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Email Xarifa

 

PO Box 316,
Strathalbyn 5255 
South Australia

Telephone:
+61 8 8536 3106

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following information has been collected from many veterinarian sites off the Internet. I thank them all for their invaluable information.

 

Feline Enteritis


Feline enteritis is caused by a corona virus. It is not transmittable to humans. The virus is very hardy and disinfecting contaminated places is very difficult. Recovered cats can shed the virus for other cats to catch.

Symptoms:
Since the virus attacks cells in the cat's body which are actively dividing, the disease affects the bowel, the body's defense systems (white blood cells) and unborn kittens. The virus is responsible for 3 different disease syndromes depending on the age of the cat.
In newborn kittens the virus causes panleukapaenia. This means the kittens have no white cells and no immune defenses. These kittens die from bacterial infections that would not normally be harmful.
Older kittens develop enteritis. The virus strips the lining off the bowel causing severe vomiting and diarrhoea that becomes bloody. The cat has a fever, is very depressed and will rapidly dehydrate without treatment.
In pregnant cats the kittens may be aborted, or stillborn, or die soon after death. They may be seriously deformed.

Treatment:
Treatment consists of intravenous fluids, antibiotics and general nursing support while the kittens fight the virus. Young kittens often die from this disease. Adults may not show clinical signs.

Prevention:
Vaccination will prevent this disease. Kittens should be vaccinated initially at 6 - 8 weeks. Adults require yearly boosters. Queens provide maternal antibodies (immunity) to their kittens that wears off over time. Panleukapaenia is only seen in kittens where their mother has low immunity to feline enteritis. It is therefore very important to keep the queen fully vaccinated.

 

Cat Flu


Two virus', Feline Rhinotrachitis (Herpes) virus and Feline Calici virus cause "feline upper respiratory disease" or "cat flu". These viruses are not related to human influenza and are not transmittable to humans. Like human flu these viruses cause symptoms which vary from mild to extremely serious and sometimes may cause death.

Cat flu is extremely common, especially in kittens and old or debilitated cats. Just as you can catch a cold when you're feeling run down, cats can catch flu when their resistance is low. It is very contagious and spread by aerosol. When a cat catches herpes flu that cat will carry the virus for life. Some cats become constant shedders while others can shed the virus when under stress even though they show no symptoms. Some cats will show disease signs all the time. When a cat is under stress, or ill, herpes can again cause disease. (Feline rhinotrachitis is in the same family group as the human cold sore virus and behaves in the same way.) Clinically Feline Calici virus appears to also have a chronic disease state but is not carried like Rhinotrachitis virus. There are multiple strains of Calici and the vaccine does not appear to be cross-protective to all strains.


Symptoms:
Much like our common cold "cat flu" causes sneezing, runny eyes, runny nose and coughing. There may be mouth ulcers. In mild cases of flu the symptoms are limited, but in young kittens, old, weak or unvaccinated cats of any age, the disease can become much more severe. Kittens, in particular can die from the complications. More severe signs are very sore eyes, severe mouth ulcers, pneumonia and even nervous signs or abortion.

Treatment:
Cats with mild symptoms may only require nursing however if your cat is in the high risk group, or if your cat is not eating or drinking, or is depressed then you should take your cat to see your veterinarian. Flu tends to cause clear (serous) discharges. If the discharges change or include blood then again its time to go to the vet. A green runny nose in a cat usually involves a bacterial infection. Your vet may prescribe some drugs for your cat, but hand in hand with this medicine is nursing care which you need to provide.
Cats with blocked-up noses can't smell their food and are reluctant to eat so tempting them with smelly food such as sardines can help. Sometimes putting food in their mouth will give them the flavour and then they will eat. Their eyes and noses must be kept clean. Warm salty water is the easiest. (Use 2 cups of boiled water that has cooled and add 1 teaspoon salt. Not very much salt at all. Sterile saline for cleaning contact lens is also fine.) The cat must be kept warm and comfortable and should be encouraged to drink. If your cat has a blocked nose have the cat in the bathroom while you are having a shower as the steam helps. Children's vaporizers can be used either with just water or with the eucalyptus solution provided. Having the cat purr also helps.

Prevention:
Vaccination will not totally prevent cat flu in all cases, but most vaccinated cats will avoid the disease, or only develop mild symptoms if exposed. Kittens, especially strays, are very susceptible and should be vaccinated starting at 6 - 8 weeks. Isolate cats with flu from other cats and use separate feeding bowls etc. and disinfect the area they have been in. Avoid letting kittens have contact with unvaccinated cats.

Feline Chlamydia

Chlamydia Psittaci is a bacteria that predominantly causes conjunctivitis. It is thought to be one of the most important feline occular pathogens and has been isolated from approximately a third of cases of conjunctivitis in household cats.
Although this disease is not thought to transmit to humans sensible care should be taken if your cat is infected with this bacteria.


Symptoms:
This disease generally causes conjunctivitis; red sore eyes, often with a discharge. The infection usually starts in one eye but will spread to both over a few days. A mild cough and snotty nose may also occur. Your cat can be feverish and the lymph nodes might enlarge so that you might feel lumps under your cat’s chin, armpits or back of the hind legs. Abortion, arthritis and pneumonia can occur but are uncommon.

  • Kittens that are between 7 - 10 days of age develop “sticky eye” where the lids are stuck together with a mucky discharge.
  • Conjunctivitis in cats between 6 - 12 weeks up to 5 - 9 months. Adult cats can also develop Chlamydial conjunctivitis but the disease tends to be less severe and of shorter duration due to better immunity.

