Infectious Diseases in Dogs and Cats
Contents:
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Borreliosis (Lyme disease) 
Calicivirus Infection in Cats 
Coronavirus Infection in Cats 
Coronavirus Infection in Dogs 
Distemper in Dogs 
Ehrlichiosis in Dogs 
Feline Infectious Anemia 
Feline Leukemia Virus Infection 
Herpesvirus Infection in Dogs 
Infectious Hepatitis in Dogs 
Infectious Tracheobronchitis in Dogs
Leptospirosis 
Panleukopenia in Cats 
Parvovirus Infection in Dogs 
Pneumonitis in Cats 
Rabies 
Respiratory Disease Complex in Cats 
Rhinotracheitis in Cats 
Salmonellosis 
Systemic Fungal Disease 
Toxoplasmosis
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Borreliosis (Lyme disease)
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General Information:
Borreliosis is a wide spread serious disease that can affect dogs, cats, horses, cattle, birds, wild animals, and people.  White-tailed deer and white-footed mice appear to be natural carriers.  The disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a corkscrew-shaped bacterium.  The organism is usually transmitted by pinhead-sized, dark brown nymphs of deer ticks.  Other types of ticks may also transmit the disease.
After the larva hatches from the tick egg, it attaches to small rodents, such as the white-footed mouse.  As it feeds on the mouseís blood, the larva becomes infected with the Borrelia organism.  The larva matures into a nymph which feeds on the blood of animals and people.  The Borrelia organism is not injected into the host animal until the tick has been attached for 10-24 hours.  Though adult ticks can also spread the disease, the nymph stage poses the greatest threat during the summer because of its very small size.
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Signs of Lyme disease are vague and resemble various other conditions.  Initial signs include a rash, fever, joint swelling and pain, and swollen lymph nodes.  Within days, weeks, or even months, more serious signs develop, such as heart, brain, and joint disorders.  Painful joint swelling is the most common advanced sign.
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A person is unlikely to contract the disease from a pet unless he were to remove an unattached tick from the pet and allow the tick and allow the tick to feed on him.  The Borrelia organism has been found in the urine of infected animals, but the disease has never been proven to be spread via the urine.
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Prevention of Borreliosis
Protect Yourself:  For walks in woods, fields, or meadows during tick season, protect yourself from tick infestation by wearing clothing in a way that prevents ticks from gaining access to your skin.  Wear a hat to protect your head.
Close Inspection:  Always closely inspect your pet and yourself after walking in woods, fields, or meadows.  If you detect any ticks, do not crush the tickís body during removal.  Rather, use tweezers or forceps to grasp the tickís head as close to your petís skin as possible, and gently remove the tick to avoid separation of the tickís head from its body.
Insecticide Use:  Use insecticide and repellents to control tick infestation on your pet.  Ask the doctor to recommend a product.
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Calicivirus Infection in Cats
General Information:
Feline calicivirus is a virus that causes mild to serious respiratory illness.  Cats become infected by inhaling or swallowing the virus, and signs of illness may develop within 2-10 days of exposure.  Early signs include runny eyes and nose, sneezing, depression, and poor appetite.  Ulcers may develop on the tongue and hard palate, and most infected cats drool heavily.  Illness lasts from one to four weeks.  Though most cats recover, fatalities do occur.  Young kittens are most likely to be severely affected.  Some cats that recover from the initial disease may continue to shed the virus for weeks or even years.
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A vaccine is available for prevention of the calcivirus infection.
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Drugs cannot eliminate calcivirus.  Treatment is designed to prevent bacterial infections (especially pneumonia), relieve signs, and maintain hydration and nutrition.  Severely affected cats and kittens must be treated in the hospital where intravenous fluids can be given to maintain hydration and provide nutrition.  The virus is hardy and may survive outside the cat on dishes, pans, etc., for 8-10 days.
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Coronavirus Infection in Cats (feline infectious peritonitis, coronavirus enteritis)
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General Information:
Feline coronaviruses include those that cause feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), and those that cause only a mild intestinal disease (coronavirus enteritis).  The viruses are not the same, but they cannot be differentiated by the current blood test.  A positive blood test will alert the doctor to the possibility of these diseases, and a negative test will help rule them out.  Blood tests have value in the overall diagnosis and evaluation of your petís illness.
