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Cat Flu

Education > Cat Health & Behaviour 13th March 2019
 


Our feline friends can catch the flu too. Like the human cold, cat flu or feline upper respiratory tract infections cause similar symptoms such as sneezing and runny nose.

The bacteria and viruses that commonly cause feline upper respiratory infections are feline herpesvirus, feline calicivirus, bordetella bronchiseptica and chlamydophilia felix. Bacteria and viruses are contagious and transmitted from infected cats to non-infected cats through direct contact (e.g. saliva, nasal discharge, eye discharge) or indirect contact (e.g. contaminated food bowls, bedding).

COMMON SIGNS OF CAT FLU

  • sneezing and coughing
  • nasal discharge (may be clear or thick, yellow or tinged with blood)
  • ocular (eye) discharge
  • corneal ulcers
  • mouth and tongue ulcers
  • drooling or salivation
  • weight loss



Cat flu is commonly seen in kittens, senior cats and crowded environments such as shelters where stress levels are increased. Cats with weakened immune systems are also at higher risk of infection.

DIAGNOSIS OF CAT FLU

  • physical examinations and presenting symptoms.
  • Diagnostic tests such as throat or eye swab samples sent to the laboratory to determine the exact pathogen




TREATMENT OF CAT FLU

  • no drugs to treat viral infections
  • antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent secondary bacterial infections and complications such as pneumonia
  • ophthalmic medications can control eye infections

Milder cases can be treated at home with nursing care and fluid support. Encourage your cat to eat with soft, strong-smelling foods. Wipe the eyes and nose regularly with a moist cloth to remove discharge. It is important to minimise stress. Set up a quiet area where your cat can rest and recover, away from other pets or active children.