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This page is dedicated to an archive of diseases that are transmitted between cats by sneezing, coughing, cat fights, maternal transfer, and via people
or inanimate objects (fomites), which attack feral cats even a pure-bred cat.
The information on this website is intended for general knowledge
and not as a replacement for medical advice.
Please do not use our site to attempt to diagnose or treat your pet.
Your veterinarian is the best source of health advice for an individual pet.

The best ways to safeguard my cat's health is a yearly check-up, keep them vaccinated and and give them the highest quality food available.

I test my cats for FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus), FELV (Feline Leukemia Virus), HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy), PKD (glycogen storage disease type IV) and
GSD IV (glycogen storage disease type IV).

 


INFECTIOUS DISEASES

• FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus)
• FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus)
• Feline calicivirus
• Rhinotracheitis
• Panleukopenia
• Feline chlamydia
• FIP (Feline infectious peritonitis)


GENETIC DISEASES

• GSD IV (Glycogen storage disease type IV)
• HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy)
• PKD (Polycystic kidney disease)

 

 

 

INFECTIOUS DISEASES

FIV: Feline immunodeficiency virus is more commonly called FIV or sometimes feline AIDS. It is a contagious viral disease that infects cats. The virus is similar in nature to the virus that causes AIDS or HIV in people. However, you cannot get AIDS from your cat. FIV only infects cats and HIV only infects people.
FIV is most commonly spread through wounds from cat fights.
Some veterinarians believe that FIV may also be spread through sexual contact with an infected cat, but there is disagreement about this.
If infected blood is used in giving your cat a blood transfusion, your cat can become infected.
On rare occasions, a mother cat can pass the disease to her kittens, especially if she has recently become infected.
FIV is not usually passed through sharing food dishes or water bowls, or when cats sleep together in the same place or groom each other.
Some cats are more likely to become infected with FIV than others.
Cats that go outside and fight with other cats are at risk of infection.
FIV is normally diagnosed through a blood test known as an ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test.
Many cats that test positive for FIV seem perfectly healthy. If your cat tests positive, it means that he has been exposed to the virus. It also means that he can pass the virus to other cats but, in reality, this does not seem to happen often unless your cat fights with others.
Even if your cat has a positive blood test for FIV, he may remain healthy for years. However, it is important to watch him for signs of disease. The FIV virus damages your cat's immune system and makes him more likely to get other types of infections.

FeLV (Feline leukemia virus), a retrovirus, is a common infection of cats. It is the cause of more cat deaths, directly or indirectly, than any other organism and is widespread in the cat population. Feline leukemia virus infection (FeLV) can be transmitted several ways:
1.by the saliva of infected cats contaminating the eye, mouth, and nose membranes of non-infected cats via licking.
2.by passing infected blood to non-infected cats.
3.from mother to fetuses (developing kittens) during pregnancy.

Most infected cats eliminate the virus and become immune. In those cats that do not develop immunity, the virus spreads to the bone marrow. Proliferative and degenerative diseases may occur in any of the tissues invaded by the virus, or the virus may be indirectly responsible for other illnesses because of its immunosuppressive effect. A large percentage of the cats that are exposed to the virus will have latent (hidden) infections and will be capable of transmitting the disease in saliva, tears, and urine. Some of these latent carriers will become clinically ill when stressed.

CALICIVIRUS: Feline viral rhinotracheitis and feline calicivirus are two common respiratory viruses. Signs and symptoms of calicivirus include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, drooling, and oral ulcers. These mouth ulcers can lead to chronic gingivitis and even be found between the toes or on the pads of the kitten's feet. Loss of appetite and lethargy are also common, and cats can become dehydrated and anorexic. Calicivirus is prevalent in cats and kittens kept in overcrowded conditions such as rescue shelters, multi-cat homes and pet shops. Calicivirus can spread through direct contact with infected saliva, feces, and nasal discharge. After getting the virus, it incubates for approximately fourteen days and can live outside the kitten's body for eight to ten days.

