April 14, 2010

Feline Respiratory Disease

Most often caused by upper respiratory infections, feline respiratory disease is especially common in kittens. These infections are caused by a variety of organisms even if the disease symptoms are fairly similar. The majority of feline respiratory disease cases are caused by some kind of viral infection, mostly feline calicivirus or feline herpes virus 1. Still, there are some bacteria that can cause feline respiratory disease, for example Chlamydophila felis, Mycoplasma, or Bordetella bronchiseptica.

Regardless of the particular cause, feline respiratory disease presents itself in very similar ways. Some of the most common symptoms of feline respiratory disease include

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose and/or eyes
  • Sniffles
  • Mouth or nose ulcers
  • Fever

Similarly, the risk factors for feline respiratory disease are not based on the causes or symptoms. Kittens are at the highest risk because their immune system is not fully developed. Moreover, kittens with feline respiratory disease will have more severe symptoms than adult cats. Logically then, cats that are immuno-suppressed are also at a higher risk of developing feline respiratory disease. Another risk factor for this condition is over-crowding which may occur in shelters, rescue centers, or pet stores. Upper respiratory infections are easily spread between cats making over-crowding a serious risk factor. Stress, improper or incomplete vaccinations, and genetics can also lead to an elevated risk of developing feline respiratory disease.

In most cases, feline respiratory disease is quite mild and treatment focuses on dealing with the symptoms. Nevertheless, it is not impossible for feline respiratory disease to be a fatal condition especially when more serious conditions like pneumonia develop subsequent to the original infection. Some of the more serious symptoms of feline respiratory disease include

  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Open-mouth breathing

If you notice these symptoms, visit your veterinarian immediately to seek the proper treatment.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.