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Feline infectious peritonitis is relatively uncommon and generally fatal.  It occurs primarily in cats between 6 months and 5 years of age.  Two forms of FIP occur: 1) "wet" FIP -- a disease of the lining of the abdominal and/or chest cavities in which massive fluid accumulations occur and 2) "dry FIP" Ė a disease of various organs, such as the lymph nodes, kidneys, eyes, and brain.
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Feline enteric coronaviruses cause mild intestinal disease in kittens up to 12 weeks.  The infection is common and probably exists in most homes with more than one cat.  It may recur throughout the catís life but is rarely serious.
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Currently, vaccines are not available for the prevention of feline coronavirus infection.  Premises where FIP-affected cats have been kept should be treated with disinfectant and left cat-free for some time.  Your veterinarian will make specific recommendations.
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The prognosis for cats with FIP is poor.  Most authorities consider the disease incurable.  Treatment may ease your catís discomfort and prolong its life for a short time.  Home care for FIP consists of providing a warm, quiet environment, administering the medication as directed, and carrying out forced feeding if necessary.  The doctor will explain these procedures.
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The prognosis for cats with coronavirus enteritis is excellent.  It is a self-limiting, mild diarrheal disease.  Treatment for coronavirus enteritis consists of withholding food during the most sever stages.  Your veterinarian will advise you if fluids should be given to avoid dehydration.
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Coronavirus Infection in Dogs
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General Information:
Canine coronavirus (CCV) affects the intestinal tract of dogs.  The length of time between swallowing the virus and showing signs of illness is 1-5 days.  Signs include depression, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Illness may continue for 2-10 days.
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The CCV is transmitted through feces, and dogs may shed the virus for 2 weeks after the signs of infection have ended.  Dogs that have recovered develop some immunity, but the duration of immunity is
unknown.
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A vaccine is available for prevention of CCV infection.  Annual booster vaccinations are recommended.
Treatment varies according to the severity of the disease and the age and condition of your pet.  Intravenous fluid therapy and hospitalization are often required, since dehydration readily occurs in this illness.  Strict sanitation is required, especially if your household contains more than one dog.  All animal waste should be disposed of daily, and feeding and watering utensils should be properly sanitized.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Distemper in Dogs
General Information:
Distemper is a highly contagious disease of dogs, wolves, coyotes, raccoons, mink, and ferrets.  It is caused by a virus that is easily spread through the air and by contaminated objects, much like the cold virus spreads in people.
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Though the disease occurs more often in young dogs, those of any age may contract distemper.  This is especially true of animals under stress or those that are relatively isolated form other dogs.
Signs range from those of a mild respiratory problem, such as runny eyes and nose, to sever diarrhea, vomiting, and seizures.  Many recovered dogs are left with uncontrollable muscle or limb jerking and/or periodic convulsions.
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Vaccination is the best means of preventing canine distemper.  All dogs should be vaccinated yearly.
Distemper is a serious disease that is often fatal.  Currently, we have no drugs to destroy the virus.  Treatment is aimed at supporting general health and preventing bacterial infections.  In many cases, hospital treatment is necessary.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Ehrlichiosis in Dogs
General Information:
Ehrlichiosis is a blood disorder caused by blood cell parasites called rickettsiae.  Of the 4 different rickettsiae that can cause the disease, Ehrlichia canis is the most common.
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Dogs are infected when they are bitten by ticks carrying the rickettsiae or when they receive transfusions of blood contaminated with the rickettsiae.  Signs of ehrlichiosis develop within 8-20 days.
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The acute or early phase of the disease lasts 4-6 weeks and is characterized by such signs as weight loss, fever, depression, discharge from the eyes and nose, respiratory problems, and enlarged lymph nodes.  Many dogs recover after this stage of the disease.  In other dogs, the infection becomes subclinical, lasting months or years.  Stress or treatment with various drugs in these dogs may result in severe clinical signs of ehrlichiosis.
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Dogs with subclinical ehrlichiosis may become chronically infected, showing depression, weight loss, hemorrhage, fever, and various other organ problems.
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Ehrlichiosis is diagnosed by blood tests.  The disease is prevented by controlling tick infestation of the dog.
