Although protecting our pets against some diseases has been made
possible with the use of today's vaccines, no vaccine is 100%
effective. There are always things that can interfere with how well the
body uses vaccines to protect itself. The quality of the vaccine. How
it is stored. How it is given. The proper timing of vaccinations. The
health of the pet at the time a vaccine is given. The ability of the
immune system to make use of the vaccine. All of these factors make it
important that a physical be given, a history taken and a professional
give the vaccination and advise of the proper timing necessary to
provide the optimal protection. That is why at Ojai Pet Hospital a
visit with Dr. Shouse and a thorough physical and history are strongly
Feline distemper (panleukopenia)
is among the most widespread of all cat diseases, and is extremely
contagious. Characterized by fever, loss of appetite, vomiting and
diarrhea, feline distemper causes high death loss, particularly among
kittens. Even older cats that recover from distemper may never totally
regain their health.
Feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR)
is a highly contagious respiratory disease characterized by sneezing,
loss of appetite, fever, and eye inflammation. As the disease
progresses, a discharge is noticeable from both nose and eyes. Although
few adult cats die from FVR, the death rate among kittens can range
from 50 to 60 percent. Feline viral rhinotracheitis often occurs
simultaneously with feline calicivirus infection.
Feline calicivirus (FCV)
is another serious feline respiratory infection, often occurring
simultaneously with feline viral rhinotracheitis. Signs of infection
are similar to FVR (fever, loss of appetite, nasal discharge), but
calicivirus-infected cats may also have ulcers on the tongue. Feline
calicivirus most severely affects kittens and debilitated cats, and
overall death loss is generally low. However, calicivirus infection may
pave the way for other viral or bacterial agents which cause pneumonia.
Feline pneumonitis, a third common
respiratory ailment in cats, is caused by the organism Chlamydia
psittaci. Signs of pneumonitis are similar to those of FVR and FCV
(sneezing, fever, loss of appetite, nasal discharge, inflamed eyes).
Also like other respiratory diseases, pneumonitis can be complicated by
bacterial infections which result in pneumonia or meningitis. Even
after a cat recovers from pneumonitis, it may harbor Chlamydia
organisms and become ill again if stressed.
is a disease of the upper respiratory system, much like the disease in
dogs. While not usually serious, vaccination is available and the
disease appears to be widespread.
is a viral disease which can take several forms. Some cats have
transient infections with few ill effects. Others have persistent
infections varying in severity, some of which may be fatal over time.
Cats are most commonly exposed to feline leukemia virus through contact
with another, infected cat; thus, likelihood of infection is greater in
multi-cat households or where cats are allowed to roam free. Extensive
scientific research has shown no relationship between feline leukemia
and human leukemia.
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
is almost identical to feline leukemia as far as symptoms, but is
caused by a different virus, and is often referred to as Feline Aids
(but the virus is not the same as human Aids).
is an almost always fatal disease that tends to be difficult to
diagnose until the later stages of the disease. Two types of problem
develop, one called a wet stage where fluid accumulates in the chest,
abdomen or both; and a dry stage where very little fluid is present.
The pet tends to have off and on vague illness signs until the final
stages where fever, poor appetite and lethargy tend to be the most
obvious signs, with abdominal distention if the wet type is present.
one of the world's most publicized and feared diseases, is almost
always fatal. Rabies virus attacks the brain and central nervous
system, and is transmitted to humans chiefly through the bite of an
infected animal. In our area, rabid bats are a common source of
exposure to cats and will often be out in the daytime as well as night
if ill. Every year, several cats are exposed to potentially rabid bats.
Because of this significantly higher exposure to cats in our area, I
advise cats that live in the valley be vaccinated every year.