Fungal infections can lead to a range of discomforting symptoms in your feline friend, but rest assured, these conditions can be effectively treated. In today's post, our Lebanon vets discuss the most common causes, symptoms, and treatments for fungal infection in cats.
Most fungi originate in soil, where they lie, waiting for cats and other animals to inhale or ingest. Parasitic fungal organisms can also find their way into your pet through the skin (via a cut, wound, or another open sore) or through direct contact with an infected animal or an infected animal's feces.
Fungal infections often lead to health issues and complications, particularly in cats with weakened immune systems or those who are already unwell, frail, or have been on extended courses of immunosuppressive agents or antibiotics.
Common Fungal Infections in Cats
Although many different types of fungi in the environment can negatively impact your cat's health, our Lebanon vets see some infections more often than others. Here are some of the fungal infections we see in cats:
- North American Blastomycosis
Such infections can either be localized in a particular area of your feline friend's body or extend throughout the entire body, known as generalized infections.
Although generalized fungal infections are relatively uncommon in cats, fungal skin infections are frequently encountered.
Signs of Fungal Infection in Cats
The signs of infection that your cat displays will be determined by the type of fungal infection your kitty has contracted. Below are some common symptoms our vets see in cats with the types of infections listed above:
- Lung infections
- Loss of appetite
- Eye problems
- Bladder infections
- Skin lesions
- Weight loss
- Intolerance to physical activity
- Swelling under the bridge of the nose
- Difficulty breathing
- Bloody discharge from nose
- Cysts beneath the skin
Diagnosis & Treatment of Fungal Infections in Cats
Because fungal infections can sometimes be rare or confined to specific regions, diagnosing them can be a challenging task. You can assist your veterinarian in identifying the culprit behind your cat's symptoms by clearly understanding your pet's medical history and being ready to respond to questions regarding when your cat first displayed signs of infection.
A complete blood count (CBC), chemical blood profile, and urinalysis will help your vet identify what's causing your kitty's symptoms. Sometimes, a tissue sample may be taken to assist in diagnosis. Your cat will typically be anesthetized for these tests. The tissue sample will be taken during surgery and then analyzed in a diagnostics lab.
Based on the type of fungus responsible for your cat's symptoms, your veterinarian may recommend various treatment options, including hospitalization if the fungus can be transmitted to humans. This precaution is essential to minimize the risk of disease transmission to you or your family members.
If your kitty will be staying at home, your vet may provide instructions on how to prevent infections - including wearing gloves and a mask when handling your cat or changing their litter.
Your veterinarian may also consider the removal of skin lesions and may prescribe topical ointments to treat the infection. Any secondary infections will be addressed with appropriate medications or intravenous fluids if deemed necessary. It's important to understand that fungal infections can be challenging to treat, and significant improvement in your cat's health may only become noticeable after several weeks of treatment.
Recovery & Prognosis of Fungal Infections in Cats
The prognosis for your feline friend will be determined by the type of fungal infection your kitty has contracted. Although prescription medication can help to clear some infections, others may have long-term health impacts or even lead to severe neurological symptoms (for example, North American Blastomycosis can cause these).
To facilitate your cat's recuperation, it is imperative to attend all follow-up appointments to monitor their progress diligently. During these visits, your veterinarian will ensure there have been no relapses and make any necessary adjustments to the medication regimen. If you observe any alterations in your cat's physical appearance or behavior, it is crucial to report these changes to your veterinarian promptly.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.