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Ehrlichiosis usually can be treated, regardless of the stage of infection.  However, the earlier the disease is detected, the more rapid is the recovery.  Chronically infected dogs may require treatment for several months.  Dogs with severe anemia or hemorrhage may require blood transfusions.  Repeated blood tests are required during the treatment period.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Feline Infectious Anemia
General Information:
Feline infectious anemia (FIA) is a contagious disease of cats caused by the blood parasite Hemobartonella felis.  This organism attacks the red blood cells, resulting in their destruction and development of anemia.
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FIA is spread by contact with infected blood through cat fights, other injuries, or the bites of blood-sucking insects, such as fleas and ticks.  Kittens may become infected though it is unclear whether they become infected while still in the uterus or while nursing.
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Some infected cats show no signs of illness until they are stressed by illness, injury, or severe emotional upset.  Recovered cats may become carriers, and relapses are common in these individuals.  The time from infection to the appearance of the parasite on the red blood cells varies from 8-23 days.
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Infected cats often have profound anemia that requires hospitalization and one or more blood transfusions.  Blood tests are necessary to diagnose the condition and monitor the effectiveness of treatment.  Keep your cat indoors and warm until fully recovered.  Limit activity and handling, and do not encourage active play until recovery is complete.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Feline Leukemia Virus Infection
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General Information:
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is one of the most common and destructive of all cat viruses.  It is highly contagious and is spread primarily by saliva during cat fights, grooming, or mating.  The virus is also spread by blood, urine, and feces.  Kittens may become infected while still in the womb, when the mother bites off the umbilical cord, or during nursing.
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Not all cats exposed to FeLV become infected.  About 40% of exposed cats have immune systems that destroy the invading virus.  The remainder of exposed cats become persistently infected (30%) or develop a latent infection (30%).  The latter group has inactive virus in their bone marrow, and these virus particles may later become active when the cat becomes ill from another disease, stress, or certain drugs.
Of the cats persistently infected, about 25% will die within one year and 75% will die within three years.  Some may live a normal life but tend to have various chronic illnesses.
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Illness
There are no signs specific for FeLV infection.  The main effect of the virus is to disrupt the catís immune system.  While anemia is the most common disorder caused by the virus, cancer and various other diseases are common.  Disorders commonly associated with FeLV infection include: chronic respiratory disease; chronic infection of the mouth, gums, and tongue; chronic eye disease; frequent or chronic skin disease; reproductive disease (miscarriage, stillbirths, and kitten deaths); frequent or chronic urinary tract infections; chronic digestive tract disease; and other systematic diseases (infectious peritonitis, hemobartonellosis, toxoplasmosis, polyarthritis).
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Prevention
Vaccination before exposure to the virus is the best means of preventing FeLV infection.  Without vaccination, isolation from other cats is the only means of prevention.
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Important Facts


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Herpesvirus Infection in Dogs
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General Information:
Canine herpesvirus (CHV) infection is a contagious disease caused by a strain of herpes virus that is related to, but different from the strains that infect people.
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Adult dogs may carry the virus in the lining of the nose, throat, lungs, and genital tract without showing signs of illness unless they are stressed by illness or injury.  Puppies become infected while still in the uterus, during birth, or from secretions of the mother or other infected puppies.  Infected puppies under 10 days of age usually die.  Puppies over 3 weeks of age may contract CHV, but their illness is much less sever and usually appears as a mild respiratory infection.  These puppies can shed the virus in their secretions for about 3 weeks after recovery.
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People are not susceptible to CHV infection.
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Isolation of the affected dam and puppies and strict hygiene are essential to prevent infection of healthy puppies.  Little can be done for infected puppies under 3 weeks of age.  Using heat lamps or a heated whelping box to maintain rectal temperatures of 100-102° F may reduce virus multiplication.  Older infected puppies and adult dogs seldom require treatment.  Forced feeding of infected puppies may be helpful.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Infectious Hepatitis in Dogs
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General Information:
Infectious canine hepatitis (ICH) is a serious viral disease that affects the liver, kidneys, lymph nodes, eyes, and other organs.
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Nearly all dogs are exposed to ICH virus at some time during their lives, but not all dogs become gravely ill.  The disease may be so mild that it passes unnoticed or may be so severe that death occurs within a few hours of the first signs of illness.
