Little kitties will always be sick
Anyone who thinks that flu can only affect humans is wrong: cat flu is widespread among domestic cats. Depending on the age and general health of your cat, the flu can be mild, but it can also lead to chronic symptoms or long-term effects. This article will tell you how to tell if your cat has feline flu and what to do if you get sick.
What are the causes of cat flu?
A variety of different pathogens that attack the upper respiratory tract of cats can be the cause of cat flu. The main culprits, however, include feline herpes viruses and caliciviruses. In addition, bacteria such as Chlamydophila felis (chlamydia) and Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bordetellen) are often the cause of cat flu. Infections with the calicivirus are usually mild and rarely lead to protracted damage to health. It is not uncommon for the pathogens to even benefit each other. In most cases, cat flu is passed directly from cat to cat. Cats can infect each other through the transmission of saliva or secretions (for example at a shared feeding place, during a fight or through coughing and sneezing). As a result, domestic cats living alone are often less likely to be affected by cat flu. Cats younger than three months old are particularly susceptible to cat flu because their immune systems are not yet fully developed. The same goes for older animals whose immune systems are weakened.
Cat Flu Symptoms - How Do I Know If My Cat Is Sick?
Cat flu is sometimes very similar to flu in humans. Typical symptoms of cat flu include:
- Watery to purulent, encrusted eyes
- Nasal discharge
- Mouth ulcers
- Difficulty breathing
- Lack of appetite
- lung infection
- Temporary paralysis (in very young kittens)
Cat flu: what to do? - The treatment
A veterinarian should be consulted as soon as possible at the first signs of cat flu in order to avoid possible long-term effects or chronic ailments. Cats have similar symptoms to humans when they have the flu, but cat flu should not be taken lightly. The consequences of an infection in cats can be far more serious than with a human runny nose: secondary bacterial infections (pneumonia or rhinitis) are among the most worrying chronic ailments. In the worst case scenario, your cat could even die from feline flu. The faster you act, the faster the cat can recover from feline flu. With the help of so-called swab samples, the veterinarian can determine the respective pathogen and prescribe appropriate medication. The pathogenic bacteria can be fought with an antibiotic. This form of treatment can last from several days to a week. The antibiotic should be administered in the prescribed manner until the last day, even if the symptoms may have subsided before that. However, the viruses can linger in the cat's body for a lifetime and be the reason for a cat flu, for example, to recur in stressful situations. Preparations from your veterinarian, which are supposed to strengthen your cat's immune system, can also contribute to your pet's recovery and better protect it from future diseases. It is also advisable to keep the sick cat indoors and to give it enough rest to protect it from further pathogens and to ensure a complete recovery.
How long does cat flu last?
It can take between three and five days for the first symptoms to become apparent after an infection. The cat flu then usually lasts for another seven days (in some cases longer). For bacterial infections, recovery may take a month or more.
Is Cat Flu Contagious to Humans?
Viruses that lead to feline flu cannot infect humans, but your cat could, in turn, get infected through you. However, it is unclear whether certain flu viruses (e.g. H1N1, “swine flu” / “swine influenza”) can actually be transmitted from humans to cats. However, chlamydia, which is involved in cat flu, can also be transmitted to humans. To avoid infection, you should wash your hands regularly and be hygienic when handling your cat.
What can I do to protect my cat from feline flu?
To prevent illness, you should vaccinate your cat regularly. Cleanliness (regular washing of the cat bed, the toys and the water and food bowls) is also essential to reduce the risk of illness. A healthy diet and the right cat food, which strengthen your cats' immune system, also contribute to your cat's well-being.
Not only measures to prevent flu are important for the well-being of your cat, but also, for example, the right skin care for your cat.
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