RHINOTRACHEITIS: is a virus of the upper respiratory system. It's spread by contact with secretions from an infected cat's mouth, nose, or eyes.
Symptoms are similar to calcivirus but are usually less severe.
Medical treatment is usually not required. Symptoms generally go away on their own within a week.
Sometimes secondary infections set in and antibiotics are required.
Symptoms include loss of appetite, coughing (a cat coughing sounds a lot like a cat trying to bring up a hairball), sneezing, runny nose and eyes, and fever.
There is a vaccine for rhinotracheitis.
Some cats will get the virus even if they have been vaccinated, but veterinarian still recommend you vaccinate your cat.

PANLEUKOPENIA: Feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) is an autonomous parvovirus belonging to the family Parvoviridae and in the subgroup feline parvovirus. FPV, also known as feline parvoviral enteritis, feline distemper virus and feline infectious enteritis, is closely related to canine parvovirus type 2 (Merck). FPV, like other parvoviruses, is a non-enveloped, single-stranded DNA virus with an established tropism for cells undergoing mitosis (cellular division). All members of the family Felidae are susceptible to FPV infection and subsequent disease, as are representatives of the related families Procyonidae (coatimundis and raccoons), Viverridae and Mustelidae (minks). The virus does appear to replicate to some extent in dogs; however, dogs do not appear to shed the virus or develop clinical signs of infection. FPV infection among the dog population is an area of ongoing research and debate.
FPV is a severe, highly contagious disease that is oftentimes fatal. Feline panleukopenia occurs worldwide, but is rarely seen as a clinical entity due to the effectiveness of vaccination in preventing the disease. Young, unvaccinated kittens present most commonly with this disease. Unvaccinated feral cat colonies and other wild felids also serve as reservoirs of infection for the domestic cat population.

FPV exposure and infection can occur in several ways. The major route of transmission is direct contact between a susceptible host and an infected animal or its secretions. The virus is shed in all body secretions of infected animals for up to six weeks. Once introduced into the environment, the virus is very hardy and can persist for years. Treatment of fomites (inantimate objects) and other contaminated materials for ten minutes with bleach, 4% formaldehyde or 1% gluteraldehyde is necessary to inactivate the virus. Fomites, including contaminated instruments, cages and bedding, are also an important route of viral exposure. Mechanical transmission of FPV via arthropod vectors is probable as well. Lastly, this virus also can cross the placenta to infect the fetuses in utero.

Clinical Signs
Systemic clinical signs usually are seen in kittens between the ages of four and six months of age that have not been vaccinated, but feline panleukopenia can be seen in older, immunologically native cats. These patients generally have inappetance, lethargy, and fever that become apparent between two and seven days after initial exposure. Vomiting begins a few days after the fever develops, may contain bile and is unrelated to eating. Diarrhea is the last symptom to present; the feces may range from mucoid to bloody. Combined vomiting and diarrhea lead to rapidly progressive dehydration.
Thickened intestinal loops may be noted and a pain response may be elicited upon abdominal palpation. The gastrointestinal signs are from viral destruction of intestinal crypt epithelium and the inability to effectively replace sloughed villous cells. Clinical signs appear acutely and death can occur within twelve hours. It is important to note that FPV is not responsible for chronic signs, as the disease is acutely self-limiting. The presence of a chronic condition should increase suspicion of an etiologic agent other than FPV.

Exposure of a pregnant queen to the FPV during early gestation can result in fetal death and resorption (which may be mistaken for infertility), production of mummified fetuses, or abortion. Late gestational or early neonatal exposure to FPV results in CNS infection. Kittens affected during this timeframe may exhibit a cerebellar ataxia as they become ambulatory. FPV destroys the external germinal cell layer of the cerebellum, resulting in hypoplasia of the granular cell layer and Purkinje cells. Classical signs of cerebellar ataxia include intention tremors, a wide- based stance, and a hypermetric uncoordinated gait. Infections involving the optic nerve or retina may present as clinical blindness, but cerebellar lesions are much more common.
Differential diagnoses for acute, severe gastroenteritis include (but are not limited to) FPV infection, salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidiosis, enteric toxicosis, pancreatitis, other viral enteritides, acute bacterial sepsis with endotoxemia, gastrointestinal foreign body with perforation and peritonitis, feline immunodeficiency virus infection, and feline leukemia virus infection.