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Signs of ICH develop about a week after exposure to the virus.  High fever, loss of appetite, increased thirst, tonsillitis, and reddening of the lining of the mouth, throat and eyelids may occur.  In some cases, there is bloody diarrhea.  The virus may be present in any body secretion and may be present in the urine for up to 6-9 months after an apparent recovery.  A bluish cast to the eye may occur during the recovery period.
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A highly effective vaccine is available to prevent ICH.  All dogs should be immunized yearly.
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Hospitalization is required for the initial treatment.  Intravenous fluids and other intensive measures are often necessary.  Various blood and laboratory tests are necessary to evaluate the response to treatment.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Infectious Tracheobronchitis in Dogs (kennel cough)
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General Information:
Infectious tracheobronchitis is a contagious disease of the upper respiratory tract, which includes the trachea (windpipe) and bronchi (large air passages of the lungs).  Viruses and bacteria are usually involved.
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The most common sign of kennel cough is a harsh, dry cough that is often followed by gagging and coughing up foamy mucus.  Otherwise, the patient appears alert and generally healthy.  The disease spreads rapidly from one dog to another, but it does not affect people.
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This disease is self-limiting.  This means that unless complications (such as pneumonia) occur, the signs usually disappear in 1-3 weeks.  Antibiotics and/or other supportive treatments may be needed.  Ordinarily no special diet is required.  Exercise stimulates coughing and should be severely restricted.  Sudden changes in air temperature or pressure on the neck from collars and leashes may also stimulate coughing.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Leptospirosis
General Information:
Leptospirosis is a serious bacterial disease that infects dogs, people, and several other types of animals.  There are numerous types (called serotypes) of leptospires.  Though each type is infectious only for certain animals, some infect several species, including people.
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These bacteria attack the kidneys, liver, and nervous system.  Recovered animals may shed the organism in their urine for up to 1 year.  Infected rats are a common source of leptospirosis.
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Vaccination is the best prevention for leptospirosis.  All dogs should be vaccinated yearly.  This vaccine is commonly combined with the distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza vaccines.
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Laboratory tests of blood and urine are necessary to diagnose and monitor the response to treatment of leptospirosis.  Hospitalization is often necessary.   Avoid contact with your petís urine.  Any urine-soiled area should be cleaned with detergent and rinsed with an iodine-based disinfectant.  Please discuss any unusual cleaning problems with your veterinarian.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Panleukopenia in Cats (parvovirus infection, feline distemper)
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General Information:
Feline distemper is a highly contagious viral disease.  Though it occurs most often in kittens under 6 months of age, cats of any age may become infected.  The death rate is highest in young kittens and old cats.
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Signs develop 2-5 days after exposure to the virus.  The disease runs its course in 2-14 days.  Severe diarrhea is the most consistent sign of the disease, but fever, lack of appetite, vomiting, dehydration, and profound depression are also common.  Affected cats often develop secondary pneumonia because the virus severely depresses the catís resistance to other illness.
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Cats become infected by direct contact with an infected cat or its body secretions, especially feces.  The virus survives in the environment for long periods, so a cat may become infected merely by visiting an area where an infected cat has been.  Cats that contract the virus during pregnancy pass it to their kittens in the uterus.  These kittens may be born with a brain defect.
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All kittens should be vaccinated for feline distemper, and adult cats should be given yearly booster vaccinations.
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Blood tests are often needed to diagnose feline distemper and monitor the response to treatment.  Hospitalization is frequently necessary for proper treatment.  Keep your cat indoors and quiet until fully recovered.  Do not allow frequent handling or active play.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Parvovirus Infection in Dogs
General Information:
Dogs become infected with parvovirus through contact with the stool of an infected dog or a contaminated environment.  The virus is very hardy and remains infective in the environment for a long time.  Puppies are most susceptible to parvovirus infections.
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Parvovirus causes severe and often bloody vomiting and diarrhea.  Infected animals rapidly dehydrate, and severe cases progress to shock and death.  Fatalities occur mostly in puppies less than 12 weeks old.
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Occasionally parvovirus attacks the heart muscle of puppies and can cause death.
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A vaccine is available for prevention of canine parvovirus infection, and all dogs should be vaccinated annually.
