About the Diseases:
Feline Upper Respiratory Tract Infection ("Cat Flu") is a very common, highly infectious disease that can cause sneezing, nasal discharge, conjunctivitis, fever, inappetence and, in severe cases, mouth and eye ulcers. The disease can be fatal in some cases, particularly in very young, geriatric or immune-compromised cats. Symptoms are usually caused by infection with Feline Herpesvirus and/or Feline Calicivirus.
- Feline Herpes Virus (AKA Rhinotracheitis Virus) symptoms may persist for several weeks and once infected, your cat will remain a carrier for the rest of its life. In periods of high stress (such as during cattery visits or illness), symptoms can re-present and the disease can spread easily to other cats. In some cases, the disease may result in corneal ulcers or long-term damage to the lining of the nasal cavity, leading to chronic 'snuffling'.
- Feline Calicivirus can cause painful mouth ulcers and kittens may also develop pneumonia and arthritis.
Feline Enteritis Virus (AKA Panleukopaenia or Parvovirus) is an extremely contagious, frequently fatal disease. The virus can survive for long periods in the environment and can cause a range of symptoms including lethargy, fever, vomiting, and bloody diarrhoea.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (AKA Feline Aids) is transmitted in the saliva, commonly through biting. It causes immune suppression and once infected, the virus persists in their system for life. The disease is not transmissible to humans. The best prevention is housing your cat indoors and testing all new cats before entry. It is recommended that all outdoor cats be vaccinated against FIV.
Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) causes severe immunosuppression, making the cat more vulnerable to other diseases. It is transmitted in the saliva, such as through fighting, grooming, or even sharing food bowls. Symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Secondary infections
Cats may also be infected and show no clinical signs. Cats usually remain infected for life, leading to a progressive deterioration over time. This disease cannot be transmitted to humans. It has a low incidence in Australia (around 2.5%) and vaccination is recommended only for cats at high risk of exposure.
Feline Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that causes conjunctivitis and generally occurs in young cats housed in large groups (eg. catteries). It can be treated with antibiotics. Vaccination is only recommended for cats at high risk of exposure.