Diagnosis: Generally, a presumptive diagnosis of FPV infection can be made based on the acute onset of panleukopenia with gastrointestinal signs in a susceptible cat. However, fecal examination and culture may be warranted to exclude some of the aforementioned diseases. Feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus infections are more chronic and persistent diseases than FPV infection. However, these diseases can occur concurrently and should be excluded by appropriate laboratory testing.
Due to the prevalence of FPV in the environment and common vaccination practices, most cats possess serum antibodies to FPV. Demonstrating a rising antibody titer over a period of time or the presence of viral antigens or DNA in a sample suggests active ongoing infection. A fourfold rising titer of virus-neutralizing antibodies in the serum indicates active FPV infection, as does detection of the virus in biological samples using fluorescent antibody tags. ELISA, monoclonal antibodies, PCR and virus isolation techniques also can be used to detect the FPV in various biologic samples.
Prevention:
Since there is no specific treatment for FPV infection, prevention of viral infection by vaccination is recommended. Both inactivated and modified-live vaccines (MLVs) are commercially marketed and are effective in preventing feline panleukopenia.
In conclusion, feline panleukopenia is a severe, highly contagious, multisystemic disease that is endemic in the cat population. Prevention of disease by adequate vaccination is important because there is no specific treatment for FPV. Maintaining good hygiene, sanitation, and quarantine also are helpful in containing outbreaks of disease.

FELINE CHLAMYDIA is usually seen in cats as conjunctivitis (inflammation of the tissues around the eye) and is caused by a bacteria. Cats that are infected with this bacterium often have upper respiratory viral infections at the same time.
All cats are susceptible to chlamydia, however it is most commonly seen in young kittens, old cats with poor immune systems, or cats that are stressed due to illness or change in their environment. Environments with many cats, such as catteries, shelters, or rescue households are also at increased risk due to the number of cats in close proximity and the constant introduction of new cats.
Feline chlamydia is a bacterial disease that can cause infectious conjunctivitis or pink eyes in cats. It is often present along with contagious upper respiratory viruses, such as calcivirus and herpesvirus. Chlamydia may start in just one eye, but usually affects both eyes within a few days to a few weeks. Discharge from the eye generally starts out mild and clear, but becomes a thicker yellow-green mucus. The cat is usually squinting and the tissue around the eye looks swollen and red. In rare cases, cats may also get a mild upper respiratory infection that manifests as sneezing and nasal discharge. This disease is very contagious to other cats, particularly those that are young, immune compromised, or ill for another reason. Households and other environments with large numbers of cats have a higher incidence of chlamydia infection. There are a few reports that suggest that chlamydia may be transmissible from cats to humans and may have been found in humans with respiratory disease. Transmission from cats to humans has not been proven at this time, however it is recommended that people in contact with cats suspected to have this disease wash their hands after handling.

 

FELINE INFECTIOUS PERITONITIS is a common virus in cats. Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a viral disease of cats caused by certain strains of a coronavirus. Most strains of feline coronavirus don't cause problems, but in a small percent of infected cats the infection progresses into clinical FIP. This causes an inflammatory reaction occurs around vessels in the tissues in the abdomen, kidney, and/or nervous system. Once a cat develops clinical FIP it is almost always fatal. FIP is not very contagious disease, and is relatively uncommon in the general cat population. Once clinical signs start, cats may show mild upper respiratory symptoms such as sneezing and nasal discharge, diarrhea, and other signs such as loss of appetite, weight loss, depression, rough hair coat, and fever. There are two major forms of FIP, an effusive, or wet form, and a noneffusive, or dry form. Generally, cats with the noneffusive form FIP have a more gradual course of disease progression, with signs including chronic weight loss, depression, anemia, and a persistent fever. The effusive form results in accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, and the cat may exhibit similar symptoms to the dry form, including weight loss, fever, loss of appetite, and being tired. Wet FIP often progresses rapidly with death occurring in most patients within several weeks. Unfortunately, there is no known cure or effective treatment for FIP and treatment is generally aimed at supportive care, such as good nursing care and nutrition, and alleviating the inflammatory response of the disease.

