Feline Rhinotracheitis and Feline Calicivirus
Rhinotracheitis and Calicivirus are common respiratory infections of cats which can be fatal in kittens. While cats of any age can be infected young unvaccinated cats are more at risk. Cats often show signs of sneezing, runny eyes and nose. Some cats develop a cough, and some can develop a serious eye condition known as ulcerative keratitis. This virus can cause ulcers or sores in the mouth, pneumonia, diarrhea and joint disease. Many cats recover in 2 – 4 weeks and it is common for cats to become carriers of this virus putting other cats at risk Because this virus is common in many areas vaccination is highly recommended. Rhinotracheitis and Calicivirus are considered part of our “core” vaccines that we administer to our pets.
Panleukopenia virus is a potentially fatal disease, which may cause a sudden onset of severe vomiting and diarrhea. Young and unvaccinated kittens between 3-5 months of age are most at risk. This is considered a hardy virus, which may last up to a year in the environment. This virus can be spread to unborn kittens from their mother causing a condition known as cerebellar hypoplasia causing death or mobility issues. This virus is spread by contact often contaminated food or water bowls. The vaccine is very effective and is considered part of our “core” vaccines that we administer to our pets.
Feline Leukemia Virus
Feline Leukemia Virus can cause serious disease and death in cats. This virus can decrease the ability of the immune system to respond to infection and may lead to the development of different types of cancer. Feline Leukemia Virus is spread through body secretions, direct contact with infected cats, mutual grooming and contact with shared food and water bowls. A social outdoor cat that grooms others, or cats that fight and multi-cat households are most at risk. Feline Leukemia Virus can be spread from mother to kittens and if the mother was not tested we recommend that the kitten be tested for Feline Leukemia Virus. If your kitten tests positive it should be kept indoors so as to not spread this very contagious virus and reduce your cats exposure to other viral or bacterial diseases.
Rabies is not a mandatory vaccine in Nova Scotia but is considered a “core” vaccine for outdoor cats. Rabies is spread through the saliva of infected animals, and is considered a “zoonotic” disease, which means we can catch Rabies from our pets (or infected wildlife) if they are infected. Rabies affects the brain or central nervous system it can cause changes in behaviour including shyness or aggression, drooling, fly snapping or facial twitching. There is no cure for Rabies and it is considered a fatal disease. Most rabies cases in Nova Scotia come from the bite of an infected bat. While not a common disease here, Nova Scotia Public Health recommends all pets that go outdoors be vaccinated for Rabies and to avoid contact with wild animals especially if they are acting strange.