Not even having nine lives can defend your cat against deadly feline diseases. There are a variety of diseases, but common to mammals and unique to cats, that can cause our cuddly kitties great harm and even death. But fortunately, there are ways to defend our feline pals against these illnesses, thanks to the power of vaccines. Here are some of the most common feline diseases that can be easily beaten back with proper attention, regular veterinarian checkups, and of course, vaccines.
We’ve all heard about this disease and the way that it can affect various mammals and how easily a bite can spread it. Our cats are no different in their vulnerability to this disease, and it can not only cause great suffering, but once symptoms show, death becomes almost certain. This is especially concerning for cats because many cat owners allow their cats to venture outside, and there’s always a chance that your cat may run across an animal that’s infected. Here are some of the symptoms that your cat may experience if it gets infected.
- Staggering While Walking
- Increased Aggression / Increase in Affectionate Behavior
- Increased Drooling
Along with these symptoms, rabies has been known to cause a variety of other behavioral changes. Since death is almost a certainty once symptoms begin to appear, it is imperative that your cat is vaccinated against rabies as soon as possible to ensure their safety
Feline Herpesvirus Infection (FVR and FHV-1)
Feline herpes is a highly contagious virus that can cause cat flu as well as other respiration infections and complications. Much like the human herpes counterpart, even after initially contracting the virus, the virus can go dormant and arise once again, causing further illness. Symptoms that may occur include:
- Pink Eye
- Eye Discharge
- Nasal Discharge, Coughing, and Sneezing
- Loss of Appetite
- FHV-Associated Dermatitis (a rare symptom)
Feline herpes can be transmitted by direct contact, sneeze droplets, and even on contact surfaces like food bowls. Due to how easily transmitted feline herpes can be, it is crucial that you have your cat vaccinated as soon as possible—this particular vaccine doesn’t prevent feline herpes, but it does reduce the severity of the disease and its symptoms.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) Infection
Also referred to as cat HIV, cat FIV is a retrovirus infection that assaults the immune system, attacking white blood cells and eventually leading to a weakened immune system that can leave your cat vulnerable to secondary infections. Cat FIV can be transmitted from social grooming, sharing litter boxes, and sneezing droplets. It can actually take a considerable amount of time before symptoms begin to show. Symptoms of cat FIV include:
- Loss or Loss of Appetite
- Infections of the Eyes, Skin, Bladder, or Upper Respiratory Infections
- Symptoms of Neurological Disorders and Behavioral Changes
- Steady Weight Loss
Back in 2017, it was decided for the FIV Vaccine to be discontinued until a better one can be developed. Nonetheless, cat FIV is serious enough to be included on this list to ensure that all cat owners are made aware of it. Here are the revised measures for how to prevent cat FIV:
- Test any new cats you adopt for cat FIV, this will help you determine if there is a risk of FIV spreading in your house to other cats.
- Spaying and neutering your cats can actually help reduce FIV spread because it reduces fighting behavior, which means less biting. The effectiveness of this is increased if you keep your cats indoors and don’t allow them to go outside where they may encounter stray cats who are infected with cat FIV.
- Should your cat already have FIV, it is recommended that you take your cat for regular checkups and promptly address any potential infections that your cat has—this will help provide your cat a normal and comfortable life. Behavioral Changes
There are treatments such as booster drugs for your cat’s immune system and nutrition plans that may help, but until a proper cure is developed, these will only help make your cat’s life more comfortable for longer.
Feline Calicivirus Infection
A cause for upper respiratory as well as oral disease in cats, feline calicivirus is a very contagious disease that can spread through saliva as well as nose and eye secretions. Sneeze droplets can also transmit the disease. Even after going through the symptoms of the disease, your cat could become a carrier for the virus for a prolonged period of time, spreading the virus without even realizing it. Some of the symptoms for this virus include:
- Ulcers on the Tongue, Gums, Lips, Nose, and/or Hard Palate
- Excessive Drooling
Feline calicivirus can be prevented with the help of a vaccine, however. It is considered a standard core vaccine for cats, and it grants both immunization as well as helps reduce the severity of the disease should it be contracted.
Feline Leukemia (FeLV)
FeLV is a common infectious disease for cats spread by a virus. Since the disease is transmitted via saliva, nasal secretions, cat’s milk, and even urine and feces, FeLV can be transferred through bites, social grooming, and sometimes through shared litter boxes. Should you have kittens, you should consider getting them vaccinated while also testing all your other cats for FeLV to ensure that disease spreading doesn’t occur—kittens are the most vulnerable to the disease, but as a whole, most cats that are infected with feline leukemia will die within three years due to the complications caused by the disease. Symptoms for FeLV include:
- Loss of Appetite
- Neurological Disorders, Behavioral Changes, Seizures
- Inflammation of Mouth and Gums
- Enlarged Lymph Nodes
- Steady Weight Loss
While there is no cure for the disease yet, there is a vaccine, and it is important to vaccinate your cats if they haven’t contracted feline leukemia yet. This is especially important for cats that are allowed to wander outside as they may encounter strays who are infected.
Enjoy a Long Life with Your Cat with the Help of Vaccines
Vaccines and preventative measures are key to enjoying a long and fun-filled life with your cat. Just like humans, there are a lot of diseases that a cat can catch. But just like we do, there are vaccines that cats can be given to protect them and their health. Consider taking your cat to the veterinarian and have them updated on their vaccines. With their vaccines up to date, your cat can also enjoy the services of places such as pet boarding facilities. Whenever you’re going on vacation and you need someone to care for your cat, find the best pet boarding places in your local area with the help of TopResearched!