symptoms related to this virus are:
- often haemorrhagic diarrhea
- prostration (weakness and extreme fatigue of the animal)
This disease caused by several microbes is also called “cat flu”. It is contagious and its treatment, which must be started as soon as possible, will be long and difficult. It is also important to know that a cured cat remains a carrier of the virus and may be subject to recurrence.
The symptoms of Coryza:
- respiratory tract infections (sneezing, runny eyes and nose)
- sometimes, ulceration of the mouth and pulmonary complications.
Recently known in France, this complex pathology is however more and more frequent. Depending on the species that is affected, two names are given: FELV or FIV. Very contagious between animals, it is however not transmissible to humans.
Feline leukemia is mainly transmitted through urine, feces, tears, blood and saliva. Once infected, the cat then sees its natural defenses diminish and the following symptoms can occur:
- chronic conditions often fatal.
It’s kind of like feline AIDS. A vaccine exists and proves to be effective for 80 to 90% of casess.
The rabies virus can affect the cat and it can also transmit it to humans. There are two forms of this disease:
- Furious rabies, which is the best known but also the least common in the cat, causes sudden changes in the behavior of the animal. He becomes aggressive, may become fearful or abnormally excited. Hypersensitive, he also drools disproportionately before gradually becoming paralyzed. Death is observed about 4 to 5 days after the onset of symptoms.
- Paralytic or “dumb” rabies, which is much more common, causes progressive paralysis of the jaw accompanied by excessive salivation. However, this is not the only disease to cause this kind of symptoms and the best thing is to quickly consult your veterinarian for a reliable diagnosis.
Important: if vaccination against rabies (rabies vaccine) is mandatory on French territory only under certain conditions, it is still essential to vaccinate your animal against this disease “just in case”. As mentioned above, rabies is inevitably fatal for an unvaccinated cat.
To note: the treatments related to certain diseases of the cat can be taken care by an animal insurance.