What Causes A Feline Upper Respiratory Infection
Feline upper respiratory infection is the common term for a respiratory infection caused by one or more viral or bacterial agents. Synonyms for this condition include feline infectious respiratory disease and feline upper respiratory disease complex . The infection may be caused by one or more viral and bacterial agents that are capable of causing disease in cats. The most common viruses that cause upper respiratory infections in cats are Feline Herpesvirus Type-1 and Feline Calicivirus , while the most common bacteria that cause upper respiratory infections in cats are Bordetella bronchiseptica and Chlamydophila felis .
Herpesvirus and calicivirus are responsible for approximately 90% of all feline upper respiratory tract infections. More information about the most common infectious agents that cause an upper respiratory infection in cats can be found in separate handouts in this series of client education materials. Other, less common, agents that may be involved in an upper respiratory infection in cats include mycoplasma or feline reovirus.
Feline Upper Respiratory Infection Causes
- Feline herpesvirus. This is related to the virus that causes chickenpox and cold sores in people, but cats cant give it to their owners.
- Feline calicivirus. This highly contagious virus causes a mild to severe respiratory infection and oral disease.
- Chlamydia. Runny eyes are a typical sign of this bacterial infection.
- Bordetella. This bacterial infection is usually associated with stress and overcrowded living conditions. Its more common in dogs.
- Fungus. Cats can pick up fungal infections by being exposed to bird droppings and decaying plants.
Viruses are found in the saliva, tears, and nasal secretions of infected cats. Theyre easily spread through direct contact, like touching and grooming, or when cats cough and sneeze on each other. Viruses can also live on surfaces cats share, like food and water bowls or litter boxes. People can spread them from one cat to another with contaminated hands or clothing.
Most cats that get feline herpesvirus will carry it for the rest of their lives. They may be able to spread it even if they dont seem sick. That can include a mother cat with a new litter of kittens.
Do Cat Colds Go Away On Their Own
Mild cat colds may go away on their own with no treatment. However, because cat colds can worsen its important to seek veterinary treatment if your cats cold continues for more than a few days, especially if the symptoms are not improving or are getting worse. Most cat colds are caused by feline herpesvirus which cats are infected with for life although the symptoms of the cold should go away.
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Common Colds And Upper Respiratory Illnesses
There are several viruses that can cause upper respiratory diseases in cats and dogs. None of these are transmitted to humans but can be very contagious to other dogs or cats.
Of course, there are hundreds of viruses that cause colds in humans, but you can’t usually spread them to your pets either. Dogs generally will not catch human cold viruses, but some experts think that cats might rarely catch some types of human colds.
Symptoms Of Fur Mites In Cats
Fur mites most commonly affect a cats hind end. The mites and their eggs may affect your cats coat in these ways:
Hair that falls out easily
The intensity of itching can vary greatly, depending on the severity of your cats allergic response. Other, extremely rare, symptoms of fur mites include:
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How To Know If My Cat Is Cold
The arrival of low temperatures make us take steps to keep warm and make our house as warm and pleasant as possible. However we often wonder how our pets feel about it, especially the cat as, unlike many breeds of dogs, does not have such a thick coat. Do you wonder how to know if your cat is cold? In OneHowTo.com we clarify this doubt and we explain how to act to make your pet stay warm and comfortable.
The first thing to know is that, in cold temperatures your cat will actually feel colder. Although these animals prepare for winter by changing their fur, some breeds do have shorter and less dense coats and will therefore feel the cold more and will require special care.
This is why you’ll notice that these breeds try to take shelter in warm areas such as radiators, heaters and chimneys, under blankets or even inside your bed covers. These signals help us know if a cat is cold.
In addition to the breeds with less hair, kittens and cats which are over seven years old are more sensitive to temperature changes as they have a weaker immune system, so you must optimize their care during the winter months to ensure that they are comfortable and healthy. You must pay equal attention to a sick cats as these will also be more sensitive to cold.
If you have a kitten, take a look at our article on how to keep a kitten warm.
What Causes Cold In Cats
If youve paid attention in biology, you know upper respiratory infections can be caused by viruses or bacteria. When we talk about cat cold, we have to mention:
- Feline HerpesVirus
FHV and FCV are the main culprits causing up to 80-90% of all cat flu occurrences. They are both highly contagious and spread easily in shelters and households with multiple cats.
Usually, these viruses get transmitted by:
- sharing food and water bowls
The bad thing is that a cat might remain a carrier of these viruses for life. That means that your pet might be healthy and showing no signs of the disease, but she still can infect others.
