Much like humans, if your cat is sneezing, has a runny nose or is squinting its eyes a lot, chances are it is suffering from the cat flu – a virus that is easily spread from one feline to the next.
Cat flu is a common upper respiratory tract infection in cats, caused by two different types of viruses: Feline Herpesvirus or Feline Calicivirus.
Symptoms of Cat Flu:
The symptoms of both forms of the cat flu are very similar, and may include:
-Blocked or runny nose
-Inflamed, weepy eyes/ conjunctivitis
Cat Flu Health Risks:
Healthy, vaccinated adult cats often only experience very mild symptoms when contracting the flu. However, if your cat is very young or very old, is immunosuppressed or has not been vaccinated, a simple case of the flu can quickly become life threatening – especially if secondary bacterial infections set in.
Some of the complications of cat flu include:
-Starvation, especially as cats lose their sense of smell
-Permanent eye damage
How to Treat Cat Flu:
If your cat is exhibiting one or multiple flu symptoms, it is important to see a vet as soon as possible. If left untreated, symptoms will often get worse quickly, and it may take longer for your cat to recover.
There are no drugs that can specifically kill the cat flu, so treatment is usually aimed at alleviating symptoms and fighting off secondary bacterial infections until the cat recovers on its own. Antibiotics are commonly proscribed, and eye treatment may be given in case of conjunctivitis. Fluids may be given if your cat is dehydrated. Your vet may also recommend appetite stimulants or critical care food such as Royal Canin Feline Recovery if your cat is reluctant to eat.
Preventing Cat Flu:
The simplest way to prevent cat fly is by vaccinating your cat when it’s a kitten, and ensuring it receives its yearly vaccination boosters.
Although it is possible for a vaccinated cat to contract the flu, the symptoms will be a lot less severe and easier to treat.
Feel free to call, make and appointment, or drop-in to Parkgate Animal Hospital for any questions or inquiries about cat flu.