The incubation period from infection to symptoms is between 3 - 14 days. The clinical signs diminish somewhere between 2 - 6 weeks with quicker recovery in older cats. Some cats develop persistent conjunctivitis and may lose weight with a decreased appetite and general illness. Some cats will become carriers and continue to shed the bacteria for up to 18 months.

Treatment:
General nursing as for cat flu is used in conjunction with a 3 - 4 week course of antibiotics or using a 2 dose course of Ziphromax. All cats in the household must be treated at the same time to prevent them re-infecting each other.


Prevention:
This disease is spread by air and by sharing food bowls, bedding and brushes etc. Sick cats should be keep away from healthy cats and anything the sick cat has had contact with should be kept separate.

There is a vaccine available for chlamydia. Vaccination does not prevent this disease however vaccination will decrease the length and severity of the illness. Vaccinations for Chlamydia are recommended in cats where Chlamydial infections have been a problem and a new kitten should be vaccinated 10 days before it is introduced to a cat that may be infected.

 Feline Leukemia (FeLV)


FeLV is a oncogenic virus which means it can cause cancer directly as well as attacking the immune system. It makes the cat susceptible to developing chronic infections like AIDS does. It is not transmittable to humans. It is most commonly found in catteries (catteries can be FeLV free) and households which have many cats, because the spread of the virus requires close, prolonged contact between cats.

The virus is transmitted via saliva, mucus, urine, faeces and blood. Contaminated bowls and bedding are thought to be the commonest route of transmission. Cats under 6 months have an increased risk of catching the virus if exposed and a FeLV queen will infect her kittens. The cat may temporarily harbour the virus or remain a carrier. Shedding may be intermittent. Whether the cat then goes on to develop the disease is very complex and every cat is different. Cats carrying FeLV virus may show no disease symptoms, but still infect other cats. FeLV may be the underlying cause of a huge range of other illnesses.

Symptoms:

  • Fever, loss of appetite, weight loss.
  • Blood problems, e.g. anaemia, clotting defects, reduced defense against infection.
  • Cancer of the blood (leukaemia) or solid tumours (called lymphoma or lymphosarcoma).
  • Persistent infections e.g. severe or re-occurring flu, bad skin or inflammations of the mouth.

Treatment:
There is no specific treatment for FeLV. Once your cat is sick there is only supportive treatment for the secondary diseases that your cat may develop. It is likely to be the cause of your cat's death. This virus is very difficult to diagnose and our lab thinks we only pick up 30 % of cats with FeLV. Repeat blood testing at set time intervals does help but still it is very unlikely that we diagnose all cats with FeLV. It is important to decide if you want to treat FeLV infected cats as they could pass on the virus to contact cats.


Prevention:
There is a vaccine available for FeLV. This vaccine is one of the two vaccines thought to be associated with vaccine-induced fibro-sarcomas in the U.S. (the other is rabies) though these tumours are not common. Vaccination is the only way to prevent this disease. A cat with a negative FeLV status going into a house with a FeLV positive cat should definitely be vaccinated otherwise you are taking a risk.

 

Feline Aids


Feline immunodeficiency virus does not infect humans. FIV attacks the immune system. Clinically it is very similar to FeLV although it is a completely different virus. FIV does not directly cause cancer like FeLV but does "allow" a cancer to develop by causing the immune system to fail to recognize and remove cancer cells.
FIV is spread mainly through cat bites. Transmission from an infected queen to her kittens occasionally occurs but it is uncertain whether this occurs during gestation or after birth when the kittens ingest infected milk. Sexual contact is not a primary means of spreading FIV. Once your cat is infected it is infected for life, however the cat may appear normal for many years.
Male cats are three times more likely to become infected than females and strictly indoor cats are unlikely to become infected. Free roaming toms are at the highest risk as they fight a lot and will travel distances to find queens. The prevalence of infection increases with age and the average age of diagnosis is 5 years.

Symptoms:

  • Fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhoea, depression.
  • Decreased immune response any infection.
  • Any cancer (lymphoma/lymphosarcomas are the most common).
  • Persistent infections e.g. severe or re-occurring flu, bad skin or inflammation of the mouth.

Treatment:
Like FeLV there is no specific treatment for FIV. Treatment is aimed at secondary infections. There is currently no vaccine available. Diagnosis is made via blood tests however these tests are not completely accurate.


Prevention:
Desexing your cats and keeping your cat indoors at night greatly decreases the risk of fighting and acquiring FIV. Keeping your cat constantly inside lowers that risk further and in single cat households the cat would need to escape to be at risk.

Removing local strays, (local councils will provide cat traps for free but captured cats must be taken to your local veterinarian), and will help decrease other contagious diseases and preserve our wildlife. Infected cats should be kept indoors as much as possible to prevent them from infecting other cats. Where an FIV positive cat is found in a multi-cat household it is important to test the other cats as it may have bearing on whether to euthanase the infected cat.

No matter what their age, Siamese & Oriental cats never seem to grow up!

This is Tyson and Manny fighting over the outdoor lounge.

 

Cat Age Chart
 

Cat's Age: ...................................Human's Age:

 

6 months...............................................10 years
8 months...............................................13 years
1 year....................................................15 years
2 years..................................................24 years
4 years..................................................32 years
6 years..................................................40 years
8 years..................................................48 years
10 years................................................56 years
12 years................................................64 years
14 years................................................72 years
16 years................................................80 years
18 years................................................88 years
20 years................................................96 years
21 years..............................................100 years