Fungal Infections in Cats
In order to survive, fungi (funguses) must sustain themselves by feeding on a host. Parasitic fungal organisms produce spores that can lead to infections and negatively impact your cat's health.
Most fungi originate in soil, where they lie in wait for cats and other animals to inhale or ingest them. Fungi can also find their way into your pet through the skin (via a cut, wound or other open sore), or through contact with an infected animal, or an infected animal's feces.
Although some fungal infections cause disease in healthy animals, most prey on pets with compromised immune systems or those that are ill or weak. Cats that take immunosuppressive agents or antibiotic drugs over a long period of time appear to be more susceptible to fungal infections.
Common Fungal Infections in Cats
While many different types of fungi in the environment can negatively impact your cat’s health, our Greensboro vets see some infections more often than others. Here are some of the fungal infections we typically see in cats:
- North American Blastomycosis
These infections may be concentrated in a specific part of the cat's body, or spread throughout the entire body. Though general fungal infections are relatively rare, fungal skin infections in cats are quite common.
Signs of Fungal Infection in Cats
The symptoms your cat displays are determined by the type of fungal infection your kitty has contracted. Below are 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 some fungal infections are rare or regional, they can be difficult to diagnose. You can help your vet to pinpoint the fungus responsible for your kitty's symptoms by knowing your cat’s medical history and being prepared to answer questions such as when your pet began to display symptoms of infection.
At Guilford-Jamestown Veterinary Hospital our team has years of experience in diagnosing and treating internal conditions. They can perform a thorough physical exam and take blood samples to be analyzed in our in-house diagnostic lab.
From there, we can use advanced tools and technology to make a definitive diagnosis of your cat's condition and provide treatment recommendations based on a comprehensive assessment of your kitty’s health issues.
A complete blood count (CBC), chemical blood profile and urinalysis will help your vet identify what’s causing your kitty’s symptoms. In some cases, 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, then analyzed in our lab.
Depending on the type of fungi that is causing your kitty’s symptoms, your vet may present different options for treatment, such as hospitalization if the fungus is transmittable to humans. This will help reduce the risk of you or your family becoming infected.
If your pet will be staying at your home, your veterinarian 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 be able to remove any skin lesions and prescribe topical ointments to help treat the infection. If required, any secondary infections will also be treated with medications or IV fluids. Fungal infections can be challenging to treat so it's important to keep in mind that several weeks of treatment may be needed before your cat’s health issues improve.
Recovery & Prognosis
Your cat’s prognosis 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 help your cat recover, it’s critical to attend all follow-up appointments so your cat’s recovery can be assessed. Your vet will check to see that no relapses have happened and make changes to medication if required. Report any changes in your cat’s appearance or behavior immediately.
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.
Is your cat showing signs of a fungal infection? Book an appointment today for your feline friend. Our Greensboro vets have experience diagnosing and treating a range of fungal infections in cats.
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