Feline calicivirus (FCV) is a highly contagious virus that is one of the major causes of upper respiratory infections (URIs) or cat flu in cats.
Different strains of FCV cause different symptoms, the most common of which include:
Ulcers on the mouth and tongue
Loss of appetite
FCV infections are frequently complicated by secondary bacterial infections, so supportive treatment with antibiotics is usually required. Good nursing care is critical and cats may need to be hospitalised for intravenous fluid therapy and nutritional support in severe cases.
Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus
Feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR) is an upper respiratory infection of the nose and throat in cats.
Nasal and eye discharge
Cat pink eye
Lack of appetite
Inflammation of the eye
Treatment usually includes IV fluids to replace those lost, eye drops for any conjunctivitis and warm water will be used to wipe away any ocular and nasal discharge. A broad spectrum of antibiotics is usually a part of the treatment plan in order to prevent or treat a resultant secondary infection.
Feline Panleukopenia Virus
Also known as FPV, feline parvovirus and feline infectious enteritis, is a nasty virus that attacks the guts, immune system and sometimes, the heart. Sadly, FPV often causes severe illness and sometimes death.
Symptoms of feline distemper can range from mild to severe and may include the following:
Painful abdomen (when touched or may appear tense and distended without touching)
Rough or unkempt hair coat
Decreased to absent appetite
Collapse (in severe cases)
Bruising of the skin or gums (in severe cases)
Since this type of feline infection affects the body on many levels, a multifold treatment approach is needed for optimal results. One of the major results of panleukopenia is dehydration from diarrhea. To treat this, electrolytes are administered to help replace lost water and salt. These are usually given intravenously.
To combat white blood cell loss, blood transfusions may be administered and antibiotics prescribed. This will raise the body’s defence lines against secondary infection. A few days into the infection period, the cat’s own antibodies usually develop. The extra antibiotics will help bring a quick recovery.
Feline Leukaemia Virus
Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) is a virus that attacks the immune system and causes cancers such as lymphoma and leukaemia. Cats with FeLV have an increased risk of developing other infections and diseases.
Low energy (lethargy)
Poor coat condition
Off food / eating less
Pale gums and eyes (anaemia)
Growths and lumps
Fading kitten syndrome (kittens born with FeLV often die shortly after birth).
There is no cure for FeLV infection, and management is largely aimed at symptomatic and supportive therapy.
Rabies is a viral disease that specifically affects a cat’s central nervous system (CNS).Rabies acts by attacking the central nervous system (CNS), spreading through the nervous system until it reaches the brain. Infected animals experience paralysis that inevitably involves the respiratory system and leads to death.
Symptoms of rabies can take several weeks after infection to develop, but once they appear, they tend to become severe very quickly. Symptoms often include:
Sudden changes in behaviour such as:
Becoming over-friendly and attention seeking
Becoming fearful and aggressive
Paralysis and weakness such as:
Coma and death
Noise and light sensitivity.
Remember: the UK is currently free from rabies so it’s extremely unlikely unless your pet has travelled abroad and met an infected animal.
Sadly, there is no treatment for rabies and it’s always fatal. It’s only possible to confirm rabies at post-mortem (after death). Anyone (animal or human) in contact with an infected animal is at risk of getting the disease if they are bitten.