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Cats + Infectious Diseases

  • Hookworms are intestinal parasites of the cat and dog. Their name is derived from the hook-like mouthparts they use to anchor themselves to the lining of the intestinal wall. In general, cats tend to harbor relatively few hookworms when compared to the large numbers found in dogs.

  • This handout is designed to give you an overview of some of the internal parasites that can infect your cat. Intestinal worms can be a serious problem in young kittens. Heartworm disease is a major life-threatening problem in dogs, and is increasingly recognized as a threat to cats. Speak to your veterinarian about the most appropriate parasite control program for your cat.

  • Here are a few facts about Ebola that will provide a reasonable approach to the disease and its risk to pets and their owners.

  • Feline poxvirus is a relative of human smallpox virus seen mainly in Asia, Europe, and England. It mainly causes skin lesions around the head, neck, or forelimb such as ulcerations, scabs, or abscesses. Cats often recover on their own with no further symptoms unless they are immunocompromised. There is no specific treatment or vaccine. Antibiotics may be used to control secondary infections. The virus can be transmitted to humans, usually causing single lesions on the hand or face, but sometimes also causes fever or headache.

  • Rabies is a viral disease that can infect all warm-blooded animals, including cats and people, although some species are somewhat naturally resistant to the disease. When signs of rabies occur, it is an almost invariably fatal disease.

  • Ringworm is the common name given to a fungal infection of the superficial layers of the skin, hair, and nails. The common name of ringworm is somewhat misleading, in that it is not an infection caused by a worm, and the infected areas are not always ring-shaped. Ringworm can be challenging to detect in cats, since the lesions of ringworm may be very mild or even undetectable.

  • Swine Influenza or swine flu is a contagious respiratory disease of pigs, caused by a type A influenza virus. Type A influenza viruses can affect a range of other animals and humans. Like all influenza viruses, swine flu viruses change or mutate constantly. Swine flu is commonly seen in North America, South America, Asia, and Europe.

  • Tetanus is a medical condition caused by a toxin. This toxin, produced by the bacteria Clostridium tetani, affects the nerves, spinal cord, and brain, leading to hyperexcitability resulting in muscle spasms. Cats are less susceptible to the effects of tetanus toxin than humans and horses. Tetanus is typically diagnosed based on exam findings. Cats with tetanus require intensive nursing care. Most cats develop localized, self-limiting disease, which will respond to appropriate early treatment.

  • Tularemia is a bacterial disease caused by Francisella tularensis and is often referred to as rabbit fever. It is an uncommon infection in cats, but cats can be exposed if they kill and/or eat an infected rabbit or rodent.

  • The uvea is the part of the eye made up of the iris, the ciliary body and the choroid. The iris is the pigmented or colored membrane behind the cornea (clear outer surface of the eye).

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