If your cat contracts a fungal infection it will not only make them ill but can also be transmitted to you and other pets and family members. Our Seattle vets share some information about fungal infections in cats and what the signs and treatment options are.
Fungal Infections in Cats
The only way that fungi are able to survive is by invading a host. These parasitic fungal organisms enter your cat's body and produce spores that can lead to infections and cause various conditions in your cat.
Fungi commonly live in the soil until an animal comes along and ingests or inhales the fungi spores. Another possible way for these infections to be contracted is through open wounds or through contact with an infected animal, or an infected animal's feces.
Although some fungal infections cause disease in healthy animals, the pets that are most commonly affected are those that are elderly or ill. Cats that take immunosuppressive agents or antibiotic drugs over a long period of time appear to be more susceptible to fungal infections.
Common Types of Fungal Infections in Cats
The most commonly seen types of fungal infections in cats will vary depending on the location. Here are some of the most common types of fungal infections we typically see in cats:
- North American Blastomycosis
These infections may be concentrated in a specific part of the cat's body or spread throughout the entire body. Though general fungal infections are relatively rare, fungal skin infections in cats are quite common.
Typical Signs of Fungal Infection in Cats
Just as the type of infection can depend on the location, the symptoms associated with the final infection will vary based on the type of infection contracted. Below are common symptoms our vets see in cats with the types of infections listed above:
- Lung infections
- Loss of appetite
- Eye problems
- Bladder infections
- Skin lesions
- Weight loss
- Intolerance to physical activity
- Swelling under the bridge of the nose
- Difficulty breathing
- Bloody discharge from nose
- Cysts beneath the skin
The Diagnosis of Fungal Infections in Cats
Because some fungal infections are rare or regional, they can be difficult to diagnose. You can help your vet to pinpoint the fungus responsible for your kitty's symptoms by knowing your cat’s medical history and being prepared to answer questions such as when your pet began to display symptoms of infection.
At Cat Clinic of Seattle our team has years of experience in diagnosing and treating internal conditions. They can perform a thorough physical exam and take blood samples to be analyzed in our in-house diagnostic lab.
From there, we can use advanced tools and technology to make a definitive diagnosis of your cat's condition and provide treatment recommendations based on a comprehensive assessment of your kitty’s health issues.
Your vet will utilize a complete blood count (CBC) along with a chemical blood profile and urinalysis in order to help identify what’s causing the symptoms in your cat. In some cases, a tissue sample may be taken to assist in diagnosis. Your cat will typically be anesthetized for these tests. The tissue sample will be taken during surgery, then analyzed in our lab.
Depending on the type of fungi that is causing your kitty’s symptoms, your vet may present different options for treatment, such as hospitalization or isolation if the fungal infection is transmittable to humans. Avoiding contact with your pet while they are receiving treatment for a fungal infection is the only way to ensure that you or your family do not contract the infection.
If your pet will be staying at your home, your veterinarian may provide instructions on how to prevent infections, this might include wearing gloves and a mask when changing litter or having close contact with your cat.
Your veterinarian may be able to remove any skin lesions and prescribe topical ointments to help treat the infection. If required, any secondary infections will also be treated with medications or IV fluids. Because fungal infections have been proven to be difficult to be treated at times it is important to follow all instructions given and understand that treatment may take some time.
The Recovery Process After Fungal Infections in Cats
Your cat’s prognosis will be determined by the type of fungal infection your kitty has contracted. Although prescription medication can help to clear some infections, others may have long-term health impacts or even lead to severe neurological symptoms (for example, North American Blastomycosis can cause these).
Throughout recovery, it is very important that you attend all follow-up appointments in order to have your cat properly monitored. Your vet will check to see that no relapses have happened and make changes to medication if required. Report any changes in your cat’s appearance or behavior immediately.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.