 

GENETIC DISEASES

GSD IV: La glicogenosi tipo IV o glycogen storage disease type IV (GSD IV) è una malattia ereditaria del
metabolismo del glucosio. La malattia è causata dalla mancanza dell'enzima ramificante, chiamata GBE
(Glycogen Branching Enzyme).
Questa disfunzione causa l'accumulo di glicogeno non ramificato nell'organismo dei Norvegesi affetti.
Nella forma più corrente, i gattini muoiono alla nascita o poco dopo perché sono incapaci di produrre
abbastanza glucosio necessario alla nascita ed alle prime ore di vita. Più raramente, i gattini possono
vivere normalmente fino a 5 mesi, però, la malattia conduce velocemente ad un’atrofia muscolare, una
debolezza cardiaca e neuromuscolare, ed alla morte del gatto entro i suoi primi 15 mesi di vita.
Il test DNA permette un’individuazione precoce dei gatti sani, una scelta dei riproduttori, un’adattazione degli incroci nello scopo di limitare la mortalità neonatale legata a questa malattia. Permette anche di evitare la nascita di gattini affetti di glicogenosi e di frenare la propagazione della malattia nell’allevamento o nello sviluppo della razza.

HCM è l’acronimo di Hypertrophic CardioMiopathy e sta per cardiomiopatia ipertrofica. Come per l’equivalente umano, si tratta di una patologia che provoca l’inspessimento delle pareti del cuore con conseguente alterazione delle sue funzionalità.
Sintomi: alcuni gatti manifestano una respirazione resa difficoltosa dai fluidi che si concentrano nei polmoni o intorno ad essi. Altri possono non mostrare alcun sintomo, ma possono morire improvvisamente, per lo più a causa di un improvviso e grave disturbo nel ritmo cardiaco. Alcuni gatti sviluppano grumi del sangue (emboli) che possono causare la paralisi delle zampe posteriori.
Profilo genetico: tecnicamente, l’HCM è una malattia autosomica dominante a penetranza incompleta ed espressività variabile, ossia:
• può colpire indistintamente maschi e femmine (sebbene i maschi sembrino esserne colpiti in età più giovane e più gravemente)
• può essere trasmessa in forma eterozigote (solo uno dei genitori trasmette la patologia) od omozigote (entrambi i genitori trasmettono la malattia): in ogni caso l’individuo è da considerarsi affetto
• è possibile che Aun gatto ne sia affetto e che non la manifesti mai per tutto l’arco della sua esistenza; ciò non toglie, ovviamente, che potrà trasmetterla alla progenie
• le modalità, i tempi e la gravità con cui la malattia, eventualmente, si manifesta cambia da soggetto a soggetto.
Screening: viene effettuato attraverso una ecocardiografia che misura le dimensioni del cuore e che viene eseguita a varie età durante la vita del gatto e comunque prima che venga fatto riprodurre. Infatti, un gatto che presenta un cuore in condizioni normali ad un anno di età ha statisticamente una probabilità inferiore di sviluppare la malattia.
Difficoltà diagnostiche: l’HCM è una malattia che si sviluppa molto lentamente.
I gatti che ne soffrono spesso non mostrano alcun sintomo prima dei 6 mesi di vita o, viceversa, possono trascorrere diversi anni in salute prima di sviluppare la malattia, anni durante i quali, molto probabilmente, si sono già riprodotti. Infatti, l’ecocardiografia non è in grado di riconoscere i casi di asintomaticità, ossia di gatti affetti (e quindi portatori per la progenie) il cui cuore si presenti, ancora, in condizioni normali.
L’estrema variaAbilità con cui questa malattia si manifesta, rende difficile tutelare non solo il singolo soggetto ma, spesso, la sua stessa discendenza. Infatti, il gatto che sviluppi molto lentamente la malattia potrebbe già aver dato alla luce dei figli i quali, viceversa potrebbero ammalarsi in tempi ridotti.

