The upper respiratory tract conditions in cats are generally referred as kitty colds. These are running nose, sneezing, cough and fever. These symptoms are the result of upper respiratory tract infections and are generally termed as URI. Upper respiratory tract infections are caused by many bacteria and viruses. But there are two major viruses that are often involved are feline herpes virus-1 and feline calicivirus. Chlamydophilia is the yet another reason for the upper respiratory tract infection in cat. Chlamydophila was formerly known as Chlamydia.
Upper respiratory tract infection is a complex disease as so many microbes are the causative agents and the symptoms exhibited are one and the same. Selecting the right drug for the treatment is ambitious as it is very difficult to pin point the causative agent.
The microbes that cause upper respiratory tract infection in cat are highly contagious and as the result the disease spreads very fast from one animal to the other. The cats that prefer to stay indoors are less likely to get infected as the contact with the other animal is very less. The cats that move about and out side the house are exposed to the infected cat and thus get the infection.
The cat that is handled by the person, who is either infected or handled the cat which is infected, will get the infection. The cat that shares the litter box or the food bowl with the other cat is likely to get infected if the other cat is suffering from upper respiratory tract infection.The cat that shares toy with the infected cat also will pick up the infection.
The young and the old cats are more prone for the infections as the immunity level will be low. The cats that are unvaccinated, the cats living in catteries and the cats living in the shelter are at great risk of getting the upper respiratory tract infection.
The FHV is very fragile virus and is susceptible to most of the common disinfectants. This virus can survive only 18-24 hours outside the host. But FCV is strong virus and resistant to many disinfectants. This virus can survive longer time outside the body of the host. In order to protect the cat from the infection, the contaminated cages, water dishes, food and human hands should be washed with diluted bleach or the chemicals designed to destroy the virus.
The other important thing that needs to be noted is that this virus can spread up to 4 feet in air when the cat sneezes or coughs. The cats that are infected with upper respiratory tract will recover faster if appropriate treatment is provided. But nearly eighty percent of the recovered cats will remain as a carrier for few months to few years. These carrier cats will remain normal and will not exhibit any sign of infection but continue to spread the infection to the other animals and will be the source of infection for major outbreak. These carriers may show up the symptoms some times in life especially when they are under stress or not feeling well.
These upper respiratory tract infections are not at all life threatening but are big nuisance. At the same time one should not ignore this infection as it can become serious illness if not attended at the earliest. FHV can lead to ulcer in the cornea of the cat.
The other virus calcivirus has the ability to get entry in to the cell of the lung and can potentially trouble the respiration of the cat. The calcivirus can cause damage to the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract and tongue. Calcivirus can also result in ulcers in the nose but such cases are very rare.
Chlamydophila is mostly associated with the eye infection and at times this infection can spread to the other parts of the body which is serious. The cat should be admitted to the hospital if the cats are not fit enough for drinking the water and eating the food. The cat should be kept under supportive therapy in order to boost the infection.
If you notice the signs like ulcers in the mouth or the eye, dehydration, very high nasal discharge and fever, then the kitten is suffering very badly. The kitten should be taken to the near by vet clinic within no time.
The signs of FHV infection keep coming back. Stress is the reason for the flare up of infection. Introduction to a new cat, journey, surgery etc are the some of the stress conditions that are worth mentioning here.
The kittens that are 5-7 years old are more susceptible for the upper respiratory tract infection. The reason is nothing but low immunity level. The immunity passed from the mother cat will be at very low at that time. At this point of time the organs that are responsible for the immunity of the kittens will not be at its prime. This is the reason why the kittens that are purchased at the pet store or shelter will look at healthy but the moment it reaches the house of the owner, they get sick.
The cats that are admitted in the hospital are administered fluids either through subcutaneous or intra venous method. The cats will also be treated with antibiotics to prevent the secondary bacterial infection.
As most of the upper respiratory tract infections of the cat are of viral origin, self limiting is the only remedy. But the cats should be under other supportive therapy. The cat may be given eye medications in order to prevent conjunctivitis and corneal ulcer.
Anti viral eye medications are must if there are ulcers in the eye of the cat caused by herpes virus. Of late, oral anti viral and immune boosters are available in the market for use and these medications are found to be very effective. L-lysine is one such drug and is very popular. Appropriate vaccinations will help to protect your feline friend. The owner should get the details regarding this vaccine from the vet and should administer the same at appropriate time as advised the vet.
Upper respiratory trract infection in cat is a dreadful condition that needs utmost care to get cured as soon as possible. Otherwise, upper respiratory tract infection would lead to death of your beloved pet. Try to follow the tips given in this article to get cured this condition at no time.