Roundworms and Hookworms
have been isolated from the respiratory tract of cats. Most of these organisms are contagious, and
some can cause a fatal disease. These
organisms include rhinotracheitis virus, calicivirus, Chlamydia psittaci, reoviruses, Mycoplasma, and
various bacteria. In most cases,
isolation of the offending organism is neither necessary nor cost effective.
diseases are transmitted by direct contact with infected cats or discharges
from their eyes, nose, mouth, or other body fluids. Some of the organisms are spread by contaminiated clothing, hands, feeding utensils, grooming
equipment, and other articles. In a few
cases, the organisms are airborne for a short distance.
The most common
signs of respiratory disease are sneezing, cough, discharge from the eyes,
nose, or mouth, difficult breathing, gagging, lack of appetite, and weight
loss. Some infections last only a few
days, while others may be present for weeks or
months. Some of these disease agents
exist in a carrier state in apparently healthy cats.
Rhinotracheitis is caused by a
herpes virus that attacks the eyes, nasal passages, and trachea (windpipe) of
cats. Once infected, a cat shows
respiratory distress signs as described above.
Adult cats recover, but the disease is more serious in kittens, and
fatalities are not uncommon. Some cats
become persistently infected and suffer chronically. Vaccination is the best means of preventing
this disease. All cats should be
vaccinated yearly. Any questions about
your kittens cold, call us at (760) 598-2512.