La PKD è un disordine renale ereditario il quale implica che ci sono già delle cisti presenti alla nascita e tipicamente in entrambi i reni. Queste cisti sono cavità ripiene di liquidi che prendono origine dal normale tessuto renale. Nei cuccioli queste cavità sono nella maggior parte dei casi molto piccole (da 1 a 2 mm). A man mano che l'animale cresce queste cavità diventeranno sempre più grandi (anche più grandi di 2 cm). In un solo rene possono esserci da 20 a 200 cisti presenti.
La PKD è ben nota anche come disordine renale negli esseri umani e colpisce oltre 5 milioni di persone nel mondo.
Quella dei Persiani è la razza più affetta.
Dal momento che questa razza è ed è stata la più utilizzata per fare outcrossing di razze, stiamo vedendo casi di PKD anche in altre razze.
Le razze che sono state incrociate con i PersiAani sono: Exotic shorthair, Selkirk Rex, British shorthair, Scottish Fold, i Birmani, i Ragdoll, gli American Shorthair, i Devon Rex e i Maine Coon.
In passato i persiani sono stati usati anche tra i Norvegesi delle Foreste, gli Sphynx, gli Orientali Shorthair, i Cornish Rex, gli Abissini, i Somali, i Manx e i Burmesi, ed è il motivo per cui troviamo PKD anche in altre razze.
Sintomi: che un gatto si ammali o meno di PKD dipende dalla dimensione e dal numero di cisti presenti in entrambi i reni. Un gatto mostrerà segni di malattia (insufficienza renale) quando le cisti occuperanno troppo spazio nel rene e il normale tessuto renale viene alterato. Quando c'è troppo poco tessuto normale rimasto, i reni non sono più in grado di funzionare normalmente e il gatto si ammala. I primi sintomi di malattia si manifestano usualmente tra i 3 e i 10 anni di vita, ma sono stati riscontrati anche in gatti più giovani.
All'inizio i sintomi sono piuttosto vaghi. Un gatto berrà e urinerà più spesso del normale, l'appetito diminuirà e il pelo sembrerà meno luminoso di prima. A man mano che l'insufficienza renale peggiora, l'animale inizierà a mangiare meno, perderà peso con, possibilmente, episodi di vomitoA. A volte, c'è del sangue presente nell'urina e potrebbe essere notata anche una respirazione estremamente cattiva. Una volta che la malattia si è manifestata, è incurabile. Con un trattamento adatto questi animali possono ancora raggiungere venerabili età (vedi sotto).
È importante sapere che non tutti i gatti con la PKD svilupperanno la malattia.
Animali con molto poche o molto piccole cisti probabilmente non mostreranno mai alcun sintomo di PKD.
Trattamento: ad oggi, non c'è modo di prevenire lo sviluppo della PKD o di fermare la crescita delle cisti. Come misura preventiva la sola opzione dovrebbe essere di rimuovere i riproduttori positivi alla PKD dai programmi di allevamento. Un trattamento dovrebbe essere considerato solo quando un gatto mostra i sintomi della malattia.
Animali disidratati o con vomito dovrebbero essere sottoposti a IV per un paio di giorni. Una volta che il gatto è stabile, una speciale dieta renale è il trattamento più importante. Una dieta di questo tipo contiene una bassa percentuale di proteine e meno fosforo, rispetto al normale cibo per gatti. In pazienti in stadio avanzato, il veterinario può decidere di prescrivere medicinali addizionali come inibitori cardiaci, supplementi a base di calcio e anAtibiotici, se necessario. Proprietari motivati possono somministrare fluidi ipodermici a casa.

E' importante identificare gli animali PKD positivi attraverso gli ultrasuoni (o in un futuro vicino attraverso il test del DNA). Veterinari esperti possono essere capaci di individuare le cisti nei cuccioli tra le 8 e le 12 settimane. Non c'è comunque la garanzia che un gatto sia libero da PKD se non ci sono cisti a quest'età. E' ancora possibile che l'animale sviluppi la PKD in futuro. Una diagnosi finale può essere fatta quando il gatto ha un anno o più. Dopo il test, al proprietario verrà dato un certificato che attesta il nome del gatto e il numero di registrazione del pedegree. In futuro dovremmo essere in grado di identificare tutti i nostri gatti da allevamento attraverso il microchip.


 
 
 
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