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Early fluid therapy is the most important factor in treating dogs with parvovirus infection.  Intravenous fluids both rehydrate and nourish the sick dog.  Additional treatment includes prevention of secondary bacterial infection and drugs to control vomiting and diarrhea.  Repeated laboratory tests are necessary to monitor your petís white blood cell counts and state of hydration.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Pneumonitis in Cats
General Information:
Feline pneumonitis is an infectious upper respiratory disease of cats.  It is caused by the organism Chlamydia psittaci and is spread by contact with discharges from the eye, nose, or mouth.  Cats usually develop signs of infection 5-10 days after exposure.
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The organism also causes inflammation of the conjunctiva (conjunctivitis), characterized by squinting, red painful eyelids, and excessive tearing.  The eye discharge may become yellow or green, and such respiratory signs as sneezing, coughing, or discharge from the nose may appear.  Occasionally, the disease reappears in recovered cats after stress or other illness.  
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Vaccination is the best means of preventing pneumonitis.
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Your cat should be isolated from other cats until recovery is complete.  Remove discharges from the eyes and nose several times daily with a dampened cloth or facial tissue.  Allow access to fresh, clean water at all times.  Allow normal exercise and provide a draft free environment.
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Public Health Significance
Since the organism that infects cats can also cause eye infections in people, strict hygiene should be practiced when handling infected cats.
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 Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Rabies
General Information:
Rabies is a fatal disease caused by a virus.  All warm-blooded animals are susceptible.  The disease is usually spread when an infected animal bites another animal or person.  The bitten animal or person will not become infected, however, unless the saliva of the sick animal contains the rabies virus at the time of the bite.  The bat, skunk, and fox are the most commonly infected wild animals.  Dogs and cats are the most commonly infected domestic animals.
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Because the signs of rabies vary, diagnosis is very difficult while the animal is alive.  The only positive diagnosis is by laboratory examination of certain tissues.
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Early in the disease, affected animals may show a slight change in behavior or temperament.  As the disease progresses, the animal becomes restless and excitable and may tend to roam or eat unusual objects.  The animal then may have trouble swallowing and may begin to drool excessively.  Frequently the animal becomes vicious.  Convulsions may occur and are usually fatal.
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Some animals do not die in convulsions, but instead suffer paralysis of the lower jaw.  Shortly after this, the paralysis spreads over the body and death occurs.  This is called "dumb" rabies.
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If a suspected rabid animal bites a person, the animal should be quarantined for 10 days.  If the animal develops signs of rabies or dies, tissues must be sent to the laboratory for examination.
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Since rabies is such a threat to people and other animals, affected animals are not treated.  Euthanasia is mandatory.
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Vaccination is the best means of rabies control.  All pets should be vaccinated.  Consult your veterinarian regarding the proper vaccination procedure for your pet and be sure it is kept current.
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Wild animals should not be kept as pets nor vaccinated for rabies.  (There is no approved rabies vaccine available for wild animals.
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Respiratory Disease Complex in Cats
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General Information:
Various infectious organisms have been isolated from the respiratory tract of cats.  Most of these organisms are contagious, and some can cause fatal disease.  These organisms include rhinotracheitis virus, calicivirus, Chlamydia psittaci, reoviruses, Mycoplasma and various bacteria.  In most cases, isolation of the offending organism is neither necessary nor cost-effective.
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Respiratory diseases are transmitted by direct contact with infected cats or discharges from their eyes, nose, mouth, or other body fluids.  Some of these organisms are spread by contaminated clothing, hands, feeding utensils, grooming equipment, and other articles.  In a few cases, the organisms are air-borne for short distances.
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The most common signs of respiratory disease are sneezing, coughing, discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth, difficult breathing, gagging, lack of appetite, and weight loss.  Some infections last only a few days, while others may be present for weeks or months.  Some of these disease agents exist in a carrier state in apparently healthy cats.
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While most respiratory infections can be treated at home, severely ill cats require hospitalization and repeated laboratory tests and radiographs (x-rays) to monitor the response to treatment.  Cats reluctant or unable to eat are also often hospitalized.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Rhinotracheitis in Cats
General Information:
Rhinotracheitis is caused by a herpesvirus that attacks the eyes, nasal passages and trachea (windpipe) of cats.  Once infected, a cat shows respiratory signs such as sneezing, coughing, runny eyes and nose, within 2-5 days.  Infection is spread by contact with discharges from the eyes, nose, or mouth of infected cats or contact with contaminated clothing, hands, feeding utensils, or other articles.  In mild cases, recovery occurs in 1-2 weeks, while more severe cases may last for several weeks.