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Vitamin C As A Natural Remedy
Vitamin C is known as one of the best immunity boosters for any person or pet with a cold. The vitamin is loaded with citric acid, which supplies the cell with much needed compounds necessary for manufacturing energy in molecular form. With more Vitamin C in the body, cells have more energy to fight off infection and speed recovery. Many pet owners find that a daily dose of a quarter tablet of Vitamin C for four days will bring the cold to a quick end.
To administer the Vitamin C, place tablet as close to the back of the mouth as possible and keep some fresh water ready to wash out the taste. If your cat does not like to swallow tablets, dilute with a half teaspoon of water and insert in a syringe. With the syringe , give the Vitamin C solution to your cat at the far back of the mouth, just as with the tablet. Herbal Remedies
Antiviral herbs are also great natural remedies for a cat cold. Elderberry and licorice are effective herbal remedies. The licorice root is the natural equivalent of cortisone, and soothes the mucus membranes. This will reduce the sneezing and runny nose. Elderberry flowers can be made into a tea and fed to your cat in liquid form . These flowers will also treat the runny nose and sneezing.
Herbal tablets are frequently used by pet owners in place of the fresh herbs. These biochemical tablets relieve cold symptoms with a variety of compounds such as calcium sulphide, ferrum phos and mullein leaves.
What Is Cat Cold
A cat cold is a contagious, infectious illness of the respiratory tract and mucosa, which is triggered by various pathogens such as viruses or bacteria. Vets refer to this illness as cat rhinitis or cat pneumonia. It is important to identify and quickly treat the illness otherwise, it can be fatal for the animal.
As a rule, it is a complex of symptoms given that a variety of pathogens can be responsible for this infectious illness. In most cases, herpes or caliciviruses, like the feline herpes virus or the feline calicivirus, cause the illness. In the event of bacterial infection, Bordetella or Chlamydia may be the cause, although Chlamydia can also be a problem for humans and dogs.
Unfortunately, the pathogens are mutually beneficial which is why several pathogens can often be detected with a cat cold. They are mainly responsible for various symptoms in each case: The herpes virus can cause serious eye ulcers in cats, for example. Caliciviruses can result in lung inflammation or arthritis.
Tip: Vaccinating against a cat cold
Vaccinating is the best precaution against cat colds
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How Is Cat Flu Treated
Your vet may prescribe antibiotics if symptoms are severe, but they are not always needed. You will also be given guidance on how to care for your pet at home.
Diagnosis to identify which type of cat flu they have may be made by taking swabs and looking for the virus but, in most pet cats, this is not necessary as there’s no specific treatment.
If a cat is very poorly and unable to eat, hospitalisation may be necessary.
Can You Give A Cat Benadryl
When you have an allergic reaction, its easy to just pop a Benadryl to ease your symptoms. Many dogs are given Benadryl to help them fend off allergic reactions. But is this drug safe for cats too?
It is safe, says John Faught, a DVM and medical director of the Firehouse Animal Health Center in Austin, Texas. Benadryl is just an antihistamine, and it’s relatively safe for both dogs and cats.
Benadryl is the brand name for the drug. The active ingredient is diphenhydramine, which you also can buy if youre looking for a generic form of the medication. The Benadryl youd get at the vets office is the same drug youd buy off the shelf at your local grocery store.
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How Is Cat Flu Diagnosed
Although cat flu is not always serious, it is best to take your cat to the vet before trying to treat the problem at home.
Your vet will run a series of tests to rule out other conditions, as some symptoms of cat flu are similar to cat asthma, chronic bronchitis, and other respiratory conditions. Occasionally, vets will send swabs to a lab to confirm the strain of virus causing the symptoms.8
How To Treat A Cat With A Cold
If your cat is showing signs of a cold but overall is doing okay, you can provide supportive care at home to keep her comfortable.
- Make sure she has a nice warm spot where she can rest undisturbed.
- Clean her face as needed using a damp cloth to remove any crusting around her nose or eyes. You can use artificial tears to flush her eyes if needed.
- A humidifier can help to soothe irritated airways.
- Warm her food to increase the odor. Congestion can impact your catâs sense of smell, making her less interested in her food.
Do not give any cold medicine to your cat without consulting your veterinarian. Cats metabolize medications differently than we do, and many drugs that are safe for humans are toxic to cats. Do not give acetaminophen to your cat under any circumstance. Aspirin is appropriate in some situations, but is also easy to overdose, so it is crucial to have an accurate dosage from your veterinarian based on your cat’s current weight.
Most kitty colds will resolve on their own with time and supportive care. If your cat is ill enough to require medications for her cold, she will be better served by receiving medications intended for use in cats from your vet.