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Adult cats usually recover, but the disease is more serious in kittens, and fatalities are not uncommon.  Some cats become persistently infected and suffer from chronic sneezing or periodic relapses.
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Vaccination is the best means of preventing this disease.  All cats should be vaccinated yearly.
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While no treatment is available to eliminate the virus, various medications are given to control clinical signs and prevent secondary bacterial infectious and pneumonia.  In severe cases hospitalization is often necessary.  Many cats with rhinotracheitis lose all interest in food due to a decreased sense of smell.
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Forced oral feeding or intravenous feeding may be necessary until the catís appetite improves.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Salmonellosis
General Information:
Salmonellosis is a bacterial disease of the intestinal tract caused by bacteria called Salmonella.
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Animals are infected by eating substances contaminated with the bacteria.  The organisms are present in the feces of infected animals for up to 6 weeks after recovery.  This organism is very hardy and can survive for long periods in the environment.
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Signs of salmonellosis include vomiting, diarrhea with or without blood, fever, and dehydration.  Severe cases may be fatal.  The disease is most common in young, stressed, weakened, or aged animals.
Some dogs can carry and spread the disease without showing signs of illness.  Because cats are more resistant to the organism, they are affected less often than dogs.
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Laboratory tests are necessary to diagnosis salmonellosis and evaluate the response to treatment.  Many infected animals require hospitalization.
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Public Health Significance
Because these bacteria can infect people, strict hygiene should be practiced when handling infected animals.  Carefully dispose of all fecal material.  Small children should not handle infected pets.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Systematic Fungal Disease
General Information:
Fungi are microscopic organisms found throughout nature.  There are many types of fungi, but only a few cause illness in people and pets.  Fungi are most often inhaled, but some enter the body through contaminated wounds.
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Systematic infection means the organisms are multiplying and growing throughout the body.  Organs commonly infected include the lungs, lymph nodes, brain, spleen, eyes, kidneys, and skin.  Systematic fungal diseases are very serious and difficult to treat.
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The more commonly diagnosed fungal infections include blastomycosis, histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, and coccodioidomycosis.
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Various laboratory tests and x-ray studies are necessary to diagnose fungal disease and monitor the response to therapy.  Hospitalization is often necessary because many of the treatments require close observation.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Toxoplasmosis
General Information:
Toxoplasmosis is caused by a small parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, which lives in animal tissues.  The cat is the primary host.  Toxoplasma is widespread in nature and can infect birds and a variety of mammals, including people.
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Cats contract toxoplasmosis by eating infected raw meat, infective eggs in feces, or contaminated water.  Infected cats may or may not show illness.  Signs include diarrhea, fever, labored breathing, enlarged lymph nodes, eye inflammation, and occasionally death.  Cats usually develop immunity to toxoplasmosis after the initial infection and never pass eggs again.
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Other animals and people become infected by eating the incubated eggs or uncooked meat containing Toxoplasma cysts.  Toxoplasma may invade and form cysts in such organs as the brain, heart, and skeletal muscle.
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Public Health Significance
A woman who plans to have a child can be tested for antibodies to Toxoplasma before becoming pregnant.  If she has antibodies, then she and her unborn child will not be infected.  If she has no antibodies, then she could transmit the organism to her unborn child if she became infected during pregnancy.  You should discuss the blood test for Toxoplasma antibodies with your physician before becoming pregnant.
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Cat Management in a Household with an Expectant Mother
1.  Your catís blood should be tested for antibodies.  Two tests 2-3 weeks apart are recommended.  If infected, your cat can be treated for toxoplasmosis.
2.  Your catís stool should be checked for eggs.  The expectant mother should not handle the stool sample.
3.  Pregnant women should not clean the litter box.  The litter box should be emptied daily.
4.  Childrenís sand boxes should be covered when not in use.
5.  Cats should not be allowed to catch rodents or birds or to eat raw meat.
6.  Do not allow stray cats into the household.
7.  Wash your hands after petting or handling the cat.
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 Pregnancy does not mean that you cannot own a cat, but common sense should prevail.  Eating raw or undercooked meat is probably a much more important source of human toxoplasmosis than cats.  Heating meat to at least 150° F kills Toxoplasma.