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Q: How Do Cats Get Cat Flu
A: A cat can be a carrier of cat flu without necessarily showing symptoms. Its transmitted through sneeze or saliva droplets, or eye discharge. While kittens are usually most at risk of catching cat flu, older cats with weakened immune systems may also be susceptible. If your cat is a golden oldie or has a pre-existing heart or lung disease , youll need to watch her carefully and you might need to speak to your vet about possible treatments.
How To Prevent Your Cat From Getting A Cold
- Vaccinate your cat according to your veterinarianâs recommendations. The RCP vaccine stimulates immunity against calicivirus and rhinotracheitis . Some of these vaccines also include chlamydia. Cats who have been vaccinated for these diseases can still contract them in some cases but will have milder symptoms and recover more quickly.
- Keep your cat away from infected cats and cats with an unknown health history. Keep your cat indoors at all times or only allow her outside in an enclosed catio or on a leash and harness.
- Keep your catsâ living quarters clean and make sure that there is adequate ventilation.
- Feed a balanced diet to support your catâs immune system and overall health.
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Feline Upper Respiratory Infection Treatment
The veterinarian will tell you what the best course of treatment is for your cat. This may include medications, isolation, rest, fluids from an IV, and nutritional support. Cats often get a bacterial infection on top of a viral infection, so yours may need antibiotics.
While your cat recovers, you can take steps at home to help it feel better:
- Give it a comfortable, private place to rest.
- Encourage it to eat. A cat with an upper respiratory infection loses some sense of smell, so you may need to tempt your cat with an extra-smelly treat, like fish.
- Gently clean any discharge from its eyes and nose.
- If breathing is a problem, your vet may suggest putting your cat in a bathroom with a steamy shower running.
Use any medications the vet gives you exactly as directed.
If left untreated, some upper respiratory infections can turn into pneumonia or have other serious complications, like blindness or chronic breathing problems.
Home Remedies For Canine Colds
Just like people, kitties can suffer from colds too, leading to sneezing, coughing and runny noses. These upper respiratory infections are caused by viruses or bacteria. For viral infections, antibiotics won’t help, so you need to give your furry friend some supportive care and supplements to make him feel better.
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Keep Them Fed And Hydrated
Cats can easily become dehydrated when they have cat flu because they lose their sense of smell and taste. This leads to them eating and drinking less.
To keep them hydrated and fed its best to mix in foods to their usual meals that are easy to eat and have strong smells. We suggest warm foods like:
- roast chicken
As well as keeping them hydrated, encouraging your cat to drink also helps to loosen catarrh .
Cats that cannot eat may need to be hospitalised for treatment.
How Do Cats Catch Colds
These pathogens are usually airborne but can also be spread through water. Most cats catch colds by being close to a cat that is already sick. This makes places with lots of cats in close quarters, such as a shelter, boarding kennel, or cattery, prime spots for transmitting colds. Cats living indoors in family homes are not protected from catching colds, however. Your cat can still be exposed to viruses and bacteria from cats who hang out outside your home, or even if you pet a sick cat elsewhere and then come home and interact with your cat.
Poor air quality and ventilation can increase the risk of catching a cold. Cats who have a weakened immune system due to other issues are also at increased risk. Systemic illnesses such as kidney disease, asthma, allergies, or even stress can all put your cat at increased risk. For cats with asthma and allergies, forced air heat in the winter can cause an increase in symptoms and potentially predispose them to getting a URI, especially if the vents are not well-maintained.
Some viruses can also stay in your cat’s body long term even after the initial illness has resolved. These viruses remain latent until stress or another illness triggers them to recur later in the cat’s life. Feline herpes in particular tends to do this.
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When Should You Contact A Veterinarian
First, it important to state that every animal adopted from a shelter should be taken for an examination by your regular veterinarian three to seven days after adoption. With rest and good care, many cats will recover from mild URI in one or two weeks. Sometimes cats need additional help. If your cat has any of the following signs, contact your veterinarian.
- Not eating for more than 24 hours.
- Green or yellow discharge from the nose or eyes . You can gently clean the cats nose and eyes with a soft cloth moistened with warm water.
- Difficulty breathing, especially panting or breathing through an open mouth.
- Depressed or unresponsive a slight decrease in activity is expected, but contact your veterinarian if your cat is much less active than usual or than you would expect.
- Vomiting or diarrhea that lasts more than 24 hours.
- Little or no improvement after a week of home care
Information courtesy of the University of California at Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program
Q: Is It Possible For Cats To Catch A Cold
A: Although theres a lot of confusing information on the internet, cats cant actually catch the same common cold virus we do but they can get cat flu . Cat flu does cause cold-like symptoms, with a runny, congested nose that can make your cat snuffle and sneeze, a fever, drooling, and red, watery eyes. Your cat might also avoid moving around as much if she has cat flu, as it can cause muscle and joint pain.
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